Wednesday, May 25, 2011

stumbling along

"The path is personal experience, and one should take delight in those little things that go on in our lives, the obstacles, seductions, paranoias, depressions, and openness. All kinds of things happen, and that is the content of the journey, which is extremely powerful and important." - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

I just wanted to update a bit on my last post. Last night, after I posted it, my youngest proceeded to wake up every hour on the hour wanting to nurse back to sleep. When I finally asked my husband to please take him for a bit so I could get some rest, my little one screamed and struggled so violently for me in my husband's arms, that he vomited. When my husband put him down to clean him up, my babe ran down the hall to my bedroom and banged on the door screaming until I got up, picked him up, and nursed him back down. At 2:00 a.m.

So, was I happy and cheerful about this turn of events? No, I was not. Was I mindful? Well, I was exhausted. At first, I was not mindful. I was just overwhelmed with fatigue, and a bit of resentment mixed with tears. I cried for a good ten minutes along with my babe, and went onto Facebook and posted as my status update a simple "ugh". Because that is how I felt. I didn't feel at peace with what was happening. I felt utterly defeated by it.

And that is ok. I noticed. I noticed that I felt defeated. I noticed that I was spreading this feeling of defeat into the wider world through updating my Facebook page (hangs head in shame) and that I was having a hard time keeping the view of basic goodness. In the noticing, my tears turned from tears of frustration to tears of compassion, compassion for me, and for my poor little boy who just cannot sleep through the night, even at almost 15 months of age. And compassion for my older son, who was sleepily calling out to us, asking us to please "shhh", and for my husband, who had to get up early for a very hard day at work, and felt helpless in the face of our little one's distress. This compassion was like a soft blanket that held us all together in our discomfort, and helped us relax a bit, and finally, blessedly, go to sleep. Until the cat jumped on the bed and woke us up.

And that's how it goes. You stumble. You get back up. You walk. For years I used as my email signature the following quote by Rabbi Hillel:

"I get up, I walk, I fall down-
Meanwhile, I keep dancing"

That is Snow Lion. The willingness to keep dancing, to keep walking along the path, even when it is really, really hard to do so. To keep turning to gentleness, compassion, patience, and letting go when all you want to do is scream, tear your hair out and run away. This is bravery. This is enlightened warriorship. Wish me luck.

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