Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the Road

I was taken this week with the idea that I am on a really important spiritual journey. I have always dreamed about the day when my kids were independent enough for me to leave for a bit, so I could make a pilgrimage to India and really get to work investigating the contents of my soul. Me, some light linen clothing, an ashram of some sort, and a search for enlightenment. My years of yoga practice and amateur meditation work would be my path to becoming an official student of whatever quasi-Zen, spiritual, mystic following to which I devote myself.

And maybe I will. Future Sarah might just pack up and do that one day. In the meantime, though, I am coming to understand that I am by no means biding my time until I can truly seek, pray, practice and learn. Indeed, it is probably much simpler a task to live devoted to spiritual enlightenment when one has no other responsibilities. I don't imagine many of those serene-smiling monks go home at the end of the day to cook dinner, clean bathrooms, raise four unruly little girls and make time for their marriage. 

Nope, it's all here in the nitty gritty. My spiritual practice is in the choice to yell at Robin out of my own frustration that it cost $400 to fix the dryer, or to speak to her with calmness when reminding her not to push Summer. I am on a serious spiritual quest each time I wake up and prepare to spend a day nurturing these four little beings under my charge. There is much to practice, and I am always learning.

Princess Abby and Princess Mama
I have no idea what kind of ripple effect I may cause as I move through the world around me, so I might as well take the time to smile at the crossing guard lady and say good morning, genuinely. And pat the unruly dog that comes barreling towards me at the park rather than give the owner a dirty look. I might as well make the choice to be engaging and cheerful with the grocery store cashier who obviously wants to chat a bit before processing my purchase. Maybe later, when I'm struggling to make sense of my existence in the heat of rural India, I will have all these experiences of working hard to choose good, grace, kindness and patience upon which to draw.

Applesauce cooling
I may have to wait years, save money, and keep dreaming about a pilgrimage, but as for the journey? I am totally seeking truth right now. I am finding opportunities every day to work at my spiritual practice, to make something of my studies and learn from the great teachers all around me. Remaining calm when faced with some of the gritty, rotten parts of motherhood requires a great well of self-control, and a continually widening perspective of why calmness is important.

It is easy to lash out, to yell, to sigh dramatically and stomp around. Sometimes, I take the easy way out. Before the guilt creeps in, though, I recognize that I am presented, again, with another chance to try and work on being patient. I've heard from those who have gone before me that patience is really a lifelong lesson to be learned, so I may as well get down to work. I am constantly presented with choices that lead me through a web, one that becomes more simple the further in I venture. Do what's right. Don't yell. Choose love. Be gracious. Simple, simple adages that are always works in progress.

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