“I want to go to the summer camp here.” I can tell when Zaida’’s tired or feeling insecure by the ‘little baby’ voice that comes out.
“And I want to go to the summer camp at Rowe.”
“Yeah?” I say.
Her voice in this tween state is sweet and excited and delicious and I know that if I just wait or prompt her, more is coming.
It does: “And I want to go to camp at Sassafras.”
The dirt road is so bumpy I’m tempted to ask her to raise her voice as I can barely hear her, yet don’t even want that much interruption to her stream.
I glance back at her.
When she was tiny, so small her face was still scrunched up and she couldn’t yet talk, I used to say to her: ‘your name is Zaida Shazandra Aaron, and you can do anything.’
Then later, when more of the divine had filled out her shape into the human beauty that she is, and is ever more becoming, and she was squeaky able to say things, I got her to repeat it back to me.
“What’s your name?”
And she’d squeak it out.
“I can do anything.”
Some adults said to me then, aren’t you setting yourself up for not having any boundaries with her? For her to be out of control, that she’ll walk all over you?
I thought about it. Maybe.
Others questioned whether I might be setting her up for disappointment, implying that she can’t really do anything.
At times I’ve told her she needed to choose between: a birthday party or a chance to go to the water park with another friend, between a sleepover on Saturday, and going with me and a group of trainees to a waterfall Sunday morning, between having a crepe with maple syrup for breakfast and the possibility of dessert that evening.
Cruel father I was. And, joking aside, the potential cruelty of those choices, whether they come through my lips or someone else’s, or are simply the natural consequences of living in earth school with its apparent limitations of time and space, the pain of those choices all depends on our perspective.
It’s ignorance, in sanskrit called avidya, which can be translated to false truth, or incorrect perception, that killed the donkey.
This donkey wasn’t even all that old, yet he fell for one of the oldest errors in the earthly realm. He woke from a nap in the barn one day, stretched and suddenly realized he was hungry. Glancing to his right he saw a fresh pile of hay scrumptiously set out for him. He licked his lips.
They were dry, which reminded him that he was thirsty. Instinctively turning to his left, he saw that indeed the thoughtful farmer had refilled the water trough while the donkey slept. His eyes and brain lit up with how satisfying would be that water.
Before he moved toward it, though, he turned back toward the hay, and his stomach and brain both agreed on how compelling was the idea of eating, which automatically brought him to lick his lips again.
This tale is a sad one, a missed lesson in earth school, for the donkey (aka human who is wired for survival) couldn’t make up his mind, and so perished there in the middle of the barn, unable to choose to eat or drink.
He missed a few keys:
We can be like that, eh? In modern speak it’s called FOMO: fear of missing out.
Am I afraid that Zaida will get a false notion that she can have it all? No. If anything I’m afraid that all of us might fall for the false perception that there is anything we could ever be missing out on, which would mean – and this would be considered tragedy if it weren’t so common – missing out on the beauty and glory of this very moment.
My response to Zaida’s ‘can I’ question?
You can already imagine what I said to her: “for sure.” One of my favorite words, one that we I practice saying on daily basis, especially when the donkey part of me kicks in with it’s doubt and fear: YES. Yes to life, to what is, and to what we dream.
For the parents, this may bring questions, and feel free to reach out. For those without children, I hope it’s obvious what our upgrade to FOMO means for you. If our super stimulated world of non stop pings and blings, with so much chirping for our attention, the antidote to FOMO is EAIP. I pronounce it like I learned to say yes when I was a boy in Maine. EEEYUP.
It stands for Excitement About Infinite Possibilities. Not only can we have it all, we do. And before I risk confusing you further – confusion being a state I celebrate, it being our portal into learning and growing into our true free nature – I’ll leave it there.
The sun is rising and I’m off to a yoga run to breathe into the start of this glorious day. What are you looking forward to and what are you appreciating about this moment right now?