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 · Buddhism · Musings · Strong Woman · Treasure · Zen Buddhism

Guest blog by my daughter, Morgan, titled “An Open Letter to the People Who are Invading my Home”

sold

An Open Letter to the People Who Are Invading my Home:

You may not know who I am – well, no. Let me rephrase that. You don’t. See, that’s the thing about houses. They form such an intimate part of our lives, and then someone else you’ve never met just charges right in, cooking food in the kitchen, sleeping the bedrooms, not knowing or caring about who came before. Hence the reason I am writing to you. Because I want, perhaps need, to tell you that I was there, and that it meant something to me.

I did my final walk through my house today. Alone. It seemed appropriate. I say my house, because even though it has become yours to call home, and I have a house of my own, a part of me will always be there. I’d like to say I’ve lost a lot in my twenty-one years, but we’re being honest here. I’ve always had food to eat, a roof over my head. Not many people I know have died; I’m no victim of some great tragedy. My family is actually, quite loving, if sometimes oppressively so. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have are people I’ve held on to because they’re good and worthwhile people. Despite all that, I find that I feel quite apathetic about people in general. I don’t see much humanity in humanity, if you understand my meaning. I have a tendency to get attached to places and things, and the memories that they hold.

I find it – wrenching – how empty it is here. To you, I’m sure it says “possibility”. You can look at the bare rooms and see yourself there. Do you have a family to fill up all the empty space? But all I can see is where we held Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas and Easter with people we don’t know anymore, family who are not with us anymore. The kitchen is quite nice, don’t you think? I bet it was a big selling point. I can see it now as it was before. You wouldn’t know it was the same room, the same house, if you saw a picture of it fifteen years ago. The old green fridge, the linoleum floor that our puppy did us, and, trust me here, you, the favor of tearing up so that we could put down new tile. We finished the remodeling the day before Thanksgiving. We didn’t know it then, but it was our last Thanksgiving as a family.

We had to paint all the walls in drab colors for you. The house has no personality anymore. My mother’s paintings used to hang in every room. I wonder what you think about the downstairs bathroom, and how the ceiling is painted dark purple, with stars and galaxies. In fact, the whole room used to be like that. It was painful to paint it white, and we felt compelled to leave a little bit of its old glory. When we moved in, there was this horrible beige wallpaper, with brown flowers and polka dots. (How the realtor decided the galaxies were worse than this is beyond me, but they’re both gone now in any case.) My mother left a bottle of hand soap in the bathroom. English lavender. She only likes the smell because she says it reminds her of her grandmother.

And of course, there’s the next room. You may wonder why something sold to you as an “upstairs laundry room” has the distinct odor of Gesso and turpentine. Or maybe you don’t, because you don’t know what those things smell like. My mother’s studio. It was always kind of wondrous to me – I could never capture her skill with a paintbrush. Or with pen or marker or modeling clay, for that matter. I’ve always had this image of her – young, before I was born, when she still wore her hair long, with that artsy, disheveled look, smoking, creating beautiful images with paint and canvas. And I always felt this emptiness, because I could never dream of being that person (whether or not this image is close to or far from the truth is wholly irrelevant). Recently I had this revelation that maybe my grace is in words rather than pictures, but somewhere in my mind I’ve cultivated this theory that writing is something that anyone can do, so it doesn’t really count. In any case, I find that my reality is far from the romantic possibilities I imagine for an artist.

As I walk up the stairs, the sound of my footsteps echoes through the house. It’s such an empty sound that the word “empty” doesn’t capture it. It’s a cacophony of silence, vast, infinite, destitute, vacuous. Upstairs, I start with my mother’s room. It still smells like her – it’s not something I can describe, not a perfume or a candle. Just something warm and safe. She left the walls painted sage green, as an act of defiance. Even this color defines her, and it strikes me now that I’m not the only one leaving a piece of myself behind here. My grandmother made the curtains that are still here – they define her as well. A batik, ubiquitous in the many quilts that she makes and gives to family, friends, charities, people she knows of who are in need of a small comfort.

