The Mirror Isn’t Always Pretty
An early evening dirty martini and a setting sun can do wonders. But, it doesn’t always make the mirror pretty. That’s what I tried to enjoy before I started to write this week, but it didn’t change anything, really. Just how I looked at things, which really is the point. Last weekend, I took my two boys, Miles and Chase, to the county fair. It was a slice of pizza and of nostalgia. The cotton candy, hot dogs, candied apples, funnel cakes, and Italian ices brought smells of childhood waffling through the air. I was happy for my boys. They were going to have a good time, even if I had to make em’.
If you have visited this blog, my website or my book, by now you are familiar with the thought system of forgiveness, and the futility of trying to change the world. Instead, change the way you look at the world. Its all about recognizing and remembering our true nature. That true nature is spirit, not the separate bodies we appear to be. We know what our true nature is, we’ve just forgotten it. We can, however, remember through the practice of forgiveness. We forgive because the actions of the world and people in the world have no real effect on us. And every time we forgive in that manner, we move a little closer to remembering who we are. That’s why we forgive the rude driver who cuts us off. It really didn’t happen to our true selves. The peace we experience from that forgiveness helps us remember our true nature.
So, on to the county fair. The boys started fighting before I reached the end of the driveway, so I knew I was going to have a lot of forgiveness opportunities on this day. I just wasn’t sure I was going to be able to take advantage of them all. After settling down my urchins, the first such opportunity came in the form of Miles, the middle child. He had to go to the bathroom. Only, we were stuck in a traffic jam because there was a railroad crossing clogged by at least a mile of freight cars. I managed to pull across two lanes of traffic to pull into an abandoned parking lot to let Miles do his business, as only boys can, while being shielded by the car. “Not ON the car, Miles!” “Oh”. First forgiveness opportunity. I took it and moved on.
I pulled back into traffic, which was still stalled. Now, Chase was not happy because his headphones were not working and he couldn’t watch a DVD he had seen a hundred times before. The batteries were dead because he hadn’t turned off the headphones yesterday or the day before. It was going to be a long ride to the fair, so I stopped at a gas station to get batteries. Miles didn’t have to go to the bathroom. I forgave and then I moved on.
Twenty minutes later we pulled into the fairgrounds parking lot. Miles, the middle child, had to go, again. There was a problem. There were no parking spaces! We had to drive around and around. He was jumping and fidgeting in the back seat. His little brother howled with laughter. I shot a tiny gap ahead and whisked my SUV into a too small space. When I put the car in park and looked back to tell Miles he could go, he had already gone…on my seat. Now, he sat in a puddle and stared straight at the DVD screen, with his headphones on. “Miles! Miles! Miles!” “Huh?” I’m going to kill that boy. But no. I just yelled…and then I forgave and then I moved on.
It was a very hot day, so Miles’ shorts dried quickly. The boys had a ball. We played games, went on rides and ate too much. They even won prizes for their mother and sister. It was a very good day.
And then there was the Zero Gravity Ride. That’s the one where riders stand against a wall and are held there by centrifugal force as the cage spins and the floor drops. Miles, the middle child, rode on this ride. Chase and I waited. I didn’t like that ride even when I was a kid. Apparently, Miles didn’t keep his back fully against the wall at all times. A lot of kids didn’t. But for some reason, the ride attendant thought it was his place to chastise my son as he exited the ride. I was standing there with Chase. It was a forgiveness opportunity I did not take.
I lost it. The ride was shut down until I was through verbally blasting the attendant for raising his voice at my 8 year old. The boys (and the rest of the fair-goers) were oblivious as to why I was yelling, they just knew I was very loud and and very angry. Almost immediately though, I regretted it. I had made the situation real to me. I had forgotten my true nature. I had let this have an effect on me.
The boys and I left the area, but I was still steamed. We had some more junk food and rode ponies. Soon, we forgot about the attendant and enjoyed the rest of the day. But, later that night I didn’t like the way I felt. There was a clear disturbance of my peace. That was the bad news. The mirror isn’t always pretty.
Then I remembered. I could forgive at any time. Of course it was better to forgive in the moment because it eliminated all the wasted time feeling bad, but I could remember now. I could have peace, now. Time didn’t matter. And that’s what I did. I forgave the situation with the attendant..and I remembered my true nature…and I felt peace. I felt good.
That was the good news. I am not perfect, and as hard as I try to remember my true nature, I get caught up in the ego sometimes. But the beauty is, true forgiveness works across time and dimensions. You can forgive what just happened or what appeared to happen long ago, or a few hours ago. You can forgive a ride attendant and a precocious middle child. You can forgive yourself. And then, you can enjoy a dirty martini and a setting sun.