Monday, 7 December 2009

Mother's guide to lunchtime drinking

As I write this there is complete calm in my house. The boy left to go to his afternoon session of Kindergarten and the twins are asleep (for now). Although it's only 1pm on a Monday I am drinking a beer. I have wanted one since about 9am this morning. Nothing very dramatic has happened this morning but I have the same stress levels as a CEO of a multinational company having been handling hostile takeover negotiations for hours on end.

Now it's quiet I can reflect on the fantastic weekend just passed. The Dalai Lama is in New Zealand and on Saturday he gave a public talk on having a 'Peaceful Mind', followed by a Buddhist teaching on Sunday in Auckland. Over the last few years I have read a little about Buddhism, Tibet and meditation. I would say what I know constitutes a miniscule amount and I certainly wouldn't claim to be able to describe in detail what happened when China occupied Tibet in 1959 and the reasons why or indeed explain Buddhism with any depth or understanding. Like many people though, the principles of Buddhism, those which I can grasp as well as the benefits of meditation have piqued my interest and made me both curious to learn more and integrate some of the ideas into the way in which I live.

My chum and I spent a happy 2 and a half hours chattering away in the car on the way to Auckland. We arrived with plenty of time to spare so went to Sale Street to have lunch. Oh the sheer joy of sitting in a city bar with adults who were clearly in no rush to do anything other than while away a couple of hours, drinking jugs of beer, laughing and talking with their friends.

Listening to the Dalai Lama talk was just unbelievable. He is an accomplished orator. Talking for 2 hours with no break without stumbling over words and all in your second language is quite some feat. These were not the most impressive aspects of his speech though. His chuckle was infectious and very cheeky. He is 74 years old and a monk but was comfortable touching and smiling at the men and women who had organised the event. He spent a long time honouring their efforts and engaging in different traditional rituals, both Tibetan and Maori.

He talked of trust, compassion and warm heartedness. His style of delivery was much more like a life coach than a spiritual leader. Although he mentioned Buddhism and his home country Tibet several times he mentioned other religions just as often as well as talking about living as a non-believer. He talked often about being realistic and seemed amazingly in touch with the real world and those who live in it. It would be so hard for us to relate to his life as the exiled leader of Tibet, the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama who was chosen when he was 2 years old and has ruled his country since 12 years old. And yet he found it easy to relate to so many people of differing race and age. Throughout his talk I could relate much of what he said to different situations in my own life. What an experience, I am so grateful to have seen this beautiful man and heard his voice.
Back to that 1pm beer........
When I was pregnant with the boy 4 years ago I read 2 books about having babies. One was called 'Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin and the other was called How to Enjoy Year One by Rachel Waddilove. I'd say Spritual Midwifery was excellent and a must if you are considering a homebirth. Rachel Waddilove's contribution was along the lines of common sense and is probably only worth reading if you have none whatsoever. Neither book mentions the necessity of pouring yourself a glass of white wine at 5pm and yet that is surely the most kept to routine by the bulk of mothers. Interestingly, the day after listening to the Dalai Lama I have had to shift my first alcoholic beverage forward by 4 hours. I had been labouring under the misapprehension that I would return from Auckland being the most Zen like mother on my road. My son would scream obscenities at me whilst the twins would fill their mouths with compost and tear pine needles from the tree and I would calmly rinse their mouths out, sit them with some toys and reason with the boy whilst having the mantra 'compassion and warm heartedness' running through my mind. Wrong. I actually got miles more irritated than I normally do and screamed back.

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