In the smallest bedroom, I’m ambivalent. We housed two people here who had no place else to go. Two people whom I love in that deep down kind of way that you love family you don’t see very often, not an active love, but an eternal fondness. But it was also my mother’s ex-husband’s office, where he would hole up for hours, and rage if you dared crack the door to retrieve an item or ask a question.

My final stop is my bedroom. It’s difficult to even look at. But I sit down, between the two windows that face the street, where my bed used to stand. Here is where I lost my virginity with the man who is now my husband. And here, I consider for a long time how many hours I spent in this room. With friends, alone, learning, growing, it’s all very cliché. There’s a mural on one wall. My mother painted it when I was going through a Zen phase, which, to some extent, has stuck with me. I hope you don’t paint over it. We already painted over the other three walls for you. They were this wonderful, bright, spring green that I chose when I was finally allowed to dispose of the cold ice blue that had been chosen for me. It – the green – was so warm and sunny. You can still see a little bit of it in the crack between the wall and frame of the closet.

The longer I sit, the more ghosts I count, and you are inheriting all of them. I’m happy to pass them off to you. Some may seem insignificant. Two cats died here. One, we couldn’t bear to euthanize until she was too weak to stand, a selfish cruelty I’ve since regretted. When she died, that was the first in a long series of more serious troubles. After that, little bits of our family broke off piece by piece. Where there were seven, four remain, and in four, maybe five years, it will be down to two. The other cat – this isn’t really relevant, but it breaks my heart, my mother and I couldn’t – or wouldn’t – take in. You see, in her old age, she had lost her fondness for doing her business where it belonged. So, when we left, she stayed in the empty house, all alone, deaf, going blind. I feel this terrible ache of guilt whenever I think of her now.

Then, of course, there’s the front steps. This is where my mother’s husband sat and told her that he was leaving her. No trying, no second chances, it was over. And here is the part of my story where I started down the road to adulthood. A road that I hate and resent. Here, where my bed used to be, is where I lay, listening to my mother cry half the night away for months, too tired and frustrated to try to comfort her. I felt overwhelmed by her grief, inadequate for not having the answers she was looking for, helpless in the face of her anger, unworthy for not meeting all her expectations, for not easing her worries in the wake of what had happened, responsible for keeping life moving, for protecting her, and finally, ashamed and childish, because while she was devastated, I had found love, and wanted most to focus on myself.

Now, I’m lying on the floor and the light from the setting sun is shining through the windows. The house creaks and thuds and settles. For one electrifying moment, it’s so loud, I think that somehow someone has entered the house, but as I listen carefully, I realize that the normal sounds of this old house are amplified by the stillness. In truth, I didn’t live here for a long time before you showed up. My things were here, but I spent maybe one night a week in my old room. This filled me with guilt and loneliness, thinking of my mother alone here, in a house brimming with the past. It sounds silly to say, but the ghosts drove me out; the memories that I didn’t like thinking of. Now I’m clinging to those memories, because they’re all I have left.

I take one last look at the view out my windows. The street, the garden – always wild looking, filled to overflowing with flowers, berries, and herbs. I exit through the back door, to the covered stone patio where I spent so many rainy afternoons playing cards, and to the raspberry bush, but it’s too late in the season – too late for one last taste of summer.

There’s a circle of stone sunken into the ground near the back of the yard. I’m unsure of its purpose, if it had one, but it looks like once, perhaps, a well stood there. As a child, when I uncovered it, I hoped to find something there. I was probably a strange child, because, although I hoped of finding “treasure”, I was looking for artifacts, rather than gold or some other such silly notion. I wanted to find something someone buried there intentionally, a story of who had come before. I found nothing, but I buried my own time capsule there for you, or posterity, or future archaeologists who would of course be fascinated by the plastic Charizard figurine I’d buried there (ironically, I had a passionate hatred for Pokemon, but at the time it had been such a pop culture phenomenon among all the other eight year olds, I imagine I thought it was an important piece of prepubescent history). I may or may not have dug this “time capsule” back up a short while later. I planted my favorite flower over top of the spot. Forget-me-nots. Now, in early May, the backyard becomes a blanket of tiny blue flowers.  Thinking about it now, I wish that I had a piece of that blanket to bring home to my own backyard. But it’s too late in the season, and all traces of the flowers are gone. They must be turned over to you, to do with what you will.

