The Road to Inner Peace is Paved With Idiots

After two years of spirituality school, I still struggle to forgive myself and others

Credit: Malte Mueller/Getty Images

The Universe = Love

The essential nature of the Universe is Love and, therefore, my essential nature is Love. When I am in my Loving, I recognize the Loving Essence in others. Namaste.

I hate everyone in this room.

I sit in the auditorium at my kids’ school for my youngest daughter’s drama showcase and, everywhere I look, I see people on my shit list. There are so many of them that my oldest daughter suggests I get a file cabinet to keep it all straight. She even gives it a name: Robin’s Fight Files, four-fifths of which is devoted to the defense of my son, the one with ADHD.

So I sit in the school auditorium among the file cabinet people I hate, hating myself because:

1. I can’t stand parents who over-share with their children and the fact that my eighth-grade daughter knows who the adults are on my shit list and why means I am now one of those parents.

2. I want to be in my Loving¹ with all people and living things on the planet and being in the elementary school auditorium kills the Loving vibe for me.

And, finally:

3. I’m a bitter and judgmental person. I spent two years in spirituality school and learned to be the arbiter of my own value. And I still hate everyone. I am a remedial.

I look at the drama teacher who’s hosting the stupid showcase and have to admit she has some talent. I remember the uncanny rendition of my son she acted out in the front office at 1 o’clock in the afternoon the week before — in front of my oldest daughter, who’d come with me to pick up her little sister, and any other parents who happened to be in the office at the time.

The drama teacher had spotted me behind the counter at the blue sign-out sheet and lunged from her spot near the teachers’ cubbies.

“Robin,” she said, “I have to talk to you about your son and his ADHD! He stomps around the classroom in the afternoon looking angry and moody and… ”

After two years at spirituality school, I am a self-forgiveness expert.

She then proceeded to reenact my son’s behavior: stomping around the office, hands balled into fists, face contorted into an exaggerated scowl, in case we missed her point. It’s not like this woman doesn’t know me — I’ve been at the school for nine years. She has my cell phone, home phone, email address, and current street address. If she wanted to talk, she had any number of options. Not to mention, I pick the kids up after school every day at 3 o’clock. But no. She went for the mid-afternoon, center-of-the-office, in-front-of-the-sisters reenactment.

I wish I said something like, “Are you aware of how inappropriate your behavior is?” Or “My son’s medication causes rebound irritability, perhaps you’re unaware of how stimulant medication works?” Or even, “You are violating my son’s privacy and you are embarrassing his sisters, yourself, and me.”

But I didn’t.

I took my daughters by the hand and left in stunned silence. I thought I should say something to soothe them, maybe turn this into a life lesson. But at the car, I bit my lip and blinked back tears. The only thing I could think of was, “That was totally inappropriate.”

Did I mention the drama teacher’s got a spot in Robin’s Fight Files?

So I sit in the auditorium but my mind is stuck on my shit list. I’m struck by the expression “shit list.” Shit is the only sure thing in the world. Shit comes out and shit goes in. There’s bullshit and horse shit and who gives a shit and no shit.

It drives my kids apeshit when my mother, their grandmother, in the middle of a phone conversation about her visit to the allergist or meeting at the mall says, “I have to make a B.M.” I’ve discussed with my mom on multiple occasions² that, “I have to call you back,” or, if she must, “I need to use the restroom,” is sufficient. But she continues to announce when she has to go number two. I try to explain to the kids that Grandma’s had two brain tumors and she’s nearly 80, she’s not going to change now. But it still drives them crazy. For me, it is another opportunity for patience.

I try to refocus on the drama showcase but it’s hard. In the first place, after six weeks of practice, my third grader is on stage for about 30 seconds and in the second place, I’m in psychic turmoil over all my judgments. I want to be in my Loving. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t. I judge away.

After the show ends, but before the parents and kids attack the dessert table, I excuse myself to go sit in my car with my hand over my heart and practice self-forgiveness. After two years at spirituality school, I am a self-forgiveness expert. I sit down in the driver’s seat, close my eyes, and put my right hand over my heart.

I forgive myself for judging myself as a bitter, angry pseudo-spiritualist. I forgive myself for buying into the misperception that I care whether any of these people like my kids or me. I forgive myself for hating the drama teacher. Even if she sucks, I forgive myself for not seeing her Loving Essence.

I center Myself within Myself. I breathe in and out. I ask for Spirit’s assistance. I feel better. I go inside and get a donut.


  1. The Loving is the soul’s essential nature.
  2. We’ve had this discussion three or four times minimum. I sent Mom to the neurologist for memory testing to make sure she wasn’t in the early stages of dementia, not just because of the B.M. conversation but also because she asks my daughter every Thursday after she picks her up from school if she wants Thai food for dinner even though my daughter tells her every Thursday that she doesn’t eat Thai food. The doctor said she is fine.

Founder: Heart.Soul.Pen.® for women writers & the Women’s Writing Den. Essays: @NYTimes @WashPo @LATimes @BuzzFeed. Author: “Restless in L.A.”

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