“There was a crazy-wisdom teacher in India named Saraha. He said that those who believe that everything is solid and real are stupid, like cattle, but that those who believe that everything is empty are even more stupid. Everything is changing all the time, and we keep wanting to pin it down, to fix it. So whenever you come up with a solid conclusion, let the rug be pulled out. You can pull out your own rug, and you can also let life pull it out for you.”
-Pema Chrodron from Start Where you Are
I received this book for Christmas and it’s full of little gems that are really speaking to me right now. Part of my personal practice is to do things on purpose to “pull the rug out”, in an attempt to remain awake as much as I can (in my books too). Having a small child helps with that, as you can no longer rely on “things going as YOU want them to go”. The first month after a child is born you realize in the most painful and gut-wrenching of ways that it is no longer about YOU. This is the wonderful Buddhist teaching of letting go of the ego. You come up against it in parenting almost everyday. A chance to learn over and over again. A beautiful gift, non?
I have had a chance to work on some other things in the last few months. It all began with a post about roasted chestnuts (which you might remember). This was followed by the onset of what we thought was a nasty stomach flu. Then a somewhat strange interaction with Tom Yum soup in which I consumed enough for three people in a sitting with my husband and sister just watching me with a concerned but also slightly amused look on their faces. “What?”, I said. It was suggested that a pregnancy test might be in order.
And so it seems that the “ode to roasted chestnuts” may not be as innocent as it first appeared. I think I mentioned in the post that I had a dream about them that night, and that I was very upset (almost to the point of tears) when the dog ate the ones I was saving. I should have clued in then. As i write this I am four days shy of being twelve weeks pregnant. Our little family is terribly excited and grateful!
The challenging part of this story is I have been very sick (in a kind of bed ridden not wanting to eat kind of way, though I have to force food down as it is the only thing that helps) which has made the holidays a bit less festive. But I’m doing my best, and (knock on wood), it is slightly better now, I am no longer having to be horizontal for half of the day (only after I eat). Somehow I managed to make it through to the end of the semester, I had to tell my students so they would understand if I had to run out of the room in a hurry. They were wonderfully excited and supportive, when I had to actually eat bananas while teaching to keep the nausea at bay. Every twenty minutes some kind of food has to go in or I end up in a bad way. After three months of this I am ready for the second trimester. Bring it on!
Some things that have been helping:
-knitting (my god how much more human I feel to be knitting again), I’m making a long sleeved Shalom sweater using the mods created by Soulemama. For years my favorite sweater has been becoming more and more threadbare, and it has become a little embarrassing to wear it out of the house now. So I decided to just make one to replace it, this is as close as I have found to the original.
-my favorite xmas present was An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec published by Wakefield Press. This little book fills me with such delight, it is a beautiful volume perfect for having in your bag when you go out on an adventure! It made me want everything this publisher does. The front page of their site describes their list “Wakefield Press is an independent American publisher devoted to the translation of overlooked gems and literary oddities in small, affordable, yet elegant paperback editions.” What’s not to love?
-a large bowl of oatmeal with cream, a bit of maple syrup and raisins before bed.
-I have had to rely on my husband and sister more than ever. This is challenging for someone who likes to do everything herself. But I am literally unable to do it, and so having to ask for help is very good for me. I am learning that it creates more intimacy in my close relationships. Funny how we sometimes push away the things we are really needing in life. That is when it is good to have the “rug pulled out” so to speak. It forces you to the places you most need to go.