The Peaceful Potato

On Monday, I called my parents as I do every single Monday. First I talked to my Dad, then I spent the next 45 minutes repeating to my Mom, what I’d already told my Dad in the first 15 minutes. It’s the same every Monday; our routine. I try very hard not to complain when I talk to my parents. They are not in the best financial situation, or health situation for that matter, and I often feel unjustified talking to them about my worries or fears. But this Monday I just felt terrible about everything and I couldn’t help myself when I started vomiting complaints uncontrollably all over the place.

Mom listened sympathetically. She doesn’t always. But this day my hippie Mom, the one who lived on a commune, and then in The Haight next door to Janis Joplin, was empathetic. The woman who went to love-ins, saw Jimi Hendrix play in the park, wore her hair to her waist and dressed in velvet pants, listened to my feelings and then proceeded to tell me something hippie-esque, yet surprisingly profound.

I’ve gone through many stages in my life in regards to Mom’s beliefs: awe, fascination, amusement, disbelief, ambivalence, and perhaps even disregard. I remember her meditating in the afternoons when I was a kid and knowing, even then, that other people’s parents didn’t do this kind of thing. But I still respected her enough to not only never disturb her, but to never make fun of this to anyone else. I understood it was important to her. I knew she’d had a meditation teacher, and this teacher had been someone very special to her; a woman who taught her many things that Mom would have been glad to share with me if I’d ever had the interest. Mom did try to teach me to meditate a few times but I never learned the knack of turning off your thoughts to achieve peace. My meditating mind sounded more like this:  My foot itches…I wonder what’s for dinner….This is boring….I can’t concentrate….Stop thinking!…O.k. being peaceful now…. Quiet….I wish I had a cat….Do fish sleep?….Quiet!! … Stop thinking!!…. And so on.


But even if I never mastered the skill of meditation, or benefited from the calm it can bring you (modern studies have shown!), Mom was still able to give me a gift that her teacher had given her, the act of something I’m calling The Peaceful Potato.  Last night, while many in this world were out in their holiday finery, drinking it up, I took a small red potato from my kitchen and held it in my hands.  Closing my eyes, I filled that humble tuber with all my worries, all my fears, my doubts and my sadness.  Poor little potato.  Then I took it and buried it in our yard.  When it grows, it will take all the weight I carry and turn it into something new, something positive.  Though I don’t know if there’s truth in this act, I do know that it can’t possibly hurt.  And if it brings me peace, even for a moment, then any of the silliness I felt standing in the yard, burying a potato, will be far outweighed by what I have gained.  And you know what?  Today, I do feel peaceful.

Here’s to hoping your New Year brings you peace and joy, whether or not you choose the way of the Peaceful Potato.


9 thoughts on “The Peaceful Potato

  1. What an interesting thing to do! I love the idea of the Peaceful Potato!
    I sincerely hope your worries will soon go away, and peace will find its way into your life again. Best wishes for a wonderful new year!

  2. Here’s hoping that things start looking up for you and that you feel a little bit better with the new year. Remember, it’s a time for new beginnings…a fresh new slate. HUGS!

  3. Oh, M, I hope you are feeling better. You’re such a creative, funny, sweet and talented person and I totally appreciate you :-)

    Your Mom sounds cool!

  4. It sounds like you had a really interesting upbringing. Growing up I always wished my parents were more main stream and less fringe, but now I have to appreciate their choices as well.

  5. My mom used to be a lot like yours – that’s when I used to like her – when she was true to her new agey hippie self. Now she’s gone all establishment and is trying to take everyone else down with her.

  6. My mom is a bit like that…with others, but she doesn’t ‘live it’. Know what I mean? It can be interesting, and perplexing at times. Other times, I find it annoying. That’s all I want to say about my mother…..

    I like your ‘Peaceful Potato’ idea. I do a similar thing each spring. I find a rock and paint it, sharing my woes, worries, bad habits, and telling it what I really think about A,B and C. Then, I place it in my garden. I suppose it helps to make me feel better, and it has become a ritual.

  7. Gosh, how interesting, I wouldn’t have imagined your Mom like this at all. Glad you did vent your complaints and she was able to listen and be helpful. I think the Peaceful Potato is a good idea & I definitely think it will have a way of working in your favor :)

  8. I love the idea of a peaceful potato (and I just plain love potatoes. How cool. I may have my sons do this to get rid of some of the angst around here.

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