Monday, January 12, 2009

Making Do

With a day of reflection acknowledging the disappointment I'd felt back in 2006 when I was wanting to share my Zen practice with AM I've been brought round to how I so easily look past my needs. Something that CK has called my attention to. Just tonight the way she did something called my mind to this. There's a "Full Moon" yoga practice tonight at Prananda that she'd been planning to join me at. For several reasons she isn't going, but she checked in to be sure I was really feeling OK with that or if I would benefit or just want her there with me tonight for support.

At what point does the ability to be good at compromise turn into letting go of what I feel is important?

I can think of instances large and small where my memory and my Mother's collide. Where she talks about making sacrifices, and to be fair she did try do things I wanted. It was just so often there was some part of it where it was what I wanted, done to her specifications. So maybe not exactly what I wanted, but I was always pointed to how it was just as good, if not better than what I wanted. In the face of such little support, and sometimes outright threat of punishment, it is no wonder I became an accomplished compromiser.

Going to Beloit was something I really wanted and I didn't get to finish that, a decision that was lead by my Mother. Sometimes I'm still amazed that I listed to her, but I then remind myself that I'd been having a year-long emotional breakdown. I suppose it comes up when I think about it because I still feel some sadness over just leaving suddenly like I did, over not finishing something.

Just layers of having my wants undermined, second-guessed. Yes, it taught me how to see the positive in all kinds of situations. It has also taught me to ignore any disappointment or sadness I felt around something. I spent most of my first marriage doing it. When there started to be disconnects between AM and I, we both looked away and I reminded myself that things weren't bad, I wasn't that unhappy. That it is entirely fine to make do, make the best of what is there.

The depth of contentment, happiness I feel sharing my practice with CK turns me around to look at not sharing a spiritual practice with AM. When I began practicing with a Zen community there where a couple of years where I asked him to share this with me and he said he couldn't because he had his own practice, it wasn't the same as mine. And this is so completely true. Buddhism reminds us again and again, we must make our own way on the path. He also noted that he also tried to pull back so I would have space to have something that was my own.

Yet, I felt hurt about this even though I did understand his reasoning and even agreed with it. What I need to be mindful of is how I also dismissed my hurt and just reassured myself with reasonable compromise. I realize now that what I was craving was the feeling of Sangha, the community of people practicing together, supporting one another on their solitary way. When I practice with my partner I feel how we two make a very small Sangha, giving synergy to our individual practices as well as to the practice that is our relationship.

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