Monday, January 24, 2011

this and that, in other words: catching up

We went to see The King's Speech last night while MadMax was at a sleepover-- they don't have school today for the second Monday in a row because of some kind of teacher training thing.  Great movie.  Like all good anglophile chick-flick devotees, I love Colin Firth, and if Geoffrey Rush's wife looks oh-so-familiar but you can't quite place her, it's because she's Jennifer Ehle, HELLO, Elizabeth from the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice.  (I said that like it was obvious, but I had to go home and look it up on imdb because I knew I recognized her from somewhere.)  We both enjoyed it thoroughly and I blubbered through at least 14 minutes of it.

Next up:  We repainted our playroom last weekend.  We've lived in this house for 12 years now, and have re-painted almost all of it except our bedroom, the laundry room, and the playroom, so now the playroom is done.  Nothing spectacular, just a medium tan sort of thing, but since before the paint job there were approximate three thousand thumbtack holes and dart holes, not to mention the usual playroom scuffs and smears, it looks considerably better.  It took dh an entire afternoon to spackle all the holes in.  Perhaps the dart board while our daughter was in junior high was a mistake.

So anyway, now the former playroom is an office, with desks for all three of us in it, and we're pretty happy with it.  That meant that the two huge bins of nerf dartguns and the laundry basket of legos had to go somewhere, so MadMax is turning the basement into a Man Cave.  He's very excited about it, I swear it sounds like he's nesting.  The XBox is going down there, too.  It's about 50 degrees down there most of the time, so we'll see how it works out. 

And finally:  There's a Buddhist teaching called "detachment from outcome" that has been coming to mind a lot.  It's been a long time since I've read any Buddhist stuff, or even thought about it, honestly.  But for several weeks now, it keeps popping up in the oddest places.  It's a pretty simple concept, really.  You do things because you're doing them, because you're choosing to do them (because at some level we always choose to do everything we do), not because of anything that will happen, not because you want a particular outcome.

You live in the moment, applying yourself fully to whatever it is you're doing (even if it's relaxing in front of the television.  Relax fully, dammit.)  And you do this regardless of how it will turn out, without having to imagine that someone will love you or approve of you, or that you'll be the best at it, or that if you don't do it the world will end, or whatever outcome it is you're hoping for (or dreading).  You come up with the most interesting, engaging presentation you can, regardless of whether or not you get the sale. You write the paper for the learning experience of writing the paper, not because of the grade you'll get.  You eat healthy food because it provides nourishment for your body, not because you want to lose weight.  You help a friend in need out of compassion, not because she'll like you better.  You react out of an open, compassionate heart without worrying about whether you'll get something back. 

It's a giving up of control, and for control freaks like me, that's always a challenge.  My usual motivation for doing things is because I want a particular result. Letting go of that need for a result of my own choosing is a giving up of control.  It should be easy, because the result is rarely under my control anyway, but it's remarkably difficult for me to do.  It's also a reminder to stay in the moment, to do things because they are in front of you, not because of something off in the future.  It's the old thing of being mindful, present, focused.  Which is an elusive goal for me at the moment, especially the focused part, but it's what I'm working on right now.


  1. Oh come on, dart boards are never a bad idea! Okay, maybe later when you need to patch a wall, but ya know, still fun at the time. How exciting about the new office. We made a sewing room when all of our chickies flew the coop. Hmm, but then they kept coming back, so we also made a guest room. Both were fun to do though.
    I like the being in the moment idea. Not to sound all zen on you, but I kind of do that most days. It has nothing to do with being evolved I promise, more about being selfish probably.
    Really, it can be very freeing, I truly hope you get to feel it. (You'll love it, I promise. The whole "control" thing sort of fades.)

  2. Now I *have* to see The King's Speech! I love Jennifer Ehle. Have you watched Possession? She's amazing in it, as well as in P&P obvs. I fully expect Geoffrey Rush to chew up all the scenery like he did in Les Miserables and even Shakespeare in Love.