Buddhism · Energy work · Musings · Strong Woman · Uncategorized · weak woman · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

Questions

How do you return to one, if we are already one?  Return to one.  If everything is connected, and if we are all part of one living organism, how can we return to something we are already part of?

Also I have this question.  If Buddhism is about acceptance, and the Buddha is not a god, then why does one have to be mindful of such things as not wearing knee length shorts when meditating, or not stretching in front of the Buddha statue.  STATUE.

Also why if we are all one and all equals must one bow to the Osho, not turn your back to the Osho as though they are a high king?  Why do people serve the Osho, and why is the Osho kept apart from the others?

Can one be an enlightened bodhisattva and still be just an ordinary person.  Must one be ordained to be enlightened?

And why is discomfort and pain part of Zen meditative practice?  ie you sit in a painful position for seven days at a time, not scratching, moving or brushing off a mosquito, until your bones ache and your body screams in pain.  Is this what finding enlightenment is really about?  And how can you find enlightenment, if you are already exactly where you are supposed to be?

These are my questions.

Artists · Energy work · Great Quotes · Herbal Medicine · Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

Inside My World

 

 

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” ~JOSEPH CAMPBELL

island duckies beach3 beach2 beach

My inner world, this place inside me that is sometimes filled with self loathing and angst, finds peace, finds a serene place to rest in which the warm winds blow and the sun is warm, and the moon rises over quiet small lakes, and streams flow over broken rock, dragon flies dive float at eye level, inspecting me and finding me worthy.  These moments of quiet, these days of learning, this life of self discovery, I am held aloft by the arms of angels, how lovely I am here, in this place where no one else’s love, or absence seems to matter.

We walk each morning up the climbing hill, and down again.  He panting old and reluctant behind me, but never really leaving my side, loyal friend, best friend, I could never leave you, you with your salt flavored fur, you with your joyful smile upon my return, you with your charming hugs upon my knee, I could never leave you, just as you would never leave me for long, not for long.  The other dogs thunder up to me, the scouting dog cutting in front of me and him repeatedly, you dogs whose DNA is so similar to his.  The other, shyly approaches, shy affection, and I can see, a degree of loyalty, which I will have to work hard to continue to earn, when I rise you are the most excited as you leap in the air and spin in circles.  And she, the scout, chasing turkeys cutting back around to me, but on the way home, my own stands by me, she goes ahead, and he  peeks around curves to make sure I am there, before journeying forward.

And this is all a salve, an ointment, made of air, and abiding friendship, of laughter, of years of loyalty, of going away, but coming back because we must, because the love is too strong to leave behind.  It smells of rosemary, for truth, of rose geranium for mental clarity, of citrus lemon, or grapefruit for refreshing quality, and juniper berry for some unnamed spiritual purpose, something akin to being deeply ones self in this increasingly homogeneous culture, a salve to sooth all the broken places, to replace all the empty places or perhaps to make the emptiness bearable.

A moment of quiet here, with its rustic gardens, its mountainous vista, its island of cool, its balm of loving loyalty, friendship, acceptance, its quietude of spirit and centrality of purpose.

I am not an artist in residence so much as a spirit in flight.

Gift.

Gift.

Gift.

Endless gift.

All things melancholy · Books · Energy work · Magic · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

fire lit

I crack it open, this book that I no longer remember where I first heard of it, perhaps on NPR, perhaps not.  I only know that it exists in the after time, the rift that I realize now will never be healed.  I lost the name of the author, the title of the book, and without either, there is truly no way to find such a thing in the search engines of bookstores.  Like this science fiction book I once read:  Woman on an expedition to another planet, loses her oxygen suit and is saved by aliens who have the ability to adjust her physical body to their allergens, her partner is not so lucky and when she returns to the human world she is forever altered.  I wish I could just remember this other book though that sounded intriguing and then by some accident, it comes to me and I add it to my list, which remains unread for some period of time.  There is a certain joy in opening a library book, the crackle of the cellophane cover, the smell of other people on the pages, their squashed bugs, the smell of their bathwater and their perfume, and the red splash of spaghetti sauce they were eating while they held their book behind their bowl with the non dominant hand.

“The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation.  Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration–how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?”  A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

I am not, as I wander in this valley, sometimes the cut is so deep I find myself cold and huddled in the darkness, there seems no way out.  A friend by in the way of six degrees of separation calls the beginning of this rift his box of shame, but I am stuck in this rift, in this darkness.  And yet somehow the darkness is a relief from having to be bright.  Do I choose the yellow and sunshine and the cheerful way of the  flighted, or do I choose this damp cavern of sorrow?  I say there is this endless quest for meaning but all the philosophy on planet earth can not delve into the darkest depths of this human despair.  I frame it properly, I tell the history, I tell the insanity of my thinking, the magic that I find imbued in the journey, he understands this magic in his pagan mind.  The philosophy, he says, isn’t meant to though, to delve into that despair.  Instead, he says, it addresses those depths of true meaning and then walks away.  I want quit of it, but deep down, I know that it is more meaningful than the veneer of joyfulness than the frame of its all good this frame of perpetual happiness, for I cannot feel true joy without this riverbed carved from the rock of my being, this valley of my soul, gully in some places.  It has been carved with a flood gate of tears.  And like a lady slipper in the forest, the smallest patch of sunlight brings the greatest gift of beauty to me.  And my goddess how gloriously beautiful it can be.

