Saturday, December 26, 2009

Practice Helps

I had a laid back Christmas with just a couple friends and the little bit of family I have left. Most of my family is dead or might as well be. It's the cycle of life. For me many of the endings have come in December or January, so it's not a season I celebrate anymore. But I do like an excuse to have a simple dinner with people I love.

I had planned to use my oven which was fine the last time I used it a few weeks ago. I turned it on to preheat while a friend and I were preparing veggies for roasting. On some subconscious level I realized I wasn't hearing the pops of the warming metal as the oven heated, nor was there any sound or smell of ignition. There was also no gas smell so that was good. My oven was stone cold and I had stuff ready to go in. I got a lighter and flashlight and looked for where the pilot should be, tried lighting it, no luck. Got a man in to look at it, no luck. Ok. Stovetop was fine, and my friend set about having to dice the potatoes smaller while I did the garlic and onions. Part of me was remembering a Christmas past where my mother's stove had pulled the same stunt. A little universal humor at work, and it was kind of funny. Except that I also wondered if my mother had put a curse on me, since she was always the vengeful sort. I dismissed it until I went to microwave some butter for garlic toast, and the microwave was also on the fritz! Ok, pull out a small sauce pan. Dinner was fine, a little late but it was extremely informal and so what, it all tasted great, ribeyes and home fries and grilled asparagus and mushrooms with garlic toast, and even experimentally roasted garlic off the grill.

After dinner we all watched the Poodle open presents, which was hilarious, because he knew exactly how to open his gifts with enthusiasm and help with a few other people's wrapping paper. I wanted to get the camera but didn't want to miss the joy of watching a little "kid" opening presents at Christmas. It's really not as silly as it sounds.

So at evening's end my friend commented on how well I handled the appliance outage, just rolling with it and not even getting upset. I was a bit puzzled because all I could think was what good would it have done me to get upset about it? Then I realized how easily something like this would have upset me in the past, and saw that my practice has really helped change my attitude about a lot of things, and how I have awareness that I can choose to handle things differently. It doesn't mean I don't still have to practice my dharma teachings and my recovery until I die (and maybe after), but it's nice to see it working in real life situations. I'm a little bummed about the microwave, it was $100 and only lasted nine months, which is one of the things so frustrating about everything being built in China these days, the quality is appalling. But there's nothing I can do about that either.