27 April 2009

An expiration date on mothering?

Does it mean your job as a mother is done when your 18-year old drives himself to a weekend-long outdoor rock festival and not only brings sunblock without being told, but actually remembers to put it on?

24 April 2009

Living in the past, present and future

I'm having a hard time with this whole blog thing. Part of the problem is that I decided to start posting my work quite a while after I started doing all of this so I'm still scrambling to catch this journal up with where I "really" am, while trying to slow down the doing part so I have a fighting chance of actually doing that. On top of that, living and writing about the past and present at the same time is messing with me. Guess I'm always living in the past, present, and future -- for me, especially the future --- but this consistent writing about it shoves my nose into how whacked that makes my life.

Even outside this project, I google old friends and boyfriends just to see what's happened to them (Hi! to any of you doing the same to me now, by the way. Bet I was the last person you thought would end up doing this, eh?)and I can spend hours reviewing key moments of my life that I've loved and even longer picking apart those mortifying "high" points that I still can't shake, the times when I said or did things I still can't believe, those moments when I sacrificed myself or someone else. I find myself luxuriating in the second-by-second unfolding of those scenes, feeling every feeling, over and over again. Why? Am I hoping, if I go over it yet again, that it'll turn out different? That I'll understand why I did what I did so I won't get to that place again? In a few cases I have developed some compassion for the situation, for whomever I deem the perpetrator, me or another, but, still...

My real obsession is the future: I get lost in it. I want to know what's going to happen. In detail. Barring that, I want a concrete list of possibilities all laid out. Why? Because I want to control or at least influence the likely outcome. I get paralyzed in fabrication, examination, consideration, rumination. I have turned millions of present moments over to this imagined future. Why? I dunno. It actually seems easier than letting all of it go, easier than hearing the bird outside my window, feeling that my fingers are a bit cold as I type this, that I made a mistake in the underwear I chose today - it kind of hurts - and that, until this moment, I didn't notice how thirsty I am and that the glass of water I poured before I sat down has gone untouched until now.

16 April 2009

The Bowing Controversy - or To Bow or Not to Bow

I knew I had a hard time with the whole idea of bowing (see the end of the Path of Love) but I thought it was just my personality quirk. Then came all the hullaballoo over President Obama bowing to Saudi King Abdullah on April 2nd. You'd think President Obama had floated the idea of making the king a cabinet member.

I thought it was my little old outsized ego that kept my spine rigid, unwilling even to try out this bowing thing just to see if I could at least come to appreciate why it's so important in both Hinduism and Buddhism but here I find it isn't just my problem, it's cultural. We're all raised to think bowing down before someone implies weakness or, worse, fealty or subservience to another.

It seems to me that how we greet one another is less important than that we do. I know that when I'm concerned more about how someone else sees me, more about making clear my power and its importance to me, more about making sure my position seems dominant from the get-go, my relationships don't go very well. I've lived most of my life with that first in my mind and, boy, was that a waste.

All I can say is, the whole angry storm over the President's bow at least made me feel that I am a real American, not just a real egotist.

(In case you're interested, here are links to previous posts with some of my bowing challenges: Hemu's Morning Rituals, First Teacher, Path of Love, Doing It, The Destroyer of Time...there must be a few more but, you get the idea. Most of the bowing is at the end of the posts...)