If you look at what you have in life,
You’ll always have more.
If you look at what you don’t have in life,
You’ll never have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey ~
I am hard on myself. I didn’t realize how much until a recent injury coupled with a new class on coursera.org called, Know Thyself.
It was hard for me to miss my continual allusions to my own carelessness and mindlessness in burning myself with hot grease. Finally my husband put a stop to the verbalization of my thoughts by his comment, “That’s why they call them accidents, Love.”
It didn’t stop my thoughts.
In one of the first few lectures of my class the professor asked us to write down a list of our own traits. When I tried to think of descriptors I was constantly qualifying… Honest? Well, not always, sometimes I avoid the truth. Loving? Well, maybe some days but don’t irritate me on my bad days. Caring? Of whom? When?
I began to see the pattern of my self-criticism. And so I watched myself for the next week.
Now I know that I have more work to do than I realized. Not by becoming more honest, caring and loving, etc. But to let go of my personal goal of perfection and see myself as human. To see myself as more instead of less.
“To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.” Thich Nhat Hanh
I was making conversation when walking with my teenage friend in Mexico.
It was my last day there and I was recalling other years when I returned to find friends who had seemed children to me, were married with a small child. Each visit I am relieved when I return to find this young woman still in school.
“Do you think about what you want to do when you grow up?” I asked in Spanish.
She looked puzzled and my Spanish is often questionable, I tried to rephrase.
“No”, she replied when she understood. “I don’t think about the future. I just live today.”
My first instinct was dismay. What? No concern? No plan?
Then I realized that her (and the other villagers’) way of being in the world is exactly what draws me to this place. Knowing what they need to do to have what they need to have. Not fretting about having more. Not agonizing when they have a bit less. Being content. Having joy in the moment.
I have paid many gurus well to teach me how to live in the moment. Perhaps I should have paid her for the hour we spent together.
“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment.” Charlotte Joko Beck
My friend says that everyone in our ife is a Buddha to give us the lessons we need. I agree that I have had teachers unaware. At least, I was unaware.
I thought they were an irritant, an enemy, a bad influence when seen from any angle. I thought that my best path was away from them toward an easier way.
Now, occasionally, I give thanks for who I am given.