I’m sitting in the children’s section at Borders. I’m annoyed that the T-mobile account connection I just paid $9.99 for has just dropped.
A blond boy with huge blue eyes speaks to his father about a book called “But Not the Hippopotamus” in a language I’m guessing is Greek.
When I look at the little girl in the red button up jacket in front of me sitting on a milky way carpet, her perfection, her wholeness is so obvious, so palpable.
Yet the wholeness of my older sister has been a lot less obvious to see today. For much of the day she’s been in a series of moods. I didn’t find any of them enjoyable. By the early afternoon I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
I know I cannot be the holder for everyone needs. But she’s my sister, the one who has known me the longest. The one who held me when I was a baby. There are pictures to prove it sitting on my dresser.
I so much want to believe and know that we are all okay, all perfect as we are, that our best is indeed enough. But this evening it feels like we are all so broken. That there is not one among us who is not lost in the flood of illusions we call our reality.
I want to tell the children. Don’t grow up. It just gets worse.
The little girl with the red jacket comes to stare at my computer and at me typing. Her mom squeezes her hand tight and she bobs and weaves like a slinky trying walk on her own, trying to create her own world.
So on this evening, I’m touching the feeling of hopelessness within. I’m longing for harmony and inspiration and reassurance that all is not broken, that children are not the only sane humans left, and it’s possible to be at peace in the midst of so many good reasons for despair.
Then I remember, there is that within me which is untouched by hurt. I remember even my feeling of hopelessness is a choice. I could choose to focus on all the reasons for despair or all the reasons for hope. One is not better than the other, but today has proven each road leads me to different emotional landscapes.
So in this moment, I’m choosing the little girl in the red jacket as at least one reason for hope. The father reading to his son sitting in his lap as he sips coffee. Every moment something new is happening. I pray I will keep noticing it all. I pray I will keep noticing it all.
Meditation: Take a series of deep belly breaths. Check in with your mood right now. Notice how you feel in your body. What is foremost in your attention right now? Then, make a decision about where you’d like to focus on your attention next, and see if you can gradually reach towards thoughts that create an inner sense of relief. Perhaps hold an image of child in your mind and focus on connecting with that sense of innocence that lives within all of us. Mostly, just be still.