As I pull out of the driveway for the last time, I hope that you will love this place as I have loved it, and as those who came before both of us did. I hope that fewer ghosts will haunt you here than have haunted me. And I hope that you will not forget that there were those who came first, and that little bits of us linger in the corners here. And finally, I hope that when you are gone, you will leave your mark too, because it will have meant something to you.

Buddhism · Musings · Zen Buddhism

Uncertainty

I dream I am peering over the edge of a dangerous precipice, I lay on my belly nose in the grass, and look through the cracks in the black and fertile earth and see far down below into nothing.  I am waiting here in this grassy area beneath a tall apartment building, my daughter is younger not by much, and we are waiting to take her on a ride of some fantastical dinosaur like creatures, when we get up to pay they tell me we must go to the large local chain of grocery stores to purchase the tickets.  I send my ex husband off to get them.

And then he is not returning, and she has disappeared, and I am in a deep pit which I have somehow dug for myself that I cannot get out of, I cry out for help and he refuses to come.  I am scrabbling with my hand to get out and suddenly discover a deck of cards we all buried a few years ago as part of some game with the Japanese Californian Punk, and the Willow Witch.  The are pig cards and they oink when I touch them.  I am crying in the dream.

And then I feel the softness of his big masculine hand on my backside.  I wake.

In the darkness I curl up against him, my face against the long soft strands of his beard, he smells manly not of cologne or chemicals but like a man who works, like a man who washes before he comes to bed, like a man who loves nature.  When I am with you, I am home, I say to him.  Oh shut up, he replies but he cuddles in a little tiny bit closer and I can feel him smiling though my eyes are closed.  Sometimes when I am teasing him, or when I feel a lot of love for him, I look at him and I can see this smile in his eyes, but not on his mouth.

I remember suddenly, like stepping from a small wood stove heated room out into a frigid well below zero windy night.  I remember how he planned to leave me, but didn’t tell me, until he had left.  How he surprised me with it.  How could he do that to me?  I ask God, how could You?  How looking back I see all that I missed, but knew, how he denied the questions to my face, again and again.  I feel the smart of tears on my eyes as I turn my face to the wall.

He is turned already so now we are back to back.  I sniffle and after a moment he turns again and I feel his feet brush up against mine, and his hand on my backside through the weight of the blankets, I scootch back against him and he puts his strong biceps tight against me, holding me firmly.  We say nothing and although I think I am awake for the remainder of the night or rather the pre-dawn, I wake only after the sun is up.

Later, in church, my hand on his arm and his arm pressed firmly against his side, I whisper, I like the church in Celebration alot better than this one.  Me too he says.  He says the Apostles Creed, but I do not.  I cannot profess to a belief that I do not have, I will not as some philosopher once said, fake it, just in case.  But I come here with him, because I don’t mind it, and I love that from time to time he wants to be here.  He has gone up to take communion and I close my eyes.  I like Zen better, its quieter, and I can think.  But here with my eyes closed I ask again.   Why did you have to hurt me this much?  What purpose did it serve?  Couldn’t we have fought like cats and dogs?  Couldn’t he have expressed more strongly how unhappy he was?  Couldn’t he have done something besides lie again and again to protect me from the truth?  Couldn’t there have been some overt something?  Why did it have to hit me so hard?  Why did I dig myself into that hole so damn deep?  And damn him.  Damn him.  Damn him.

