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There’s No Such Thing as a Set Back

My daughter this morning came to me with a sore throat and a head ache. There’s nothing like hearing that telling cough and watching in your mind’s eye all your precious plans collapse into a heap. That great thing you thought you’d be doing? Nah, you’ll be sitting at home, making soup and watching episodes of Ever After High for five hours.


Between the three of them, somebody in this house has been sick practically every day since September and it has been like moving through molasses these past few months trying to get anything accomplished. Hence the fact that my last essay to you all was when the leaves were still green.


It is so hard not to get frustrated. Frustration has been a theme for me personally these past few years as well as the whole planet. I’ve had things on the back burner so long it’s like they’ve become a part of the stove. Which is why I’m writing about this today. With all of these essays, I write them so I can give myself the advice I need to hear, and hopefully it’s relevant to a few of you out there as well.


When I get in a mental bind, I counsel myself on the Vedic perspective just as if I was one of my students. So, when I start cursing the sky about how so many of my goals and ventures have had the cosmic baseball bat to the back of the knees treatment, that other voice comes in to remind me that there is no such thing as a set back. “Tell that to the scale,” I respond having gained four pounds over Thanksgiving break.


The voice continues without acknowledging my snarky-ness…

Viewing the ocean from the shore, it is very dynamic, so much movement, but when seen from space, we see that none of it is really going anywhere. This is what is going on with us as well. We think our lives are about reaching goals, about going somewhere, having our reality match some picture in our heads. Happiness is on the way, the check is in the mail, just as soon and this, this and this happen.


But where we were trying to get to was always there, and all these experiences we are confronted with, they are exactly what we are meant to be having. They are shaping us, one way or another. Tempering us. Loosening up our grip of control of outcomes and timings (which we never had anyway). They may not be the experiences we’d like to be having, but they are still evolving us in some way. So, there is the progressive change. It’s still going forwards while going backwards. Even in complete stagnation, pressure for change is building.


And forward really isn’t forward anyway, it’s expansive. All these happenings, storylines, life events, they’re all pretenses for broadening your awareness. If we are to be goal oriented, there’s only one goal and that’s your enlightenment. Sounds lofty and a bit remote, but that’s the real trajectory here. And the fascinating part is it’s not as far away as you think, it’s all happening in degrees.


My small self finds comfort in this perspective, as much as I want to roll my eyes at that knowing voice at times. Even though nothing seems to be going “my way,” and my check list remains largely unchecked, movement is happening. All I’m going through is evolving me as a person and a teacher so there’s that. And by realizing that, I can find some presence and enjoyment even in the 11th consecutive episode of High School Musical: the Series. Still working on being okay with the 4 pounds though.



 


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