Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chop Wood, Carry Water

            The Buddhist saying goes: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. Today I am coming strongly to feel this sentiment, not by any means have I reached enlightenment, however I have been disciplined of late in my approach to my health, my yoga sutras, my belly dance, my meditation, my writing. I have had moments of great clarity and empowering energy, I have felt the highs of knowing that I was on the correct path.

     Today is a chop wood, carry water day, I am taking two days off to go to the beach, for two weeks I have been on antibiotics for a sinus infection, two days ago I finished the drugs and today I feel my nose, my throat, my head as if I never took the antibiotics, but I know that I took them as I can feel the yeast infection mutating in my nether regions even as I try to sit still to type this.

     Still though I got up, I did 20 minutes of yoga, I meditated for 20 minutes, I wrote my journal entry of positive thoughts and drew a quick sketch of my radiant being, and then I did my 45 minutes of belly dance. 

     I still feel the dregs of the disease, but the rest of me is calm and the healing energy has been unleashed. I will load my car and head to the beach, stopping for over the counter medication along the way, but I will go and I will enjoy each moment as it comes up, life is not meant to be without challenges, it is not a series of why me’s, but an opportunity to be a part of each and every step along the way, the good and the bad, the fantastic and the not so much. I am confident that I am on the right track, I just need to allow my glorious body, mind and spirit to do its work.  Peace.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


          In the chaotic world we all live in, it is often difficult to know when and how to respond to the many disasters that befall us and those around us.  Today there is widespread flooding and devastation across the south and mid-west.  I think of all those people whose lives must be salvaged among the ruins that water can cause.  It is the elements, the fires, the rising waters, the fierce winds, the shifting of the earth, these disasters that show up mostly unannounced, but certainly remind us of the vulnerability of our lives, that seem to hit the hardest.

            So often when I hear or see of these disasters I try to imagine how I would feel, what it would be like to go off to work one day and come home to nothing, or maybe be unable to get home, to be cut off from the familiar and the safe.

            Each day offers its own set of challenges, but in the grand picture, it seems less important on a day when a hang nail nags or the bosses yet again decide to change a way of doing things that does not fit with our immediate plans, maybe that isn’t so serious, maybe we don’t have to assign it the weight that we do.

            And there is the most important thing, we are the ones assigning the importance of events, we are in our lives right now deciding if the guy in front of us who insists on going 5 mile under the speed limit is worth the anger, the elevated heart rate, the anxiety of tickets and the possibility of accidents.  We are not in control of the weather, the elements, the drivers around us, the people we work with, the world in all its chaotic, discordant, jazzy rhythms, but we do have the ability to control our responses.  

            I am not always good at remembering this in the throes of the event, just now I drove dangerously close to a woman who was on the freeway going 50 in a 60 mile an hour zone.  I was getting off at the next exit so I chose not to pass, I also choose to close the gap between us to an unacceptable and highly dangerous level. Why? Was I late for work? No. Do I care about being on time? No.  I could be a half hour late and nobody would really bat an eyelash, but I had made up my mind to get behind her, I would show her how to drive, I would teach her a lesson.  As soon as the event was over and I was safely on the off ramp I realized what I had done, it could have ended in a tragedy for both of us, why did I need to do this?  There is no reasons for why only another opportunity to try again.  So in this moment I will choose to be present and recognize my reactions as they are occurring and see if I can make better choices. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Forgetting Self

    Today I contemplate the world, and not my place in it but the oneness of myself to the world. Our connection to the planet is so precarious, we see ourselves as disconnected, as disassociated with all that lives around us.  Today as I do each morning I begin with thankfulness for this moment that I awake to the world and breathe the air.  But I also begin today to let myself go, to remember that what I am is a minor blip and that all around me is the truth.

     It is hard to always be aware, to let the drama go, we live our lives surrounded by the sucking mud of selfishness and greed pulling us down and gluing us to the mean and base world around, but if I can even for a moment feel my connection to the greater world, the larger natural world, the larger humanity or even the grace of the wind I am a step closer to the truth.

     Last week on my drive home from work sitting in traffic waiting for my turn to push through the choke point, I felt the weak sun breaking through the clouds, I saw the shadows lengthen as the day began to wane, I watched the shadow of the wheels on the cars in front of me as we inched along, they swirled against the rumble strip and together the wind and shadow, the movement of the cars and the texture of the road made the shadow come alive and shimmer in a vortex wheel, then I looked ahead to the cars as they stretched out before me on a  curving length of pavement and all the shadow wheels shimmered and whirled, tiny tornados and I felt a joy at this moment, this beauty in such a unlikely place.

     It didn’t last long soon I was back in the angry world of drivers disconnected, humans angling to be the first, the world of my past, the worries and anxieties of the future. But for that brief moment, for that small window in the midst of such banality I was struck with awe and wonder at the world I live in. Today is another opportunity to be connected to the greater within and around each of us. We may not be able to hold on to it for longer than a second, oh but what a wonderful second.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Transient Beings

I was listening to the radio a couple days ago, a call in talk show on the best and worst graduation advice we ever got. One caller had a story of a comedian, I don’t remember who, who told his class that the secret to life was furniture. As long as we do not have furniture we are free, but the minute we give into the need to own our own stuff, well, it’s all over.

It’s meant as a joke of course, but look around at all the things you own, all the things that tie you to place. There is some truth to the impermanence to our lives that we flat choose to ignore.

We gather as much as we can, we accumulate and want and desire, we fight for, sometimes we die for things, possessions, oil, land. We watch as wildfires, tornadoes, floods, strangers and sometimes even family take our things away.

Either one at a time or in one fell swoop, things come and they go in our lives. People come and go, beauty fades, youth escapes, innocence is lost. Life isn’t meant to be forever, no one leaves this world alive.

I am blessed with the love of a few very select beautiful beings, they color my world with a meaning things could never take the place of, I do not appreciate them enough, as I contemplate the word transience I realize how connected to this earth I am, how caught up in the ownership of things I have become, how locked I am into my furniture.

The simplicity movement would have us give away all our things, and perhaps that is a good plan, for me I think I will start with giving thanks for everything I own, releasing things that could serve others, and truly appreciating the rest and begin the work of recognizing that what I have is so much less important than the person I am and the way I conduct my life.

If everything I own should disappear tomorrow but there was a sunrise the next day that filled the sky and opened the heart could that be enough? To ask the question is to know that I still have work to do.