(view out the front door of Amache Studio on the farm)
(oh, and i probably shouldn’t have posted this, it’s not like i’ve resolved anything here…just revealed more of my horrible, selfish nature and yet another voice in my head… you’ve been warned.)
Here’s what I haven’t been doing since I last wrote, almost a week ago:
2. Driving back to Denver.
3. Practicing acceptance.
Here’s what I have been doing:
1. Sitting down to write.
2. Driving back and forth to town. Just to make sure town is still there…
3. Struggling. Resisting. Creating constant turmoil in my brain.
And then I started reading “How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill And their Caregivers“ (emphasis added!) by Toni Bernhard, and things started to change.
I’ve flirted with Buddhism for decades. Meaning (of course) that I’ve read a lot of books about Buddhism, without ever really trying to practice it in any meaningful way. It appeals to me on so many levels, I just don’t know how committed I am to being that good.
For one thing, I seriously doubt my ability to maintain the “loving kindness towards all beings” thing for any significant period of time.
That being said, this “How to be Sick” book is serving to remind me, ONCE AGAIN, that acceptance is much more pleasant than constant suffering + suffering over the fact that there is constant suffering + guilt about wasting time suffering.
(that is a joke, y’all…. cuz a LOT of people knew, even me, then I forgot.)
So, I’m reading this book (and I’m still not done with it) and I start to notice that there is a new “voice” in the mix, you know, in my head.
Me: “Hey, Mr. Smooth-Talker, who are you?”
Buddha-Me: “I am your Buddha-nature.”
Me: “I start reading one book about Buddhism and all of the sudden I have a Buddha-nature? That seems a little too convenient.”
Buddha-Me: “I’ve always been here.”
Me: “No, dude, I’VE always been here, you are NOT a regular.”
Buddha-Me: “I’ve always been here. Sometimes you notice me, sometimes you don’t. You change. I am constant.”
Me: “Huh. Now what.”
Buddha-Me: “I don’t know. You’ve been pretty busy struggling and resisting everything this week, it’s been hard to watch.”
Me: “Sorry my head isn’t a more hospitable place to be right now. Not only is the Mass of Dark Matter still just sitting out there teeming with issues, now I’m stuck on the farm with my Mom, who is totally depressed and sick and has now decided that we need to move here, like, for the duration, whatever that means. Which brings up all sorts of crap for me — I know she just wants to be in her house (which she loves) surrounded by her stuff (which she loves) and around some friends (who she loves) but her doctors/clinical trial program are at least a four hour drive away from here (in good weather) and we have to go see the Dr. at least one time a week, which translates to a FUCK TON of driving for me (she doesn’t drive) and my life is there and my son is there (or at least closer to there than here…) and while I could grow to love this place, I’m not smitten right now — I’m really not in love with the constant wind, the dust, the bugs, the smell from the feedlots (when the wind blows a certain direction) the water (it’s very hard water that is treated with some chemicals specifically formulated to Make Kim’s Hair Limp and Unmanageable and Ugly) or the fact that there is no coffee shop with free Wi-Fi and a comfortable atmosphere for writing within 50 square miles. Plus I have all this outsider fear/anxiety. We moved a lot when I was growing up and, consequently, I was always the outsider/new girl/weird chick from somewhere else and now she wants me to do it again. Here. Which I’ve already done once in my life and then had to move again. I’m barely keeping myself out of a Great Depression right now, how is that going to work when I’m isolated on the farm with my depressed Mom? That scares me. A lot. Anyway. What can I do about it? I have no choice. I’m the designated caregiver. (And don’t you know there are some issues about that….) It’s not like I can just quit. “OH, now you’re really sick and it’s all downhill from here, I don’t think I want to do this whole “caregiving” thing any longer, work it out with your other kids, Mom…” And, of course, I’m not working (because I’m the caregiver) so my vote on where we should be really doesn’t carry much weight. Which doesn’t feel good (AT ALL), but pretty much is just the way it is.”
Buddha-Me: “You don’t have any control over a lot of things that are impacting your life.”
Me: “No, I don’t have any control and that is the problem!”
Buddha-Me: “Is that true?”
Me: “What? Yes it’s true – you just said it!”
Buddha-Me: “No, I just acknowledged that you don’t have any control over some things that are impacting you. I didn’t say it was “the problem”…”
Buddha-Me: “The things you can’t control are just things you can’t control. They exist. Your Mom is very sick and needs a caregiver. You are the caregiver and you’re not willing to quit right now. Being her caregiver means you have very little control over your time. So what is the problem?”
Me: “The problem is that I don’t like it. Any of it. I want it to be different.”
Buddha-Me: “But it isn’t different. It is what it is. You know that. None of the churning and angst and sad and fear going on in your brain is changing anything, it is just making you crazy.”
Me: (heavy sigh)
Buddha-Me: “What if you just accepted that this is how things are now and stopped the struggle?”
Me: “It sounds nice, in theory. I am just not sure I know how to stop the struggle. It seems like it should be easy, but it feels like it isn’t so easy to do in real life. Which is dumb, because the struggle is not good for me or for my Mom.”
Buddha-Me: “Can you even imagine stopping the struggle?”
Me: “Kind of.”
Buddha-Me: “Well there you go. Progress.”
(Stay tuned. This discussion is difficult to have, and difficult to write (it’s been 2 days in the making already…) and it isn’t finished. We’re driving back to Denver tomorrow (for real this time) and then busy with Dr. appointments Tuesday/Wednesday – I plan to write (ha…) from the hospital Wednesday, but no promises…)