I rolled down my driveway, minivan and three kids, four leftover pizzas, two helium balloons, and birthday gifts in tow last night at eight-thirty. My newly six-year-old announced that she was thirsty and starving at approximately eight fifteen, bursting into tears en route. My three and a half-year old son follow suit, whimpering. Knowing they could surely survive a fifteen minute ride home, I reassured them a drink was waiting for them. When I turned around in the gas station, rather than a single left turn across two lanes of traffic, my eight year old announced that we were stopping for drinks and gas. We weren’t.
I arrived, and juggled extracting my son from his 5 point harness in the rear of the van, considering I was holding my phone, purse, and other odds and ends in an attempt to not leave the car a disaster, or forget to charge my phone, I congratulate myself in hindsight, on this feat of dexterity. Surmounting the too tall stairs while avoiding the one threatening to fracture, I passed through the gaping door into the entryway, arms hugging every party detail I could carry from the van. Surely, I had one opportunity to gather perishables and trash before they were lost to my attention for days to come.
The gift bag into which I had masterfully consolidated items 40 minutes ago, thank you Tetris, went beside the front door. As I made my way to the kitchen, I plucked about a dozen pink feathers from the cold tile and tossed them in the trash. Where did those feathers come from? As the kids whined “so hungry” and “so thirsty” for the dozenth time, I retrieved a gallon of cold milk and poured two glasses. A corked bottle of wine eyed me from beside the sink. From where I stood, I also saw a pink feather boa, crumpled on the lower steps. Looks like Lizzie the cat made a catch out of Annie’s newest tea party accessory.
Why did I begin this story again?
Oh yes, Zen.
The thing of it is, I love the idea of Zen and resent it in the same mindful breath. I’m quite sure I’ve experienced it in yoga classes, but not so much in real life. My mind space is more like a game of Tetris, fitting pieces together in a haphazard way when they start falling from the sky like speeding bullets. I resent that I am somehow supposed to find Zen in the midst of my life to be fulfilled, healthy, and wise. But in the same breath, I long for the kind of delicious bliss that comes with it. If you’ve felt it, the energy of it, it’s addictive. It feels oh so right. But if we all became monks, it seems to go without saying, that the human race would cease to be.
Enter super moms (and dads-so thankful for my partner)! Saving the human race. What I want to know is, where do you find zen in the midst of real life? While the sky is falling, can you simply flow with it like a kung fu master? I picture myself gracefully plucking feathers, their soft fluffy texture hidden with an inner stick. Then slowly, observantly pouring cold creamy milk that coats the glass. (Obviously full fat). I imagine with all my might, soaking in bliss while hitting the grocery store, exhausted from the nighttime birthday fairy work, and the workday, selecting an array of frozen cupcakes in rainbow colors, and tying all of my own balloons necessarily for the inexperienced grocery boy, (square knot anyone?) while monitoring my breathing and loving every second.
If zen were the goal, I would have joined a monastery in a distant land. Isn’t that where the masters are found? If you are a zen master in disguise moms, dads, please show yourself true.