Cling and Rush. They would make perfect names for the next set of doves, the ones we hope will create their home in our flower pots again this Spring. We miss Rick and Chick and feel slightly abandoned since they flew the coup. Once again, a lesson in letting go. So, I have reserved the names, Cling and Rush, to help me circle and highlight something I continually struggle with in living: clinging and rushing. The Wisdom Keepers have taught me many times over the practice of being present with what is and resist clinging to what was. What was, what has already happened, is not so accurate in our remembrance actually. In many instances it serves as a misleading measure when compared to what is here now by obscuring the potential of this moment and our ability to see it clearly. And there are the times when clinging to what was invites misery and frustration in the form of something we can all recognize in our living: could, should, would have and I wish. It has many names and they all serve better as bird names than as mental companions.
This month alone I have noticed so many changes around and within me I can barely keep up. Of course, this is always, always happening in our lives, right? We tend to notice more when it involves our emotions more directly (a loss, a job change, a promotion, a new love, a new friend, natural disaster, emotional disaster, a diagnosis, a child’s growth spurt…). These changes can incite a certain amount of anxiety in the wanting itself. Wanting things to stay the same (” just a little while longer”) or change more quickly (“when will this be over?”) vs. the noticing and the allowing it to be what it is. When we can do the latter it naturally creates more room for an experience that includes acceptance as a way of being. We may even be able to enjoy something we did not expect to enjoy ( an evening out when we are initially reluctant to go, meeting a neighbor while waiting in line, time with family and friends after a funeral) or, in the very least, assist us in getting through an experience with less stress, less drama. When we are dragged into the story, our story, of whatever title we give it we are likely to suffer more (It’s supposed to be…, If only…, I wish I hadn’t…., How could you…, I can’t believe….).
“The easiest way to relax is to stop trying to make things different. Struggle comes from not accepting what is present.”
– John Kabat-Zinn
Here are a few of my simpler “clings” this month with the clingy aspects deliberately highlighted and striked:
My4 year old daughter learning how to swing on her own without me The gorgeous apple blossoms in our yard right now. They only bloom for a week and they haven’t bloomed in three years and I have missed them with dissappointment each time they have not. The rain and wind have claimed most this weekend.
- Our visiting friends who live 2000 miles away
and whom we rarely get to see
- The weather, raining and cold today,
my missing the warmth and sun My fleetingexperiences of time as “just right” – no rush, no slug
- 8 year old daughter wanting to walk home alone
without mefrom piano lessons Wanting to live in Ann Arbor for the rest of my life Regretting not being able to catch on film the firstbeautiful humming bird in the flowering Quince this season.
See what I mean? Even the simplest of observations and statements can be subtly laced with judgement, complaint, longing, and “the cling.” It creeps and seeps into our views and perceptions. My daughter learning how to swing on her own without a push from me is a good example from my personal “cling-on” file. “And so it begins” was one of my first thoughts. Caught it right away and was therefore able to challenge it a bit. What begins exactly? A life of more independence from “mom”? From me. Good grief Laura. A subtle shift here and I can fully experience and observe another bloom in my daughter’s ability to fuel her own momentum without my subtitles: don’t change, stay 4 and I’ll stay 37! Instead, a natural opening, an immediate celebration for her and for me, for all of us who were children once. This is the clear seeing, the noticing in this case is seeing the accomplishment and exhilaration fresh, all on its own. This is freedom. I plan to nurture this awareness and carry it with me by trusting it will be there in the more difficult moments when clinging sits on my head and covers my eyes with its paws like a lazy koala bear, in no hurry to budge.