Ty Phillips finds a powerful philosophy lesson in a challenging parenting moment.
What is that noise? I know that noise.
What … wait … NO! Noooo! Brynn stop!
She is peeing on the floor right in front of the TV. I come running into the living room while my toddler stands facing me, million dollar grin and all, taking a pee that would rival a horse. I grab her and make a mad dash for the toilet—a warm trail of pee catching me and everything in our path. By the time I get there, it’s just a few drips and a wipe.
I internally say FML, silently grab the Oxy Clean spray and an old towel.
I clean up the floor (mind you, she’s been potty trained for quite some time now) and mentally fume at the decompression period that follows every over night at grandma’s house. This brief window of respite is both a blessing and a curse.
I finish cleaning and run a bath for my little Godzilla, filling it with her favorite toys and lots of bubbles, and kneel down next to her while she plays and splashes. After about 15 minutes I pull her out, wrinkled toes and buns, and get a face full of warm spit and baby bath bubbles.
“I cannot believe you just spit in my face,” I tell her.
She laughs and I cringe. I wipe off and finish toweling her down. “I need my bathrobe!” she demands, and stomps a foot for emphasis. I tell myself again, it’s just the decompression from being wound up from grandma’s house.
Much like my daughter’s decompression, I find that quite often as adults, we decompress before we sit into our meditation.
The trials and tribulations of the day all come to the surface, and we tell ourselves we simply cannot meditate today. I’m too wound up, too agitated, and my mind is all over the place.
Well, to be blunt; what’s it for then?
Like a child, we often find excuses to allow our unruly mind to run the show and then blame the practice for not doing its job. “I’ve tried meditation; it just doesn’t work for me.” “I don’t have the mind for it.”
We’ve probably all used these and similar excuses before.
Engaging a practice however, means being willing to engage our childish mind.
It means being willing to sit within the chaos until we calm down and allow it to be just what it is—chaos. We become willing to watch and observe instead of chasing after every idea like we are chasing bubbles in the yard.
Eventually, these practices become indispensable—not only for our daily decompression but also in our daily encounters; all of them. We learn to observe with calm and equipoise instead of poking a finger and an attitude into every situation that does not meet our standards of what it should be.
We realize that quite often, it is our chasing of random emotions that trip us up and not the actual encounters themselves. It’s okay to have those mental FML moments. It’s even okay to huff a sigh and shake our heads from time to time. But then … let go.
Don’t chase the irritation.
When we stop chasing the randomness of our mind—both within our sitting practice and within our daily encounters—we will no longer have the constant feeling of exhaustion. It will become a process of acceptance.
Not because we are unwilling to say no or to move away from an issue that is harmful, but because we are able to do it without bringing extra baggage.
I know—all that from my daughter peeing on the floor. When you look for the lesson in every experience, you start to find it.