I have to offer many bows to those who shared their personal wisdom with me after yesterday's writing about my mother. I realize in many ways this is such an opportunity for both my mother and I to be differently in the world. Today as impermanence would have it my mother actually sounded cheerful when I spoke with her on the phone. Perhaps there is some relief in her deciding what she wants to do.
She wanted to talk quite reasonably about her will. And because my practice has shown me the value of contemplation (and I had engaged in some last night and this morning) I could, without malice or judgement talk to her about some things she wanted to put in the will that were clearly aimed at people or that might create disharmony after her death. I could ask her if that was what she wanted to leave behind (and given the opportunity to consider, she said no) and agreed that the bits of "stuff" were not important enough to leave behind hard feelings.
I could tell her that she needed to tell my brother and sister about her choice to discontinue meds. She wasn't sure that she wanted to do that. But I felt clear, given her normal modus operandi that this was important for her to do. Not only would it be about her being clear with people, it would open up a window for heart to heart communication if my brother or sister wanted to go there. I reminded her that they were her children and should be informed by her, just as I was. She agreed to my surprise. In the past my mother has used me (and I have allowed this) as a buffer between her and the world. I am clear that I no longer wish to assume this role. It creates hard feelings in the family, denies my mother the opportunity to connect with others, and places undue responsibility on me (which creates resentment in me). I feel clear that my refusal to assume this long standing role helps both me and my mother. If I make mistakes (life is always an ongoing experiment) I can adjust my course from my new vista in the landscape. But a considered response from a non-reactive place is a good starting point.
So this is the Dharma of everyday life. There it is all laid out before me: impermanence, contemplation, a little right understanding and right action, the fact that life is an experiment and that we are always adjusting our course. And the fact that the joy and the suffering are always right there, intertwined in their yin & yang kind of way. And the miracle is that all this makes life rich and full, chunky and savoury, like some lovely hearty stew, instead of that thin watery broth that the TV and magazine adverts try to sell us.