Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God in the Chips

Yesterday I was sitting at a restaurant eating nachos - "when in doubt, eat Mexican," that's my motto - when it happened again. I was reading about mysticism, about how some people see a different level of reality breaking through the veil of everyday life. Munching my chips. And then suddenly I wasn't reading but experiencing: God in the face of every person I could see, God in the walls surrounding me, God in the floor and the ceiling and spoon and napkin. God in the chips.

The intensity and brilliance and beauty of everything around me struck my senses like a drum, pounding the rhythm of perfection through my seeing and hearing, past my knowing, into my being. It's overwhelming, this experience, disturbing in some ways. It's kind of like running around on the peak of a really high mountain: the view is breathtaking, but even so you might pass out from lack of oxygen. That's not a complaint, mind you; just a description.

It came to me again today, carried on the muscial waves of a Christmas song (in mid-November!) that I heard in a store. I don't know why, but the song triggered this vision again, so I just stayed put and let it be until, inevitably, it passed. I wonder if someday it will not pass, if I will begin to see with that clarity all the time rather than at random moments. Maybe, maybe not; that's for God and the future to know, not me. My work is just to accept the vision when it comes to me, to let it permeate my being so that it continues to seep through my veins and settle in my bones even when the veil of daily life settles around me again. Even when I'm not seeing God in the chips.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I get frustrated with my child. Way too often. Every now and then I get downright mad, have to go sit in another room and spend a few minutes looking for the cool I have so totally blow, but that doesn't happen much. Mostly it's just that low-level annoyance that results in one carefully enunciated, slightly raised "I mean it" type statement (after, of course, the couple of gentler, kinder requests to get to whatever it is have been ignored). When the 6-year-old won't stop talking about poop and farts despite my repeated requests (he's a boy, after all), or when he adamantly and unreasonably refuses to put on his pajamas, or when we're running late and he's supposed to be getting ready for school but instead he's huddled in a corner in nothing but his underwear playing with some toy, I get really frustrated. I whine out his name and stomp off to another room feeling put upon and annoyed. Frustrated.

If you don't have a child, you're probably thinking, "You really should have more patience; he's just a child, after all." If you do have a child, your thoughts are probably running more along the lines of, "Yeah, that's about right." Frustration is just a fact of parenting. And of many of our relationships, really. Friends, parents, lovers, spouses, siblings, co-workers, bosses - any of these people might annoy and frustrate us, and we just accept this as part of the challenge and joy of having these relationships. (Okay, so we might also ignore our friends, get divorced, quit our jobs, whatever, but just go with me here.)

So I got to thinking, what is frustration? It seems just shy of a bunch of fairly negative emotions - not quite annoyance, not quite anger. I cast about for a definition, and it came to me: it's discomfiture over not being in control. I want things to happen a certain way; they don't happen that way; I get frustrated. Simple.

I don't think of myself as having lots of control issues, but then again I'm human, so that's kind of like a tree saying it doesn't have leaf issues. My control issues may not be as strong as those of some people, but that doesn't mean that they're not there. Or that I won't get frustrated with my control issues!

So when I get frustrated with my child, I'm trying to remember what a wonderful teacher he is for me, what he's helping me learn about acceptance, and love. Now if only he would teach me a little less often...Because, and here's the scary part, I'm a teacher, too, and I'm teaching him how to be frustrated rather than accepting and loving, and those are lessons I definitely need to teach him a little less often.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dodging Bullets

I rarely make mistakes anymore. Okay, yes, I burn the bread, stick my foot in my mouth, get too frustrated with my child, flake off when I need to work - these sorts of little mistakes run in rivulets through my day, bringing annoyance in their wake. But I rarely make the big, life-changing mistakes anymore. I'd love to say that it's because I've become so holy and wise, always in tune with the universe, always knowing the right answers. Yeah, that'd be great, I'll put it on the Christmas wish list and see if Santa's got an extra helping of "holy and wise" that he can drop down my non-existent chimney.

The truth is that I usually just end up dodging a bullet. Not that I'm trying to dodge the bullet, mind you: oftentimes I'm standing around with a bullseye painted on my chest, just waiting for the damn thing to go ahead and hit the mark. But then, often at the last possible second, God (or the universe, Life, my Higher Self, little invisible gnomes, whatever) throws up a force field around me, deflecting the bullet and leaving me bewildered. "But it's so good, I want it, why can't I have it?" I whine and moan, realizing only later - often much later - that yep, it was a bullet, and that once again I have been saved in spite of my own stupidity.

I can't count the number of times this has happened in my life. I can't count them because I'm pretty sure that there are episodes like this in my past that I still haven't recognized and others that I'll never be able to see. But I'm seeing more clearly these days, clearly enough to be grateful for all the times God has said "No" to my prayers. Maybe one day I'll get a little more holy and wise going on and I won't have to be saved from my own stupidity so regularly, but for now, I'll just be glad for force fields and shields of love that I can't explain, don't deserve and would be lost without.

Now, don't hold me to this if I go out and make some big-ass stupid life-changing mistake tomorrow...