OUTRAGE, GRATITUDE and RUN ON SENTENCES
It’s been kind of weird here. I’ve been preparing for my second Deepening Compassion Meditation Class (two Thursdays per month through May) for the last three weeks and was feeling in need because a lot of turmoil was bubbling up for me. So I went out to start the car Thursday morning (having to miss my usual River Garden Yoga class with the amazing Paula Dancing-Eagle, where I am guaranteed serenity…) and the thing was dead -- the car that is. Brand new car! Dead for the second time in two weeks. Wouldn’t even turn over. Michael and I both had lousy nights’ sleep Wednesday night because our land line went dead and that sets the security alarm off to little beep-beep-beeps endlessly until you get up and disable it. We tried everything to get the landline back in working condition and it is simply gone… So, last night at 3:30 am I had to get up and shut down the beep, beeps again. I called the security company and they can’t do anything about it until next week. I went to the basement and yanked the whole thing out of action and shut it down for now. While coming downstairs to pull the beep, beep cords I heard a loud buzzing/blowing noise and thought it was the fan on our new refrigerator. I muscled that thing out of its space, pulled the plug and the noise kept going. It was coming from the basement. The fan on our furnace was going nuts. So, three degrees below zero and descending, and our heat won’t circulate. Not to worry, we bundled up and trudged across the street to our beloved Day by Day Café to down hot coffee and warm up in the company of our neighbors. I had been unable to download and print a hundred or so pages of proposals for homeless services that I’d agreed to review knowing the weekend was the only time I had available. I was a bit panicked until the lead man on the board came by to hand-deliver the work. When the dear man showed up to give me the papers at the Day by Day I stood up to walk toward him, tripped on my husband’s foot extended into the aisle and just about landed in the guy’s arms. AAAAARGH!
Oh, and someone hacked my email and sent an insulting link to my sister in New York and god knows how many others, further insinuating what I often worry might be true, that I am just not seen as a very nice person. All this weirdness added to the trouble I’m having understanding and accepting the world in which we now live. How people can go on being so inhumane, cruel and even evil to each other after all the lessons learned over centuries and centuries. So, all a-fuddle, I was thinking of what to write in my column this month and I thought about two opposing bumper stickers: “IF YOU’RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU’RE JUST NOT PAYING ATTENTION” and ‘IF YOU’RE NOT GRATEFUL, YOU’RE JUST NOT PAYING ATTENTION”. It occurs to me that TURMOIL itself lives in our hearts and minds in the place between the two of these. My mind went to that “Tender, shaky place…” as the wonderful teacher, Pema Chodrun, describes it in her LIVING BEAUTIFULLY WITH UNCERTAINTY AND CHANGE. She talks about the need to live in that middle place between compassion, generosity, kindness and/or peace and life’s discomforts, turmoil, aggravation and/or genuine suffering and disaster. After indulging in tan AAAARGH! Or two, here’s what I’ve learned to do. I take a deep and slow breath, acknowledge that shaky place and come to what I believe is a really solid base of riding the waves of joy and or sorrow that life throws my way. I usually get there through meditation. Others approach it through prayer, dance or song. Either way, all recent ills and assaults duly noted, I sit right here in between outrage and gratitude. I bow then lift my head. My eyes fill with tears but a smile comes. And then this… Inevitably, I rejoice.