Aug 21, 2002

Mischief and Muscle Cramps on the Road to Enlightment.

I envy those people who wake up one morning and "find God". Those lucky enough to be hitching a ride on the right highway at the right time.

I, on the other hand, seem to be reading the map upside down.

I blame it on my parents, who never sent me to Sunday School. I remember one brief stint at a Vacation Bible School, those repositories of summer ebuliation designed more to save a mother's sanity than a youthful soul. There was also a smattering of Sunday Services. My religious foundation is built on solid sand. I know the words to only the most well-known of Bible verses, but not where they can be found. I still need the songbook to get thru a chorus of "Onward, Christian Soldiers". I lip-synch the Lord's Prayer like the soundtrack to a foreign movie.

I've carried on this legacy, I'm ashamed to say. I never taught my daughter "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep". Who wrote that? The mere thought of her dying before she wakes gives me the willies. Surely reciting that little ditty on a daily basis would now qualify as child abuse. What was that person thinking? We do have a book of Children's Bible Stories. We use it to prop up the broken bureau leg.

So, being a bit of a stranger in a strange spiritual landscape with a still supple soul in my care, I decide to remedy the situation. I decide to start by learning to meditate. Something that requires no more of me than to sit still and empty my mind. Now there's an easy task.


I stumble at the first step - where do I attempt this? I need a quiet, relaxing place. In a house with one dog, two cats, and one child. The birth of whom has gifted me with Post-partum Sensory Acuity and Maternus Sixth Sensious. I can tell someone's drinking from the milk carton three rooms away. Surely, you jest.

And what time of day? Early morning? Evening?

I chose the end of the day, when all creatures legged two and four are winding down. Of course, it takes a little longer for my day to actually end, but all is quiet by that time. Relax, find a comfortable position, clear the mind...

Extricating myself from that position is a real treat when the morning alarm goes off.

But I try again. Ben-Gay, the body's ability to heal, and the mind's propensity to forget. Morning, this time. My waking triggers the feline chorus. Get the cats fed. The dog out for a constitutional. Maybe I better wait until after the morning routine, when things settle down? Get child up. Make breakfast. Get child up. Pack lunch. Get child up. Let dog out again. Threaten to send child to school in pajamas. Send out the door to the bus stop without a minute to spare. Clean the kitchen. Check the day's schedule.

By the time I find the quiet, I am ready for a nap.

The sunroom is a calm and beautiful place to begin, and the old wooden rocker means I'll have both feet on the floor. I close my eyes.

How do I make my mind a blank slate? It's crowded with to-do lists, grocery lists, chore lists, appointments, school projects. I need a really big eraser. So, ok, try a chant. that the cardinal chirping? Did I fill the bird-feeder?

Ooohhmmm....the hum of traffic. When did I last check the tires? Am I overdue for an oil change? Do I need to get gas before my meeting today?

Ooohhmmm...the cat scratches at the back door.

Ooohhmmm...the Indy 500 professional lawn-mower race starts up next door.

Ooohhmmm...did I mail the electric bill that's due? Or was it the phone? nose itches. If I scratch it, is it cheating?

Ooohhmmm...speaking of the phone...

My inner spirit has obviously been captured by my inner child and is playing hide-and-seek.

Maybe I'll try yoga. I've already got the Ben-Gay.