Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prayer, and the rest of life

Reading "Open Mind, Open Heart" by Thomas Keating about centering prayer. As a joke (but also because they knew I'd enjoy it), my family also got me a book called "Open Heart, Open Mind" by a Tibetan Buddhist lama, a Rinpoche. Now I can't keep the titles of the two straight!

To foster my relationship with Dwaine, I am going to try to give him a backrub/massage more often. They say that touch is an important way for couples to stay intimate, and he does love massages. I love exercise, and now that I am entering the busy tax season, I won't have much time to go to the gym, so I have to get creative about such things. Giving a massage can be a good upper-body workout. (In the interest of modesty, I won't mention the other things couples can do together that involve touch and a good workout.)

I love the grand gestures, the big achievements that some people make in life. I just haven't had any such things happening in my little mundane corner of the world. I am trying to take to heart Mother Theresa's famous saying, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

I do think that attitude and belief are more important than I've suspected. A good attitude is the cornerstone of a life well lived.

Can you tell I'm tired? I wanted to come here anyway, but I'm dragging.

I am finding centering prayer to be more important in my life now, as much as exercise. I do believe that we are all part of a large super-organism, and I can extend my feelings somewhat and reach out into the universe while in this prayer. The prayer is meant to go deeper than our thoughts, as mystics believe that God cannot be directly accessed simply with the thinking mind, and is impossible to fully comprehend except in glimmers during our lifetime.

We had a family crisis earlier this week -- a fight, involving our college-age son, resulting in his being away from home (he still lives at home) overnight.

Fortunately for all of us, Austin came back home the next evening. He walked in, hugged me and his dad, and apologized to us both in a very sincere and touching way. I can never decide if Austin is becoming a fine young man, or if he's a really great politician (a bit of both, I suspect). He really has a flair for arranging circumstances in the most self-flattering of ways. I admit, it will take him far in life! It's a great combination of native talent, intelligence, some hard work (enough to get him all A's his first college semester!! Yay!), humor, and BS, all cleverly worked in the mix. You almost don't mind the fabrications, because there's so much else there to admire. Reminds me of Bill Clinton! (Lance Armstrong, anyone?)

Recently, we discovered that Austin's trombone was missing (the one he stopped playing midway through his senior year of high school, so in December 2011). I suspected right away what might have happened, but texted him to see if my hunch was correct. Here's how that went:

"Where's your trombone?"

"What trombone?"

(I explain, THE trombone, the only one we have, that he played throughout middle school and high school, etc. etc. The trombone, as a musical instrument, is no wallflower. It sticks out, literally. It takes up a noticeable amount of space. Yet Austin is implying a trombone could just -- I don't know, wander off? Get lost?)

His next text after this interchange is, "It was sold."
Notice the succinct, third-person approach here. Austin is reporting this in the most impersonal way possible,  as an immutable, long-ago fact, hoping I don't pick up on the fact that neither my husband or I were involved in or knew anything about this sale.

Turns out Austin, ever the entrepreneur (and then some), sold the trombone we purchased for him for some quick cash, which like all other cash once in his possession, was quickly spent. I do wonder if he has some other business enterprises on the side of which we are not aware; it's quite possible. Always, I carry a little nightmare image of a day the authorities come calling ...

On the whole, I think both my boys will turn into fine young men (THINK POSITIVE). Andrew was completely unfazed by the huge family drama, which by the way, hardly ever happens here. He said, Oh Mom, that happens in every family. In fact, Andrew happened to be at a friend's house not long ago and witnessed a huge fight between his friend and his friend's dad, likely along the same lines as our fight. Luckily, no one warned me that the teenage years would be so rough! Kind of like childbirth -- don't tell me, there's nothing I can do to avoid it anyway, so I don't want to know until I have to experience it myself.

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