An Oldster’s Om



“The last thing I want to know is what you did on your date!  Just shut up and leave me alone.  You guys are disgusting!”

The slamming of my daughter’s bedroom door was the punctuation to that tirade.  Teens.  You can’t live with them…

It had started out as just another observation over the dinner table. We had finally found a night when Jenny, our daughter, and Jessie and I were all available at last for a real traditional dinner.  Jess went all out.  There wasn’t a single microwaved item on the table.  There was the “How did your day go?” thread that we kept alive for ten minutes.  There was the “How was school?” thread that lingered for thirty seconds.  And then there was the “Your mother and I were thinking…” thread that stopped all forward motion for quite a while.

What we were thinking about was a weekend retreat held by a local Buddhist monastery that catered to the locals on the odd occasion.  A Zen Relationship workshop was coming up, and Jessie had asked me if I was up to putting a bit of spirit back into our relationship.  The fact that she asked with a slight leer in her voice and twinkle in her eye was all the prompting I needed.  She signed us up that night.

Did you know that Buddhists have websites?  I always thought they were on the far side of the Amish and Mennonites and Luddites and all of those.  Nope.  MacBook Pro all the way.  I began to think of carrying a begging bowl around with me if those are the results.  It was a real glitzy site.  High production values. The part I wasn’t too thrilled with was the 4 am rising time for meditation on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Then breakfast at 7.  Oh well.  It was one weekend.  I would survive.  And I was looking forward to the benefits.  I had a mental poster of that leer up on my psychic wall all weekend. I would have to look up the correct spelling and usage for “Ravish” when we get back.  I don’t think it’s supposed to be “Ravage.  That’s different.

We snuggled and played a bit Friday night after arriving at the retreat.  There was one sharp “SSHHHHHH!” from outside our room at about midnight, but we giggled it away and the band played on.

4 am. Do you know it’s still dark at 4 am?  I had slept for three and a half hours, and I looked like I had caught my head in a grackle’s nest.  My mouth tasted like a litter box, and one eye was glued shut.  Meditation was going to be a piece of cake.

We sat.  Cross-legged.  Jess kept me awake with the occasional poke until one of the monks came over and separated us.  After five minutes of snoring, he came back with Jessie in tow and sat her back down.  I believe the admonition was “Silent meditation.  Please.”  We survived.

Breakfast was wonderful.  Yummy food, eaten silently and just staring at my sweetie.  The intentionality of being wholly alone with Jessie was enough to deepen my feelings of love, respect, and desire.  By the end of breakfast and washing up, I was ready for a little nap and rolling around.  I didn’t get it.

We walked.  Around and around, with everyone else, for hours.  We stopped for food, and walked some more.  We stopped for food again, and more walking.  When it got dark, we sat and meditated, eyes open, eyes shut, but always together.  Then we slept.  No rolling around.

4 am.  It was getting better.  Another day of meditating and walking with my love, and then a silent ride home with loving kindness in my heart.  We stopped on the way for a bottle of wine.

Jenny was out when we got home, so we caught up on our nap time.  The rolling around was silent, and open-eyed.  We smiled a lot.

Just before dinner, Jenny straggled in.  We must have had that flush that you get after a weekend of deep meditation.  Like the rosy glow of good health, or a profound experience.  Or just deep contentment.  We just wanted to share our awareness and happiness with our daughter.  Our enthusiasm was cut short by her admonition.  “God, you guys, the last thing I want to know is…”


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