May 2008

So I’ve been shaking my head lately about where this blog is going.  Sorry, we’re on a bit of a navel-gaze here, but it’s my blog and I can navel-gaze if I want to.  No wait a second, that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing, hence this post.

I can’t believe I wrote about God last time.  Not to mention all that personal dharma stuff that I mentioned publicly as a way to force myself to do them.  Do you feel used yet?  Or to quickly bring this back to me – what horrifyingly personal revelations are coming next??  It’s getting the point where I need to wait a few days to *get up the guts* to write my next post even if I know exactly what it is and have a draft sitting in WordPress. 

But it’s all good.  It’s not called “Playin’ the Edge” for nuthin’.  I want to write on the edge of my comfort zone.  It’s absolutely where the juice is.  I’d highly recommend it :-)  Why hold a tiny dental mirror up to yourself when you can stand in front of a full-length magnifying mirror.  And see all your zits in their glorious zitty splendor.  And share that with others who set up a feed because they seem to care about your zits too.  Maybe it it reminds them of their own.  And that’s the universal truth really – we’re all zitty.  So why bother hiding.

I read this post by someone writing about feeling the fear and expressing it anyways – or not, in the case of the hottie in the orange shorts.  I’m with her.  Here’s to writing from the heart and giving out your phone number more often.

So it dawned on me when I was pregnant with Angus that I’d have to cook up some explanation about God and who s/he is and what our relationship is to him/her.  You know, from someone who isn’t completely clear on that, even on a good day.

And then I promptly forgot about it.  Angus is almost 4 and I hadn’t tackled my God Job.  

But I remembered when I was at Kripalu and the topic of God came up.  People were talking about their views and it ranged from “Brought Up In a Strictly Religious Household And Now An Atheist Dammit”, to “Brought Up In A God-Who? Household And Now I Make It Up As I Go Along”.  It was so interesting. 

Then someone talked about going through a period of suicidal depression and one of the key things for him was how the divine was described in his yoga class.  Their yoga teacher talked about how when they say Namaste at the end of the class, they’re symbolically recognizing and showing respect for the spark of the divine that’s in each of us. And he said this made a difference for him.  He didn’t say specifically, but it enough to keep him from going down the self-destruct road.

And that reminded me of my God Job.  Because whatever it was for that guy that kept him from offing himself – I want that for Gussie.  I don’t want him to believe in an Old White  Vindictive Control-Freak God.  I just want him to believe that there’s some unifying force in the universe, you know? 

I want him to know that who we are and what we do while we’re here has some meaning beyond just shuffling around this dusty planet until we die.  Because I absolutely believe there’s *something* and you can call it whatever you like.  But I figured since Angus doesn’t have the heavy-duty religious baggage, why not use “God”.  It’s simple.  And he might have a hard time saying “unifying force in the universe”.  I just want him to have enough of a basis that he has something to throw out later, or build on when he gets curious about learning things for himself. 

So I’ve started telling him that God is everywhere and there’s also a little piece of God right in here – and I point to his chest.  And I say there’s also a little piece of God right in here – and I point to my chest.  I tell him that everyone has a little piece of God inside.

I also got him a book about blessing people and things.  I told him that blessing someone means that you want the very very best for them because you care about them.  So after we read the book and count all the people and things we think of other people and things we can bless.  We bless Jim the lizard because he’s a good pet.  We bless Grandma and Grandpa.  We bless the basketball that he sleeps with.  His cousin.  And anyone else that comes to mind.

I don’t know if I’m doing enough or doing the right thing, but at least I’ve started my God Job.

I read about this meditation a while back.  It’s taught by a female yoga guru whose name I can’t find anywhere, maybe someone can comment and remind me.

The meditation is pretty simple.  Anything that comes to mind, potentially interrupting your meditation groove, you accept it.  You say to yourself “this too”  and when the next thing comes along as it inevitably will, you say to yourself, “ah this too”.  It’s a way of bringing it all into your zone of OK.  You open up the gate and usher it in.  It’s your own personal OK Corral.

So what it means is that instead of getting cheesed off at yourself because you suck at meditating (reality: we all do) or getting rattled because you can’t still your mind (reality: none of us easily can) you just accept.  Whatever it is.  Whatever lame-ass thought wants to trot through your head, you bring it in to your OK Corral.

This is a good approach to life in general.  When things bug you or threaten to knock you off-center, see if you can say, “ah this too”.   

I love the “ah” part.  It’s part relief.  There’s an element to it that says, “oh good I get to be OK about this too”.  Faced with a crazy person, thing or situation? Come on into my corral.  

