I’m sure you’re going to find this shocking, but Paul and I tease each other mercilessly. Someone asked me just this week how I put up with it, and doesn’t he make me cry? I’m pretty sure she thought I was an innocent victim.
I was always taught, “If you can dish it out, you’d better be able to take it.“ I think in this situation it’s the other way around. “If you can take it, you better dish it out.” There have been a couple of times when my mom was visiting and I would be teasing Paul; she would comment, “that poor boy.“ I recognized the fact that if MY mom was taking up for Paul, I might need to back off a little.
Sometimes teasing or jokes don’t land though. Around here we always say, "They can’t all be winners.” Sometimes jokes fall flat because they just sounded better in your head; sometimes the joke or story isn’t told well, with the joker accidentally leaving pertinent bits of information out or assuming the listener knew more than they did, and sometimes the listener just doesn’t put it all together at the same speed the joke or the story was told.
Paul always gets a kick when the last one occurs for me. Apparently when I don’t get it, I give a short chuckle, then, a minute later, when it clicks in, I will start really laughing. It’s always a dead giveaway that I was processing a little slowly. I had it happen just the other night in a different context.
It had been a crazy weekend; we have been working 7 days a week, the house was a wreck, and there was nothing to eat. I was feeling stressed out, and Paul asked if I had meditated yet. Thinking it might help, I sat.
I was listening to a guided meditation, and it was talking about how we typically rush into things to get them finished so we can move onto the next. The teacher brought up an aphorism by Martha Beck that I had heard many times before. “How you do anything is how you do everything“ Like I said, I had heard it before; I understood it. The meditation teacher used this quote and followed it up with “For example, if you typically rush when you do most things, then you probably meditate the same way. You rush in to get it checked off."
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I do that. I need to meditate today. I need to check it off my list. With a lot of things, I tend to start a task, get distracted by a second task, and so on and so on until I have many things started, and I get overwhelmed by it all.
The dishes will be partially loaded in the dishwasher, the laundry will need to be folded, dinner will consist of a casserole, but no sides. In other words, lots of starts, but very few finishes.
Several years ago, my mom would come down every Wednesday to “lend a hand.” She really came to see her favorite person in the world: her granddaughter. While I was floundering, she would play with Madi and wash the dishes. Once that was completely finished, she would fold the clothes. When mom would leave, the house was always calm and clean. There had been no rushing, no multitasking, and yet more had been accomplished, not less.
So Sunday night as I sat, contemplating the newly processed and more deeply understood “how do we do anything is how we do everything,“ I made a vow to slow down and finish things, TRY to stop getting distracted. As meditation teaches TRY TO PAY ATTENTION.
Dang it! I guess this means Mom was right again.