Just Jean is one woman's life journey in this world. These brief essays speak about the ordinary magic of everyday life and people. During our life journey there are an infinite number of chance meetings that impact our life forever. These are opportunities to connect deeply to our common humanity both fearlessly and daringly. Basic goodness is available to us all. There is always a fresh moment waiting in the next breath to press the reset button and begin again, to love again.
Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Dharma in a Sauce Pan
“We can use our lives, in other words,
to wake up to the fact that were not separate:the energy that causes us to live and be whole and awake and alive is
just the energy that creates everything, and were part of that. “
(Pema Chodron, Wisdom of No Escape)
past Sunday morning I was in the kitchen cleaning dishes and offered to make
crepes for my oldest son, Kailen.He
picked up the small saucepan from the stove that was hardened with maple syrup
on the bottom.He handed the pan to me
and I began to run warm water into it.I
turned suddenly to stand nose to nose with my 14 year old and I said, “You know
that hard encrusted syrup turned to dense sugar on the bottom is just like when
a person is angry and irritated with us, they become hard and fixed.If we open our hearts, feel love moving from
our heart into theirs, we are like the warm water I ran into that pan, softening
the maple syrup that had turned to hard maple sugar.We can gently turn someone’s angry temperament from hard to soft with
our fluid kindness.”He said with a
sweet smile and a warmth characteristic of him, “Mom, you are weird.”I knew he got it.
day this week my youngest son stayed home from school, more a rejuvenation day
than a sick day.It was about
reconnecting and spending time together.We sat in the family room; I was reading a chapter called “Weather and
the Four Noble Truths.”My oldest just
informed me this same week that in his Jesuit high school he is learning about
Christianity and the Catholic Church in Religion class and Hinduism and
Buddhism in his Global Studies.He
called out to me a couple nights ago from the office, “Hey mom, I need to define
the Four Noble Truths.”
sitting next to my youngest, I was struck by the way he sat still with me, with
very little resistance and opened up to listen while I gently read aloud about the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha's first teachings on why we all suffer and how we can reduce our own personal suffering.
there, reading, inhaling and exhaling from one moment to the next, I became
acutely aware of Aidan’s toes pushing up against my thigh. It felt reassuring and lulling as he ever so slightly flexed his toes against
me.In those few moments I softened as the bodies of mother and son were raw comfort
for each other.I also realized how much I
need to be touched.In the most visceral
way my body remembered his smaller baby body and all the ways we exchanged love
through physical touch and need. I vividly recollected his smaller baby body
edging into mine, the mother, the provider of life, the sustainer of his existence.
I finished the chapter, his foot moved over, and the moment was gone.