Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Zenfull Side of the Door

I brought a few books down to Louisiana with me and I have read Room by Emma Donoghue,  Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, Incendiary by Chris Cleave and now on to The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. They are all good books. However, the zenfull Mothering book I feel like I rushed through. It seems my only 'zenfull' moments are when I am in bed going off to sleepyland and I may have read parts of it partially sleeping. I have no time to be calm. What a ridiculous contradiction. Actually, without reading this book, the cover itself makes me calm. It is a beautiful baby sleeping on what appears to be a mom's pregnant belly. Though it doesn't make much sense if this is in fact what the shot is because the baby is pretty young. So either this mom is destined for a huge challenge in remaining zenfull with her children less than 18 months apart, or she has some very smooth, stretch-mark-free baby weight and protrusion to lose in her abdomen. The other possibility is this perfect baby fell asleep on another bump of the mom's body... but I can't place which bump that is.
Either way, I am trying to be compassionately, mindfully full of loving kindness :) (Buddhist buzz words for those of you who have not graced your agitated eyes over the soothing text of a Buddhist inspired book).
So this book tells me to feel my anger and give it its time to acknowledge it, then watch it dissipate. Anger is a feeling just like any other which I can experience. The author quoted anohter's thoughts on this anger as such,
If you get angry and upset you can pay attention to what you are feeling in your body, in your stomach, the tightness in your throat, whether your chest feels constricted - you can even acknowledge that there is a lot of anger coming up. It's one thing to describe and acknowledge it and another to act it out. I soon realised that whatever emotion was coming up would dissipate extremely quickly.
by Yvonne Rand  when interviewed in Why Buddhism?

So I have found myself saying this to myself as my children dump their milk over the table, almost pilfer a toy from the Walmart and tell me they have to pee 5 min into a long car ride prefaced by me offering our nice clean homey potty before leaving:.. I feel the anger. As if I could actually feel my blood pressure rising, this is what I imagine it would be like. This is anger, this is anger... and I'll let it pass.
Even as I type this, I feel this frustration. As my daughter comes over to me with her loud, repetitiously musical Leapster asking me to help her get the crown. I say, "wait a minute, I'm in the middle of a sentence". So she puts it down inches from me, so the voice of Aurora and the annoyingly digital music swipes zen from my ears. Then, of course, my son follows suit with his loud Toy Story game that gets placed by the other ear waiting for me appease the cowboy and space ranger....

Five minutes later...
Ok, loud games are off and on the too-high-for-a-kid-to-reach mantle.  Zen did not prevail this time. I guess I should have read the book slower. Irritation rose in me like boiling pasta water and I opened my lid and let it bubble over. The kids are now doing a quite game with magnets and stickers. I guess the problem is that I feel entitled to an uninterrupted moment of my own. I expect it, because why would I sit down to this computer and this blog if I expected to by interrupted sixteen times and have a very incoherent train of thought? Why would I choose to put myself in a position of these expectations when I have two little kids here with me who need me to facilitate their activity, reconcile their verbal and physical assaults on eachother and give snacks and wipe butts intermittently -  why did I have the crazy idea that I could do something on my own in the midst of this?? Well, I did. Shame me for having great expectations, but I selfishly believe that I should have some minutes for me. It's the same with a phone call- do you think I could have a peaceful phone call? I had to close myself in the garage the other day on the phone with the insurance company because these smart children somehow didn't understand the sign language of my mouth and hands gesturing to the phone, mouthing "I'M ON THE PHONE". Then I had to keep a stronghold onto the door because they took turns trying to pull it open. Where was my zen then? It takes alot of control to not answer that anger and frustration.
Another thing I took from the book is to try to understand where the kids are coming from. So I try to put myself in the mind of a kid with mommy on the phone locking herself in the garage when I want her to come play with me and get me more water to drink- Is she ignoring me? Doesn't she love me? Maybe I should smack my brother on the head, that usually works to get her to come over to me quick. yes, I will do that. And if that doesn't work, maybe I'll whine. I know mommy gives me attention with that. Even if she yells at  me, I just want her to be here, on my side of the door.
So, if I can stay on their 'side of the door' more often, I may not get so irritated when life doesn't meet my expectations because I don't understand what it is like on their side of the door and they are not capable of understanding what it is like on my side of the door. In being the mom, the adult who knows best, I need to zenfully get down to their side of the door.
As I hear the escalation of voices, and the claim that someone wrote on Marco's face, I realize that this 7 minute increment of satisfaction in activity is over and I must re-solicit and close my door.

No comments:

Post a Comment