And it’s especially relief when you hit bottom on something.  When you say to yourself – OK, i’m done, i’m out of ideas, i’m past thinking I’ve got the answers and I’m out of fooling myself into believing I can deal.  I’m just done.  That’s serious relief.  I’m simply choosing to be OK with this because I don’t see any other option.  That’s a good place to be for a control-freak like me.  It takes a while to get there.

And there’s another part of “ah” that’s delight.  Like, “oh *good*, I get to be OK about this too”.  I can just choose to be OK.  No big deal. That’s a pretty powerful place to be.  It’s usually when I’m feeling pretty balanced, and let’s face it, the planets are aligned correctly, that I can do that.  But I’ll take it when I can get it.

Now don’t get me wrong, being OK doesn’t mean we’re not working toward a different end.  It just means that we allow the reality of the situation to be OK while we work toward tweaking it.  It means instead of wasting time hating what is and resisting it and looking for some poor sucker to blame I’m going to choose to feel balanced about it.  And if I feel more balanced about what is, I’m going to have better focus and more energy to put toward what I want.  

But the journey is important because *not* letting stuff into your OK Corral is just as important as letting stuff in.  It’s an opportunity to look at your obstacles.  If you absolutely can’t be OK with this person, thing or situation – how come? 

What’s holding you back from ushering it in?  Maybe it totally pushes one of your buttons.  Great, what an opportunity to get to know your hot buttons.  What’s it about? What’s the pattern?  What’s the deep habitual groove that you get into in every situation like this one? What’s the emotional habit?  What’s the belief underlying the resistence to it?  Maybe your hot button is what you let into your OK Corral. 

Because it’s only when we’re OK with our buttons that we can even hope to understand them.  And it’s only with understanding that we can even consider other options of responding.  And it’s only by understanding other options that we’ll consider trying them when we’re deep in a situation.  So that one day we can choose to do it all differently.  And that is seriously OK.


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

So I’ve managed to scrape together two important things to know when you’re a parent.  First the 80/20 thing.  Pareto must have been a parent because I’ve realized that 80% of the time the I love my kid and love being a parent.  And then 20% of the time, or at least that’s what it feels like, I’m about to kick myself, or him, to the curb.  That’s where the yoga breathing comes in.

I took Angus swimming for the first time and felt so bad for the teacher.  There were only two boys in the class but man, it was like herding cats.  And not regular sane cats, but nutty insane cats.  Cats on PCP.  There were lots of the people in the pool, it was noisy, there were a zillion distractions and my kid was not grasping the concept of “teacher” and  breaking every rule.  I was mortified.  That was a 20% moment.

But it all comes out in the wash, because 2 or 3 classes later I had relaxed a little and Gussie seemed to be hearing at least every third word the teacher said.  I noticed there was a little red haired boy shivering and crying in the corner.  Poor guy.  And I thought heck, at least Angus is having fun even though he’s half listening.  But see the red-haired kid probably sits for hours at home and colors.  He probably tells his Mom he can’t wait to clean up his toys.  My kid spends more time imitating the Tasmanian Devil.  So it all comes around.  That’s the other thing I know from parenting.

And then there was the screaming girl.  She’s about 5 or 6.  She was the only one in her class and maybe that was by design because the teacher would hold her to help her swim   and the girl would scream at the top of her lungs, 4 inches from the teacher’s face, “STOP STOP PUT ME DOWN STOP STOP!!”  Nonstop.  For the full 30 minute lesson.

And the Mom was sitting on the side of the pool looking like she wished the concrete would open up and swallow her.

But see her 80/20 might be different.  Because I’m sure this little girl is a handful alot more than 20% of time.  But I think for this Mom the 80/20 might be over her daughter’s lifetime.  Because I look at that girl and think, my god if they can channel even some of that chutzpah, that I’m-gonna-tell-the-world-what-I-think-dammit, she will save babies.  Millions of them.  She will fix world hunger.  And that’s no mean feat when I read that the price of medium grain rice in Thailand doubled in price since last year.  Her mother will watch her win a Nobel prize.  And hopefully it will all be worth it for her then.  Because it has a way of coming around.

Here’s another example.  Parenthood comes with a bunch of them.  My kid was playing with a neighbour kid we’ll call Will.  He bit my kid so hard it broke the skin.  It was like a baby vampire mark.  It was wild, I’ve never seen anything like it.  Did it upset me?  No way, cos I know things come around.  I got him settled down, we talked it through and they went back to play. 

Sure enough, Angus traps him in the Tickle Trunk (you Mr. Dressup fans know what I’m talking about).  He stands on the lid and then the trunk collapses, crushing a screaming Will inside.  Yup, they were even.  One kid in need of a tetanus shot, the other in need of some therapy.  It’s all comes around.