Small Circles

Grappling with a fasting headache ahead of a small procedure tomorrow, going to bed early. Well, trying to. The dog is at my feet, already in position. He supports this idea of going to bed early, but can’t say “Don’t worry, it will all be okay.” Can’t kiss my forehead. Sometimes I do project onto him all kinds of comforting or silly sayings, but on a night like tonight, that I do so drives home how small my circle has become.

George the dachshund laying across my legs

I’m missed at the store; there have been check-ins and well-wishes, which means a lot. But while I’m gone everything is changing– people are coming and going–and I remember my grandfather repeating what he saw as an important lesson, that when he sold his shop, he sold his friends.

The first manager I worked with there advised me not to become attached, so I immediately did. 🙂 I’m glad I did, even though letting people go so often is bittersweet. I’m glad they came into my life at all.

Buddhist non-attachment teachings have been challenging from the beginning for me not because I find it difficult to detach, but because I was running from so much, and took the teachings as permission to make escape into a virtue. My kids felt my initial withdrawals while coping with illness and awakening at once intensely, and I regret not making it clear it was never from them.

Yes, I was contending with the kind of insight eruption that can’t help but upend one’s life, and I was indeed choosing (for various values of choosing) new ways of being, but I actually wanted to integrate my current world into that new one, and just didn’t know how. I thought I had to just keep digging deeper and deeper for the answers to appear. Some answers did appear, others not yet, but once I realized their feelings, I tried harder to articulate myself more, imperfectly and sincerely. As it turned out, non-attachment did not let me off the hook the way I thought. It meant looking at my attachment to running also, loosening the default need to do so.

Or something like that. Lesson ongoing. 🙂

Somehow my lesson reminds me of an article I read years ago and think about from time to time, especially when I’m dating. I’m guilty of imagining that someone with a deep spiritual commitment would be the type I’d be most compatible with, and that everything would work out that way. THEN I remember The Problem with Zen Boyfriends!



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