Monday, August 15, 2011
A Jealousy I Want to Let Go
This morning was beautiful. The weather was springlike. It was sunny, but cool with gentle breezes. We took the children to the zoo and had a wonderful time. Mid-morning we stopped at a set of benches for a snack. The children climbed on some rocks and we rested a while. As we were sitting there, a mother stopped to sit with her 7 month old baby in a stroller. They were adorable. They exchanged smiles and giggles. The baby babbled and blew raspberries. I just sat there insanely jealous of the experience I never had. I need to let it go. Yes, I didn't get to do the infant bonding, smile exchanging, babbling baby thing. Yes, that sucks. However, life isn't perfect, and I have two wonderful children. I shouldn't let seeing other wonderful babies and happy mothers cast a shadow on my day.
We have a children's book: Zen Shorts by John J Muth. It is a story about three children who meet their new neighbor who is a panda. Each child visits the panda individually and is told a short story based on a zen principle. One of the stories is about two monks. One monk is old and wise while the other is young and still learning. After observing a rather spoiled woman ungratefully waiting for help from her two servants, the older monk carries her on his back across some water in her path and she goes her way without thanking him. The two monks continue on their way. The older is content while the younger spends the next several hours fuming until finally he asks the older monk why he isn't angry. The older monk tells the younger monk that he left his burden behind hours ago (the lady) and asks the younger monk why he is still carrying his burden (his anger).
I think of this short story every time I have this experience of being jealous of a happy mother with her smiling, babbling infant. I want to be the older monk, not the younger. I visualize letting go of a dark balloon filled with cloudy smoke and watching it gently drift away into a sunny sky until it disappears from my sight. I try to imagine the jealousy floating away and myself feeling lightness and a sense of relief and just letting that negative emotion go.
I'm not having much success so far.