Monday, October 6, 2008

There is a lesson in everything.

We have this plastic ball made of interlocking pieces. The ball is green with orange dots. When you throw it, the pieces float away from each other in a neat bit of physics and the ball becomes orange with green dots. It is hands down one of the best gifts Pablo was ever given (thanks again, Monica!) and I never tire of playing with it.

Today I was sitting there nursing, like I often do, and the ball was near me, so I stared tossing it in the air. Orange, green, green, orange. At first I just watched with a Beginner Mind. Then I started trying to decide if I like green with orange dots or orange with green dots more. Each way I had it, I decided I liked it better the other way. What wasn't was infinitely more enticing than what was. Time after time after time. Orange to green, green to orange. What better metaphor for life? Always there is something more enticing. Always what we don't have in hand is better than what we do.

I saw what I was doing and laughed. And I went back to watching with a Beginner Mind.

Then I got invested in the ball actually changing colors every time I threw it. I got frustrated when it didn't. I wanted to control it, so I practiced throwing with more and less force to make it change, or not, on my whim. I did learn more about how the ball worked, but I noticed that something about my attachment to the outcome made it less fun than just watching with curiosity as it changed. Or stayed the same. I enjoyed learning the "skill" of just the right touch, but once expectation was attached, the game became less joyful and more frustrating. It had been more fun to try different things and just see what happened.

I again saw what I was doing and laughed. And I went back to playing with a Beginner Mind.

Two life lessons from 5 minutes with an (admittedly cool) children's toy. I wonder what else I would be learning if I just payed more attention?

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