The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.
The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.
Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
“What?” I replied.
“That I can wrap up in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and play games with my family.”
My heart soared as I was grateful to hear that some of my intentions as a parent had been planted and were growing. An honest moment of joy in the challenging journey of parenting.
It was only a couple hours later that Ezra and I were experiencing a tense number of moments in the kitchen. I had my projects going and he was enthusiastically making chocolate chip cookies when he decided to start decorating the house for Halloween at the same time. He was leaving a wake of forgotten items and mess almost everywhere. Attempting patience and understanding, I began with polite requests and reminders that a timer was going off and butter wrappers and flour needed to be cleaned up off the floor.
It didn’t take long, my voice was raising and I wasn’t asking anymore, I was T - Y - E - L - L - I - N - G!
(I just made that word up, but it is an apt description of what was going on) It was time for the two of us to take a break from each other . . .
Even when you are on a journey of developing more self-awareness you feel the full spectrum of emotions . . . it is NORMAL.
Mindfulness allows us to work on recognizing a feeling of frustration may be appropriate for that moment. Yes, when two people are working in the kitchen with different visions for what clean-up and finish look like, there may be frustration.
Expressing that it feels frustrating to walk through a pile of spilled flour and now left your footprints across the kitchen floor is normal. However, when you are sitting down to taste the still warm chocolate chip cookie with your son, can you just be with the cookie and your son? I know it can be easier at times, like earlier in the day going for a walk. Or, are you still remembering the mess so easily cleaned up?
It is true for me sometimes. I can be caught up in relieving the now past frustration rather than enjoying the sweetness of the now.
Can you challenge yourself to put down what you have been carrying and just be with right now?
Just one time this week?
What do you notice that you didn’t notice before?
What did you realize you have missed out on enjoying?
Is that realization enough to encourage yourself to try it again?
Put it down.