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The top 10 things that make being Zen not always possible for me.
Yes, I can be present with my children. But I am also in the future. I need to know how I am going to be in two towns at once to pick up two kids. One child in the backseat needs to pee because I was too in the moment to remind him to use the bathroom before we left because that was the future I would be worrying about.
You have to plan ahead. This isn't a monastery. No one is bring us meals out of kindness. And I make a list, thinking ahead of what I will need. But I do so mindfully. So that is OK. And I buy yogi tea. (Nirvana at any moment!)
I listen to my children. I am actually pretty good about knowing when I should give advice now; before always piping up with something because I wanted to control how they handled a situation. Now I still do that...but with a great excuse as to why I have to do it this time. Because you are going to be freezing, that's why. Because he will think you are being mean. Because that may cause you to fail the test. That's why. (Oh, and because I told you to. That, too.)
We talk. I talk. Even when I may be talking...maybe not so....very perhaps free of...a smidge of judgement.
I feel guilty now...
Talking mindfully without idle chatter anymore. LOOK AT THAT! WOOHOO!
I mean, seriously. If I didn't control what they remembered to pack and controlled when they did their homework....I will work on putting the control in their hands. I will. I will tell them they have to put the control in their own hands.
If I didn't worry about bedtimes and suggest when it is time to get going along on that errand or remind gently of all the things the kids need to be controlled about....chaos. CHAOS is not ZEN!! THAT is a FACT!
7. Children. (I can't get freaking past the children thing)
8. Dukkha. Suffering. It is a given and it is only relieved by realizing that nothing is in your control (!) and by letting go of tanha- desire....among other things. (Just an overview here) I suffer. A lot. Desire can be as simple as wanting something pleasurable to last (school vacation and easter baskets) or to be away from unpleasant feelings and situations (loss and angry emails).
9. Children. Their dukkah is my dukkah. (Cue the high pitched scream of banshee in my ears) I can't stomach it.
10.Work. Especially in my line of work helping students who need organization of self, thoughts, study habits, etc. I'm in the now, I'm in the past, I'm in the future, and I am pushing some serious control over everything. I am good at this job. (OK, I over edit their writing. They could get published at this point) However, my glimpses of zen is what makes me feel confident in what I do. I can hunker down in their "now". All that 12 year olds have are their "now". I have to stop and join them there, calm them, listen to them, relax them or they will never be able to work towards their future.
My husband, a self described living in the present kind of guy, who married, clearly, a future thinker, quotes something to the effect of this to me all the time: