The other day I was on Twitter (shut up, it was work related) and I noticed that a friend’s Twitterscope happened to also be my Twitterscope. It said:
You shift from being okay to not okay and back in just a few minutes. Although this may be confusing to you, it can be truly disconcerting to others. Consequently, it’s smart to keep your mood swings to yourself until they settle down. Be patient; you will gain clarity in the days ahead.
To which I said, Screw you, Twitterscope. It’s not about me. I never knew what I was walking into – a love fest or a hornet’s nest.
This horoscope advice from the planets came on the heels of my own realization that things were topsy turvy in a particular area of my life. One minute I was doing everything right. The next minute I was doing everything wrong. My moodswings? I don’t think so.
As luck would have it, every time things were going badly I’d come home and the kids would be louder/messier/slower/stickier than usual because they can tell when I’m at my wit’s end.
That’s when they put grape jelly in their hair. To make sure my love is truly unconditional.
Because I do love them unconditionally, I try to practice a little of the horoscope advice. I focus on the “be patient” part.
I can do that much. Doing the be patient part helps me realize they don’t just get jelly in their hair because I’m stressed out. Things like jelly happen all the time, but when my head needs help it throws my game.
When my head is okay, I get out the hose and am done with it. So it’s not that they’re being less loud/messy/slow/sticky normally. It’s that it doesn’t always affect me. I don’t make it part of my experience. It looks like I go from okay to not okay and back because of what the people around me are doing, when really it’s how I am handling my interpretation of what they’re doing.
It’s always an inside job.
If it’s true of my jelly-crusted children, it’s true of the hornet’s nest. I can’t control the actions of others, but I have every right to not make them part of my own reality.
The Dalai Lama, who totally knows about such things, said “When our minds are clouded by hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and anger, we lose not only control but also our judgment.”
It’s funny, isn’t it, that the wanting to be in control is what actually makes us lose control?
Be patient and you will gain clarity. Fight it and you just make it more real. It’s true on the mat and it’s true in life.
Isn’t it great that we have so many many many chances to practice this every single day?
If you focus on what’s not working or get angry with yourself, your kids, your breakfast drink, whatever, then that’s what becomes more real and that’s where your day goes. If you can let go, you can be right where you want to be.
As I was writing this, three kids spilled three glasses of chocolate milk. It was like some kind of test. Because I was writing this and I didn’t want you to see what a hypocrite I am, I handled all three spills with patience.
It seemed like good practice for when the hornets start buzzing again. Maybe I’ll learn that even the hornets are just a bunch of big kids with bad hand-eye coordination. Maybe I’ll realize that their loudest buzzing is about needing unconditional love, and it’s not directed at me at all.
Maybe, when that promised clarity comes, I can get this jelly out of my hair – and resume my love affair with Twitter.
This column was originally published in The Magazine of Yoga. Reprinted with gratitude.