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One of my most hated noises is the low and ominous drone of a vacuum cleaner. As a kid, when I arrived home from school and heard a vacuum cleaner, I knew my mom was already upset about something.

When I began to practice meditation, the first thing I noticed was a constant menacing drone in the background of my experience. And a sense that the next threat is never far away, and I can never let my guard down because they will know. I felt a sense that I was getting away with something, like an undercover agent who is always this close to being found out and ruined. One bad move is all it would take.

When I was younger, my mom was depressed, self-loathing, alcoholic, and explosive. Once, I remember asking her what I did wrong. She said that it had nothing to do with me and sometimes she was in a bad mood. It didn't really sink in.

I am an American. I was born here and have resided here all my life. I have swam in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and visited more states than not.

Today, a lot of my fellow Americans are traumatized by the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Today, a lot of Americans feel like they never want to go outside again. I'm hardly neutral. "If you are neutral in situations of injustice," as Desmond Tutu said, "you have chosen the side of the oppressor." But a lot of Americans have a lot more to say about being American today than I do. I am grateful to them for saying it. Maybe I'll be ready to talk about being an American in more depth next week.

All I can say is that I am built for hard times.

Now, my mom is one of the most genuinely patient and empathetic people I know - friend, family, or other - and supports me through some lonely and horrible experiences. She cultivated that by doing hard work on herself and making her own peace with the drone, working with it until she found her own music breaking through the cracks.

I am quite grateful to have the mom that I have. Whether or not we end up discussing current events this weekend, we will be able to sit with the shared experience of having reckoned with serious demons and lived to keep up the peaceful fight.

May we be happy. May we be safe. May we have peace. May we be loved.


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