“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.”  Thomas Moore

I sit on the steps in the sunlight, arms sore from raking, and I tell the constant yammering of my inner voice to be still now.  It fades to the background and I realize without thinking it, that there is something to be said for acknowledging and embracing this darkness.  Yes, I am broken, yes I feel I will never recover from this, yes, I still ache in the darkness, and also in the light.  But this is no shallow pool, it is a crystalline feature of who I am.  I revel now in being lost or of not being, or the transformation of my self, this is who I was once, but that ended so abruptly, and was never reopened, well at least by him, mine is still gaping, I scratch at the scab, it bleeds, the stitches so carefully sewn tear, and it is rent open again. I am lost to this thing which caused my befores and afters.  And as I read I recall that day when I was lost in the Adirondacks, not even my dog by my side.  How I cried, and felt not sorrow for myself, but fear for my daughter alone, and how I carefully walked back until I found the trail sign, on the ground and took the right path instead of the left.   Oh I know lost.

My moral compass led me in the right direction, I have integrity we have already established this.  I know that not everyone can say the same.  I suppose there must be something though that carries them through their journies, something I cannot or maybe will not comprehend.  I ask, is this a sign?  My friend of six degrees says, maybe it is just location, location, location.  And in this case, the location is a thousand miles from home their own heated separtion.  And yet I am home, I just don’t trust that the hearth will warm me, nor that the fire will stay lit.

How can I when I am shivering here, shivering so in the dark and the damp.

I must light my own fire.

I know the answer at least, that I can lit my own fire, and that the damp and darkness matter only in relation to the light and warmth of my own hearth.

In the immortal words of my hero, Tim Gunn, “Carry On”.  “Make It Work”.

All things melancholy · Buddhism · Changing Seasons · Energy work · Fungus · Great Quotes · Magic · Musings · Nature · Strong Woman · Zen Buddhism

“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  ~ Hamlet via Shakespeare

I wake early and blissfully watch a new episode of the BBC version of modern Sherlock Holmes.  After an hour I got up and went to him, are you hunting?

No he says, annoyed, I guess not, I didn’t set my alarm right.

I know some women complain when their men hunt, and others join them.  I was looking forward to the time to myself.  The treasure of several days running of guiding the course of my day without encumberance

The day is cold and full of November, the grey swept away to blue and swept back to grey again as I lounge about all morning.  He comes in cold and cheerful, but before long he begins to find things for me to do, though the activity of not being busy has occupied my morning.

Are you going to rake the leaves?
No, it’s too wet.
It’s perfect for raking leaves.
I will do it tomorrow, it is supposed to be nicer.
What are you making for dinner?
Cashew chili.
Do we have hamburger?
No.
What meat are you putting in it?
I am making vegetarian chili for dinner.
I want meat.
Why are the lights on in this room.
Sorry I forgot.
Why is there paper towel on the floor?
Because the dog stole your napkin.

Listen.  I am going for a walk now.
Why?
Because you are bothering me.

It is damp, the leaves are wet, the rocks slippery, the path slick with mud.  My thoughts are on the life of another as I gaze at my black boots taking one after another step.  Concerned I looked for her in the list of the dead.  Instead I found her  mugshot.  My mind has not left her since.  Though someone suggested it four years ago, I did not let her into my home on that snowstorm cold night out of some misguided attempt to win anyone’s favor.  As she stood on my step, stricken, shivering, I saw her as a person first.  All else came after.  My sister said she would have told her to get the fuck off her property.  I told her come in, it is freezing.   It was what was to be done and nothing more.  But here my mind is caught as I look around me at the bare trees; her personality and character are cold and stark, like an arctic desert.  Her company is like uncombed sheep’s wool against a baby’s skin, awkward, uncomfortable.  Her judgment of me, always left me feeling angry, hateful.  But nonetheless, you do not throw out the known self, no matter how distasteful, in a snowstorm.  For she was at the very least safe with me, and trustworthy to her own degree.  I never expected to get anything back from her.  I am caught though snagged as though on a branch, I wrote that story exactly two years ago.  For a class.  I called it The Squatter.  I am like a hand with an eye drawn in it’s palm.  That story came out of me nearly whole.  I am filled with the shameful disgust of it.  And you see, it is like a record skipping in my mind.  How can we know these things?  Just as I knew other things, things that no one told me.