Later in the hot tub, I ask him, if you were not happy, would you wait to tell me, would you not give me any notice, would you hide your plans to kick my ass out?  I feel the long hurt of it as I wait for his answer it is like a million years are passing.  Of course you would know I wasn’t happy, he says.  I would never do that to you.  I mean, I say, if you are not happy, just tell me.  He is quiet for moment.  I would be happier if you cleaned the stove top.  Ok, I say, so that is all it takes for you to kick my ass out is something so small.  Yeah, he says.  But I am not sure still, I am afraid.  And I know he has not made any kind of commitment to me, and really, I could be homeless next week.

After about five minutes I say, when was the last time you looked at the stove?  This morning, he answers.  Oh, I say, ok.  Did you clean it while I was killing zombies?  Yeah, I answer, I pretty much did.  He laughs.

You know he says, coming over to me, wrapping his arms around me and kissing my cheek and chin 20 times, I am happy.  I love you, I say really quiet and I am not sure he has heard it over the sound of his kisses, the water and Joss Stone’s pipes.  I love you too he says really softly back.

IMG_1415

 

Artists · Magic · Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Zen Buddhism

Outhouse Mind

The way is hard, the snow is packed, and deep, but also thawing so it is a difficult walk.  I come to the brook and it is flowing heavily with the melting snow.  The dog is irritated with being on leash, used after weeks of it, to being free more or less always.  I am feeling both lazy and not, and contemplate the shortest route, but find myself instead continuing on to and to a place where I am sure of being able to free him, at least for a short leg of it.  There is little life, no squirrels or birds, or maybe there is, but I am just completely oblivious to it.  My mind is chewing and chewing.  I am mostly looking at the ground, to make sure my footing is secure.  In fact, I take the whole walk more or less one step at a time.  Looking down until I emerge upon the open field, where I look up and feel a sense of space, and a starkness of beauty.

I find myself thinking about someone else’s poetry.  It is a good thing, this, to have their words in my mind their feeling of restlessness, their feelings of uncertainty, and self doubt.  It takes away the ugliness of my own thoughts, the outhouse of my own mind, and firmly plants some other seed in my head.  When did I stop daydreaming about some book, or some television show, and start daydreaming about the past?  When did philosophy get replaced by gossip and Facebook arguments?  In my day to day.  I like her words in my head.  Suddenly I no longer want my own words in my own head.  I want to be free of it.  It is like I am sitting, on the big hole, with my small body, and I have fallen into my own shit.  I need someone to come in and drag me out.  I think about hanging my paintings on the canvas wall of the studio and having 10 people standing around commenting on my work, and then turning around and commenting on theirs, how it made my own work better.  I remember how I felt jealousy of the girl whose fairies and gnomes lived in brown logs covered with moss, I still try to draw like that, but my magic lives in other artistic realms.  I remember how jealous I was of the girl, whose Italian marbles and expensive carving tools set her apart from my plaster and bins of recycled clay.

But this interaction, this was nutrient rich stuff.  It was manure.  It fertilized my mind, instead of just being my own stinking mess.

This must be, the purpose of sangha.  To fertilize growth.  To take your mind out of the sepsis of your own filth.

I stand on tiptoes, and look out the curve of the crescent moon.

My legs ache, from knee to buttocks, and my lower back, from the work of walking on this dense wet snow.  Calories in, calories out, if only it were that simple, body chemistry does not always follow logic.  I think of that Facebook argument, a little star in my mind says, but wait, boys are genetically different from girls, it is in their DNA.  Her argument is flawed.  I hate interacting with others though, it brings a desire to withdraw.  Ah.  I hear the brook babbling, I listen for it to tell me something, like saying the next song on the radio, it will be some message from the universe about ______.  Then I forget to listen.  The brook is not actually saying anything, and I realize it is like my thoughts, I should just notice them, be aware of any obstacle (is the path flooded from the height of the water, should I pre-empt the possibility by taking this other path?  Do I have it in me, sweating and breathing hard from the effort of this snow, to back track if the path is flooded) but nonetheless, not let it spoil the quietude of my mind.  The brook is beautiful, like a song, I tell someone else, you are not alone in your thoughts flooding your mind, and meditation doesn’t seek so much to quiet them, but to accept them, and the dichotomy, or is it irony, is that by accepting it, they become more quiet, more pure.

