We recently moved our 18 year old, adult, daughter into university in Toronto. She is only 90 kilometers away but everything has changed. We are no longer a cohesive three person unit. We are now two separate entities. We have our life and she has hers. It will never go back to the way it was when she was a child.
Needless to say, this new situation brought up lots of emotions and thoughts for me. It took me a day or so to run through them all. It wasn’t pleasant at times. Lots of crap came up – every mother related fear and worry you could think of, and maybe some extras!
What I finally landed on was that this was a Fear of Life coming up again. For every exciting thing that was happening in her new life I could come up with a dozen reasons why it wasn’t safe and she should just stay home. Now, I’m trying to look at everything through her eyes and not through my own perceptions and preferences. My 55-year-old self wouldn’t like sharing a room with a roommate, but her 18-year-old self loves it.
This story – Experience Your Life – from Pema Chodron’s book Comfortable with Uncertainty – 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion reminded me to relax and allow her to delight in every new moment, while I try to do the same. I thought I would share it with you.
“A woman is running from tigers. She runs and she runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. She comes to the edge of a cliff. She sees a vine there, so she climbs down and holds on to it. Then she looks down and sees that there are tigers below her as well. At the same time, she notices a little mouse gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries emerging from a nearby clump of grass. She looks up, she looks down, and she looks at the mouse. Then she picks a strawberry, pops it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.
Tigers above, tigers below. This is the predicament we are always in. We are born and sooner or later we die. Each moment is just what it is. Resentment, bitterness, and holding a grudge prevent us from seeing and hearing and tasting and delighting. This might be the only moment of our life, this might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could feel depressed about this or we could finally appreciate it. We could delight in the preciousness of every single moment.”