**This is going to be quite a long ramble today so apologies in advance**

Living, residing, only in the Moment... certainly an idea, a mindset, a philosophy, a concept even, I've been aware of for years no doubt. I even thought, at times, I was fully instituting it and often. I am here, here I am.

Well, like many things, I thought I was "Aware", "Present", "In the Moment" and much more --along with that, I also mistakenly thought I was practicing and applying many great processes mainly gleaned from Zen Buddhism too-- but I was wrong. I was applying none of it. I had mistaken, simple or not, the space between reading or hearing something, packing it away into my gray matter all neatly, and then moving on with having packed it away, truly absorbing it, and never actually using any of it (especially beyond conversation starter or add-on to the standard "Dig me, shit yeah, I know about deep Eastern stuff man"). I had forgotten, or is that--Never Knew in the first place?, that beyond what is learned or absorbed or processed inward one has to be mindful of it... Mindful meaning: Application, Practice, Utilizing the Process of Daily Thought (and in particular, when the shit hits the fan: quite often the single most difficult time to slow things down and think/feel crystal clearly).

Referring to the most memorable quote for me from the movie, "The Big Chill"...

 

 

Again...

Minister: "Are not the satisfactions of being a good man among our common men great enough to sustain us anymore?"
(by the way, did you know that Kevin Costner is in this movie, pre-Dances with Wolves and JFK? Yeah, he's seen, onscreen, at the beginning of the movie... his wrists with stitches as Alex the Corpse)
Anyway, that scene and quote always resonated with me because it raised the question in my head of Want, Need, Desire versus Satisfaction and Fulfillment.

Going forward...

It's the holiday season and as such we, we as in myself, Amy & Chloe, have been doing a fair amount of X-Mas decorating. Amidst all that decorating Chloe was of the mind that our very old heirloom apple tree that resides in front of our new home should be dressed up with all manner of ornamentation. She shopped at the local "Made in China", cheapo, dollar type shop and came home with bags of large clear plastic stars and snowflakes, very large plastic & glass round tree ornaments and an assortment of materials for the hanging of the aforementioned. Over the course of an afternoon she used a ladder and thoughtfully placed all of these bedazzlements on the apple tree. It looked wonderful. It looked magical. Our neighbors commented, our neighbors children were delighted... UPS, FedEx and US Mail people commented while smiling and delivering goods. She done good. But then yesterday came...

She was upstairs placing some flameless candles we had recently purchased (by the way--flameless candles with built-in timers are wonderful. Buy some if you're unfamiliar, seriously, purchase some you will be pleased) in a window and Amy was sitting out of doors on our porch when Chloe saw and Amy heard two young male teenagers come up the sidewalk and announce, in what Amy later recalled as a "completely dumbass voice", ... (cue a Beavis & Butthead style timbre here) "OH LOOK MAN, FUCKING CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS!!!"
As Amy started to get up from her chair on the porch she heard a smack and then a "PLANG" followed by a "SWOOSH" and then finally a "SPPPLAAAANGGG". The two Teen males laughed as Amy, quite loudly, pronounced them both as "You ASSHOLES" and they ran. Chloe flew down the stairs and out the front door and began tallying up the carnage...
her favorite ornament, a kind of metallic, chrome-illusion in blue/green, large sphere was on the concrete sidewalk dead.
Amy went back to her chair and crosswords while I appeared on the porch in an effort to learn what all the yelling had been about...

Amy (rather nonplussed): "Oh, that. A couple boys were walking up the sidewalk carrying skateboards and I just knew they were going to do something stupid so I got up to let them know I was there but they must have not seen me because they whacked one of the ornaments in the tree and broke it."
Chloe (rather enraged and with a fair bit of Beside Herself thrown in): "They smashed it. It's a crime dad. Might be a silly question, but can we call the police," she standing in the middle of the sidewalk, hands on hips, face more red than all of Communist China itself, "I mean shouldn't they know about this?! Can't this be considered a crime?? A violation of destruction of private property?!"
She was pissed off. Amy was already back to a new and more challenging crossword.
Finally I asked, "I heard the word Asshole... who said that?"
Without looking up, Amy said that was her--after the incident, as the two malfeasants exited the scene of the crime.
Chloe tried to repair her beloved holiday globe while endlessly going on about violations of property, the singular stupidly of testosterone in young males and no one having any respect for thoughtfully placed beautification of public spaces any longer.

Being a dad, and a testosterone-riddled non-young male, I suggested a recon by automobile. Amy scoffed, adding that it was a good crossword. Chloe lit up with dark pleasure. Eventually both Chloe and I convinced Amy to dawn jacket, keys & purse and set out.

Within five blocks we passed two young Teens, sitting on their skateboards atop a brick wall, faces thoroughly engrossed in their smart phones. I, in passenger seat, asked both of The Girls, "Is that our ornament smashers?" Amy wasn't sure while Chloe was. I had Amy pull a U-Turn and double back. Amy confirmed that yes that was they so I then had her pull yet another U-Turn and double/double back so I could chat with them. Chloe, from the backseat, blurted out, "Oh boy, this is gonna be good!!" I told her to calm down and let me talk to them as Amy pulled the car up to the curb in front of where they sat on the wall...

"Evening gents," as they looked up from their illuminated cellular devices.
They already looked on the defensive as they looked back at me while pocketing their cell phones and hopping down off the wall.

