I’ve never cared for intermissions. Whether I like the program or not, I either wanted it to go on or to end without that obligatory break. I am sure that the players or dancers, etc. need the break and because of that, I have learned to put up with it while I stand up and let people go by who want to use the restrooms or have a drink, etc. For me, it is as if we just stop in the middle and wait before we continue.
Last week, I had one of life’s longest intermissions. Charlie, our dog decided to suddenly jump out of the shopping cart in the pet store and crash land on his face. After surgery to repair his broken jaw, he was put on a morphine patch for pain. Well, what we didn’t know was that he is one of the extremely rare cases where the morphine instead of having a calming effect, has a stimulatory effect on. Needless to say, he was running around the house at full speed and trying to bite and chew anything in site. He was out of control and scaring the kids and us. Sitting on the couch in my family room in my pajamas holding my dog so he wouldn’t run into circles and chew on the furniture, I realized how I couldn’t do much. Oh, I forgot to mention, my cable, electric power, internet and phone were out for 12 hours too! So, I really couldn’t do anything, but breathe and try to calm the dog and myself while I waited impatiently for the Vet to call me on my cell phone with further instructions on how to handle Charlie.
That day, once I relaxed and surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t do anything about the situation, but to stay put and be patient, I kept on asking myself if there was any wisdom in it, anything I could learn, etc. I found myself in the theater again at intermission, looking at my watch, hoping it would go by quicker. It felt like being put in “time out”, when you hadn’t even done anything to qualify for it. Circumstances had placed me in “time out” indefinitely and for no apparent reason. I was too exhausted to figure it out, so I just took little naps with Charlie and it reminded me of the days after bringing your baby home from the hospital.
Once Charlie was better and I could go back to work, etc. I realized that I was not the same person as before. It was as if the intermission ended and a new show or story began. I still don’t know what that was all about, but I do know that I have a different outlook on everything. I am not on automatic, just doing my routine. I am more conscious of everything. I am more aware of time, my routines, gratitude for having electricity and internet, friends to call, gratitude for my capacity to be patient, etc. Nothing “important” happened in those 12 hours, but something extraordinary shifted and I feel like a new person. Holding my dog like a baby and rocking him so he could calm down, reminded me of the capacity we all have to love, nurture and be compassionate. My inability to multi-task, gifted me with the opportunity to bask in this new awareness. We are capable of so much gentleness and yet we live extremely harsh lives. My long intermission reminded me to remember to be gentle. These times we live in, require a lot of tender loving care and it begins at home. When we cram every second with a hundred things to do, when we blindly go through our days with chores and lists addicted to our high level of productivity, we are out of control and think otherwise. We are slaves to “doing” and when there is nothing to do, we spend that time thinking about what else needs to be done. Sometimes life extends an opportunity to be present and fully awake, an intermission to our movie, a break to realize that you are not the movie. I think I will be looking forward to intermissions and the gifts they contain. I will be present and aware of who I am instead of giving in to the addiction of doing stuff all the time. Thanks Charlie!