Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Mick Jagger & Wisdom

The Struggle To Practice Attachment Parenting
As Method Of Questing After Spiritual Enlightenment


As with any group of new parents, our discussion eventually turns toward needs and wants. One of my playgroup friends feels strongly about a method of interacting called non violent communication. This form of communication encourages people to analyze their needs and make requests from people who can meet those needs in a manner which is more likely to generate a positive response.

It intrigued me. For a moment, I wanted to learn more. However, more kept leaving me with an uneasy feeling. I kept hearing Mick Jagger’s voice over and over. So much of what I perceive to be my needs can actually be classified - on deeper analysis - as wants.

I want more time to write.
(I have a need to create, to celebrate life, to be effective, to understand and be understood.)

I want to sleep all night uninterrupted.
(I have a need for physical well-being.)

I want to have more time with my husband.
(I have a need for connection, intimacy, acceptance, love and support. )

I want to dash over to New York to see a cool poetry show, or be on a tv program or attend a conference.
(I have a need to experience clarity, inspiration, authenticity and belonging.)

Even though these are all legitimate needs. This is not what I am doing right now.

Yes, I am writing. (This blog. Draft one of my ballet is done!) I am getting more sleep than some parents I know. (My physical well-being, while not optimal is pretty durn good.) I do have time with my husband. (Much less than before baby.) And by meeting with my friends in playgroup, I do receive clarity, inspiration, authenticity and belonging. In essence, I was spending a lot of time looking at what I lacked than what I had in hand.

It is human nature to want more. As a culture and society we are always chasing after immediacy. And we want everything “Biggie-sized.” We want it new and improved. Stronger. Faster. Better than ever. We want it all and right now thank you very much.

We expect the vehicle of our emotional, spiritual and physical lives to be a souped up, tricked out, spanky fresh new Hummer. And we become disappointed when our life resembles a well-maintained, energy efficient five year old Mazda.

Becoming aware that my life is like a Mazda - when so many other people's lives resemble a 20 year old Pinto or a burnt up, rusted out Chevrolet on block - is an invitation to the wisdom of choosing sanity. It challenges me to hold on to my faith and belief that everything I am doing right now at this exact moment in time is the right thing. It invites me to surrender to an awareness that I am blessed.

This surrender is an act of resistance to an unhealthy society whose corporate interests lie in my own sense of dissatisfaction. And if I am successful in resisting; if I surrender to sanity and acceptance, then I have won. I am the victor.

A playgroup friend of mine recently delivered a sermon at a Unitarian Universalist Church about Sudan and the thousands of people who had fasted in solidarity. He said, “To my mind, nothing is more sacred than those urgings that cause us to recognize and to act on behalf of others: For the well-being of our present relationships, in respect for the struggles of the past, and in hope for a future that is rooted in sanity, imagination, and compassion. We must hold on to each other. We must leap.” (1) And to make anything sacred involves a sacrifice. To make anything holy involves faith. Right now, I am making sacred and holy my relationship with my family. In many ways, some parts of my life are fasting. And other parts of my life are feasting.

I am letting go of the idea that my life has to be the largest one on the road. In return, I receive more than I could have imagined if I had planned it, asked for it, requested it or forced it into being. This is my journey towards accepting the vision I have for myself and my family. My way is not the right way. In fact, my way is probably the wrong way for people. There is no one way. Each individual journey towards wholeness is unique and precious.

But, suddenly, my life is a winged horse. There is no road. I would never have thought to ask for the sky.

“You can’t always get what you want. But, if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” - Mick Jagger

1. Excerpt from "Fasting For Dafur: Sermon For Smithon Unitarian Universalist Church" by Lawrence Gorden Wray, Lay Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church, Pittsburgh Northside

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