Monastic Mom

Present Moment, Busy Moment

Somehow my life has gotten too busy. As a single mom who works two part time jobs, and has two kids one of whom is home schooled, I have fallen into a sense of always doing something. Last fall life got totally crazy when I accepted an additional assignment at my primary part time job and also started second part time job. All my "present moments" seem to fly by in a blur of getting this done then getting that done or thinking over what else needs to be done with ne'er a moment to sit and breath or even just to enjoy life. Life had become too busy. And I had fallen away from my meditating in between the busy-ness because there never seemed to be any in between.

I recently found myself feeling like an out of control top spinning and wobbling around. With the exception of my kids, no other area of my life is getting the attention it should, not exercise, not my home, not mediation. (My kids only get the attention because the one is home schooled and the other is a teen who prefers minimal attention anyway.) It is time to get my life under control. (First Noble Truth — recognize suffering exists.)

But first, I have to look at the how and why my life became so busy. I've been trying to push to work more, not so much because I need the income, but I need benefits (medical and retirement). Unfortunately, everytime I think I'm going to qualify for benefits it ends up not happening for one reason or another. And home schooling became necessary when no alternatives could be found for my youngest who is severely dyslexic and highly intelligent. (Imagine a 12 year old with the analytical capacity of a college student coupled with the reading and writing ability of a 7 year old.) But beyond these reasons, is there something deeper? Am I keeping myself too busy to think? Am I trying to escape something? hmmmm...

It's easy to find rational reasons to do things when the real reason is you are avoiding something else. Like the marriage partner who works too many hours rationalizing that the money is needed when in reality the reason is avoiding unhappiness and discontent with situations at home. For me I have to ponder if I am keeping too busy to to escape the loneliness that seeps in from life without a partner or is it to avoid any relationships for fear of recurring the immense pain of a past relationship or perhaps to speed through a life that hasn't turned out the way I had expected. Could it be a number of other things or a combination of things? Usually there is not one cause, but many. So many things interrelated. (Second Truth — Suffering has causes.)

After much contemplation, the reality of the situation is complex and a combination of reasons, but the overriding reason for my busyness is fear of the future. Fear that if I don't find full time work now, I may not be able to get a full time job after my children graduate from high school.  I have accepted more work hoping it will lead to a full time job. Worry about the future has been taking me away from the present moment.  Ah... I've forgotten the "monastic" part of this section.  Monastic mom. Why worry if a full time job doesn't materialize, I really have considered becoming a monk.... So I've stopped worrying. (Third Truth — eliminate the suffering by eliminating the causes.)

Now to ease myself back on the middle pathway and just enjoy the present moment. I have several weeks off work, and I will be just enjoying it at home with my children. Parenting is my primary practice! (Fourth Truth — follow the Eightfold Path)

May-June 2003
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