I am awash in the same sound that your eyeballs are making as they move back and forth across this digital page.
Nothing except my fingers tic-tacking away on the keyboard, and the faint smacking-sound of the dog licking his bits somewhere off in the distance.
The pin on the record soundtrack: “Kids on Winter Break” by ‘The Voice in My Head,” has finally been lifted.
(Can we still use record metaphors?)
The Voice in My Head’s smash hit, “Counseling, Cajoling, Consoling, and Complaining” played like one of those Christmas movie marathons - on and on over 3 weeks of winter break.
And each week had a different response from the audience of me:
Week 1: “Please be quiet.”
Week 2: “Enough Already!”
Week 3: “WILL you SHUT the F@@@@CK UP!”
And that was just the self-talk, never mind the verbal-abuse carols I sang to my children:
"Jingle Bells, Will You Little Jerks Clean Your Rooms?!"
"Glo-o-o-o-o-ORIA, oh. WON'T. YOU. PLEASE. WAAALK-THE DOG?"
"Deck-the-halls-with PICK UP YOUR SMELLY SA-OCKS!"
To make matters worse, as a mal-practitioner of ‘thought-based inquiry,’ and “you can’t spot it unless you got it," aka, “3 fingers pointing back at you” (unless you’re giving someone ‘the bird’ in relaxed fashion, then it’s like 2 ½… try it, you’ll see), another thing turned-up like the host of a dark game of mental twister...
WELCOME TO THE SHOW! It's time to play Inquiry Hokey Pokey! The fast paced game show where you turn yourself... on YOURSELF! (you don’t even need roller skates!)
Whatever Counseling, Cajoling, Consoling, or Complaining I had for my kids, I was compelled to turn it around to myself, to see if it applied. This brought the whole: 'my-kids-are-my-greatest-teachers–thing' to a whole new level of self-bashing.
Certainly not what it was intended for, but in the hands of a Zen-less master, the mis-application of ‘spiritual growth’ techniques can be an occupational hazard.
Here’s a fresh example from this morning:
My daughter sneezed on the drive to school.
Well not really. She wound-up like most people: eyelids slam shut, the gob is ajar, head goes back, chin and nostrils drift apart… wait for it…
Me: “Snk? Gi, what was THAT?!”
Gi: “I sneezed, mom.”
Me: “That wasn’t a sneeze, lov. That’s the sound of nasal constipation. Why didn’t you just let ‘er rip?”
Gi: “Cause that way is cuter.”
Me: “Cuter?! Gi! That’s like having to take a poo, and holding it in because pooping isn’t ‘cute.’ God made sneezing for a reason. Get it OUT, girl! It ain’t gonna be cute when your eyeballs shoot out of your head.”
Gi: (Laughing) “I don’t think I can now.”
Me: “Well next time then… do NOT hold sneezes in. It’s like a major first-line immune system function. It’s your body trying to get rid of dust and pollen and viruses and bacteria and God knows what else you’ve got crammed up there.”
Gi: “No, mom. I mean, I don’t know if I could actually sneeze, I’ve been doing it that way for so long.”
Me: “Super, I’ll just add it to the list of therapists you are all going to need one day.”
Are you kidding me? I mean! I could NEVER have predicted that ‘Sneeze Retraining’ would be something I’d have to put on the to-do list.
What’s that fall under: occupational therapy? physical therapy? electroshock?
The nerve of that kid, stifling God’s good work to appear ‘cuter;’ and adding to MY list of anxieties that one day she’s going to blow out her retinas; neverMIND have more sick days off school during which I’ll have to feel guilty for neglecting her.
Ah! There it is: “counseling, cajoling, consoling, and complaining.”
You just do the Hokey Pokey, and you turn that shit around…
After I dumped the kids off at school and headed for home, I started thinking about all the natural functions of mySelf that I’ve suppressed in my life – past, present, and what-will-I-come-up-with-next!?
I mean physically, yeah, there’s quite a list there:
- Not eating when I’m hungry (to appear ‘cuter’.)
- Not resting when I’m tired (Press on! Burn that midnight bacon fat! Must. Succeed!)
- Not farting in a public place (although when it DOES happen, there’s this ‘serpentine’ move you can apply… it works great in Barnes And Noble with all those aisles, no one has to know it was you… email me for details.)
Stuff like that.
But there’s a whole other litany of soul-level suppression of natural inclinations:
- Soul Said: “Not on your life!” I Said: “Ok, I’ll do it.”
- Soul Said: “I’d really like to write.” I Said: “Nursing it is!”
- Soul Said: “This doesn’t feel right.” I Said: “Great idea! I’ll go first!”
- Soul Said: “Not ready for this.” I Said: “Fake it ‘till you make it!”
- Soul Said: “High places make me pee in my pants” I Said: “Sky diving? Great!”
I could go on (and on, and on.)
The Hokey Pokey is actually meant to be a game of gentle inquiry.
A simple awareness that other humans are a mirror. A seeing of… ‘opportunities for growth,’ and the RELEASE of suffering. NOT “look in the mirror and...
"SPOT THE HYPOCRITE!”
Oy. Please. Somebody lift the veil already.
Anyway. The cool thing is, when Gi got home we had a laugh about “SNK.” Apparently, sneezing like a mouse is all the rage in Junior High School.
I told her how enlightening 'SNK' was for me, and what I saw. And then this sage advice:
“Always be true to yourself, my darling. Right down to the sneeze.”
She said, "Awesome, Mom. Alana is coming over. Can we go get Takis?"