I asked them if they had been on 16th street any time recently and when they both mumbled, unsure as to where this might go, "Yeah" I mentioned Christmas ornaments and how two Teen type youth males with skateboards had assaulted a glass spherical chrome-illusion decoration the one, full mustache and not too far past 14 maybe 15 years old, blurted out, "We were on the other side of the street."
"So you walked up 16th on the other side of the street, opposite where I am talking about?" while smiling at them.
"Yeah, we saw that yard with all the decorations."
I mentioned we have no decorations in our yard.
"Yeah, I meant tree," the other kid said while scuffling his shoe on the concrete sidewalk. He, for effect I presume, added, "We never walked on 16th. It was 15th."
I pointed out that I had never mentioned a tree. They looked nervous.
"So you both walked opposite a tree or yard with decorations and didn't smash one of the decorations in either the tree or yard then?"
They both shook their heads no while Mustache Manchild said, "No. We didn't do nothing."

"Why would you admit it if you did, right?"
"What? We didn't do nothing."
"Well, I did my fair share of stupid things at your age too. And I wouldn't have admitted it either," pulling up my best understanding facial expression.
Staying firm, "We didn't do nothing."

I asked them both if they were certain... they concurred. I smiled and wished them both a good evening and finished with, "be and stay safe out here, it's dark." They looked down at their feet and said thanks.

At first Chloe was very satisfied with the exchange... why not, the two boys contradicted themselves a couple times, got baffled then confused, and there was the added bonus that they knew we knew--and we now knew them. However, later Chloe got herself back into a semi-funk about property, beauty, people just randomly finding it funny to break something. When I noticed she wasn't spinning out of it I asked her some questions.

"So you had the notion to beautify the apple tree correct? To take the time and effort and care to see through this idea that was in your head... am I correct?" She nodded. I continued, "Has it ever occurred to you that just as you made that decision those two boys made an equal decision to break that ornament?" She looked baffled.
"But dad, that's not good. That's destroying someone else's thing, someone else's work."
I nodded in agreeance and countered...
"Completely agree but you're adding your Self, your intentions, your plans, ultimately your ideals to them, on them, and their way of seeing things--the world. Certainly you can't be trying to tell me you can control them, those boys--their thoughts & actions, anyone's for that matter, are you?"
She shook her head no.
"But I wouldn't do that, EVER, to anyone. I wouldn't destroy ornaments or anything else."
"Of course you wouldn't... because, number one, you're a good kid, a decent kid," and for humorous effect, "and number two, because if you did, your mom and I would have to kill you--which, by the way, is perfectly legal because we created you."
She smiled but wasn't buying the overall point... "Dad, they did wrong. You caught them in their own lies but they should be made to apologize or pay money or repair or something for what they did."
The world doesn't always operate that way, the world isn't always just or fair or good or even nearly perfect I told her. I added, "You are amazing. You are also like me," she looked up and into my eyes, "you try to control things that are simply not controllable or within your grasp."
She looked down at her feet.
"I am learning to be only where I am at honey. To realize that each and every moment I am at is it. That I can only control how I react to anything and everything."
She looked up again.

I told her, "It's really difficult for me but I am trying to learn this. Not just learn it but adopt and become it." I shared a small recent story with her... "Chloe, the other night when I decided to go with you and mom to the supermarket. Remember? The first 15 minutes were hellish for me. Absolutely hell. You went off to grab a couple things mom had asked you to get while I went with mom. Every single step I was taking was pure crap. I wanted to run, to walk, to stand still, my legs were like melted rubber. She was visiting me big time. Yep, the Black Death Bitch was in full effect. And she just kept rolling over me. I didn't resist her, I was trying my best to listen to her, to embrace her. I was kind of caught off guard because I hadn't had a visit from her in about a week. I just kept following mom while she looked for the light bulb aisle. It was horrible. At one point I had this incredible urge to put my hand on mom's shoulder and beg her to get me out... to get me out of the store, to the car and back to home. I was planning my apologies. I was planning my sense of how long it might take me to overcome that I had failed on this particular trip... the setback of it. The next feeling I had, and it huge, was that I was safe in this aisle with mom, prattling away about light bulbs and wattages and LED versus incandescent this and that... and that I needed to stay here in this aisle forever: that all of sudden the store, outside of this particular aisle, even the car and home were unsafe for me. I remember thinking to myself, "How do I explain to her," mom, "that when she leaves this aisle I need to stay?" It was horrible. And then directly out of nowhere I heard myself say, make no mistake Chloe--I never intended to say this to mom, "So are you looking for clear or frosted type bulbs?" and with that she was gone, the BDB was completely gone and I absolutely enjoyed every single moment of the rest of that trip to the market. And the best I can figure is this... she left because when my inner, or whatever it was that said that --you know, about the kinds of bulbs mom was looking for-- well I was immediately transported to The Moment, The Present, The Here & Now and not where I had been--the past or future. In other words, I had stopped forecasting."

Possibly getting through but not entirely, she said, "That's amazing dad... I never knew that had happened that night. But still they shouldn't have done that today."
I thought for a minute and put this out, "Again, I agree with that... after all, how couldn't I, it is perfection. But perfection is possibly the greatest illusion of all... maybe only up there with the myth of control. Let me ask you sweetheart, why can it not be enough to have had the thought of buying the ornaments and decorating that tree, executing that thought, been happy -even proud- of that execution of that thought... and then released it?"
She was thinking so I added, "You know, after releasing it also realizing that it was up to anyone else but you how they'd decide to enjoy, view, judge, see or otherwise decide its outcome... said differently, decide its fate and/or destruction?"
After a time, "Dad I think I get this now. Still not happy about it, and while it's unfair and not good at all, it feels like it is fine and okay too. Maybe I should work on how I react and get worked up by things."
"You mean by things you have no control over?" while smiling at her.
"Yeah, exactly that. We can work on it together if you don't mind?"

The tree looks beautiful and perfect -- even down one ornament, and no--I don't mind at all.

What need have I for This, What need have I for That?

Blessings...

-Scott 

 
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