The path is not flooded.

I continue on, the sun is set, and the darkness is overtaking the light, but as I emerge from the path, and my feet are once again on solid ground, I feel invigorated.  Alive.

Best of all, is the moments of freedom, from the worn wood, and familiar odor, of my own mind.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Buddhism · Musings · Rants · Strong Woman · Zen Buddhism

Born Again.

He calls me and I am happy to hear from him, he has been a good friend, he has helped me tremendously since the divorce, fixing my car, fixing a leaky tub, helping me with some things when I was working on the house this summer.  He has been a hard working co worker, preparing curriculum, literacy in art plans, and just someone to talk to when things at the district are difficult.   He loves my sycamore tree almost as much as me. His wife is a wonderful sweet woman, his kids are awesome.  His baby used to run to me calling out Hi Meg with his chubby little arms outstretched for a hug.  Sometimes we have talked about God and about religion and nothing would make him happier than to have me accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

But I cannot do it.

He says, what if you are wrong?  If you just accept Him when you get to the end of your life you will be accepted into heaven with God.  He says, his way is the only way, in fact even Catholics are suspect, they will not get into heaven, their belief in God is wrong.  See I think this way of thinking is wrong, it puts up a barrier between you and other people.  I think this kind of thinking leads to violence between religions, I think this kind of thinking has actually caused the deaths of millions and millions of people over the eons.  I think this kind of thinking is actually deeply evil.

He called me the other night and once again told me how much he wants me to be Saved.  He told me that God wants me to know that being Gay is a sin.  He told me that even if a child is raped and becomes pregnant, they should not be able to have an abortion, that God wants that child to be pregnant, and that the baby’s life is sacred.

I just don’t know.  Or rather, I do know. He is wrong.

I have a very strong faith, but my faith is not his.

Let me put it in a nutshell.

We humans, have small minds which cannot fathom the greatness or the vastness of the higher power.  It’s like we are in a house and we are all looking out the window at God, but some people are looking out different windows.  What they see is God, but it is not all of God, and it is their view, their perspective but it is not the only view, it is not the ONLY way to God.  Some people have this basement view too, their view is so limited and so dark.  Some people are on the widow’s walk, they see a whole lot more of what God is than others.

We humans have such a limited view of how to get to a greater understanding of God, we all have our paths but it is all a path to God.  Its like the sky is God, but we are all on different paths to the top of the mountain.  Some people are shouting out, this is the path, not that one.  Some paths are clear and straight, but some are rough and require a bushwhack.  Some paths are riddled with obstacles and some paths are easy slopes.  Some people are climbing up a completely different mountain, some people think they are on the summit, but it is just a beautiful mountain pond, and look there up there, on the face of that other hump is an overlook, but even that is not the true summit, and when you get there, its just a small section of what is God, it doesn’t come close to the whole of what IT is.

Here is what I believe, God made people who are heterosexual and people who are homosexual, and our human minds cannot fathom how or why or what, or any of that, and really it isn’t our place to judge God’s decision to have some people love each other one way and some people to love each other another way.  If my friend can accept the raped baby of a pre-teen child, why can he not also accept the gayness of a grown man or woman?  And what kind of person would have a child give be to a baby of rape or incest?  In some cultures these girls are murdered, not the men who do the heinous act, but the innocent one.  I don’t think any one ever choses abortion easily, but what I do know, is that sometimes people do, and absolutely it should be a legal option for someone who wants one, because the illegal option is horrible.  Awful.  Ugly.  And usually ends up hurting more than just the fetus, it often results in the death of the mother, and the end of her chance to bear further children.  It is not a man’s place to make this place for a female.  Not ever.  It is not an option to eliminate the choice legally, because women will continue to make this choice without sanction from men.  This is not YOUR body, it is mine, so mind your own damn business, and make sure healthy options are available for any choice.

