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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This week I listened to Krista Tippett's On Being podcast in which she interviewed Sylvia Boorstein, Jewish-Buddhist teacher, mother, and grandmother, about parenting in today's world, in an episode entitled What We Nurture. You can download the entire podcast from the website, or listen to it there.

Besides finishing with a poem by Pablo Neruda, which is a wonderful testimonial to her thinking, Boorstein said something that has been on my mind ever since I heard her interview. I paraphrase here, but basically she said that as a measuring stick of how clearly she is thinking, she looks to how kind she is able to be. (Which doesn't mean a person can't be both clear-thinking and cruel; we all know they can. But a generally well-intentioned person is probably not being clear-thinking when being unkind.)

That really hit home with me. When my thinking and emotions are muddled, I tend to lash out at anyone who approaches me, generally someone who is innocent but who ends up bearing the brunt of my unclear thinking. Ex post facto, I always know immediately that I have unfairly been cruel to someone else because I am feeling bad about myself. Still, it never occured to me to use my ability to be kind as a gauge of how clearly and sanely I am thinking. This is a very useful concept for me and one that I hope helps me break a destructive pattern.
Happy Mother's Day.

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