Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday, Meditation

Yesterday, the Matron practiced Loving Kindness. This is the Buddhist tradition of approaching every moment – each cell! every hearbeat! each glance! – with loving kindness. You know what those words mean.

She was interrupted five times during breakfast with this:

“Mom! Can you get me some milk?”

“Where is the syrup?”

“I dropped my napkin and I can’t find it!”

“Are there raspberries in the fridge?

Each time, she got up and answered the call. She didn’t roll her eyes or snap someone else to attention. She left her own cereal untouched.

She let cars merge.

She put down the toilet seat.

She wiped off the spit stains from the bathroom mirror.

She did not look in the full-length mirror with a critical eye.

She administered band-aids.

She answered the phone and said: yes.

She spent much time sitting with her children, listening without judgment.

She washed her hair well and added rose water to the rinse, enjoying.

She gave the last piece of grilled salmon to her husband.

She listened patiently to the telemarketer’s spiel before declining.

She asked her mother for all possible stories about the dog and cats and tried her best to truly listen.

She pitted yesterday's sweet and satisfying experiment against the frenzy of a normal day and realized how most of the time she says: No.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been feeling that my vocabulary has regressed to that of 2 year me. Thanks for the beautiful reminder about what does really count!

MJ said...

I think I would have keeled over following a day of not having to say no. You have amazing willpower!

kmkat said...

But isn't telling the children "no" part of the job description? Plus, I consider a child learning how to gauge when the adult will erupt into a volcano of steaming expletives at the next "Mom, can you [fill in the blank]" request to be a survival skill that can be valuable in later life. Then again, I could just be rationalizing...

Anonymous said...

kmkat- I just told my 21 year old babysitter the same thing, "If the only thing they remember from me is to notice when they are quickly approaching 'the line' with someone, and how to retreat, then I'm okay with that."

But I love the loving kindness thing. I need to try that.

Minnesota Matron said...

Of course-- sometimes no is the most loving and kind thing you can say to your child. No, you can't go to that house (parent sniffs danger!), no you can't buy that iPod, no you can't eat that cookie. But what I was struck by and tried to convey was how their smallish requests for help or attention - look at the doll's hair or did you see my book? or do you know where my napkin fell-- are ( I will admit) sometimes met with a sense of routine and unexamined irritation. At least around our house!

apathy lounge said...

With regard to telemarketers, I usually wait until they've demonstrated that they can't take "no" for an answer. Then I hang up.

Dana said...

I swear I'm always saying "no" and now that I think about it, I kind of feel like a schmuck. Perhaps it's because I'm always busy and don't have time to think about what my son is really asking me. Maybe the no is just automated. Now I'm thinking about this in a new light. Great post!

Susan said...

I understand what you are saying. I find when I stop being irritated, I relax more and find much more pleasure in life.

Heather said...

I need to do this too.

Matthew Tripp said...
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TexasDeb said...

I've always wondered if that mostly useless "just say no" drug program didn't somehow propagandize our daily behaviors in unexpectedly pervasive ways.

It is written that we pay more attention and hang on to the negatives more than the positives. It is also written that parents are to try and balance each "no" with three "yesses" of some sort.

Clearly, parenting takes a special kind of energy and intention. Good work for taking a day to explore the world of Yes.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

A day like that teaches so much, doesn't it?

jena strong said...

Just came here today for the first time - lovely post. Makes me want to try it! Do you know the book, Momma Zen? Karen Maezen Miller is doing a one-day retreat in your neck of the woods in the fall: http://www.mothersplunge.com/
I just attended her first retreat in CA and it was wonderful.

Wenderina said...

Am I a total bitch to say that sounds like torture?

AuthorMomWithDogs said...

Sounds as though you got to be as much the beneficiary of your loving kindness as those around you. Glad to hear the experiment proved to be sweet and satisfying.

As for telemarketers, I tell them I'm sorry they have such an awful job and hope they find a better one soon. While I truly mean it, it also serves to leave them speechless, at which time I'm free to hang up.