Today I’m stumbling.
Sometimes as I’m moving along on my journey I come to obstacles that are hard for me to overcome. You see I have anger issues. I’m the kind of person who gets irritated at people easily and frustrated quickly, to put it mildly. My late husband used to tell a story about going a computer store to correct a cord problem. The tech person hassled him about it so he said to him, “Listen, my wife is a very angry woman who wanted to come in here and rip you a new one. I thought I’d save you that but if you’d rather deal with her…..” He came home with a new cord. And since I’ve gotten into more than one bad situation because of my road rage, I had to buy a paper fan-like device called “Smile on a Stick” to disguise my face so I won’t get killed. Yeah, I’m that person.
I know that I have a very deep well of anger to dip into. I also know that a lot of my anger is justified. But that’s a big club. Let’s face it, most of us have lives that are disproportionately filled with things that are sad, unfair or outright outrageous. Some of us deal with that reality better than others. I deal with it with anger. But when I dip into that well I don’t right any wrong, nor do I achieve any goal. I just wallow in past issues and fall into a behavior of negative energy.
What I have come to realize is that the difficult events in my life are pebbles in the road. In the larger scheme of things they are small and scattered. If I respond with anger, then I’m stumbling. And if I stumble on the pebbles, how can I expect to get to the place where I can extend love and compassion and be of service honestly with an open heart? (Please see my very 1st post on “The Bow”.) I really want to get to that place.
So I’m getting up, brushing off, picking up my “Smile on a Stick” and moving on.
I call this picture “Turkeys at the Door” and it makes me laugh every time I see it., which is the point.
Last October I was listening to an installment of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” (http://www.npr.org/programs/wait-wait-dont-tell-me ). One of the caller-contestants gave her occupation as a Laughter Yoga teacher. I groaned and thought of it as just another crazy, wealthy-liberal pastime. But a few days later I was at a meeting and I found out that an acquaintance is also involved in Laughter Yoga (Her website is now on my blogroll.) so I looked into it. The idea is that laughing is a very healthful and helpful occurrence that can be employed as a yoga exercise through the use of breathing technique. I liked the emphasis on childlike playfulness.
The following weekend I was rolling along a parkway when I noticed that the traffic ahead of me was stopped. It turned out that a gaggle of geese was slowly, very slowly, crossing the road, one at the time. I sat there with the other drivers who didn’t move but were tapping their fingers and shaking their heads. (Maybe they ere thinking about the poor motorist who got brought before a judge for squishing a gosling on the highway.) Personally, I was congratulating myself for using it as an exercise in patience and pranayama. Finally, the last goose got to the median and the second it did…. the entire gaggle flew off. I burst out into a deep belly laugh and thought to myself, “Wow, punked by geese! ” Then I thought about Laughter Yoga. For me, the ability to channel positivity at any given moment in any given way is really important. That was my take away, the more important exercise for me that day.
A couple of days later when going to get the mail I looked out of my building’s front door and there were turkeys looking back at me. They looked like they were waiting for someone to buzz them in. I took the picture and laughed my ass off.
I’m not perfect and other people aren’t either. When my judgment reflex kicks in, I’d like to flip it to compassion by staying mindful of the state of imperfection in which we all reside. I was taught to compare myself to others in order to judge their shortcomings. But comparison doesn’t have to be criticism; it can serve as the path to compassion for others and myself.
Order isn’t perfection. Sometimes it’s just the opposite and sometimes disorder is perfection. I was watching a piece on TV about Bernard Madoff. In it his daughter-in-law revealed that he is obsessed with order. That man is someone very far from perfection. Then I was reading about one of my favorite CDs “The Goat Rodeo Sessions”. Apparently, the definition of “Goat Rodeo” is basically discordance that becomes a whole. When I’m listening to the CD the music seems ‘pret near perfection. I really like order but I’ve come to realize that it’s not perfection.
To possess is not the same as to value. I may decide in my heart that it’s better to let go of a possession but find it hard because of my perception of it’s value. Maybe it comes down to how I have been defining value. Maybe I’ve been defining it as how anything relate to ME. I almost took a picture of a beautiful tree. I was thinking that when the leaves fell it wouldn’t be as beautiful and that I should take the picture and make it my Facebook profile picture. But, that tree’s beauty doesn’t depend on me or whether it graces my Facebook page. It was itself before I saw it and remained so after I’d walked away. It will be exactly as it is for someone else to see as beautiful when they walk by.
Sometimes the value of something can be intangible. I’ve learned about the value of compassion and imperfect perfection. I think I get it.