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Silence at the Kitchen Table
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I just completed the deletion of bothersome emails and reading others that required a response when my wife came up the stairs into the kitchen following a 45-minute workout on the Spin Bike located in the corner of our bedroom. Just at the landing, she brusquely asked why I hadn’t gone down stairs to my office rather than occupying the kitchen table. Before I finished the explanation, which in truth required none, she cut me off. I was struck silent. At that moment, I felt charged with affectivity and an overabundance of adrenal secretion, punctuating the limits of any rational thought.

Remaining in the kitchen, following the feeding of my mother in law breakfast was such a common occurrence; I could not grasp the basis for her confrontation. Flora has progressive dementia so preparing her breakfast, which today consisted of yogurt with Granny Smith apple and pumpkin seeds that had gone through the food processor, was the norm. While I was caring for Flora, my wife would often be teaching her 8:00AM on-line college course downstairs. But today was different. It was another federal holiday, which fell on a Monday, so the pace moved more slowly. However, every morning begins early for us and depending on my mother in laws needs could be very charged and time bound. My wife generally rises at 4:30 AM for her morning coffee, reading or journaling or both, while I get up at around 5:00, followed by morning abolitions. We both meditate for 1 hour with the Green River Zendo, as part of 108 day commitment to sit and then get Flora changed, applied with a good shot of espresso coffee with sugar and cream and then my wife would head downstairs to prepare for class leaving the rest up to me.

So why the reactivity? So much is never truly known about another given the depth of conditioned foibles and the vast unconscious. In this case, I simply wanted to leave Flora’s bedroom door open, which abuts the kitchen, so as to keep an eye on our cat who was asleep on the yellow quilted blanket at Flora feet. Nola, though a large black, male Maine coon cat with distinct grey stripes on the underside of her belly and tail, he is still a kitten who practices his hunting skills by unexpectedly attacking your legs with nails or teeth or jumps up on your lap, licks your face then circles and settles in and begins to purr encouraging rubs on his belly, the messaging of his ears and gentle scratches on his head, which may result in a returned scratch or a bite. We’re working with his behavior, by voicing a stern, NO! It’s a slow and steady patience with this playful kitten. So in order to avoid an attack happening to Flora who is now resting in her hospital bed, I remained alert to any warning sounds of potential injury by staying nearby.

It was clear that for whatever the reason, my wife was uncomfortably tense, wanting her space and needing silence from any lengthy explanation peppered with banalities. So in a state of potential reaction, I silently left the kitchen for my office and the warm comfort of the wood stove and the solitude of my own inner process.

While sitting quietly at my desk, the unusually cerebral haiku that I had written in the same errant kitchen yesterday morning, came to mind, capturing the necessary inner work to further salve my emotional reactions, as my body pulsed with the dichotomous feelings of anger and hurt.

long tyrannized
with congenital idiosyncrasies
amity requires indescribable purification

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