Giving Up the Bone and Proving Myself Wrong

A few days ago it happened. Again. I was wrong. I hate that. I had imagined how I would fit a couple of important gatherings with friends into my evening, sandwiched between two long trips. But my mind didn’t stop with logistics.

It found a bone to chew on, a way to try to manage lots of things that were none of its business. The first event was a birthday party for my friend’s 100-year-old mother, who shows no signs of dying soon. But my friend herself IS dying…sooner, rather than later. She’s under hospice care for an inoperable brain tumor. The gathering was full of love, enough to eat and drink for a week. Or a lifetime. It was truly profound to be deeply connected with this extended family that ranged from 8 months to 100 years. A rich stew of generations, of thoughts and feelings about this human condition.  Nothing to control. Because nothing could be controlled but whether to eat the cake and how to listen from the heart.

After this, we were invited to a casual dinner with a dear neighbor and two friends. I might not be able to control life or death, but HERE was something I could control.  There was a dog involved and I wanted to bring my dog. My mind got very convinced that THIS was something that could be managed. If her dog came, then my dog (who was just next door) wasn’t invited.  My mind went on to imagine that it was in charge of who would come, how they would act, and what I would say back. It got very convinced of the importance of its new job, micromanaging it all.  Next I found myself chewing that bone. Thinking this wasn’t fair, that it should be changed.

Such a little thing to work up such a head of steam about! Usually I’m all over these situations, doing my work and questioning my mind. I look forward to proving myself wrong. I recently heard one of my teachers, Byron Katie, say, “It’s your job to prove yourself wrong.”

Did I take out a worksheet to inquire about this situation? No. Did I easily let go of my belief, realizing whatever I thought would happen was a figment of my imagination? No. Did I even remember that I could be wrong in my opinions about how the evening would unfold? No. Such is the power of an unenlightened mind, when it’s convinced of its Rightness.

The next day, with my early-morning 20-20 Rearview vision, I could see it.  Not being able to control the first situation (death, in particular), my mind grabbed another bone to chew on….something it thought it could control.

What I notice with my improved vision is this: when I don’t prove myself wrong, reality does. The other dog did not come to the dinner gathering. My dog did. The minute we gathered around the table, I snapped back into the real world and savored every part of the evening. With no bone to chew on, there was only peace…and laughter.

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