My mother gave me a little present in honor of taking refuge vows. A tiny, pocket Dhammapada. (Non-Buddhist friends, it's like a book of Psalms.) Poetry, wisdom, truths to be unraveled.
It has already begun to work its wonder in my life.
Yesterday I trudged home with groceries to make dinner. When I got home I discovered that Brian had an important personal project that he needed to give his attention to, so the entire evening was my responsibility. The baby, dinner, picking up, all of it without help. As always, early evening is my difficult time. It has been since the beginning of my career as a mother. I have a lot of anxiety about dealing with the evening.
When I walked in the door I began to do one thing at a time. One of these things was changing my clothes. As I sat on the bed I picked up my tiny Dhammapada, opened it and read this: "Every man do his own work". It only took a few seconds to read it, and it meant nothing to me. Nothing.
I carried on with the evening, my chores, Ramona. As I did these things Brian sat on the couch and did nothing. Nothing to help me with my burden anyway. As I began to cook dinner, quickly, because it was time to nurse the baby, I felt the anger building. And building. I tried to shove it down. All the while thinking "Every man do his own work.....hmmmm.....every man do his own work". And also trying to not shout "Asshat....get in here and HELP ME!!!!".
Then I thought, "Would Brian helping change anything about how I feel? Would it take the anxiety away? Would it REALLY decrease my load?" The answer was No. And then I thought, I'm just going to do my own work. BINGO!!!!! I'm going to do my own work! I'm going to get done what I can. I'm going to do my own work and Brian can do his own work, whatever that happens to be. And then the anger went away for real and there was no self control needed. Nobody got called an "asshat" and nobody had to apologize.
Practice = Peace. This time, anyway.