0

2:40 AM

pain
makes for
wide open eyes
at 2:40 am
ah
but the moon
is this lovely
light
stars
bright
and high above
the night is calm
and cool
wrapped in
shawl
made by
my every stitch
the happiness
we call ruby
seeks inclusion
comfortable lap
and special treat
stephen stills
in the background
‘love the one
you’re with’
uh huh
sure do
I wish you that
at any hour

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0

WATER?

clean
copper pot
drying
in the sun
a stone
from
the river bed
drip, drip
of
the faucet
a dipper
from
the well
for
your thirst

0

CHECK, MATE

Another WAY BACK. Run now if you must.

My mentor was giving a seminar, I attended at his invitation. Another student there, well, we didn’t like each other. My smug, self-righteous satisfaction was that ‘he started it’ (always a sign of thoughtful, mature behavior), by making backhanded remarks and other insults. I seethed and said nothing most of the time.

On this day, enough. He was bragging about his achievements, as a disavowing of my legitimacy in being invited to the event. He said he was outstanding in his field. Uh oh. Yep, I did it. You see it. I said, And, that’s where you should be, o-u-t standing in your field. A slight gasp and hush. Some wanted to laugh. I didn’t feel vindicated, triumphant or happy. As I walked away, I had this grabbing, cringing feeling, starting at the center as if I was being crumpled. I was sick, holding back crying.

Later, that evening, I went to pick up the notes I was to transcribe. My mentor was there. He did not say a word, just patted my shoulder — like, you know better, darlin’, you’ll take care of it.

I was scared, sad, embarrassed. I knew I had to go back, not one-on-one, but to that same group and apologize to this man AND get a handle on me. I did. I waited till the group assembled, asked for their attention, addressed the man by his professional credentials and said I’m sorry for what I said. I’m sorry for how I have treated you.

He didn’t change, that’s OK. I did. And, I was invited to every conference that year and treated with interest and respect. More importantly, I recognized that I have an overactive, razor sharp mouth and can cut someone to shreds quickly. This is not a talent, and not to be encouraged. I thought I put that aside. It needs more work, in these current times. I can dislike or disagree without being attacking, uncivil, unkind. It’s always about me — it isn’t going to fly, that ‘he started it’ thing.

A post note here, two years later, I had a conversation with this man. I said I understood his resentment of me. I had not worked as hard as he had to get where he was, I had not put in the time. But, I did get the favor on my own merit, in my own capacity, and used that free education to do a better job in my ancillary role to his profession. He hired my business and I had his contract for 10 years. No, he never really liked me. That’s OK. Respect works, both ways.

Thank you for your time. Lilie

2

BIG MIND

Another ‘friendship koan’. I’ve been reading Shunryu Suzuki (that should explain everything). He, a Zen master of a very ancient and impressive lineage, and wise in his own right, but now passed. Roshi talks about Big Mind. It’s a concept that takes a while to get near. And, my explanation will be minimal and poor, at best. But, I’m fascinated with this and it has been helpful to me. Here we go.

Yoshitsune’s (a warrior) widow kept him near by realizing time and how we keep it, in our own minds. We have past present. We’re there a lot. Not a problem. We also go to present future, frequently. Not a problem. It’s how the mind works. It’s kind of like my high school health teacher explained neurosis and psychosis. Neurosis is when you build sand castles in the air, psychosis is when you move in. Uh huh. Hey, it was the 70s. When, we visit past present and future present, it is a condition of the mind to do so. If we believe these experiences, attach to them, then we are suffering. It takes practice, it is worth it.

I had belonged to an organization that insisted, insisted upon a ‘positive’ attitude, always, constantly rearranging yourself, appearance, feelings to match a ‘happy’ countenance. To me, this was turmoil in the middle of a health crisis. And, as it became clear, turmoil in just everyday life, to me.

The final straw was attending a performance of a small child. Afterward, she was too tired, overwrought, and not happy with her performance, mostly just from anxiety, too many people, too much going on. She was whining, crying, very upset and she approached her mother. Her mother stepped back and said, “Oh, what is this? No, no, sweetheart, put on your pretty face, smile. Pretty face, daddy doesn’t like that old snotty face. Put on your pretty face now, that’s my girl.” That upset me. That was the end of this group for me.

I began reading, studying, listening, and reality seemed the ticket. Facing reality, accepting events, people, situations, mood as they were was the biggest relief I’ve had so far. Why couldn’t she just be upset? Tissues, holding her and going home instead of standing around to ‘meet everybody’ would have worked. I’m not judging her. It’s where we all can be, it’s where I’ve been. It’s small mind. Not observing, not thinking, no moment to spare mind. It’s right here and right now, no context, no breath. Trouble coming.

Every one says be ‘in the present’, the here and now. Yes, that’s where you live but your mind, my mind, goes all over the place, all the time. We have an imposed sense of time, but the internal one behaves differently via our minds. To acknowledge, observe what your mind does, where it goes, to accept that with the certain knowledge that regardless you are still the director. Observe, be still, listen, trust you’ll know.

When I am sad, or experience a memory that may catch the edge of sadness. That is just what it is. I can observe that, feel that in my heart and understand ‘time’ in my mind. It is an important part (otherwise I wouldn’t ‘feel’ anything about it) of all that is me.

Same way with the chronic illness/pain. I do not ‘put on my pretty face’. If I don’t feel well, I observe that, know that. Because I attend to the truth of that, I do what I can about it and go on my way. I am what I am when I am what I am. Sounds like Popeye.

I wish every child, from the beginning, were taught their own mind, mindfulness training. How different we would be to each other, to ourselves.

As always, thank you for taking your time to read these words. Lilie