I just finished chopping ice from my driveway. Two hours of bone-jarring chipping and scraping and lifting. The whole time, I was telling myself why this should not be.
- We should not have 8″ of snow, sub zero temps, and sleet all within a one week period.
- My renters should have not used the “just drive through it and pack it down” method of snow removal while I was gone.
- I should have tackled this yesterday after taking the first two falls on the ice.
On and on went the internal litany: a laundry list of what was wrong with the weather, the state of my shovel and my very worth as a human. (No lie – I started wondering if my umbrella policy would cover it if one of the insane runners who insist on trudging along no matter what the conditions should slip and fall on a patch of unnoticed black ice on my sidewalk.)
I made myself good and angry over something I have little control of, or cannot undo. I was mad at reality.
But you know what else is real?
Nobody did fall on my sidewalk except for me. The warm westerly breeze helped to dry the ice, making my job easier in the second hour. Heck, with the Packers out of the playoffs, what else was I going to do with my Sunday afternoon? And, one can only hope that all that lifting will do good things for my arm muscles.
However, I don’t think I should stop with simply looking on the bright side. For the past couple of years, ever since I started getting serious about my meditation practice, I’ve wrestled with acceptance. I don’t like it. Probably because I don’t really get it.
Things should be as good as they can possibly be. I don’t want to just accept it when they’re not.
People should always give their best effort. I don’t find it acceptable when they don’t.
The weather shouldn’t be this contrary. I don’t want to accept that it just is.
I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace with acceptance until I can pull the “should” out of my way of thinking. I need to find the path between working hard and letting go. Of right effort and equanimity, as the Buddhists say. Of separating what is happening (or not happening) from my worth as a human being.
I have a long way to go.
But the worst of the ice is gone.