Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo invites us to write a poem about life’s simple pleasures. There are many. How could I choose just one? Or even a hundred? It’s almost midnight so I’ll contain myself and mention a few of my simple pleasures.
The sound of bubbles colliding with the sides of my glass
as I sip my sparkling water
Stepping outside and feeling fresh, cool wind on my face
The sun piercing through the clouds after days of rain
The scent of a fresh pot of green tea
Feeling my fingertips growing calloused from playing guitar
The sound of my children’s laughter
The taste of a really crisp apple
Sitting on my cushion in the morning and looking inwards
Watching blossoms fluttering from the trees like snowflakes
Lying down to sleep after an exhausting day
Taking a nap in the middle of the day
Watching ink spill out of my pen and onto the page
The feel of yarn slipping through my fingers
as I knit another row
The sound of my sewing machine.
The smell of steam rising off fabric while I’m ironing
Hitting several green lights in a row
Stepping into the hot shower when I feel cold
Love welling up as I tuck my kids in at night.
Just. Being. Alive.
I made many, many trips between my old house and my new house today
Loading the Prius with box after box of books,
then fabric, then toys.
The most important things are over there now…
Meditation cushion, singing bowl,
guitar, journal, pens, crystals…
But here we are still, at our old place,
Because the biggest things are here.
Then it occurs to me…actually,
The most important things are not things,
But my beautiful children,
who daily remind me what life is all about.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to be with them tonight…
Knowing that in the in-between place,
We still have each other.
I wake up
and something’s different.
I see the sun.
I’m glad to be awake.
I have energy.
I’m excited to start the day.
I make berry salad
for our breakfast;
the kids and I enjoy
these colorful jewels
the earth grew
for our nourishment.
I feel so much love
my heart might burst.
My home is peaceful.
After the kids get on the bus
I come back home.
What is this feeling?
What is different?
And then I realize
I know what this is:
I feel better.
As if it weren’t enough
that I taught two workshops
and three classes this weekend
I needed to come home
and be a sweet, kind and loving mother.
Did I succeed?
I don’t know.
The kids are fed, in bed,
and not too terribly filthy.
I’d call that a success.
Tomorrow is the first day of school
and although I’m not the one going
I have jitters anyway,
for my two kiddos who’ll face
new faces, new rooms, new names,
new structure—were they meant for this?
A part of me wants to keep them home
safe and sound with me
to play all day, soak in the sun,
splash in the stream,
run in the forest…
But another part goes
THANK GOD SUMMER IS OVER!
I kept admonishing myself
for losing it with my kids.
Feeling guilty, ashamed,
a failure as a parent.
And then I realized,
it’s normal to lose it.
Because I’m human,
because sometimes I’m tired,
it just happens.
And as I began to cultivate acceptance
for my own humanness,
it occurred to me
that the goal isn’t
to never lose it with my kids.
The goal is to gradually learn
how to recognize my own insanity
as it arises
and restore myself to sanity
as best I can.
The goal is to acknowledge
the mistakes I have made
and do my best to make amends.
And so I ask for my kids’ forgiveness
when I lose it with them.
And as they forgive me
I start to see that I can forgive me too.
Very tired children
Always being crazy
Intending to rest
Only it isn’t very restful
Never getting any sleep…
I look into their little faces
bright, innocent, sweet
they know nothing of what has happened
and I wonder
What is this world we will leave them?
I think of the ones taken so suddenly
with no warning, no reason,
And I am afraid to see pictures of them,
a collage of the ones who are gone,
their faces so vibrant moments before
and then suddenly…terror
and after that…nothing.
But they live on in my heart
even if I cannot see pictures of their faces
and I look at my own precious ones
hoping and praying
as mothers do
that such a thing would never happen to them.
What is this world we will leave them?
The sun will rise tomorrow.
I will hope and pray again.
And I will look on their faces
with love and gratitude,
relief that they are with me
and I can hold them close.
And I will keep wondering
about this world we will leave them.
First I ask for their forgiveness
and then I attempt to forgive myself.
I didn’t want to lose my temper
I didn’t want to jump up and down
and get red in the face.
But I’m tired, and sick, and human,
and sometimes I just lose it.
The critic said to me,
See? Five years of daily meditation
have done nothing for you.
You still lose your temper.
You are an imposter.
I said to the critic
If you think this is bad,
imagine how I’d be without meditation.
And then I forgave myself.
For listening to the voice
that told me I should have done better
than I was able to do.
I am, like everyone else on this blessed planet,
doing the best I can.
We don’t need to be saved.
We don’t need a huge hand
descending from the sky
and plucking us from
our current predicament.
We don’t need a babysitter,
someone to keep us out of trouble
until our parents get home.
We aren’t lost.
What we see as a predicament
could morph into a learning opportunity
if we can stand and take a look
from a different angle.
When we aren’t waiting
for someone to come and save us
we tap into our own
present moment power,
the ability to see what is
and to choose how we respond.
Children wait for permission
and watch for reactions
as they trepidatiously
take a few tiny steps.
Let’s be grown ups, shall we?
Not waiting for some magic
to come and make everything better,
but making our own magic
and weaving it mindfully
through the fabric of time,