It's been unusually loud here all week. The noise has been wreaking havoc on my morning ablutions, and in general making Our Madge terribly cranky. It's hard to maintain a state of perpetual bliss and sisterly love with all that damn hammering, banging, and sawing going on down in the dungeons. I mean, what the hell are they doing, anyway? Installing a friggin' jacuzzi? Yo, homies - this is a monastery, not a day spa!
So this morning I descended from my tower to rip someone's head off, and it turns out that they're doing some renovations to the laundry room. How hard can it be to add a few more washboards? I'm told that we're going to be getting some newfangled washer that runs on electricity. Looks like they'll be done today, so I'll be able to return to my meek and tranquil disposition.
Yeah-yeah, surely I jest and all that, but there's some truth in it, right? We think that if only the outside world would cooperate, we'd effortlessly slip into a state of nirvana. You know that joke, where the woman says, "This marriage would be perfect if it weren't for my husband!" Well, my version is that if my loud and inconsiderate neighbors would just move out of here, I'd be the most enlightened chimp on the planet. But the truth is that the neighbors don't have anything to do with it. In fact, the couple who used to live below me had problems with me!! How d'ya like that?? I'm like the quietest person you've ever met, and the only person in too-cool Bushwick who's ever in bed before midnight, and still they complained! Jeez!! I started taking my shoes off at the door, and my place is lousy with carpets anyway; my evening flagellations are always finished by nightfall, and I made sure to chew with my mouth closed, so I'm not sure what the problem was. They finally moved away in a huff, but I got a hunch that there might be a few things wrong in their new place as well.
So you see, it's not just me. There are other neurotics in the world. We want things to be Just So. And when they're not, we set about manipulating our external world so that it conforms with our comfort zone. I've heard people complain about someone being too loud, too obnoxious, too this-or-that, and I have to wonder, too loud for whom? Sure, he might irritate you, but guess what? Chances are really good that you irritate him, too. Yeah, I know ~ it hurts ~ but let it sink in for a minute. It's time to face facts, folks, and I hate to be the one to break the news, but here it is:
You irritate someone.
Now, I don't know who that person is, but I guarantee that somewhere out there, there's someone who is annoyed by your very presence. Yup, just by being lovable YOU, you're making someone clench their jaw. Sobering, isn't it? Next time someone's annoying you, try to have a little compassion. They're only being themselves, just like you are, and they really do have the right to express themselves, just like you do.
There's a limit to what we can do to change our external reality. Fortunately, enlightenment isn't contingent upon our living in a serene environment, secluded from the chaos of living amongst imperfect beings. Enlightenment and bliss happen in the midst of the storm, when you surrender your illusions of control and detach from an outcome. Volumes have been written on the subject, and you already know it's true anyway, so no need to elaborate. The only way to bliss is to move deeper into your experience, whatever it may be, and to embrace the experience fully, even though it may bring you discomfort. Especially if it brings you discomfort.
I've started adding the word 'surrender' to my text drawings here and there, because...well, just because I feel like it. I like how it looks and feels, and if anyone ever decides to read one of my texts from start to finish, I like to leave treats for them along the way. Little rewards for their effort, and encouragement to keep going. It's the least I can do.
Happy weekend everyone, and do come to my show if you're in the area. It's on Saturday from 7 - 10:00 p.m., and I'd love to see you there. Here's the link and address: Famous Accountants
Above: A modified still from 'The Wizard of Oz', where the Wicked Witch of the West screams across the sky on her broom and encourages Dorothy to Surrender and Detach. Personally, I think the Wicked Witch was an enlightened guru, but I have no proof. Incidentally, this was my first real effort with Photoshop. I'm pleased with it, but I don't think I'll be quitting my day job any time soon, since it took me about 3 hours to complete.