My friend thinks Buddha is a God.  Buddha is not a God, Buddha was a teacher.  A man who said listen to my words, if you find them to be true, good, if not keep looking until you find the truth.  You do not have to believe my words to be the only truth.  Buddha said this life is full of suffering, that you must accept your life, not with a passive giving up, but with an active sense of knowing that all that happens will happen, kind of a let go and let God.  You can be a Buddhist and a Christian, you can be a Buddhist and a Muslim, you can be a Buddhist and be an atheist.

I sometimes let him proselytize to me because it helps him, that is something he feels a need to do, and as his friend, I let him, it is a small price to pay for all he has done for me.  But sometimes I want to tell him to join me on the widow’s walk because the view is so much better.  And sometimes I want to shout his name and wave to him from my mountain top and tell him how beautiful my view is.   But I don’t.  I let him believe what he believes.

Next time, I will tell him.  Thank you my dear friend for your concern, but at the end of my life God will judge me, and I am pretty sure, IT will judge me as worthy.

 

Buddhism · Fishing · Great Quotes · Musings · Nature · Small Joys · Zen Buddhism

Forgive

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”  Buddha

I found a journal in the bookstore, in the clearance book section that has a quote on each page attributed to the Buddha, I bought it with the intention of using it to take notice of the presence of Buddhism in the serendipitous progress of my life.  (although I have not been formally practicing for several months (the excuses are endless but of poor quality) So this is the first post from the book.

The first day of the week, I write, “SORRY” is  word that could bring peace.

Later in the week I start speaking about truths and lies and how it is better to speak a thousand truths than one lie.

The day breaks bright and sunny.  I am up early with the dog, it is crisp, but if it is anything like yesterday it will be warm, my sunburned face and arms tell how unexpectedly warm it really was.  I did not sleep well, my thoughts were full and deep, I think it was the pull of the giant moon.  Take me fishing, I tell the pirate before breakfast.  The breeze over the reservoir is chilly, particularly in the shade.  I cast out long over the water, then sit to wait for the tip of the pole to bob up and down.  The kildeer are skimming the water, I can hear a woodpecker laughing, and two red winged blackbirds are calling back and forth to one another as I sit between them.  The kid who tried to fish in the same spot as us, before the pirate politely told him to leave, is talking to his dad somewhere around the corner, I can hear them but not see them.  The wind is making the waves lap, but here where it is more secluded than the first spot, it is not bouncing the pole.  For the briefest of moments I feel whole, at one, complete, I am not doing yoga as I should be, and didn’t go to the Zen Center as I should have, but I am meditative as the sun shines on the camo jacket I bought last week at a flea market for five bucks, the cuffs are not even worn, so it is like brand new.  I am sitting in the grass as the dog whines over by the pirate, he is tied to a sapling but he wants to be set free.  When the pirate lets him go the dog runs to me and back to the pirate and then he goes in the water and comes out and shakes it off on the pirate’s gear, goes back in the water and shakes it on the pirate, and he does it several times, making him holler; a feeling I know well because later as he mows the lawn and I weed his rock garden I leave the dog’s poop in the yard just to make him yell.  It makes me laugh out loud when he does, but back at the water the dog keeps looking up at him and smiling shaking that swampy muddy water off on him.

As I sit waiting for a fish to bite, I think the purpose of fishing is not to catch a fish, rather it is an opportunity to commune with nature, catching a fish is good, but sitting quietly along the bank of some body of water, that is even better.  And when I think this, I realize that sitting at the Zen Center may not be the answer, it is formal, and obeisant; there is something to be said for this informal recognition of the connectedness of life for being present in the everyday, to being able to move if my hip hurts, to being able to pet the dog if he comes to say hello, to be able to toss words to the man I love, though we do not talk constantly and we are just as comfortable with the silence.  Maybe I have it wrong  though, perhaps formal sitting brings some other great reward that I cannot fathom.  But honestly, I would rather sit and fish than and come to the revelations, than to sit formally.  Catching the fish is not the point.  It is the waiting for the bite that brings serenity.

