Appreciating The Journey

I can’t get away from myself these days, though I’ve made the usual tries: television, food, books, writing. The pandemic caused “Blacklist” filmed in New York, to become part graphic art, part cinema. That was interesting. By far my favorite escape is books and as soon as I got home I grabbed my copy of Emma by Jane Austen. I’m deep into the activities of three or four families in a country village.

My non-fiction book, the book I read at night to ease me into sleep, is Pema Chodron’s new one: Welcoming the Unwelcome. Pema is a Buddhist nun, but this book seems written for everyone on the planet at this particular moment. Because…the pandemic is the most unwelcome thing ever, at least in my life. Traveling home through the pandemic was challenging although there were more cars in the Starbucks line than on I-75.

Once home, I got busy using my three most missed machines: washer, dryer, and dishwasher. One way to appreciate something that seems like drudgery is to do without it for awhile. There was never a happier sound of all three of my mechanical helpers cleaning things all at once.

And that’s one of Pema’s lessons: appreciating whatever is in front of you. For me that would include this husband who is suddenly with me all the time. Dropping judgements and negative labels and just let things be as they are between us. I haven’t worn make up in two months and I think I may possibly never wear it again. I am 65 years old. I see myself just as I am. And I’m okay with that. Al is too.

What comes when society is moving, with lunch dates and dinner parties and sitting on the patio in the sun chatting with the neighbors is this need to “put on my face” like every other female in the room. One of the lessons I want to fully take in during this time is wanting to know myself, my authentic self. I’m not saying makeup and hair and a lovely pair of jeans plus cute sandals are not okay.

It’s not either/or, it’s both. Female dressing up is great. So is not dressing up. I’m dropping judgement on this topic. It took the pandemic to make me really see that I don’t need to “fix myself up” because I’m fine just the way I am. And so are you. Buddhists believe everyone has a basic goodness under the fixed ideas we have of ourselves and others.

So I’m letting go of some of the concepts and labels I’ve attached to myself and to Al, too. They no longer serve me. Instead I will really look at what’s right in front of me and appreciate fully exactly what and who that is.

6 Comments

  1. I, too, am glad to hear you got home safely. I wish there was someplace I needed to be so I could hit the road, but alas I am grounded for awhile longer. I’d miss my washing machine the most, and I recently realized that I often start the washer and dishwasher at the time time.

    I am happy for you that you and Al are enjoying retirement-at-home. I do not enjoy Ken being around all the time. It has been over two years and it was kind of okay when I could go back to work periodically. 24/7 at home for both of us is not a good time for me. Not sure what to do about that as I’m not sure about teaching in the fall – don’t want to risk health and my granddaughter may be with us two days a week [which we love and would choose above all else] as it is the safest solution; she likes being with us and that is just the best. When the danger passes I will need to find someplace else to spend some time.

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  2. I left Michigan when I was about six years old (we lived in Midland) and I still remember the fields of Black Eyed Susans. Hope you continue to enjoy your time back home.

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