In The Last Surviving Dinosaur, the word "Tsuris" is described not to mean those "minor daily inconveniences", but rather "major life changing traumatic events that have brought on suffering that has never been experienced by anyone since the beginning of time."
But the truth is for most people, when they talk about their "Tsuris," it really is about those minor daily inconveniences. I know how I am when it comes to this. Sometimes, the world is burning and I can be just fine. Other times, I just have a very low threshold. "Do you really have to make that cud chewing sound when you are chewing gum?" "And if you blow one more bubble, it will be a bubble over your head!!" "And can you believe our neighbor? Who in the world mows the lawn......in the daytime?"
It is not the big stuff, but the little things that start to add up like getting bitten by mosquitos at a hot and humid summer night picnic. And we are always thinking that we have it worse than anyone else. "I would be doing cartwheels if I had your Tsuris!!"
Imagine having that life long dream. You do not want to win the lottery. Get that promotion, or admitted to a fine university, make the basketball team, have a family. Your dream is to have another person's Tsuris. You have that. You do cartwheels, and you tell the world you finally made it!
My favorite cartoon growing up, like everybody else, was the Flintstones, and this very concept was the storyline in one memorable episode. Fred and Barney come home tired from work. Wilma and Betty are exhausted at home. They all complain how life would be a piece of cake if they just switched places.
So, they switch. Fred and Barney takes care of Pebbles and Bam Bam, and Wilma and Betty go off to the quarry. It turns out that Fred and Barney get a bit too much Bam Bam....Bam Bam Bam to handle. Wilma and Betty did just fine at the quarry, but let's face it. We all knew that the Flintstones was way ahead of its time.
So, getting back to real Tsuris, and we begin to feel overwhelmed by our many minor daily inconveniences, sit on a chair in a quiet place or a cushion and have a CrankaTsuris meditation.
Now, meditation can be tricky. I began meditating when I lived in New York, and would go to the Village Zendo. We would have summer and end of the year retreats where we would spend a week in silence, and would sit on a cushion from 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM at night, with some breaks in between. Every meditation was different. Some loud. Many quiet. Some terrified like the floor was swallowing me up from beneath me. Others was completely blissful. So, just allow the experience to be what it is.
With a CrankaTsuris meditation, with eyes wide open, sit and breath in the CrankaTsuris you had that day. Do not judge it. Treat it with compassion. You had an angry feeling, a helpless feeling, a cranky feeling, frustration, whatever it is, embrace it as true. Do not fight it. Treat it as part of you because that is what it is. Enjoy the feeling of compassion for all this "schmutz" inside of you, and enjoy the feeling that in your quiet place, it is all safe. No one will judge you. No one will fight back. No one will misunderstand you. It is all safe. Just you. The feelings. The compassion. The quiet. Breath in, and exhale. Let it all out. Get back to the present and the quiet. Notice the quiet and the present for a few minutes. Exhale.
Then, start thinking about a CrankaTsuris that was created over a month, a year, or a lifetime. Feel the compassion for al of this as well. Feel safe sitting with this in the quiet space. Again, breath in and exhale. Quiet. Breath in and exhale.
Next, what does a CrankaTsuris of a friend, a partner, a parent, a colleague - look like. Breath that in. Feel the compassion for this too. Think about how safe it is for this person to have this CrankaTsuris.
Think about the CrankaTsuris of the world. Notice how it shifts to things that may not be a minor daily inconvenience, but now we are getting more to major traumatic events. Again, with compassion, breath in and exhale as well.
Now, get back to your first CrankaTsuris. Those minor daily inconveniences. Check in and see if they feel a bit softer. Be generous and feel as much compassion as you did before. Breath in gratitude. Exhale gratitude. Close your eyes. Sit for five more minutes in quiet.
Ring the bell. Breath, Stretch, and feel the CrankaTsuris cleanse.