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.
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