Yesterday I was at the park with my three-year old, Teela. We went to a new park and there were many kids around her age playing about. We took out her sand toys, attracting other kids, and soon she was into her not sharing mode. This immediately took me to this quote I read once.
“Here’s a test. an elderly lady behind you says to her husband, “Maple’s my favorite!” Do you like the donut enough to leave it for her?” (The Essential Yoga Sutra by Geshe Micheal Roach and Christie McNally – Sutra 2.7 – 2.9)
This has always stumped me. Do I like something enough to give it away? What a thought. The authors are trying to explain the concept of grasping and its relation to liking and disliking things. He argues that liking that donut is a ‘stupid’ kind of liking. We need to find the mistake in that kind of liking and learn to tell the difference between ‘stupid’ liking and ‘smart’ liking. Liking peace and helping others would be smart liking in a very general sense. It is harder to apply in every day life and even more so in the heat of the moment like at the park when you are three years old and sharing toys against your will because your mom says so.
Does my little girl like the sand toys enough to leave them for these kids at the park? No, her brain development is not there. The ego is strong in our young ones as they find their sense of being. In reading Eckhart Tolle’s book The New Earth he shares a story of a women who is terminally ill that he spends time with as a counsellor. She looses a ring that is very special to her. He asks her some very good questions.
“Do you realize that you will have to let go of the ring at some point, perhaps quite soon? How much more time do you need before you will be ready to let go of it? Will you become less when you let go of it? Has who you are become diminished by the loss?”
I especially like the last one. I am going to think of that question many times while I go through the process of decluttering my house and life. I think of that question a lot when I hold onto family heirlooms I have of my anscestors. I am so passionate about family history and holding onto things of my grandmothers or great grandmothers that I do feel my identity is wrapped up in it. At some point I will have to let it go.
Since Teela was in such a fowl mood (she has a head cold) we packed up our toys with the intention of leaving before things got worse for Teela. As we walked away I wondered if I had something special and someone showed an interest in it could I like it enough to give it to them?
This spring I was informed that I exhibit signs of being an introvert. It came as quite a shock to me because I chat with people in supermarkets or checkout lines. I never thought of myself as an introvert. The lady waiting at the bus stop, well somehow we probably got to chatting and she shared with me some of the most intimate thoughts she has. I can bring that out in people and I love it.
Introverts apparently like intimate relationships rather than surface ones. We like to go deeper and can’t stand just talking about the weather or some relatively insignificant matter. We want to get right to the soul of the situation and do this with one or two people rather than a table full. This is why I can bond well with some stranger but put me in a banquet room at my husband’s work Christmas party and I am nauseous.
Last night my husband makes a remark about me being traumatized about crossing the street due to being hit by a car when I was young. I think for a moment and realize that I am not traumatized by that event. I have a lot of good memories from that episode in my life actually. But I do realize that I was hit by a car because I was rushing across the street to avoid some friends. Yes, that is the type of person I am. You can show up at my house and I will invite you in for cookies and milk. I love surprise visitors. Well, one or two but not groups. If you call me up I’m happy to meet you anywhere and have a visit. But for some reason meeting up with people unexpectedly really makes me nervous. I hide.
As I sit silently reflecting on this for a moment I recall a crowd of friends showing up at my door when I was in Grade Seven or Eight and pressuring me to go out with them. I had been out with them often enough for my liking so I made up a lie that I was grounded so I could stay in by myself. It worked too.
I see many pieces of a puzzle floating together, many moments of introvertedness (yes, I just created a word) coming together to show me a picture of being an introvert. I see how much I need to do some educating to find coping mechanisms. I see my two youngest girls preferring to be alone as well. Perhaps I can be a guiding light for them.