The Dalai Lama on a Snow Day
by Brian Leaf
This year, New England, like much of the country, has been pummeled by snow. And that means snow days for our kids. Which is magical. I remember snow days fondly. Sleeping in. Sledding. Snow men and snow forts. Cocoa and popcorn by the fire.
But what about poor mom and dad? There's the magic, yes. But there's also missing work and dealing with kids who are cooped up much of the day. It can be downright stressful. On a recent bout of snow days, I wondered, how would I handle all of this if I were a wiser, more patient, and generally more evolved human being? How would I handle this situation if I were the Dalai Lama? Put another way, how would his Holiness the Dalai Lama deal with three consecutive snow days?
Here's what I think.
I think that, on the first day, he’d be very chipper. This would be one heck of a fun snow day for everyone involved. Frolicking in the fluff with HHDL would be a dream come true. He’d giggle and be so present and alive. He'd experience each snowflake as if it were his first. From the cold snow down his back at the end of a sledding run to the energy of a spirited snowball fight, he'd be alight with prana. He'd lead the kids in games and adventures, but also, at times, allow them to feel independent and empowered.
On day two, I think, he’d still be playful and relaxed. There'd be storytelling and hot cocoa by the fire. If the kids got feisty—let's say over a disagreement about whether to play Monopoly or The Game of Life—the Dalai Lama would roll with the meltdowns and be quick with a cuddle.
But I think that, on day three, he might start to miss his meditation practice. He might start to feel the weight of the laundry pile and the dirty dishes in the sink, and he might even let a small humph escape when the kids woke up early asking for a glass of water. He might even yell. Yes, I think, on the third consecutive snow day, the Dalai Lama might yell.
But, here’s the rub. He’d notice his frustration, he'd notice his anger, he’d forgive himself and his kids, he'd relax, and he’d move on completely. And that would make all the difference. That’s what separates the Dalai Lama and me—and it would be the very thing that allowed him to be jolly, playful, and full of life again on day three.
The key to snow days, and to life, I suspect, is not in seeking perfection, but in accepting imperfection. That, for me, is the lesson of the Dalai Lama and the three consecutive snow days.
Brian Leaf is a Kripalu Yoga teacher and the author of 12 books, including the memoirs Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi and Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi.
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