I'm not Responsible
The most amazing thing is happening as I sit on the couch, digging deep to find the inspiration to write something meaningful to you. My kids are also sitting on the couch, books in hand, quietly reading. Each of us in pajamas, still sleepy from last night's farewell dinner for dear friends, quietly absorbed in peaceful reflection, seeking nothing and simply enjoying a Saturday morning.
Let me be super clear: this is not normal behavior in our home. But this rare moment is a very welcome respite from the usual busyness of our quotidian lives, full of activity and noise and movement and messes and conflict and go-go-go. And my practice is simply to notice that it's happening, appreciate it, and then, and this is hardest part for me, let it pass and welcome the next inevitable moment when the kids realize they are starving.
What happens next tends to go one of two ways and depends entirely on my mindset: if I'm holding onto those silent, serene seconds on the couch, I'll ignore the grumbling tummies until I've got two ravenous beasts raging at me and each other and I'm left feeling resentful, enraged, and exhausted before I've even entered the kitchen.
I'll set aside this task and turn my attention to what needs it most right now: slicing strawberries and sipping tea.
This is not a major issue, obviously, and yet, it's these little interactions that make the day. How we attend to our basic needs and obligations to ourselves and each other determines the quality of our relationships and ultimately, our lives.
Every moment offers a choice, and so the minutes and the days and the months pass in this continuous dance of awareness and acceptance, ignorance and resistance. As a perpetual beginner experiencing a stage in life that feels particularly full of responsibility, this focus on being response-able lightens the load of duties that come with being a householder and puts into perspective the incredible fortune and freedom that I do enjoy in my blessed life.
This month, let's practice presencing peaceful moments, appreciating them for what they are, and releasing them with grace. Let's trade responsibility for responsiveness, attending to ourselves and each other with love and kindness. And when we find ourselves holding on to the past or projecting into the future, let's pause and begin again.
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