The Self and the self
I wasn’t feeling so well today so I ended up spending a good part of the afternoon laying on the couch, resting and reading. The family buzzed around me with their normal activities. The girls at times played, at other times they fought. Since I was not actively parenting, it was interesting to sit back and observe.
There were moments where small issues quickly snowballed into larger ones. As situations became increasingly charged, I could see my girls slowly losing perspective, their world seemingly closing in on them. I have to admit it was almost funny to watch. My husband, Herb, said, “I think I should talk to the girls. They seem to be making a big thing over these small issues”. I agreed and said, “Yes, just try to talk to them from a place of understanding or they won’t be interested in really understanding. Honestly, we do the same things as adults, we just don’t always scream and cry about it”. My husband laughed and took the girls out for a while.
It’s true. We all get caught in a self and a world that feels small at times – my story, my feelings, my situation. Children and adults alike are vulnerable to this. Perhaps the things we get caught up in are different in nature, but the result is the same. We begin to feel a sense of separation from other’s and a diminished sense of our own being.
It’s not a bad thing to be vulnerable in this way. It’s simply a human thing. I am drawn to remembering that along with this comes our potential for something greater; the self that can see beyond our own stories, that knows each emotion and circumstance is transient, whose capacity to love is boundless even as our own limits arise. It is the larger Self that can hold space for the smaller self as it comes and goes.
Today, I enjoyed seeing my own ways and habits through those of my girls. It made me smile and feel a lightness about life. We don’t have to take everything so darn seriously. Life is too short. We might as well show up for all of it, both big and small, painful and joyful, limited and limitless. This is not meant to minimize some of the real challenges that are arising in the world today, nor to deny the goodness. Somehow, though, if things can be taken more lightly at the individual level, I can only imagine that it would be of benefit to the world at large.
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” ~ Pema Chodron