Tag Archives: conflict

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 9: The Promise of Forgiveness

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Hmmm. In today’s prompt we were invited to write a poem in which something big and something small come together. I immediately think about (big) ideas like love, marriage, hopes and fears, beginnings and endings, and (small) units of time, like just one day in the life. The trajectory of our (big) lives is made up of countless (small) days.  If I were to examine one small day in the life of my marriage (which, now that he has moved out, is swiftly approaching its endpoint) do I pick a day when things were going well, or do I pick a day when it had already gone to hell? Do I count the years of our marriage as a (small) period of time in comparison to the (big) trajectory of my life?  Is this how I find healing?  The (big) emotions of grief, pain, betrayal and loss meet the (small) moment to moment experiences of breathing, eating, sleeping, and taking one step at a time.  In order to live skillfully as humans we must be deeply aware of all of these juxtapositions and learn how to navigate among them with grace and intention.  Can I let the (big) vision of stepping into my highest self be embodied within the reality of my shortcomings as one (small) woman?

I see her now,
how she tried so hard to be good.
I see how she wanted it to work
and in ways big and small
sacrificed the best of herself
for a vision she held
of the grand institution of marriage
and  the complexities of life with young children.
He held no such vision.
Unlike her, he saw their conflict
as symptoms of a mismatch.
Where she was ready to confront the issues
and find solutions,
he invested in the belief
that things should be easier than they were.
So he took the easy way out.
He blamed her for his pain,
told his story to countless others,
created an army that supported his victimhood
and started a war in their home.
She dove deeper into herself
to find the sanctuary promised by the scriptures
of all the world’s faiths.
As she came to rest in the arms
of divine union with self,
he sought the embrace of another,
one outside their sanctified union,
because by that point,
what they had once shared was dead to him.
She grieved. She lost weight. She lost sleep.
She lost friends. She lost hope. Almost.
From the tiniest stirrings of hope almost lost
emerged a new awareness, a strength
forged in the fires of  mourning.
One day she looked in the mirror
and realized that it had to happen this way.
He needed to reject the self she was
so that she could discover
the self she was born to be.
Yes it hurts sometimes still…
but behind the hurt there grows
something that will never be tarnished
by the stories of victimization,
justification, and rationalization:
the big Self,
the miracle of existence,
the song of gratitude,
the promise of forgiveness.

Chicken Soup

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Hubby is seriously sick today. So sick that our entire routine was disrupted. Normally, on a Tuesday morning, he takes our daughter to school and then heads to work from there, leaving me and our son at home to enjoy some quiet time together. I’ll play with the little dude for a while, and then put him down for a morning nap while I do things…like: laundry, empty dishwasher/fill dishwasher/clean kitchen, write in journal, a short yoga practice, cut material for a sewing project, sew, figure out what to make for lunch, drink a cup of tea–the possibilities are endless when the house is quiet and nobody needs anything from me for one blessed moment.

But not this morning. No, this morning my husband was sick in bed, not going to work, and although I got up much earlier than usual for my meditation, my daughter also seemed to feel a need to get up way earlier than usual, and wham! The day started in full force before I had the time to process what was happening.

So much resistance in me as I realized that I’d have to put my morning meditation on hold. But so happy to see the little girl smiling, a bit dazed as she stepped into the kitchen light, ready to greet the day. Glad to see her, but I want to meditate. Why does this being human mean we have to live with so much inner conflict? Why these polarities? Why duality?

I got breakfast for the little gal, saw her settled at the table, spoon in hand, eating her cereal–and I thought, maybe I can meditate now. The husband can handle her post-breakfast routine. I have to do things all the time when I’m sick. I never get a break. He can handle this. So I told him I needed to meditate…and then objection from him, and argumentation, and me attempting to keep my cool. Whatever, I’m just going to go upstairs and meditate, he can argue all he wants.

I had just made a cup of tea. It was hot and steaming, and looking lovely, just the perfect temperature to sip and enjoy. I never get to drink my tea hot. I grabbed my mug and hightailed it upstairs to my little meditation room. It was previously a closet, but you don’t need much space to meditate…just enough for a cushion, enough room to sit…this tiny room is my favorite room in the house.

The husband texted me two times. He wasn’t happy with my decision to run upstairs to my cushion. I was going to ignore his objections to my timing, sip my tea, and sit for thirty minutes, but then…

I heard our son waking up.  And the tea had to wait, and my meditation had to wait, because the little guy was hollering, adamant that someone come get him now. Again, the resistance. When will I have time to meditate? Do I have to start waking up at 4am? But I was happy to see the little man, even though his room was unpleasantly pungent, and he was announcing enthusiastically, “Ah poopooped!” At least this time he hadn’t taken his diaper off by himself and painted his room with the contents.

And of course it was one of those diapers. Not the easy peasy quick change, no, it was one of those diapers that require a strategy to minimize complications and then several minutes to follow through and resolve, and of course the lad wasn’t making it any easier on me what with his flailing limbs and his tantruming. Why do they do it? Why do they fight the one who is trying to help? Dude, let me clean you up! Just hold still a moment so that I can get a new diaper on you! Just hold still why don’t you?

It was over at last, I was disposing of the thing, I was washing my hands, and ...maybe my tea is still warm.

But then the boy child needed breakfast, and my husband was shuffling out into the room, a few dirty looks may have been exchanged. Or maybe rather we avoided looking at each other. I got a banana for the boy, he loves bananas and eats one every morning upon awakening.

But not this morning. No, this morning he was swatting at it, screwing up his face, and yelling his displeasure in the way that only pre-articulate almost two year olds can. Oh dear god, why can nothing be easy? Why won’t he just eat the damn banana? When will I be able to sit on my cushion?

All of a sudden, the husband  announced that I could go do my thing. I wordlessly leapt from the room, ran upstairs, and sat on my cushion. I was feeling pretty resentful that he didn’t support my decision the first time I attempted to sit, but grateful that he finally relented and realized that he could handle thirty minutes of child care without me. Again, the polarities that arise in this human life. Gratitude, resentment. Movement, stillness. Feeling frantic, feeling peaceful.

Meditation helped me return to the state of knowing that whatever happens, I can handle it. Some of the resentment from earlier melted away, and left me room to feel some compassion for my sick old man. I decided that I would take both kids with me when I dropped my daughter off at school so that he could have some peace and quiet at home. I planned to do some grocery shopping with my son to prolong the quiet time at home, and I wondered if he would realize what a generous gift I was extending to him. It’s funny how the little resentful voice in my head kept chanting, No one ever does this for you. No one helps you when you’re sick. You always have to push through. You have to keep taking care of everybody. No one ever takes care of you.

Ah well, I shrugged the resentful voice off, and dove into the day.

Daughter dropped off at school, groceries procured, I came home with the son, set him up with a few toys, and made some chicken soup for the sick husband, who was blissfully asleep in bed. Lucky bastard.

One thing I’m learning with each passing day–there’s a balance in all of it, and whether I choose to see it, acknowledge it, appreciate it or whether I don’t–that balance is always there. I’m happiest when I notice the balance. I’m in a state of gratitude, an open, clear place of realizing that I have so much to be thankful for. But sometimes I forget. Sometimes I’m locked in my prison of conditioned thoughts. I feel dark, heavy, hopeless, alone.

There it is again, the dualities of existence–consciousness, unconsciousness. Gratitude, resentment. Happy, sad. Up, down. Night, day, male, female, sun, moon, past, future, hot, cold.

Cold…That reminds me. I never did drink that cup of tea..but I made some pretty good chicken soup.