People think it’s always raining in Portland, but that’s not true. We have lots of moisture in the air more than 150 days a year. But it’s not always rain, like the kind for which you might use an umbrella. Right now, however, it’s coming down in
My mom arrived yesterday afternoon and wants to walk somewhere this morning. Running errands seems to bind my mom’s anxiety.
Mom isn’t the type to sit and knit.
Or just sit.
The app on my phone says “Heavy rain stopping in about 27 minutes” and then “Heavy rain starting in 35 minutes.”
The ¾ of a mile walk to the bagel store and back will take more than those eight minutes.
Mom is a product of New York City—we walk.
In the garage, I put rain pants over my chinos, lace up my boots, and move my long, heavy, waxed cotton, Australian Driza-Bone from the hook onto my wool-sweatered body.
I add the Driza-Bone hat, backpack, and warm gloves, and I’m ready.
I do rain right.
Something you really appreciate as you get older: the right equipment makes every task easier.
In the 2010 documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, interviews with people on the streets break up the main arc of the narrator’s struggle with toxic foods. The movie follows the 60-day journey of Australian Joe Cross across the United States as he follows a juice fast to regain his health.
The interstitials follow the same pattern:
The host asks someone on the street if they know what foods are good for them.
Time and again, they know.
He asks if what they are currently eating fits in that category.
And, time and again, they laugh, acknowledging the disconnect between what they know is good for them and what they do.
We know what is healthy, but we don’t eat those foods.
It’s the same with our spiritual-religious lives.
We know that we ought to practice patience, acceptance, and compassion, but—mixing metaphors—we continue eating fried chicken and drinking beverages with corn-syrup or aspartame.
We know what we ought to be doing, but we don’t do it.
This isn’t anything new.
Romans 7:15 in the King James translation: For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
We do things we know we oughtn’t.
And we don’t do the things we know we ought.
Patience. Acceptance. Compassion. Meditation.
There is a reason we eat what we like, and not what we should.
Why? Pizza tastes good, and hot dogs—depending on the brand and proper condiments—can be delicious.
There is a reason we don’t practice patience—sitting with yet not following through on the desire to be angry.
Being angry can clear out built-up frustrations and can feel really cathartic. Being angry feels great. (The spiral of shame afterwards, that’s a different matter. But rage can feel great.)
There is a reason we don’t practice acceptance—taking reality as it is.*
Not surrendering to reality gives us the (mistaken) belief that we know better than reality how things are. Having critiques of how things are — not accepting reality as it is — is a (supposed) societal sign of intelligence.
There is a reason we don’t practice compassion—being empathetic to the plight of others.
Not sympathizing guards our heart from sorrow.
There is a reason we don’t meditate—something we know leads to reduced stress and anxiety, emotional health, enhanced self-awareness, a lengthened attention span, and improved sleep.
Meditation is (after the initial “fun” wears off) really boring.
You don’t need to end today any more patient, accepting, compassionate or having meditated.
And you don’t need to wear weather-appropriate clothing.
Me? I’m dressing for the reality inside and outside my front door.