04 November 2015

Sometimes we’re going to find ourselves completely caught up in a drama. We’re going to be just as angry as if someone had just walked into the room and slapped us in the face. Then it might occur to us: “Wait a minute—what’s going on here?” We look into it and are able to see that, out of nowhere, we feel that we have lost something or been insulted. Where this thought came from we don’t know, but here we are, hooked again by the eight worldly dharmas. Right then, we can feel that energy, do our best to let the thoughts dissolve, and give ourselves a break. Beyond all that fuss and bother is a big sky. Right there in the middle of the tempest, we can drop it and relax. 
Pema Chödrön

Clear days, clear nights, frost maybe. We moved the plumeria inside into the front room where it promptly dropped all its leaves. R is losing patience with it and threatens to give it away if there are still no blossoms by next summer. I prefer to call it frangipani, sounds so much more tropical. Once upon a time, when we lived in paradise, I carelessly stepped on frangipani petals on my way to work every morning. And a visit from the local tortoise was just a nuisance - because he would regularly get stuck trying to push into the back door.

For a long time I would play this make believe game, where you have one wish (one really selfish wish, not a world peace or end to hunger wish), and I imagined that I wanted us to be back there, by our kitchen door, sweeping the mango leaves and listening to the fruit bats screeching and the dogs barking and the kids everywhere. But not any more.

Now my one selfish wish is a different one. I have become more careful - but equally unrealistic. Now, I avoid wasting my wish on being healthy again (but oh believe me, I want it so badly). Instead, my one selfish unrealistic careful wish is for a life without doctor's appoinments. I would settle for that. Maybe.


Ms. Moon said...

That makes perfect sense to me and thank you for the images of your life in a tropical place. Food for the soul.

am said...

Why not? One selfish wish. Unrealistic and not a wasted wish. I will be careful, too, with my wish. A life without doctor's appointments sounds very good to me, if wishing for health or living in paradise were no longer my one wish.

I'm in the process of reading that book of essays by Leslie Jamison that you quoted from, The Empathy Exams:

"I like the word structure. It suggests empathy is an edifice we build like a home or office -- with architecture and design, scaffolding and electricity. The Chinese character for listen is built like this, a structure of many parts: the characters for ears and eyes, a horizontal line that signifies undivided attention, the swoop and teardrops of heart."

Startling (took my breath away) to find a kindred spirit in her, with her essay that includes the assault that prompted her to write:

"I wanted a man to fall in love with me so he could get angry about how I'd gotten hit. I wasn't supposed to want this. I wanted it anyway."

Pema Chodron's words speak so clearly in an odd juxtaposition with what I had just read from Leslie Jamison. Maybe sometimes we need to be angry and have someone be angry with us or sad and have someone be sad with us or be in love and have someone be in love with us before we can drop it all and see the big sky.

I believe you.

Steve Reed said...

That DOES look and sound like paradise (both your past wish and your current one). I love the tortoise. :)

Colette said...

I like the idea of a selfish wish, and I think yours is a good one. As for the photo of your tropical paradise, I just lost myself in it for a few moments and it felt great. That must have been a wonderful time in your life. I like seeing the living of that life in this picture, the clothes on the line, the tortoise wreaking havoc, and the strip of wood lodged at the base of the door - to keep the critters out? I love that about different places - all the different routine, everyday needs that each life and each place require.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the selfish wish. I hope yours comes true, all of them. I'm going to read about frangipani and plumeria, and dream of paradise.

Ellena said...

'Maybe' still needs to be settled?
Next Wednesday I hope to hear enough so that I can try to decide what to wish for.

Fire Bird said...

Thank you for Pema once again. Can't read her enough. Been in a bit of a tempest... Beginning to drop it and relax....

37paddington said...

May your wishes all come true.