It is not all about me.

So a many of you know Zoë and I legally were married this past Saturday after having been together for 10 years. Thank you to the State of New York for the great anniversary present.  I love being with my wife. I also love being mother to my son Nicholas and all the others who have adopted me as a parent figure in their lives. I know all these relationships are part of who I was created to be and what I was created to do in this world. 

However, there are moments when I am not in love with any of these roles and there are even moments when I am not too pleased with life either.  For example, I find it frustrating when I am in a deep sleep and one of my “kids” butt dials my private line at 6:30 in the morning or when people call me drunk at 2:30 in the morning or when Zoë likes to ask me questions about a cat video she is watching when I am trying to focus on my writing, editing, or grading. 

In each of these situations, I found myself keenly aware of a feeling that was racing through my body like the Indianapolis 500.  This feeling was frustration.  It is in those moments when I feel like I just want to explode, that I stop sit quietly, pay attention to my feeling and try to discern why I am choosing to feel this way.  As I sat there reflecting, I realized that what was frustrating me was not what any one else was doing, but my interpretation of how everything should be.  Zoë should be quiet because I was working.  Nobody should call me drunk when I am sleeping.  Nobody should call me when I am sleeping.  Hmm, the belief behind all of these – nobody should disturb my quiet.

My frustration was coming from the crashing of my beliefs with other people’s enjoyment of life.  Others were living and their life was crashing against my beliefs and it was all resulting in my feeling frustrated.  The more I have come to think about frustration, the more I have to come to realize that I get frustrated when life is not happening the way I think it should be. How dare the world operate in a way that is contradictory to my beliefs? Frustration happens when I choose to see the world through my lens only as if my lens is the only lens and all other ways of being are wrong.

Then I stopped and practiced what I tell others all the time. I began to breathe and pray.  Infinite Presence, may you bless me with acceptance and compassion.  Help me to remember that the world does not always operate according to my belief system.  Release me of the frustration and fill my heart with peace. 

Could I have responded differently in any of these situations?  I am working on it.  I am grateful Zoë finds so much joy in her videos and other things in life.  I have to remember that just because I am working on things, does not mean her world ends or her joy has to stop. 

The other thing I became aware of is that I no longer felt like reading, editing, or grading. However, I believed that I should get more work done.  So, rather then press on, I am going to listen to my frustration with myself and take time to experience life, joy, peace and the beauty of the night.  Now, that is transformation. That’s peace within on a beautiful night.