Monday, January 31, 2011

Changing My Question

"Surrender means surrender, not a dress rehearsal for surrender." 

--Sy Safransky, from "Sy Safransky's Notebook" in The Sun, January 2011

I realized - in the pre-dawn hours of this morning, while lying in bed thinking about and suffering over events of the past 24 hours - that I need to change the question that I ask the Universe when things go wrong.

My question used to be, "WHY?"

"WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?" is the question I would ask the Universe whenever something unexpected, unasked-for, undesired and undesirable came into my world.

As I have done my spiritual work I have come to realize that this is a victim's question, a passive question, a weak question to ask at the moment of crisis, but I hadn't come up with anything better until this morning and it was this quote that gave it to me.

When I read this quote the other day on my break at work I was immediately drawn to it and read it over a few times, contemplated it and really tried to delve into its meaning and its wisdom and make them a part of me.

And as I did the question popped into my head: HOW?


How do you surrender when everything around you and in your body and in the literature and in this world we live in says, "FIGHT!"


We are supposed to fight for our rights and for our kids and for our jobs and for our partners. FIGHT! 


I am so tired of fighting and yet I find that in some ways I cannot stop.

Yesterday we had a birthday party for my now nine-year-old son and it was mayhem!

Nine nine-year-olds (and one seven-year-old) took over our house and made it into a jumping, screaming, fighting, yelling, throwing, MADHOUSE!

I tried to remain calm, but somewhere in the third hour I lost it and when I came upon a kid jumping up and down on our hot tub lid as if it were a trampoline I turned into shrill, shrieky mom and screamed, "WHAT are you doing?! WHY do you think that is okay?!"

And it was downhill from there. "The next kid who gets on the hot tub is going home!" I yelled to all the kids.

So, of course, they started climbing on the garage roof.

"The next kid who gets on the garage roof is going home!" I yelled again.

Inside I am thinking, "What is WRONG with these kids? What is WRONG with me? WHY did I think this was a good idea? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?"

But after the party I felt bad. Like a terrible failure. Why did I have to turn into shrill, shrieky mom? Why couldn't I have handled those incidents with more aplomb? With a calm, even voice. With LOVE.

And this morning I got my answer - in the form of a question - when once again this quote came into my head. And the answer is: Don't ask, "WHY?"; ask, "HOW?"


PS. Those of you who read my post from Friday, I hope you appreciate the irony as much as I do :)

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