[The] complete teaching of Buddhism is how to re-discover who we are. That is a straightforward principle, but we are continuously distracted from coming to our natural state, our natural being. Throughout our day everything pulls us away from natural mindfulness, from being on the spot. We're either too scared or too embarrassed or too proud, or just too crazy, to be who we are. - Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
I am trying to write here more often, but I was at my parents' house over the long weekend, and there is just so much going on there with my mother's illness and the family dynamics that it is impossible to even go online for a moment, let alone be at all eloquent or useful. So, here I am, back in my own little chaotic nest, getting us unpacked and trying to keep my little ones happy on a day when it is pouring rain. These three things saved us this morning from tantrums: 1) the construction of a small city out of all available cardboard boxes; 2) the making of ribbon sticks; and 3) a wet, wet walk in the rain, where we got completely soaked from jumping in every available puddle. We also made the happy discovery that the apples from the sadly neglected apple trees on the street behind us are actually tasty, and so, pockets brimming with ones gleaned from the wet ground, we made our way home and into nap time.
There were still tears, as my little ones didn't sleep well at my folks and the long car ride yesterday put them in a bit of cranky mood. But, I was able to go with the flow, even with the detritus of our journey all over the house and some unhappy felines making demands after our absence. I'm tired, certainly. My toddlers are both nursing much more than I would prefer. The house is a mess. Loads of laundry to get done. Our bedroom ceiling is leaking from all the rain, and I have no idea when the landlord will relate to it. There is still the emotional residue of my visit back to my family. But...it is all ok. I have been able to keep coming back to the present moment today. I have been able to keep letting go of my various agendum without any fuss. I have been able to surrender to the fact that my 18 month old has fallen down, once again, and is crying, once again. I have been able to pick him up, hug him, comfort him until he feels alright, put him back down, and keep making that cardboard garage my 2 year old is asking me to make. I have been able to just be myself today, and to just let my children be themselves. Funny how often I don't allow either to happen.
The quote above from Sakyong Mipham is from a longer talk, here. It is a fabulous talk about how to meditate, and I reread it every year, sometimes several times a year. Different things jump out at me each time I read it, and this time, it was the following line:
When we're talking about being mindful and living in a mindful way, we're talking about the practice of spontaneity.
Spontaneity for me has been the key to being happy with my children, and keeping them connected to their own goodness. And it is really, really hard to be spontaneous when I am obsessing over the past or thinking about the future. There is no space for spontaneity to emerge because I am so entirely disconnected from what is actually happening, right in front of my very eyes. It's funny how resentful we can get when other beings, our children included, pull us out of our dreams of the past and the future with their very real needs happening in the now. But if we let go of those imaginings, how much richer and happier we become. The world is so much more alive when we are actually fully there to experience it.
This is what I am working on today. It is what I am always working on. Being who I am, right here, right now. It can be so difficult, can't it? Wishing us all luck in being ourselves today, fully, completely, lovingly.