My youngest son--not quite two years old--woke my wife and me at four in the morning today. I had planned to sleep in, wake up slow, meditate and write on this, my weekend day. No such luck. Once again my plans were completely upended by the beings my wife and I have invited to share our lives. Underscoring for the millionth time that children are nothing if not constant chaos batteries designed to oscillate your life in frequencies you can only occasionally translate into a comprehensible signal.
Most of the time, those frequencies create confusing noise that you try your best to translate into music.
When my first son was born, I resisted the constant call (personified in a shrill, infant scream) to the present moment. I fought against the reminder that I needed to be, now, with my child. I couldn't maintain that resistance, however, because it was driving me (my wife and my son) insane, and I eventually realized (because even I will eventually realize stuff) that I needed to get right with being in the present moment with my child. I needed to bring my writerly self into the world.
Left to my own, I favor living my days within the thrall of my own imagination. (I at least think it's enthralling.) That's my go-to mode. After my kids bullied me into being more present. I started my rehabilitation by reading Eckhart Tolle (I know). That concept of the ever-expanding NOW and mindfullness led me to Thich Nhat Hanh and Tibetan Buddhism. Then Pema Chodron. Then Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. And so on.
My nature is exactly and precisely the opposite of a Buddhist, which is probably why I'm drawn to Buddhism. I couldn't have chosen a more difficult, enticing spiritual path for myself.
Last weekend I happened to reconnect with one of my favorite artists--Jon J. Muth--whom I originally discovered through his comic book work. He's writing children's books these days, and we just bought my youngest son Muth's wonderful Zen Ties. His was another reminder that life is right here in front of me, and although my imagination is constantly calling, it is through the life shrieking in the present moment that I will be both a more human person and a more human writer. Artists shouldn't hide away in their own imaginations. Artists should be, here, in this screechy world. Thanks kids.
Still, it would have been nice to have slept in this morning....