I think on this notion that though I would have told you my heart was broken, I see now that it was just the egg shell that broke.  Inside was this tiny soft yellow thing, how can you crush such a thing with it’s tiny egg tooth, softly peeping for sustenance?  It is a gift of some strange knowledge, the magic, I think, as I clamber up a slippery slope, of all that unknown magic of the physical world.  The proof that it exists only anecdotal.

I decide to leave her here on this wooded path.  And as I walk out into the field the rain which is falling with a crisp snow sound, chickadees singing, a hawk piercing the sky with its hunting call, I stop to touch the dried grey head of a Queen Anne’s Lace, so beautiful at least to me.  I notice the wind moving the leafless trees, they sway gently, I have this comfortable warm inside heart beat feeling of homeness.  I listen to my breath and feel the cold on my bare flesh, though parts of me are sweating in my loosened sweater, hat now in the pocket, scarf open and softly moving in the wind.  I am dressed as a romantic, as I make my way up the steep embankment, like a character from an Austen novel.  Soon my romance will be replaced by a practical thing, ensconced in down and soft wool, layers bulky against the cold.   The practicality is a survival technique but best of all to me flying birds soul is the romance of it all.  I can bear the Novembers, only practicality makes the colder months bearable.

On the long path he steams ahead forgetting that I exist, I call him back, he reluctantly returns after much persuading.  On state land again, I releash him.  He pulls wanting his freedom, though he also stops to rest his head on my knee and smile up at me.  Hey buddy.  I say.

I relish this time, this place.  There is something so sacred to me.  Zen Buddhism ignores the sacred, says all of this is ordinary, that one should not yearn for the extraordinary.  I feel sacred though, on the inside, as though this is all a gift.

Sacred.  I whisper to the grey trees.  Sacred.   I whisper to the wet leaves.  Sacred I whisper to the goblin rock.  Sacred. I whisper to the egg tooth chick inside my heart.  Sacred.  I whisper to the homeless, mentally ill woman, whose tragic face I cannot forget.  Sacred.  I say to the birds that fly from the tops of the branches, into the windy, drizzly, cold, damp November day.

Although you cannot see it because my camera cannot seem to capture whites on such a grey day, this mushroom looks like a fried egg.

 

 

Birds · Buddhism · Energy work · Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Yoga · Zen Center of Syracuse

Phoenix Soaring

I do not know how long it has been since I have been to yoga, but I make up my mind that this weekend I will return.  Perhaps it has been a year, or maybe only six months, it feels like forever.  The long term pain in my hip is more or less gone, and from time to time the pain from last summer that plagued my right knee is still a twinge here and there.  Though not nearly as painful as it was when I decided a break was in order.  I have not walked much either, I decided my body was telling me take it easy, and still all the work on the house has created a completely different set of muscle aches and joint issues.  Sore ankles plague me in the morning, and the tightness in my shoulders, upper back and arms is evident in the opening stretches of the session.  I walk in to my dear friend Karen and the joy from both of us is delightful, she too has been plagued with severe health problems, and even when I was going often, she was not.  There are others too who greet me with pleasure.  It is good to feel this sense of Sangha for lack of a better word.  Perhaps that word is just right.

Usually I gripe about certain poses and postures or asanas, but today I have come with this resolve to do it no matter what without complaint, adjusting on the first night only one pose which I feel unsafe in, a stretch which opens up the legs in a split forward to back, that feels like the tendons behind my knees will pop and roll like a rubber band cut at its furthest stretch.  I alter it to a hurdler’s stretch, it does not open the soas, but it does open the hamstring.  I close my eyes, and for a moment my spirit feels a deep feeling of being on a balance beam, or  a log stretched across an abyss, I am maintaining a balance here, I do not want to sway to one side or another.  I do not call it torture pose, I call it opportunity to work through the difficulties.

My dear friend tells me when she meditates she has a mantra that seeks to wish well upon all beings.  I want to be there, though I am not yet.  I have only just learned to not wish bad karma on those that have hurt me so deeply, have hurt my child.  I feel the sting on my own cheek as though it were my own.  She had the bravery to accuse a now guilty teacher of molestation, and for it she was called a liar, called a troublemaker.  He now no longer allowed to teach teenaged boys, due to his solicitation of minors who reported him.  She is redeemed.  And in a flash I think, I should no longer wish the bad karma to flood the life of the one who slapped her and the one who used this as a wedge in our marriage, I think, I should just let it all go.  And I do.  But wish them well?  Hope they are happy and free from harm?  Not yet, but I know as I walk this narrow bridge that it is there just ahead on the other side.