I realize that sorry isn’t the word, the only word that can bring peace is forgiveness, with or without the sorry.

All one needs to be at peace is the ability to forgive, others, ones self, the world, the events that occur, the suffering, the pain, forgive it, forgive.

I think I need to fish some more.

All things melancholy · Buddhism · Musings · Photos · Zen Buddhism

muddling through this mediocre life

we tell our children how special they are, but if every child is special, are we not all just ordinary?  what makes us think we are so special?  are we not all just mediocre people?  a friend once referred to another person as common, a judgment i guess on the fact that they were not special.  but i ask who is truly special?  are we, as humans, not all just common, only our false airs, fake hair, plucked and waxed faces and vaginas, and our pretentious ways, we are all common, even a princess poops.  she just doesn’t talk about it, but guess what, she has to wipe her own bottom just like everybody else.

these days i don’t feel very special, i feel ordinary, every day is ordinary, and the ordinary days bleed one into the next, i keep waiting for my peace award, or my art award, or the teacher of the year award, or the amazing mom of the year award, but i deserve none of it.  really none.  i am just muddling through this mediocre life, i am just muddling through.

i have never raised a kid, i don’t know what advice to give you, he says.  i haven’t ever raised one either, i say, i don’t know what i am doing.  my voice cracks…

sometimes teaching is hard, i am tired of nagging the kids, and saying the same stuff over and over and having them not listen, seriously at all, it gets exhausting saying the same stuff over and over, giving directions repeatedly, and that feeling of being thrown into something and not knowing what you are doing, a result of budget and staff cuts forcing people into roles they are not always prepared to play.

i failed as a wife, i still don’t exactly know why.

he tells me, two years is too long to wait,

i tell him,

it is, it is way too long.

i tell him, you are the first responsible adult that i have spent considerable time with in 20 years, your home is a sanctuary of peace and serenity, i say, i just want to be here because it feels good.

 

finally after all this time, i see how hard my mom worked, and how difficult it must have been for her in my college years.

i stand on the cliff, well not exactly, because i am afraid of the precipice, and i beat my chest, like a territory protecting gorilla, only i don’t have fur, and i am a woman, and it hurts just a little, i put my hands close to my face and press my arms against my chest, resting my jaw on my fist, i am sitting under a massive boulder, well not exactly, because i am afraid it will be dislodged, i am like a mouse, whiskers twitching

i may as well be a furry ape, or a quivering mouse

Gorilla

 

Buddhism · Musings · Zen Buddhism

Learn to Speak Peacefully, Learn How to Be Silent.

Woman Crying by Fernando Botero

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”– Ambrose Redmoon

“There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”– Frankl

It has been a pretty long and difficult week for me.  Mostly of my own making.  I struggle sometimes with this small problem of having a big mouth.   Two stories of saying too much when I should have kept my mouth shut.  One where I think I didn’t say enough is yet another story, let me start there.

Several years ago, my daughter had a problem at school, she and several other high school students got into quite a bit of trouble for “stirring up malicious rumors”  when one of the group reported that a teacher in the school propositioned him, and a second had a hard copy of an online conversation in which the same teacher spoke inappropriately to an underage young man.  The kids were disciplined, the teacher continued to work for at least one more year.  A year later, my former husband was talking to “someone” who worked at the district who was aware of this situation, and even though he was not her legal guardian, had a conversation with him about my daughter, about this incident, he called her, refusing to give me any details and threatening her if she ever told me any of the details.  In retrospect, I suspect it was his new love, the woman he left me for who just happened to be a person whose job very easily could have made her privy to this information.  He believed her rather than my daughter, well because his male parts were pointing at his new love and his heart was no longer in our corner.  Of course this speaks volumes on the height of her manipulative nature, which I have experienced first hand.   So that was then, this week that same teacher was arrested for soliciting an underage prostitute, and for endangering the welfare of a child (sexual in nature).  The thing that I want to do more than anything else is contact the powers that be and make sure this man never teaches again, but it doesn’t look great for the district, and I don’t really know what to do.  At best my daughter’s evidence is four years old.  And I am surely very personally involved in ways that make it quite difficult to extract my hostility and anger from the greater issue of child abuse which also makes me feel really angry.  At any rate, my daughter and her friends feel vindicated because they were called liars and trouble makers, my daughter has expressed wanting to email the ex husband a copy of the newspaper article too, not sure what good it will do there, he has made his choice.

