I had a good realization early this morning, while meditating. It started yesterday, when I was having a difficult day. I was walking back from Tribeca, after showing a loft, and I was so exhausted I could barely make it back to my office. I called a friend and he told me his back was killing him and as we were talking, I passed a bed store. I said, "Oh, I think I'm going inside this bed store and lie down on a really comfortable bed." And he said, "Oh, the Hastens bed store? My friend is the manager there."
It turned out that the Hastens store was next to the other bed store, so I went inside the Hastens store, walked over to a bed and lay down on top of the bed. I felt like I was being held by the most loving arms. The saleswoman came over and we started to talk, she was so nice. Eventually I told her my tale of woe - we had one of these fantastically comfortable beds, got divorced, daughter left, yadayada, my litany of pain. She was so sweet, she said, "You know, we are having a sweepstakes to give away a bed, probably the one you had - you should enter! I bet you'll win!"
And then I tried the less expensive bed that I was surely going to win, and then I asked, which is the best bed in the store?
I tried the most expensive bed in the store, I won't even tell you the price - it's insane - okay, $90,000. I know, it's craaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzy, but someone, like Oprah, surely has this bed. And honestly, I liked the first one better (that was only $19,000.) But anyway, the saleswoman said, "Here, let me turn down the lights over the bed and you relax for five minutes." We continued talking and she told me that her mom lives in Jamaica and she and her sister both live far away and how much her mother misses them. I got a bit teary, talking about Zoe, and also remembering how important it is for our kids to have their own lives, no matter where they chose to go. Somehow, the combination of resting and talking and a few tears, totally transformed my day. I was energized and able to go back to the office.
And then this morning, I was meditating and it hit me that 2009, the terrible, worst year of my life, was really in many ways, the best. It was the year that I lived the Serenity Prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Before 2009 I said those words, I tried to believe those words, but after 2009 I started to really live them.
This morning I realized that now it's my responsibility to take each day and make the most of it, often simply by trusting my instincts about what to do. Sometimes I feel tired, or sad, or afraid, but by the end of every day, I have a feeling of acceptance.
In my reading today of "When Things Fall Apart," Pema Chodron writes about when she became the director of Gampo Abbey and all her delusions about what a great person she was - the golden girl, etc., were completely shattered. She eventually learned this lesson, "Love the truth of you on the spot."
I think that, like me, she appreciated the suffering she did that first year at Gampo Abbey, just as I have appreciated the changes these two years have brought me. They weren't all easy, but there were definitely many moments of laughter and some amazing gifts. They literally brought me to my knees, but the growth has been worth it.