Vagary – an erratic or outlandish notion or action; whim
“Even when we see that someone can’t give us what we want and require, we still believe they can! This belief is our attachment, the source of our suffering.”
At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace within Everyday Chaos
I think of the prayer that we chant in the Zen Center on Sunday mornings. About the merciful avatar of the Buddha. Even though they may be fools bow down with humble words. I struggle with this. It is I guess my karma.
Somewhere along the line I came to this idea of guilt. Ironic that the chakra at the neck is also interested in guilt. Interesting indeed. That the choices I make should be in favor of others but against myself. I was taught I guess that this is the right way to be. How selfish. To take care of yourself.
Honestly there are times when my child is first. Times when my dog is first. Times when a friend in need is first. Times when the dishes are first. But how often really do I say. Okay what do I need? What do I want? The thing is 99% of the time I take care of my own needs. And I have for a long time. As for what I want, not so often. And ultimately my wants are limited. Money to fix up the house, a good book, friends, not to find the bathroom garbage strewn about the house when I get home, health, my daughter to be a successful adult. I wrote in the old blog about how this time in February that I was so sick was maybe the first time in my life that I was not able to care for myself. I needed my friend B. to come and take me to the hospital (or an ambulance) I needed my daughter to take care of stuff in the house. I couldn’t do it. I needed help. Wants are different and it is in wanting that suffering arises. What do I want, what does that other person want, what wants are close to needs, what are just frivolous wants? It would be easier to want for nothing but that is actually a very difficult thing to do.
Who taught me that my wants are second? I think of my marriage. Most people tell me that they knew it was not right but I missed it. How could I miss it for all those years? For example I realized I was lactose intolerant only after the ex left. No-one was putting creamer in my coffee. I drink it black when I make it myself. But for 11 years he put creamer in my coffee. He knew I drank it black when I poured it myself. And yet he always put creamer in it. I would drink it. But I would rather have had it black. Stomach cramps later. Why didn’t I just set the coffee cup down in front of him and go pour myself another cup of coffee? Who taught me to accept what I was given without complaint? It was only when I started to make my own coffee everyday that I realized the cramps were from drinking creamer.
The thing is I give all day long. In my job, my first real job out of college I thought, I will work for 5 years helping others. 5 years in group homes for developmentally disabled.
Next I gave two years of my life to teaching mentally ill children in a hospital.
Then and now 12 years later teaching inner city children. I could teach outside this district but I want to give something of myself to children who are at a disadvantage.
So my five year pledge has become 19 years of giving.
I am constantly questioning this notion of who I am and what is right and whom I have to try to make happy. The outlandish notion is that perhaps it too needs to be let go. Non-attachment. I cannot make someone else happy. I surely cannot try to make someone else happy at my own expense. The stomach cramps are noisome. They are irritating and get in the way of my life.
The heart cramps too. Can I not have a perfect day without that gnatty feeling of guilt. Guilt because I am trying to find some golden solace, peace and serenity in my own life. It has been a rough ROUGH two years. Can I not spend some time just basking in the sun without worrying about whether or not my shadow is cast in this or that direction. Sorry to shade you so. What can I do. I am trying to live here.
Just questions these. Questions to discover what is right. What is wrong. I want my karma to be good. But I have to be really careful here, because up til now, I have not really been one to put myself first, second, third, but I think I have to be like a person in an airplane … put the mask on myself so that I can make sure I am alive to help others.