Several years ago some friends and I were driving down North Ave in Chicago and I mindlessly repeated the words I saw on the sign in front of me, “Teflon Caskets. Why does anyone need a teflon casket?” A calm voice from the back said, “Teflon Gaskets, Kerri.”
Such a small difference between a “C” and a “G,” just a little bar makes it a different world, one that doesn’t trouble me or cause cognitive dissonance.
I’m looking for that little bar today. I woke up late, a very unfamiliar experience the past few months. I was holding my 7-pound cat in my arms, her bones and fur and flesh, the silky ears. She was purring loudly. As my eyes came into focus, I remembered that we saw the vet yesterday and she told us that our cat has advanced lymphoma, in her liver and in her eye, probably all over. She doesn’t have much time left with us.
I kissed her head, made a plate of the best food I could find, and then tried to get our day started.
After I got home from taking my daughter to school, my grieving, sleepy daughter, I sat down to listen to the interview for the 15th day of the Mindfulness Summit. It’s a program that has improved my life, opened my mind, broadened my choices.
I pushed play and realized that it wasn’t an interview today. It was just some guy talking. The regression into childhood began right then. I put my fist down on the couch and muttered, “I want Melli.”
Melli O’Brien is the spokesperson for the Summit, conducts the interviews and organizes the materials, and I wanted to hear her voice today. After the presentation, though, I saw that there was a mindfulness practice and that Melli was in that video.
The practice was conducted by another guy I don’t know, but Melli was there, and it was ok. I closed my eyes, put my feet on the ground. But then he said, “Sit up straight, don’t lean against the back of the chair.”
That’s it. I was out. There was no mindfulness, no awareness, only frustration and aggravation. I need to lean on the chair today and I’m not going to play this game with you. No, I’m turning off this video.
I picked up the leash to take my dog for a walk and felt the weight of grief for my cat rest on my shoulders. As Freddie sniffed the leaves and inspected branches, I worried about the mess in my backyard left by the guys who did sewer work last week. I need to get an estimate for fencing and grass. And I need indoor plumbing work.
It’s a glorious day, if I can get my eyes lifted to the sky to see it.
I had this sudden memory of teaching many years ago and getting papers where kids wrote, “It’s a doggy dog world.” They’d only ever heard the idiom and never written, “It’s a dog eat dog world,” and they got it hilariously wrong.
I thought to myself. “Really, it is a doggy dog world, and it’s better than the actual phrase.” Some days you can only be your doggy dog self. Some days you can’t feel the breath enter your nose in a cool stream and leave with warmth.
Some days you can only feel the burden on your shoulders.
My daughter asked me yesterday, “Does Feena know how much we love her?” There are some things in this world of which I’m very confident.
“Yes, she knows we love her. And she loves us.”
There is no mindfulness for me today, so I whispered to myself, “It’s ok. It’s ok.” And tomorrow will bring new opportunities.
This post is part of a year-long series about my New Year’s resolution. All in the series are included in the Resolution Chronicles category below. This is the first post that explains my resolution.
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