Unkind and Kind
Today I didn’t feel so kind. In fact, I felt irritable and contracted which led to unkind actions and words.
The irony is that I am not only leading a series on cultivating an open state of heart, but I am also fortunate to be taking a meditation series with a beautiful teacher, Kelly Lindsey, on Loving Kindness itself. So today, when the unkind and agitated state of being surfaced, at once I was both captivated by it and aware of it. I did not like what I saw and felt, but at the same time I was so caught in the emotion and story around it. The space felt confined, with no room to pull away from the reactive waves of emotion and thought.
The hardest part is that this happened with my Mom, whom I love so much and with whom I have an active intention of kindness and compassion. Having this intention means that I must meet myself when I have fallen far from it. As I sat with the misperceptions and miscommunications that led to my irritability, I only felt more harsh and judgmental toward myself. With this too, I felt captivated, at the same time aware.
I did take time to apologize to my mom, though it did not allay my own self criticism. I had to do the work that I so often study and teach. I sat with the dark and heavy feeling of self judgement and aversion.
I woke the next morning still feeling the lingering of “gosh Sheila you can do so much better, this is not good enough or acceptable”. Somewhere in sitting with how all of this was landing in my body, I felt a little more space. Slowly I felt an understanding of myself arising in the space. I still did not feel ok about how I acted the night before, but there was a feeling of “I will just try again, as many times as I need to start fresh. It’s all I can do. I am human.”
I care deeply for my Mom and somehow it’s the closest relationships that can trigger the parts of myself that are least appealing.
I know that being kind begins with being kind to myself. It does not mean that I let myself off the hook, but I don’t barrage myself with self criticism. That will serve no one. Knowing this is one thing. Being this is another. I’ll hope to make the gap a little smaller, one day at time.
I love you Mom.