It’s a holiday weekend here. A Civic Holiday when government employees get the day off and those of us who need an excuse to take the day off do so in sympathetic support. This year, it seems we all need a rest. A bit of time to get rid of some of those afflictions that have been clinging on well past their expiration date. The idea of taking a break, a respite, a reprieve from work is not alien to me. Being civic-minded, I’m big into conservation. Conservation of energy, resources, and time. In fact, burn out theories have tied our inability to conserve resources to a variety of work-related ills. So, I take my time off as prescribed and allow my inner sloth to manifest.
Unfortunately, this weekend started with my office computer waging a battle to the death. Friday is not good time for these things to happen. By the time I got it vaguely functional, it was time to set off on other chores, not the least of which was learning from Frank that the taxi cab who had run into the truck on Sunday had racked up $4,000 worth of damages. I admire a man who can quietly say things like, “I’m afraid not, sir. My truck was parked. You ran into it. We’re not going to negotiate a 50-50 settlement.” So, as we drove home, between truck and computer woes, I was overcome by a need to do something wild and crazy. I got on my iPad and booked two tickets to see the Lion King that same night.
Before you judge me harshly, let me say it was one of the most difficult things I’ve done. Not only because it’s been years of refusing to treat ourselves, but because the damn truck was bouncing so much I accidentally tapped on Box Seats. It was worth the price. Especially when we came home to another power failure and relished dessert at midnight by candlelight. (Dessert was fig cashew cream with a dribble of condensed milk.) The rest of the weekend was spent (is still being spent as you read this) lunching al fresco in the gazebo, weeding the rose garden, and tasting the hot chili peppers that are fighting back a tomafoot of tomatoes.
It’s easy to go round and round in same rut believing we’re doing good for ourselves – or even for the world of suffering out there. And while we may be, it’s important not to buy so totally into that delusion that we forget we too are one of the suffering hordes. Often, it’s really our shadow side that’s pushing the wheel around, digging the tracks deeper, and convincing us that we’re oh-so-indispensable or oh-so-wise. It takes practice and time to take off that layer of ego and allow a direct knowing of ourselves. True, it starts with acknowledging our suffering, being honest about it, being willing to stay with it. And then we have a choice: we can masochistically stay there and choke in our own skin or leave behind what is keeping us too small for our life. We can refuse to re-trace the line of old patterns and risk that vulnerability of being human. And if we think, that’s all there is, we can notice how many times that skin has to be sloughed off as we grow our egos, over and over.