I GET to be the one!

Updated: Sep 6, 2021



A few weeks ago, I saw an Instagram story on Glennon Doyle’s Instagram story. Her wife, Abby Wambach gets exasperated with Glennon in ways that I resonate with. The dishwasher is loaded inefficiently; Glennon doesn’t pick up; and most recently, she leaves the cupboards open. These are all great opportunities for upset in the pea-sized brain of Pam VanDeursen.


So, you can imagine my surprise when Abby was talking about how to be ok with these habits that bug her. My ears perked right up because this is what I think about pretty much all of the time.


Abby was saying that what works for her is thinking to herself “I get to be the person who closes the cupboards. I GET to be the one!”


The way I heard this is that she’s thinking, the cupboards get opened, and I get to complete the job. And that completion is what makes her so complementary to Glennon. I hear that she is saying every time she closes the cupboard, she thinks about that reciprocal, interdependent relationship and is grateful. She transforms her own thoughts from poisonous to thoughts of gratitude and love. Acme! This is my kind of alchemy.


This is more than just positive thinking. It’s choice. To me, this feels like applied Buddhism - being conscious of our thoughts, and making a choice. It’s bearing in mind the four noble truths - Suffering is universal, The origin of suffering is attachment. The cessation of suffering is attainable. The Path to the cessation of suffering is detachment. In the case of Abby and Glennon, Abby’s detaching from a right/wrong way of being about the cupboards. She’s detaching from being right, and that allows her to choose a different reaction. One that demonstrates her love and commitment.


My thoughts turned to my own true love with whom I eat, sleep, shop, drive, travel, clean, recreate, listen to music, meditate, hike, bike, swim, grandparent, and...argue. When we fight, I frequently have a fight hangover. I am left with wretched feelings of not being seen or heard. In a word, it sucks. And I do not recover quickly. I’m a sulky Cancer, who won’t make eye contact or talk - I won’t be mean, I just withhold my usual lovey, curious self. It can take me a while to recover, even when I can see that it’s me doing it. Argh.


So, when Abby spoke about getting to be the one who closes the cupboards, I thought about my sweetheart and me and how I might apply this living buddhism in my life. Like, I GET to be the one who closes the lid on the toilet. Or - I GET to be the one who opens the windows in summer. This is my opportunity to contribute to my relationship in a sweet compatible way that serves us both. Yay! Please note, it’s not about the tasks, it’s about the attitude. It’s about mindfulness. It’s about care and gratitude. And it is about love.


Basically, this ‘technique’ is a way to bring love into those moments when I might’ve given a huff and a nasty mutter under my breath.


Enter, the littlest guru, my 10-month-old grandson. No matter how often he gets eggs, yogurt, or sweet potato all over the floor, the table, and himself, each time I wipe it up, my heart is full of love. Now that he’s teething, sometimes he needs to be held - a lot. On those days, my arms ache - with love in every fiber. How easy it is to hold the space for love for one so small. I marvel at myself that after a full day with him, I feel filled up with love as though I just got topped off at the love station.


When I stop and consider, I don’t feel that love flowing because HE showers me with so much love, it’s because I open myself up to all those juicy delicious flavors of love. All by myself. I GET to hold him. I GET to wipe up the mess and wash off his tiny little fingers. I GET to spend all day on the floor with him. I’d love to be able to bring that attitude to all my loved ones.


So, fierce Abby Wambach and my little bear cub - two great teachers in the ways of love and the everyday choices we make.


At Perfect Avocado Retreats, we’re always about slowing things down in order to be able to make choices that serve us. If that sounds interesting to you, then join us in Costa Rica this coming spring.


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