Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Craving Distraction

This afternoon I dropped CK off at Great Vow for the Beginner's Mind retreat. The others held in spring and summer fell on weekends that weren't at all possible for her to go (one of which we were in Hawaii) and she must go this weekend if she is to take the first five precepts on Thursday. She has really wanted to take these first vows when I will be taking my 16 vows. Despite it still not being a great weekend, what with her family coming next week for the ceremony, she's there and I am home craving distraction.

That makes this "Fun with the 5th Precept" weekend. How many ways can I watch the desire for distraction arise and how many times will I catch myself in the midst of distraction.

I already ate too much for dinner, have checked my email a handful of times, watched Ken Burns on the Colbert Report, tried to watch episodes of Last Chance to See (damn you, BBC and your non-working players), and even have cued up a movie I've enjoyed in the past (Cold Comfort Farm) on Hulu. I've heaved huge sighs, talked to the cats and am curled up in bed, wearing the sweatshirt she had on earlier today.

I feel apathetic about cooking for the vegan Fakin' Fest tomorrow, uninspired to work on the house for the impending family arrival (regardless of how anxious I am about their coming) and unmotivated to write (tonight's blog bright you to by Vriya & Tapas). Oh yes, and silly, I feel very silly because I know she's at Great Vow, retreats are a core element of Zen practice, she's just fine, and I wholeheartedly support her practice. I am still aching a little, chafed from last night's raw emotions, and I'd just like to curl up with her.

I also feel guilty for telling my Mom I could only come out for a few hours and only help with lightweight stuff tomorrow. She's going to be staying in an apartment in Gresham part of each week so she can get around to appointments and see people without having to rely upon someone driving her from Corbett. I think this is a good idea and said I'd come out tomorrow to help her with some things.

As per usual when stuff from my childhood percolates up, I haven't wanted to see her right now. Honestly, tonight, I don't even feel much like seeing people tomorrow afternoon and evening at the events I've been urged to attend. I was honest with Mom that I didn't have a huge amount of time and that my back & hips have been hurting, so I don't want to be lifting too much. I did say, honestly, I'd come out though and help, meaning it.

She called back after a few minutes and said I shouldn't come. I felt hugely relieved and guilty all at once. She made a comment about it not being very nice that CK chose to be at the monastery the weekend before her family visits, leaving me alone to work on the house. I responded that CK had to go this weekend, it wasn't a choice she liked to make, but her taking her vows on Thursday is very important to her. I explained it calmly and honestly despite feeling very angry at her for comment in the first place.

It was right after this phone call I ate too much of the dinner I'd picked up. The combination of anger and guilt, on top of feeling lonely for CK's company, dropped me right down into feeling irritated and craving distraction. Dinner was delicious, I really enjoyed it, but I wasn't mindful of my stomach as I ate it all. I was caught up in the slurry of uncomfortable emotions and the desire to just enjoy the tasty food.

There I was, uncomfortably full and mindful of some disappointment that I really was too full to eat any cookie from the bakery. I did't try to push past that and have a bite of cookie anyway, craving the sweetness of it. I didn't get angry and I don't feel guilty for eating too large a serving, ways I would have reacted in the past. I just noticed that I was feeling too full and looked at why I had not heard my body's messages to me. What I find interesting is that the point at which I feel too full has changed a lot. Ten years ago I would have eaten the whole cookie.

Unlike the past I haven't let my Inner Critic beat me up... much. It isn't the end of the world if occasionally I eat too much. It is good to acknowledge the irritation that comes up from the way my Mom always jumps to a negative assumption and judgement. It is just fine to feel like I'm not ready to see her when I'm letting raw emotional memories settle down, even though doing so leaves me feeling like a bad daughter. It is perfectly alright that I miss CK, even when I'm happy she's practicing wholeheartedly.

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