Miss Cookie Does it Again….

Buddha: Smithsonian’s Freer/Sackler Buddha exhibit

I was setting out on an afternoon walk with The Poodle when the phone rang.  I look at the caller ID and see that it’s Miss Cookie.

I’d been thinking about her for a couple of days and poof….she calls.  It often happens that way.  How lovely is that, don’t you think!

“….Just calling to check up on you,” she says without preamble.

“I’m okay….well…mostly,” I said.

….as good as one can be with issues swirling around like a pile of dry autumn leaves on a windswept day.

“I know…I know.  I know why you’re worried,” I replied…..”I haven’t posted in my blog for a spell.”

I assured my friend of forty-some years that I’m still among the living…and yes….even though spring seems to be dragging her feet in our neck of the woods.  Her call and an afternoon sun struggling to peek through the gray lifts my spirits as my poodle love and I walked through the woods in our neighborhood, stopping more frequently than usual so that The Poodle could enjoy the potpourri of smells that jazz him so.

I am still on the phone with Miss Cookie a mile and a half later when I get back to the house.  Once inside, I continue walking, pacing the kitchen floor as we talk.  I used to log lots of steps in my sizeable middle-earth house when I was on the phone with a friend or family member.  I’d pace in large circles or figure eights through the family room, kitchen and formal living room.  I logged three miles once on the phone with my friend Miss Sue as we caught up with many moons worth of life’s issues.  Our current home is smaller so it is not quite as easy to get a good clip going.  In fact, if not careful, one could easily become dizzy!

Still, as I paced the floor I listened intently to my friend talk about her latest hobby; making pottery.  She had me in stitches at one point when she described her artistic attempts versus those of her potter-mates.

I tell her I’m quite in awe of her new hobby.

“I don’t seem to have an artistic bone in my body,” I said. “In fact, the only thing I’ve created were two kids…and well, one of them, has failed to launch,” I lamented.

“How IS that going?” she queried.

“He is still in the basement but we are giving him another deadline to move out.  I believe he thinks we are bluffing. I’m baffled beyond belief that my thirty-five year old son believes I should still take care of him.”

Miss Cookie continued lending her shoulder while I poured out a month’s worth of aggravation and lament over my son’s state of affairs as well as my sadness over my mother-in-law’s declining health. “We will be moving her to an assisted living facility in the next couple of weeks and, as often seems the case with life, it’s not without a bit of family drama to make things ever so swimmingly…um… fun.”

“You do have your plate full,” agreed Miss Cookie.  She wanted to know how she could help which made my heart melt with gratitude.

“Don’t worry,” I said.  “I’m getting through this chapter with plenty of good wine, long walks with The Poodle and meditation too.  And you just made me practically bust a gut over images of throwing clay!

Laughter is the best medicine!

Without a doubt, I have not evolved to a sublime state of enlightenment and daresay, that will not happen in this lifetime…nor the one after that!   There are still angst-filled days, sleepless nights, and too many moments of feeling like a failure, throwing up my hands in utter hopelessness or excessively letting expletives fly.  But seriously, I am making progress!  I am much better at letting things go. In fact, in a better-than-baby-steps manner. There simply is no other alternative to getting through this period with grace, not to mention, sanity intact.

We finished up our conversation and said our goodbyes promising to talk again in a week or so.  I exhaled a long a sigh of contentment. Though there are problems big and small in my little speck-of-sand world, I think of a quote by The Buddha (at least I think it is attributed to him): Nothing is permanent.  He also said: There is no path to happiness.  Happiness IS the path. 

And seemingly on cue, the universe responded!  The sound of my nephew knocking on the front door jarred me out of my thoughts.  He’s peering through my front door window, smiling from ear to ear as he sees me approach the door.

Pure happiness is the color of that moment!

Without a doubt, with Miss Cookie calls and a host of other blessings in my day, I can absolutely sail through stormy seas.

There is bliss in that.

No White Flags…yet

I tried–and was unsuccessful– to get some Headspace before coffee this morning. Note to self: Some habits are too entrenched. Coffee first, before all else; it is how my day must begin.

So then I try again.

I’ve got my favorite shawl–a lovely teal one– around my shoulders against the chill of first light.  I’m not, as customary, on my little red pillow, but rather in the kitchen, in a chair. Sitting with legs crossed is not an option this morning. My knees are swollen, more than usual –the residual effect from a workout days ago I’m afraid.

I sit with eyes closed, focusing on my breath. The guided meditation instructs me to bring, for a moment, an awareness of the sounds around me.

Ah, that is not difficult!   This new old house seems to emit groans of all sorts–like laborious sighs of lament– too many in fact, that invade the quiet of the early morning. How I would like to be enveloped in noiselessness (is that even possible?), especially as I struggle with this morning’s Headspace meditation. I’d prefer to be able to hear a feather drop to the floor and not the thunderous whooshing sound of the HVAC system, nor it’s clinks and clanks as it cycles on and off. The wood floors too seem to constantly talk–like my perennially aching knees– in the dry winter air. Could it be they are saying: We are in much need of a good sanding and refinishing!  Ironically, true for both wood floors and my knees!

Even the subtle hum of the refrigerator seems to annoy me this morning. What is up with that?

Back to the breath…..

I manage to stick with it and when done twenty minutes later I open my eyes to see that the sun has made its way into the kitchen.  For a moment I am buoyed by the cheerful ray of sunlight through the patio door.  I smile as I look at The Poodle curled up in his bed.  As I head for my second cup of java for the morning  I’m thinking about what I should accomplish before the day is up: finish up Italian homework, the never-ending laundry, errands out and about, and there’s that book that I’m trying to get through….

I hear the shower start in the basement.  A sigh heavier than a thousand sighs combined pours out of me.  My man-child, still living in our basement, stirs.  He has a boatload of troubles and cannot, even with the help of family, seem to get this head together.

A quote I read recently online by B.D. Schiers, comes to mind: “If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.”  I cannot seem to find any information on this person but If I met him or her I’d ask: “Um…what made you come to that stroke of wisdom…and how did it work out for you?”

Ah, it bubbles up again.  The past. Feelings of helplessness and utter failure.  And therein lies the source of my angst and agitation on this particular morning.

I know it is a tired cliché, but I want to throw in the towel and be done…or at least, wave the white flag in surrender.  Once again, I seem to be failing miserably in getting through to my man-child.

Yet there is still a kernel of hope deep within me.  Don’t all mothers feel this way?

It is a new day. Do not focus on the many miles ahead. It’s what I do today that matters most according to The Buddha.

So, as I’ve done countless days before this one….let’s try one more time, shall we?

No white flags, yet.  Never give up.