Then I got into it with my mom’s cousin who is ignorant and intolerant for sure.  Her people pulled the right wing tactic of verbally attacking people they disagree with, and I am such a freaking wimp I started crying.    I run my mouth until someone says boo and then I back into my corner and shut the hell up.   Like my cousin said, I am a little girl.  But I was admittedly kind of in her face about it, and I guess that is what started the trouble.

a portion of this blog has been deleted because I feel a need to keep silent

Anyone who has read my blog for any extended period of time knows that I love my students, that I am a good teacher, that I am a kind and caring person, that I strive to be peaceful, and I want to be a good Buddhist, but I seemed this week to fail miserably at just a few of those things.  I need to begin to recognize when my urge to speak arises, and let it pass.  I need to learn to speak when I should too, but appropriately, and peacefully.

So after a month of nothing, here is my New Years Resolution:  Learn to Speak Peacefully, Learn How to Be Silent.

Coffee With Hallelujah  The following painting is from this blog:

Blue Burka Hallelujah Truth
All things melancholy · Buddhism · Musings · Poetry · Zen Buddhism

Desire

Untitled Painting by German artist Anselm Kiefer

Even if the brilliant sparkling sunshine streaming through crystal clear morning windows
a cat’s paradise, even if the body wakes wide open just before the alarm, ready to seize the whole entire day with cheerful good nature, should the clouds pass over the sun and cast a long shadow in the heat of noon, goosebumps erupting on naked flesh, the spine reacting tail to medulla oblongata, there is always the oily viscous force of the melancholy, always a chasm like vacuum waiting to suck all the light away.

The tar pitch shadow clings so, and like a meadow sweet rabbit nibbling unaware on the purple bouncing heads and three leaves of clover, when the shadow passes, it is thoughtless, reactionary, defensive never asking “is it cloud or is it predator?”

This is how it is.

The lake, may be on the granite mountain top, flitting insects buzzing joyfully about their short day, they fight amongst each other stating boldly with no thought, “this is my territory.”  Still the ancient water dragon, long thought to be a myth, emerges, like a snatching crocodile.  Whose territory is it when demons willfully rend your daydreams?

And later as the serpentine body suns itself, fresh from the kill, on the afternoon rocks, lazy and somnolent, there can be no cooling splash of skinny dip water to ease the heat of all the heart that burns.  It is this burning which throws the greatest shadow, from the inside, some blistering iron shield, burning with its brutal unrelenting light.  It cannot be borne, and the attempt to throw it off seers deeper on raw flesh.

Let the sun set on another empty day.  The smoking Tiki lit party peopled by things that only emerge late in the tintinnabulant evening.  Vampyres, sycophants, inside-outers and the like, all gayly masked shunners of light.  That self absorbed one, over here on the outskirts? Drawing unwanted attention to herself, through inexpert attempts, and angry outbursts at all the blood sucking, soul eating, and bucking bronco beauty ridden to exhaustion by popular opinion, and the sullied imperfection of a rotten culture.

Later she takes to her fetal eggless nest.  Sightless, she prays for eyes long after she prays for the dreams to bring a vision, but still either way she is blind, her sockets empty, she begs for love too, but rejects herself.  Either way she knows her nightmares and moonlit unfenced borders will steal away any hope of peaceful slumber.

Why does she keep waiting for tomorrow it is an old cliche that will never come.

She digs in waiting and wanting anyway.