No Mud No Lotus

Earlier this week I was waist-deep in mud.

The truth is, I am not a naturally selfless caregiver. I was not born with a “servant’s heart” that I have heard others describe. I have to work hard to cultivate the seeds of selflessness, of letting go of ego, when it comes to mothering.

Don’t get me wrong, it is easy for me to be compassionate and loving when my kids are sick. But it doesn’t come without a small sigh, or “why me” in the back of my mind.

So this week was a real opportunity for me to practice.

I also noticed this week that when I myself become sick, I have a strong aversion to the discomfort of illness. It was hard even to think about searching for conditions for happiness around me, although of course there were many: my comfortable bed, my luxurious (and convenient) ensuite, my loving family. I felt very stuck in my illness. I became my illness, you could say.

As with most discomfort though, when you really practice, you can choose to surrender. I first touched this feeling previously in childbirth, but it is a lesson I have called on many times since in my meditation practice. We know that sensations – all sensations – arise and pass away, arise and pass away. If we can let go of our intense aversion for discomfort or craving for comfort, we can ride the tide of these sensations and experience the freedom of the feeling of surrender. Nowhere to go. All that we have is the present moment. This too shall pass.

And when we come out the other side, it is very beautiful. Our roots are stronger. We can better appreciate the happiness of everyday. Normally I don’t appreciate my absence of illness, but today I am grateful. And I am even more grateful for the health of my children.

Tonight as we were buckling the kids into our car while leaving a restaurant, I noticed our health (especially our absence of illness), our good fortune, the beautiful pink sunset in front of me, and I was deeply happy.

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