In Search of The Zen Mind

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She was here and gone in a flash, our Summer of Love truncated into a week at the front end and another that awaits us at the back. I did my best to embrace this first half, but I could have done much more. Not enough snuggling, not enough laughing, not enough listening. I'm half in, half out most of the time as my brain races from one thought to the next. It's a frustrating condition, likely more frustrating to the people who are trying to reach me and finding me half engaged.

I told you that, Mom. 

No you did not!

Yes, I did.

You did? I didn't hear you.

But you answered me.

I didn't hear you. I'm sorry.

My brain is a hummingbird, in constant flight. My heart aches for stillness, connection, the simple bliss of being fully immersed in the moment. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. If there is a Zen Mind, I do not possess it. What is the opposite of the Zen Mind? I'm not sure. The Chaos Mind, perhaps? If so, I signed up at birth and it has only been exacerbated by the exit of my hormones post menopause. 

Ooo, the chaos mind? Sounds fun! I'll take it!

54 years later and...

...I'd like to return it, please.

No, seriously. Take it back. 

In our increasingly noisy, frantic reality, I am struggling more each day with finding focus. This is the plan. Keep us all so distracted by an endless parade of insanity that we begin to doubt ourselves, each other, our institutions, the very nature of reality.

Which is tenuous at best. 

Add to this The Chaos Mind, and it's a wonder I am able to complete this sentence.

What was I writing about, again?

I had a revelation last week, or a realization, depends on your perspective. I realized based on observation and personal experience, that women who have raised children and become 'empty nesters' tend to redecorate their homes and create a pristine, pretty, ordered, tidy, non-chaotic environment. After all, kids are messy and destructive and expensive to raise, and it's hard to keep a home clean, neat, and damage free with children running roughshod over it all. When my daughter was growing up, we had so much going on that any clean surface would be covered with detritus within moments of being cleared. Pillows and throws carefully arranged on furniture scattered hither and yon, impossible numbers of crumpled tissues, squashed juice boxes, and empty wrappers littered across the floors and shoved into couch cushions, endless papers from school stacked haphazardly and needing constant attention, samples from clients still in boxes stacked on top of other boxes creating towers of random craft supplies...dirty towels, used glasses, random socks...all proliferating with astounding speed.

Then she left for college. We moved. We moved again. Messy, cluttered, and unkempt shifted to clean, simple, and ordered. This makes The Chaos Brain happy, yet it does little to soothe the aching heart beyond keeping it and the caretaker of both of these organs from falling apart. I will put this here and add this over there, I will keep this surface uncluttered, this bed made, these towels folded just so, and these plants alive because I finally have time to remember to water them. 

Hooray. 

When my daughter comes home, I have to reset myself and remember that the clutter is good. I have to let go of the desire for order. I have to remember that I cannot control everything, or much of anything. I have to let the heart take hold and The Chaos Mind take a breather. 

She was here and gone in a flash, and the house has been duly re-ordered. The Chaos Mind has been appeased. The aching heart still aches. I should have done more snuggling, laughing, and listening and less worrying about the things I cannot control. One day, perhaps, I will find The Zen Mind.

Or not, but I strive.

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If you like this post, you might like my new book Fifty and Other F-words: Reflections From the Rearview Mirror. I'm just sayin'.