So I spent my day fighting myself. It has been a long week, kids home from school, their dad away at a conference and me balancing work and parenting. So today I cracked. My patience was somewhat intact but my mood was quiet and brooding. My parents in their kindness, offered to take the kids to the beach and boy was I grateful. Yet I spent the day fighting the urge to push away my feelings with food or obsessive thoughts; my two favorite pastimes. Instead, I sat with the feelings. And then towards the end of the day I decided I needed a book. So long before my kids were asleep I had a plan. I would hit the brand new bookstore that opened and find a book to read, something that would make me feel warm and fuzzy. As soon as I had the opportunity, I got into my car and went. Already feeling the freedom on my back , I got to the store and picked out 4 books and spent 53 dollars. I left feeling somewhat dissatisfied with my purchase and then I realized the truth of the situation. The thing I had been working against all day I just succumbed to in 53 minutes in a book store. Rather than face the feelings, I filled myself up with stuff. Rather than allow for the sensations, I spent money to make myself feel better, to push them away and as usual it didn’t work. What did work, was me being able to notice my impulse to run from the feelings, my impulse to push away my dissatisfaction. Because it was the noticing that enabled me to let it go. And then I was able to notice the yellow tinge of the full moon hovering above with wisps of clouds floating by and it was in that moment that the love that I am came pouring out and with it the joy of being in this moment.
In my experience, I often times use food, spending money and reading to disappear from the feelings but it is in the moment that I can notice my impulse to push away my dissatisfaction and take the opportunity to let it go. I can allow for the feelings and rest in the knowingness that they are just feelings and I am more than that. And it is in that moment that I can notice what is actually here and now.
When we try to use external things to make us feel happy, we are often disappointed because in my experience happiness can not come from outside of us. It doesn’t come from books or food or money. In my experience happiness is a choice we make in each moment , the choice is between accepting what is or wishing it were different. When we can accept what is, we can welcome the joy of the moment , because it is in the moment that we appreciate the beauty around us, our children, sharing the excitement of a wriggly worm, our spouse giving us a hug or the sun shining in all of its glory. And with this I welcome you to join me in this moment allow the thoughts to float by and notice the beauty that is here.
Rabbi Esther Azar