Monday morning I say prayers for the spirits of Syrians killed by poisonous gas and for the people who love them. I pick dead blossoms from the three big pots of pansies and pull soft, fuzzy, pale green weeds nestled among them. (I’ve decided to do one task each morning toward a clean courtyard.) I break off a pansy bud by mistake. I set it in water, place the small glass beside my bed. The deep purple against the white wood and the soft curve of the tiny stem makes me cry. I cook brown rice, pack pears and peanuts for my snack between writing group and sangha. I still want to do my sitting practice and a tiny bit of yoga before I have to leave, so I keep my writing short. I cry more often these days, small things like the bread and butter or the pansy life stopped short. Big things like dead bodies in Syria, like being afraid about my health or feeling like a failure. But they are brief, quick moments only, and I tend to be kind to myself when they arise. I count to 29 to blend my garlic lemon drink for my liver, and I remember seeing Amma in the grocery store last night, how much better she looked. The memory makes me glad for her, grateful for her Tibetan doctor. And in the same breath, still counting seconds while the blender fills the room with its loud machine noise, I recognize again the part of me who still believes nothing I do will ever be enough. The tears come, but so does a deep certainty that I am healing (louder than that other voice? louder than the blender?) and a wash of dearness for myself and my good efforts.
Anyone who has survived to the age of 50+ (that’s me) harbors the fear of being a failure. But I also know there’s comfort — as you so beautifully described — in the dearness of our good efforts. You write insightful posts that wake me up; I know they do the same for others… that’s a special kind of delicious success.
Oh, your post warms me, Bart! Thank you so much. There is big dearness in your note here. :)
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t feel fear or worry about being failures. Or cry. Beautiful, heartwarming writing Riba.
Thank you, Madhu. I really appreciate your kind words. And I agree about our human-ness. ;-)