Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Buddhism 101

I have decided to become a Buddhist this summer. My Buddhist practice will not replace my Christian practice, but merely overlay it, like a nice piece of lace, or a veil, or a double-dose of Valium.

Buddhism, as I understand it, is the practice of letting go of expectations and judgment in an effort to diminish suffering. And since my children have already made it very clear to me that I will suffer this summer if I don't take drastic action, and since I don't have a Valium prescription, Buddhism it is.

As a Buddhist, I will focus on what is in my control and what is out of my control. For instance, today is the first day of June, and it's almost 100 degrees outside. Instead of getting anxious about it--my normal reaction to high temperatures at the beginning of summer--I tell myself I can't control the weather; it is what it is. I make no judgment upon it. I make no judgment on the radio announcers who seem almost sadistic in their excitement as they report the rising temperatures. I let go of all the negative thoughts I have about radio announcers who have never learned to simply report the facts instead of editorializing. I resist the impulse to tell them to shut up; we already know it's hot, you morons.

I am letting go. I am letting go of my children's boredom, their ennui, their stunning slothfulness, their inability to entertain themselves sans electronic devices. I am letting go.

Instead of freaking out over the fact that for the next eleven weeks, I will hardly ever have a minute to myself, I am meditating on jam. My friend Melissa generously spent last Thursday morning showing me how to make strawberry jam and can it, and on my birthday a few days ago I received a Presto Pressure Canner. So this summer, instead of suffering, I will make jam, and I will can it in those cute little jars, and I will think about all the nice folks I will give the jam to at Christmas, and I will do my best not to throw the cute little jars of jam at my children when they drive me crazy.

Because I am a Buddhist, and that's how we roll.

9 comments:

Melissa E said...

I like this approach. It's a great way to look at things. So glad you got the canner! Hope it keeps you sane this summer...its easy to become immersed in finding new recipes and experimenting! Jars full of jam make good weapons I am sure...and smashing fruit for jam is good for little idle hands!

Pom Pom said...

You are so funny, Frances! Camp?

wayside wanderer said...

You're a nut! I love it.

Happy Birthday, by the way! Did you get a yummy pie?

It is already hot as blazes here, too, so you are not alone. I tell my children to embrace it, not because we are Buddist or even because we are Christian but because we are TEXANS by golly. =D

Tracy said...

Frances, you're always making me laugh - How worried should we be?

You know, I think you need to migrate to countries (like mine!) who only have six week summer holidays. You go away camping at the beach for half of it, a week of it is all about Christmas, and then you only have two weeks to really be concerned about.

Danielle said...

OOOMMMMM......

Gumbo Lily said...

Ha! You're killing me!
Roll baby!

Susan said...

Confusious says "the journey of a thousand summer miles begins with the first jar of jam."

debbie bailey said...

Love all the comments. Happy belated birthday! I always tell my kids that I'm not their entertainment committee, and that if they say they're bored, I'll find them something to do; like vacuum, pick blueberries, sweep..you get the picture. They only said they were bored once. I learned them a thing or two, yes sirree!

The dB family said...

You make me laugh! My friend and I have a motto. "Whatever it takes!" I'm going to make us matching with it written on them. I hope you're able to survive the summer. Just think of all those jars filled with this summer's delicious bounty!

Blessings!
Deborah