Wherever you go, there you are. That is one of my go-to catch phrases when I’m in need of a little one-stop wisdom shopping. I am prone to escapism (thankfully without an addictive personality), going deeply into novels or within the powerful boundaries of my own mind. When I want to, I can avoid unpleasant things like nobody’s business. There is a silver lining to that attribute, a skill that focuses on possibility and positivity and rainbows and such when life provides lemons (like a $4000 tax bill for A being on parental leave, boo!). It’s a mixed blessing, being an escapism prone optimist. Sometimes things get done, sometimes they don’t. Anyway, it means that I am attracted to the idea that going somewhere else (physically or metaphorically) might fix things. As we all know, our invisible luggage lags behind whether we like it or not. I guess I thought that having a child would blow my heart so permanently wide open that I would become a saintly person, driven by tidal waves of love and generosity of spirit. I would never yell or feel hateful again. I would take care of everyone. I would feel so present to each astounding moment that I would not need to hide in my cave. No one would ever be angry with me because I would be so good. Hmph. I wish.
As I’ve noted before, no one can go through having a child and remain unchanged, mostly for the best. Change is the way of life, says the Buddha; or what makes it so interesting, says his wonderful student Pema Chodron. I was so ready to ride the change wave when Ben arrived, Hawaiwan print surfing clothes, tan (ha!) and everything. I guess I just expected to become a better person automatically, without effort. Herein lies the crux of it then. Like in marriage, regardless of having found the One who makes our heart sing, we don’t get the good stuff without work. Relationships and children are definitely the best schools and masters if we let them be. Most of us just complain about the tough parts (not me though, never J); we try harder some days and flake out the rest. Where is the gratitude? What more are we asking for? I have always wished for a spiritual teacher to kick the existential sh*t out of me. I expected a wizened octogenarian monk in robes perhaps, chanting, or a middle aged / New aged Jewish woman with curls who sings while making latkes, or maybe a Gospel preacher. I don’t know. Someone obvious. Someone loving and tough. Someone who demands the best and then picks me up when I stumble. Wherever you go, there you are, they say. Oh woman, just turn around on the spot and look before you. They are right there, looking at me, a beautiful, complicated woman and a little boy with his Duckie, their arms open, ready to teach me the only really important lessons in life. Goddess may I endeavor to deserve these amazing teachers and wake up to how ridiculously lucky I am to be here and now.
NB: The above image is original art by Katie Daisy, please see http://www.etsy.com/listing/66633318/here-and-now