Living lifelong human care, development, education, learning and service for all.
During this Christmas, there were two encounters with my parents which really got me thinking about relationship, in particular, my relationship with my parents. I have been trying to figure out how to jive with them, how to dance. Why sometimes certain interactions and engagements are so impossibly explosive and implosive for me!
It is the push-pull. Now how can we convert the push-pull to a dance.
I was playing the song Moonriver for my dad. I had worked 6 months to learn this song to sing to him. He didn’t hear the song. He didn’t hear me. When I started playing Moonriver on the piano, my dad suddenly got up and went to look for his computer. Then he was frantically fiddling with wires and such – he was so excited to get something up. Then he was starting to get frustrated as he couldn’t find the wires to his mobile speakers. And when he did, he proudly played his download of the song Moonriver at top volume. He wasn’t aware that the speakers were faulty, so the song was sounding really woeful. He said he liked this composition. He didn’t hear my version. He was accustomed to his version. At that point, I stopped playing on the piano. We were not in synchronicity. Then I got over next to him and listened to his Moonriver version instead and saw that he didn’t even notice he has a broken speaker. He was beaming with happiness as he got to play his version of the song Moonriver for me. My heart understood something remarkable – that this was his way of saying I love you, I heard you and I want to join you in singing this song. And then that moment passed as he got distracted by his download of a documentary of Nepalese farmers struggling to figure economic sustainability and he invited his Nepalese employees to watch with him and I understood he was being dad for them!
Then on another occasion I was making pancakes. I wanted to try out some coconut milk with the pancake mix. I kept saying to my mom I am making coconut milk flapjacks. She kept telling me, you can make apom. I kept telling her, no, these are flapjacks. So she watched me make flapjacks. Somehow in the middle of the process, she is now in charge of the pan and the batter. Suddenly the pancakes were very flat. They had become apom. But my mom looked happy. I understood how she had come to make apom. I had allowed her in. She was standing next to me longing to play. So I stopped saying I was making flapjacks and said, I like the apoms she made. She was beaming with heartful shine seeing me chow down the apom. In truth they are the same batter but she likes to see me eat her apom. I liked my own flapjacks too so I had flapjacks and apoms and got very full!
I think before I became to be a person who has learnt to practise making life-giving choices, these two occasions would have infuriated me to no end. I would have misunderstood my parents’ communication of their longing to play with me as them trying to hijack my song and my pancakes. I would have been very self-absorbed in my view of the two encounters and I would have been blind and deaf to their deep love, affection and longing for their time with me.
Now I am just thankful I get to enjoy my parents as they get to grow deeper each day in new life. They get so excited and exuberant whenever I enter into their lives with an activity. It can be any activity but they will find it interesting just because I like it. It is such a privilege to be thus loved and liked by someone on this earth. They make me feel like a rock star. I mean I can do anything mundane and inconsequential and they will think that it’s the most amazing activity on earth ever to the point they take over! I have noticed this in my children too! I guess it is heartening to observe that I actually have such an energetic impact on their lives. Never mind the song and the flapjacks. I am life-giving for them!
So that’s what I received this Christmas – two little gift wrapped purity of heart moments with my parents. The idealized Stepford moments don’t exist. Life is a bundle of poetry – awkward sounds and flattened flapjacks woven in unexpectedness, energy birthed together in unvisionable harmony. Truth is the rhythm. If we visualize an ideal moment, it is really a self moment. When the real moment arrives, there is the other, your loved one whom you long to connect with. If you hold on to that first visualization, it is just a virtual reality moment, an image flashing in your head. The real moment is the moment that is lived together. So live those moments well because they are precious. The physical presence of your loved one has been gifted to you, to physically hold and touch and hug and love, as is. And they are never the same moment the second time, ever. Every lived moment is a new treasure. Hold the joy and blessedness in the moment itself because after that, it is already a memory.
The impossibility is the virtual reality, not the real reality. Real reality makes your heart pump with all the mystery and intensity of life!