4.14.2017

Opportunities to Struggle

The Biscuit's bedtime has become madness.  Developmentally-appropriate madness, but still crazy.  Some days, I can handle it calmly.  When I forget to take a breath because I'm preoccupied by the things I'd like to do, the husband I miss, and worries about who the President is going to bomb next, I do not handle it calmly. Calm is not my default setting when frustrated.  (Humiliatingly, my default setting when frustrated looks a lot more like the President's.)

But here's the thing: I badly don't want the Biscuit to make his choices based on other people's anger.  I don't want him to chose out of fear.  Self-defeating as it might seem, I want the little dickens to keep popping out of bed for a while, so that he and I can practice working alongside each other, even when I feel angry.  I fervently hope that conflict and frustration continue, and that I handle myself in such a way that my child does not become submissive in response to it. 

The same struggle, over and over again, is a chance to practice.  I did not start out with much innate talent, but if I take the opportunity to use these drills, I might wind up a patience virtuoso.  Or at least finally catch up with average.  

3.22.2017

Learning from Soup Night

Wednesdays are the days I write about spiritual practices. In theory. Sometimes in reality, too, but also in paper and ink, so you all haven't seen it.

I've got a small handful of commonly-recognized spiritual practices going on, but I've discovered Soup Night is also a spiritual practice.  (Soup Night is rarely packed. I worry that people imagine it is.  It's not bustling over here, I want to be very clear with you. One or two families come over, typically.  Stop imagining a party all the time.  It freaks me out, and makes me think you're going to be really disappointed when you finally come over.)

Anyway, one of the ways that Soup Night is a spiritual practice is that we do it even when we're not feeling it, and we invite people we might not socialize with otherwise.  I invite friends and strangers-- I keep postcards in my purse with all the relevant info, so that I can share with anyone I chat with (and I chat with everyone).  

One set of neighbors come fairly regularly, even though before Soup Night we only waved or chatted occasionally.  Two weeks ago, I was a little grouchy to start with, and Sam was a total lunatic, and eventually I snapped at our neighbor. (Doesn't that make you want to come receive our hospitality?)

That was Sunday, and Monday morning we were leaving to go out of town.  I don't like to leave my dumb-shit decisions dangling all week, so I wrote her a letter and told her I'd like to apologize in person when I got back.

Here's my point about Soup Night being a spiritual practice:
Without Soup Night, I could easily avoid this neighbor.
Because of Soup Night, we have a relationship, and when there's conflict and difference, we have to move forward, instead of just away from each other.

The Benedictines sometimes talk about the spiritual value of that one monk who's a real pain in the ass to love, let alone live with.  I submit for your consideration that my Soup Night may well be a spiritual practice for others, as well.

Oh, and? My neighbor saw my taking out the trash today, and came out to hug me.  Love attempted, love sputtered, love carried on.  

1.02.2017

All Kinds of Holy Work

I had my first facial today.  It was amazing.No, I'm serious.  I'm stone-cold serious.

I don't know how to relax without professional help.  Even with professional help, it's like trying to keep a beach ball submerged-- my brain is clearly trying to kill me. It's always been hard, but since my son was born, it's been nearly impossible.

For about an hour this morning, a kind, knowledgeable woman did 3/4 of the work of keeping the beach ball down.

That's holy work.  When I have totally and completely lost the ability to let go, that's a sacred service that's being provided. If I can't figure out how the hell to be still, then I need help.  I need someone to show me.

It's a lot easier to recognize heroes if you watch for them.  Sometimes they hang out in old Victorian houses and wear smocks.