Return to Center

“Because clarity and enlightenment are within your own nature, they are regained without moving an inch.” – Lao Tzu I had a bit of a freak out yesterday because someone I care about said something that I took as being critical of me, or really not understanding me, which hurt and yet I didn’t want to do the thing I thought they were implicitly asking me to do. Not on principle, but because I couldn’t do what they wanted me to do without harming myself, which I avoid doing these days. I really do.

There’s no running into the fire for the protection of my brethren, there’s no chi-sucking, energy-sucking martyrdom in service of the fabulous barbecue or play date, I don’t call that person who somehow always makes me feel crappy even though they are supposed to be my friend. I don’t starve myself to feed others. I can do so much less, much, much, shockingly less, and still be of value, of service, as me. As me feeling good being me, me doing me, not me doing some idea of how I should be.

But I so wanted to do it. I wanted to save myself from the discomfort of being near someone hurting, and the discomfort of being judged as less than kind, generous, and supportive, as less than perfect. I wanted to make their pain stop to make my pain stop. I got seriously churned up. But I knew enough to not do anything. I knew enough to call in some friends who are really like members of Team Sascha and get perspective before acting.

And so one Team Sascha member sent me that quote, actually a picture of the whole page of the book “Hua Hu Ching, the Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu,” by Brian Walker, which I promptly ordered online and which will go on the stack of books by my bed that I might read but whose teachings I mostly hope will ooze into my brain through proximity. It could happen.

Anyway, I got that quote and I took a deep breath, in as well as out, all the way, and I remembered that most of this stuff, all of this stuff, is froth on the venti latte of life. Foam on the sea. And that doesn’t make me a B. It just means that I’m not going to get off course from other people’s stuff, or my stuff around other people’s stuff or on and on and drama and on.

I’m going to keep going and enjoying this life. I’m going to make my kid a toasted bagel with butter and jam and put on some cartoons and then drive him to school and walk around on two working legs and be grateful. Grateful.