Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


The Path of Confrontation

Today was a bit rough. I woke up feeling tired, cold and aching in my back and legs. I'd planned to get up at 6AM to catch the 6:46 bus downtown but I turned off the alarm and slept until then. AM drove me downtown and assured me that I should consider working from home part of the day.

Normally I work from home Mondays. October through May I read for SMART on most Mondays nearby my house so it makes sense to catch up on email, read, then come home and work the rest of the day. I'll bring my work laptop home with me on Fridays so I am able to access the network via the VPN and can access all files, run Crystal Reports, etc. Most tasks I'm able to do via the Java client I can get to via a secure website, the reports are the big thing. Today just had many things that needed me to take care of in person, so in I went.

Some of it felt like the post-weekend blues on top of hurting a lot. Going to bed thinking about Mom meant for what seemed to be somewhat restless sleep. I forgot to take a melatonin so my mind jumped around in dreams that would be barely recalled when I did wake up. The temperature dropped quite a bit and sometime around 4AM I felt chilled, woke up, turned off the ceiling fan, and tried to get comfortable again.

By 12:30 the vague nausea was not going away and every time I leaned back in my chair to stretch my left hip spasmed. I phoned AM and he came down to get me. I feel bad being driven around. I hope the balance evens out that my vegan diet offsets some of the rides AM & CK give me. More than anything it just gets old hurting to a point that I want those rides. Mostly I just try to be grateful that neither of them seems to mind running me around.

I was thinking I don't know what to do with all the Mom stuff. At times I just feel fed up and angry. I've felt so tied to her all my life, a message she's spent countless hours reinforcing. How I'm her "miracle" and how she's done everything for me. That's how she sees everything, through the lens of her sacrifices. She retells things she's worried she may have done wrong as mistakes made while doing the best she could.

There's times I just want to start yelling at her and not stop. I know it is futile. Even if she were to stay an listen she'd rewrite everything I said before she committed it to memory. More than that when I weigh that action against Zen precepts I really find it lacking. It isn't that I shouldn't expect to never get angry, I should not give rise to spewing forth that anger. I should just stay with the anger to see where it comes from. Much of the time the anger at my Mom arises and I just accept that it is reasonable for me to be angry.

Anger is stressed by some as a path to healing, the backbone of recovery. Anger frightens me and I am physically ill when I feel the searing heat of it, seemingly to me that my hair shoots straight up from the temperature and energy of it. So it is easy to not give rise to that, just for that reason alone I'd rather not follow the path of anger to heal.

More than that it feels wrong to ruin whatever delusions of happiness, perhaps even moments of real happiness (I sincerely hope) my Mom has left. I believe that's why she rewrites everything to cast herself in a good light -- the overburdened, poor, single-mom who has a heart of gold even if she makes the occasional mistake. I know too well the reality of the overburdened, poor, and divided attention & absence of a single-mother in the early 1970s. I just also know that her choices weren't always mistakes and were certainly not founded in compassion much of the time. But to cope with her choices she rewrites it all so somehow she sees herself as a heroine in one of her romance novels.

I suppose I see too clearly the obvious sadness in her doing that. Seeing that I know releasing my anger with her choices at her would be so harmful. I know it wouldn't change history or really leave me feeling any better. Nor would it further any kind of progress or growth. It would merely be giving rise to anger and, although I've not made that vow formally before my community, I'm trying to practice it.

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