"Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free."
Thich Nhat Hanh
In Walmart today, I was hoping for freedom, but instead, I had heaps of anxiety in my shopping cart.
I had a moment today. During that moment, I was pretty sure that I was not going to be able to pull THIS off. THIS new life. My Dad is in the beginning stages of dementia. He gets confused often. Reality and dreams are not separate things to him. He refuses to wear his hearing aids. So I get frustrated, tired and I find myself shouting at him often just to do everyday tasks. I am also the mother of four-year-old who woke up way too early this morning. Every request is followed by a whine. Every thought he had was announced to everyone around us.
Now, go to Walmart for a "few things". Luckily, it was one of their mini-stores. My Dad moves slowly and seems lost. My son reminds me that he is ready to go. My Dad hasn't seen my son in a long time so he is trying to tickle and pinch my son as much as possible. My son does not want this kind of attention. So, I move fast. I have a list, I am ready for battle. I send my Dad down an aisle to get what he wanted. He forgot what it was mid-way. I check on him peeking down the aisle every 30 seconds. He's gone looking at something. Cue another whining session from my son.
By the time I get to the checkout line, I am chock full of anxiety. My son is refusing to give me his cereal to checkout. My Dad is all over my son making him complain even louder. My woman standing behind my Dad is giving me the look of complete disgust. The checkout person is trying to help me but her questions just seem to rattle me. "Do you want this chap stick in your bag?" What? What? Oh yes. Dad, stop. Boy, stop. My Dad keeps bumping the woman behind her. This is why she is giving me the hairy eyeball. He keeps backing up on her feet. Instead of backing up, she looks completely disgusted.
When we reach the car, my son refuses to get in. He tries to jump in front of a moving car. Groceries dropped on the ground. I have to move him physically into the car. Then, I have to help my Dad into the car. With my leftover energy, I put the groceries in the car.
I sat behind the wheel. I take a breath. I am not going to be able to do this. I am wishing that I was back at work.
I know that situations like this enter our lives to help us learn about letting go of anger, anxiety and frustration. Instead of taking a breath, I focused on the clock and trying to get to my son's gymnastics class on time. I know I can survive this, but man it's so hard sometimes.
I want freedom. I want to not have to worry about all of the things that have to be done. I will get there. It's a journey.