No matter how difficult things get

Pema Chodron says that every morning we should encourage ourselves to keep our hearts open and to stay curious, no matter how difficult things might get. And every night, when we’re just about to fall asleep, we should review what happened during the day. “You may notice,” she writes, “that the whole day went by and you never once remembered what you had aspired to do in the morning. Rather than using that as ammunition for feeling bad about yourself, use it as an opportunity to get to know yourself better.”

Yesterday morning, I had no aspiration other than to simply make it through the day. As I drove to work, I left one very sick teen at home, no food to speak of in the house, and bills piled high on the kitchen table. After work, as rain poured down, I drove two of my kids home from drama class, went to the store with my daughter, then, while she held the umbrella over us, loaded seven soggy bags of groceries into the trunk.

Once home, I fixed a frozen chicken pot pie for dinner, put a load of laundry in the dryer, disinfected the bathroom my teen had been throwing up in, then sat down and watched Sex and the City on TBS. The bills could wait. It was the episode where Miranda is overworked and exhausted and her relationship with her child is suffering because of it. Timely.

In reviewing the day, though, there were a few moments where, if I had aspired to being something other than tired and overstressed, I might have succeeded. Driving home from drama class, we listened to the audio version of The Da Vinci Code. My son and I talked about the book, and we chuckled at the character Teabing and his dry sense of humor. I had a nice time with my daughter at the store. We like to go shopping together. And I enjoyed hearing all about her day. Then, before turning in for the night, my oldest son said I just had to listen to a song. He played “The Widow” from The Mars Volta CD, Frances the Mute.

Oh lord
Said I'm bloodshot for sure
Pale runs the ghost
Swollen on the shore

Every night in every pore
The scales that do slither
Deliver me from…

Freeze without an answer
Free from all the shame
Then I'll hide
Cause I'll never
Never sleep alone

Open and curious, no matter how difficult things get.

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