Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post traumatic stress

I see the older gray haired woman at the gas tank. A younger man
maybe in his 30's? is there also. They seem to be talking. He is animated, restless, walking
back and forth.
She puts the hose on the tank; she takes the hose out of the car's tank,
walks away to search the car for something, walks back; she puts the hose back
in the tank.

He is loud. He is saying she is wrecking the tank.

She ignores this, says, "How far are you going to drive?"
Full of angst he shouts, "I don't know."
His arms are crossed over his chest, like he isn't going to contribute anything,
not if he can help it.

She insists he look inside the vehicle at the gas gauge. He gets louder,
says he's not a child. He shouts at her, "I know what I am doing."

Maybe he's having flashbacks from a war.
It's as if bombs are exploding around him as he talks loudly, moving
his hands at her.

I wouldn't want to be her. I wonder if she is safe
around this person and how they got to this place.

They are only putting gas into a car and it looks like someone is experiencing
a terrorist attack on their life. But the woman isn't yelling, isn't carrying
weapons, only talking, not yelling. It doesn't appear that she is doing anything
extraordinary, just getting gas and trying to determine how much to do. It looks
like he must be the one using the car and she is paying. And she needs to know
how much he'll need.

Suffering is everywhere. There is a cause. There is a way out of suffering.
Right view, right thinking. Resting in the river.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Too Many People, dig it.

Thoughts from the past float by and stay awhile for this woman sitting
in a wrought iron chair on her house deck.

Memories from Easter Sunday, 2003, come to surface.
Her mother passed on back then and it was a first Easter
without her cooking and planning the day around family.

She sat on the deck of her house, breathing in the pain of the nerve from
a recently pulled tooth,
and breathing out to relax, to let the pain go.

drove in---got out of the car with a very tall white Easter lily in his two hands.

He leaves the lily with her, then
continues on to a family dinner
in a Mexican restaurant without inviting her.

Too many people, he explains. She cringes.

Now, 8 years later, she hears the same phrase again.

She botched the paperwork for a day in a monastery.

Emails arrive with the words
"too many people." She cringes again.
Overfull. Registration closed.


There is space for both sides of this.

"Too Many People" is another name for boundaries,
limits, rules we need. "Too Many People" is to remember the importance of
saying "no," for our health and well-being.

We cannot do it all, include all, take care of all. In fact,
the body often breaks down, gets sick and says "no" for us. We
get caught up in our projects and tend not to listen to our bodies.
We push ourselves to earn that extra dollar, to go the extra mile.
We sometimes don't know how to say no. It's important not to carry
our duties as heavy burdens. We can lighten the load.

"Too Many People." Dig it. Let's rest in the river.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are you sure?

It's Tuesday morning, early, first thing I do----listen to message on phone with the blinking red light.

Ummmm......friend is asking confirmation if I'm going on the weekend retreat. The mind settles into its conditioning, mental formations stand at attention, on alert, ready to take charge of the situation. The retreat is in four days. No more registrations are being taken as of yesterday. Twinges of Fear feel welcome, decide to come and sit for tea. I thought this was all confirmed last week when I called her. Didn't she hear me last week when I called and said I was going? Hostility knocks on the door and invites himself in to join in the small gathering. Why is she leaving messages like this on my office phone, what is wrong with using my home phone, my cell phone or my email. This catastrophe could have been prevented if she had only done that. Judging mind takes over. The space is crowded now with Fear, Hostility and Judging Mind. I was counting on her car and going together. I'm sad and frustrated. I'm heavy. Sigh. Life is so difficult. What's wrong with this world that we can't do the simplest things with ease? I'm sure I confirmed this trip already, but I didn't do it so she could hear it.

An email just yesterday came to say they closed registration. I guess she didn't register yet. I guess I need to book a rental car. I guess I need some patience. I leave messages on both her cell and home phone that it may be too late to register, but to call me.

I book a rental car.

Time passes. Clouds of conditioning, mental formations float away. There is space opening, in my mind. A space for things as they are, for what is real, what is true. A small voice says, "maybe the message is from last week."

Shortly after that my friend calls and indeed, she is signed up, packed and ready to go four days early. The phone message was from last week.

I cancel the rental car.

Asking ourselves, Are you sure? is a very deep practice. Resting in the river.