"The point is to look properly. See the colors: white, black, blue, yellow, red, green, purple. Look. This is your world! You can't not look. There is no other world. This is your world; it is your feast. You inherited this; you inherited these eyeballs; you inherited this world of color. Look at the greatness of the whole thing. Look! Don't hesitate - look!" - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
We had our local Children's Day celebration, and it was a lovely time. The King and Queen dolls seem to approve, no? And my toddler was happy with our "Pin the Tail on the Dragon" game.
It was a very simple celebration, and small, and just right. There was great richness and vividness to it, in the colors, the songs, the jokes, the food shared in community. It was a wonderful little opportunity to share our basic goodness with one another, through the celebration of our children.
This has been a hard month for me, with lots of illness, doctor visits, emergency room forays (everyone is ok, although my toddler now has a dermabonded laceration on his forehead), lack of sleep, and so on. I have had some rough moments when I have felt I can't possibly give anything further. What has helped me is to pay attention, just continue to pay attention to what I am feeling, and who I am being. I have been allowing myself to touch my exhaustion, and my overwhelm. When I touch it, and don't judge it, but just look at it and allow myself to feel it without indulging in lots of thoughts around it, I can see that it is already changing, dissolving, turning into something else. That allows me to move forward, through it, and carry on with what needs to be done. It's been hard at times, but I am still here to tell the tale, so it has been working. Sense of humor has been helping as well. And the support of my sangha, both the sangha of practitioners and that of other parents who give me their warm encouragement and are generous enough to laugh with me and share their own challenges.
What has helped me most of all though, is gentleness. The gentleness that arises from dropping any judging of my experience. This gentleness has allowed me to open further to myself, my partner and my children, when my first instinct has been to get harder, withdraw and lash out. Not that I don't slip sometimes, but that is all part of our practice too. We stumble along, but we keep coming back - back to our breath, to our bodies, to our hearts, to our gentleness. This is why our teachers call this practice warriorship.
Basic goodness is always here, available to us in every moment. It just needs the gift of our attention for it to shine out. As Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche exhorted, all we need to do is simply look. Look! This great feast awaits us. The phenomenal world is so full of simple magic. Our children are attuned to it, as they are better at paying attention, better at simply being in the moment and allowing it to present itself to them in all its richness.
I wish us all a feast this solstice. It is a feast of our neurosis and of our clarity, of our aggression and of our compassion. Spicy and sweet. Happy and sad. Full of beauty. Completely real and ever changing. Spacious and open, like our minds.