Celebrating the Messy Middle

Half the trouble in life comes from pretending there isn’t any.” – Edith Wharton

On Monday, I was practicing a short mindfulness break in the middle of the day to create more awareness of the middle of my life as I wrote in this post. What I noticed was that my day was kinda awful.

On the carpool to school, our neighbor and my daughter’s best friend broke the news that in three months they are moving 1200 miles away.

I’d just set aside all the gratitude and grief that arose as I thought of this big change in my daughter’s first real friendship so that I could work. Then the phone rang and it was my son’s daycare and they’d had an outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and needed me to come pick him up right away and get a note from the doctor before he could return.

I canceled all the rest of my work appointments for the day while I was driving to school to retrieve him, scheduled a doctors appointment for him in the afternoon. Then I asked the neighbors if my daughter could stay with them after school until I returned from the doctor which brought another wistful realization of how much I’ll miss them when they move in three months.

In short, the day was reactive, unsettling and bumpy. As I mindfully checked in with this, I had to chuckle because it reminded me of something I learned from Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. That meditation and mindfulness are not ways to always be feeling good – in fact, it often brings more irritation because we are aware.

Aware and irritated by it fit how I felt during that check-in perfectly. However, the awareness brought the ability to move through it instead of just locking it up in a box. And that is always a gift I appreciate because I learn that I can handle it. I’ve come to think of meditation as my way of irrigating the irritations so I can flow past.

Sitting with this, I could touch the powerfully poignant moment when my daughter’s first friendship changed. More than that, I was able to notice it before my optimism overwrote it with dreams of new neighbors, a new carpool and the next friend. And I suppose that’s exactly the point of focusing the spotlight of awareness.

It seems perfectly fitting to write about this in the middle of the week. 🙂

(featured photo from Pexels)