As it turns out two days later I am at yoga yet again, after an hour on the bike and weights for my arms.  It feels good to stretch and I feel the stress and months of stiffness open up my body.  My teacher knows how much I love hamstring and hip openers, and he says, near the end,  grab your straps, and I do, he makes eye contact with me and I raise an eyebrow, he grins at me and says we are going to do a hamstring stretch, I softly clap my hands together making no sound and grin from ear to ear.  He smiles knowingly and teases me gently for my joy.  Sangha.

In shavasana, I think, though I know I should only be breathing,  that though I have been set free, for some of the time I have carried a heavy weight around with me, and as I work slowly, cautiously to cut the last bits of its weight from me, as I make plans on how to create the future I truly want, as I work to let the lazy drift become a focused destination, I realize how very fortunate I am, how good this practice is for me, and how much I love the serenity of this place.

I look up inside the backs of my eyelids and I see a beautiful phoenix, soaring though the turbulent sky.

Energy work · Zen Buddhism

Energy Work

I drank too much wine and am really dehydrated.  I am dizzy and I throw up my coffee and water.  I try to eat knowing it is just a hangover but throw that up too.  I do not usually have this reaction, and I haven’t had that much wine.  But for whatever reason my body is rejecting it.  Now a week later I think I was coming down with something, because my belly is still not fully recovered.  But at the moment every smell and every taste was abhorrent.  I admit that I usually do drink this much when I am visiting this particular friend.  And sometimes lately I feel like I am drinking too much.  (I haven’t touched it since a week ago today though)  I recognize my increasing need to numb myself from the difficulties of this life and now as I have spent the last 16 hours in a state of contemplation I know that something has to change.  I know I need to eat healthier, I know I need to drink less, I know I need to exercise more.  I know all of these things.  But lets go back to one week ago.

So I am outside, because I am a true believer that fresh air will cure any ailment.  And I am standing on the porch in the cool Adirondack air.  And despite the fact that I am trying hard not to wretch I am appreciating the fact that you cannot hear cars out here in the middle of the woods.  The other person who is staying with A. my dear friend, comes outside.  She is a holistic healer and energy worker.  I buy into holistic healing, I believe that we can get more from the natural world than the world of drug companies but I am a skeptic always.  I guess in some ways this explains my inability to embrace Christianity.  What the hell do you mean that she was a virgin and her baby was the living son of God.  Come on. She was screwing around and got pregnant and tried to make up a story to cover her ass.  Bitch, Please!  The friend whom I will call K. gave me two Nox Vomica tablets.  And a cup of Umiboshi Plum tea. Goji berry powder tea. I do not throw up again, although I dry heaved a couple times.  I drink the tea, slowly.  I move to a spot where I sit on the steps and I begin to meditate, centering myself and just focusing on my breathing.  It is easy to do this when you are crazy nauseous.  It is hard to think at all.  K. stepped outside and asked how I was feeling and asked if it was okay to do energy work on me.  Now here my skeptic steps in and with a hand on an akimbo hip says.  YEAH sure!  I said okay, whats to lose, and it will help her if nothing else.  So she begins at my feet not quite touching me.  As I sit there in my meditative state something quite obvious begins to happen.  I begin to see a change in the light that moves behind my closed eyelids.  It is like those trip disks we played with as kids, where you spin the disk and the light makes patterns.  That started to happen to the light in my eyelids.  She continued to do this work, at times with me asking questions, if I release negative energy will it harm you?  Oddly she focuses alot of her hand placement at my lower back which has been having spasms lately, my hip which has hurt now for over 10 years (since I fell on the flagstone while hanging a hummingbird feeder) and my knee which had an overuse injury this summer.  I don’t tell her this and I have no outward evidence of my daily (hip) and occasional pain (back and knee), no one ever says why are you limping.  We continue on like this for several minutes and at some point my eyes are open and I am done, and a few minutes later the pirate is standing looking up at me from the ground level and I say, he is ready to go.  She stops.  I thank her.  I feel tons better.

Later  both the pirate and A. tell me it was a dramatic change.  The pirate asks K. what kind of voodoo did  you do on her because she was better.  And I was.  We tromped around in the woods all morning.  I was slow, but I felt fine.  I tell A. and the pirate, I am a skeptic, I really don’t believe in that shit but I saw and felt something without a doubt.  Now I know that in the Zen practice there are times when people say that you can feel an energy in the meditative practice, and when you chant KanZeOn I can feel a vibrational energy that I link in my mind to sound resonance.  But sometimes when I practice I feel a something inexplicable.  And I have a certain clairvoyant energy that strikes at times.  Like the time my daughter, napping in her car seat had slid down, I was in the bathroom and saw it all in a flash in my head.  Or the night my grandfather died and I dreamed of him all night and knew he was gone long before my Mom called me to tell me, and my brother had said the same thing to her when she called him to tell him.  The door to belief was open, but the skeptic was guarding the gate.  Now I think the skeptic is just looking quizzical, and curious about this notion.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.