Category Archives: zen practice

New Year’s Eve

This time of year has been hard for me. Not 2016 in particular but beginning with Christmas through New Year’s Eve. I usually breathe a sigh of relief when all this is over.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a family–children, I mean–and am not in the majority, i.e., in a heterosexual couple, “normal,” if you will. I’ve been an Other most of my life. In the ’70s and ’80s I reveled in it, demonstrating and proclaiming words like liberation and patriarchy. In the ’90s I bought my first house with another woman. We were a couple for seven years and remain friends to this day. No kids, though, just a dog and two cats. I felt welcome in my neighborhood Northside, the up and coming urban and gritty gayborhood.

Now I’m retired and live on a road that used to be country (there’s a horse and a cow half a mile away!) but is turning suburban. I love my acre and creek and privacy among the trees. I live alone if you don’t count two dogs and two cats.

Yet I make it a point to invite women writer friends to my backyard deck. We toast our imagination and friendship and this is good. They are consciously chosen family, many of them. We share deep reflections and cry and laugh together. Some of us are crafting poems, others hope to write a Great American Novel. I love facilitating these classes and getting to know them so well.

It is morning on New Year’s Eve. What is it about it that so often has filled me with dread? I think it was those early years of drinking and drug experimenting. Being at parties with strangers. For much of my life I have known I felt separate. In recent decades I have worked on this: through Landmark Education, through zen meditation, through Siddha Yoga. Connection had become my mantra.

And this is good. I have chosen to focus on what unites us as people rather than separates. Certainly 2017 will not be easy with a President I abhor. I am disheartened to say the least. But a few relatives I love voted for DT and I still love them. Who said politics is ever easy? Who said life and loving comes easy?

This evening I will spend quietly in front of my fireplace with a new love who came to me in the spring. We have had a tough beginning, parting and coming back together. I do not take a moment for granted! I feel loved and this is the best wish I could wish for on New Year’s Eve.

practice

In my previous post I had vowed to bow even to those I disliked, distrusted, didn’t understand. Well, the Universe gave me practice almost immediately.

At an event, I ended up sitting between two people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Neither did I know well but, perhaps you’ve had the experience: there are some people you have an almost instinctual dislike for. On one side was a woman I’d heard enough stories about to be cautious of her dynamic personality and sometimes caustic wit. On the other side was someone who repelled me for no obvious reason. Looking in the mirror is rarely easy. I know I had attracted two people with issues relating to me. I had vowed, bring it on! and the Universe had complied.

The next day I ran into someone in a parking lot. I had just emailed a friend saying X had a tendency to be “grandiose.” Gulp. Here was Ms. Grandiose before me (& haven’t I been grandiose? Plenty). Go away, mirror! Haven’t I had enough practice already this weekend? X seemed genuinely glad to see me. We shared some brief chit chat then she mentioned she’d just got a puppy. Separation dissolved. She had charmed me with her topic. For I love dogs, have three of my own.

I had to shake my head and chuckle. Call it instant karma, coincidence, whatever. But I came face to face with practicing what had only been a theory the day before. Be careful what you wish for. I will.

Bowing . . . from the Centre of Gravity

Wow! I just discovered Centre of Gravity, a wonderful group and web presence. Based in Toronto, it also has audio dharma talks and an online presence. A post I just read on Bowing woke me to my missing of my zen roots. There is something about bowing, the simplicity and the reverence. Today I vow to bow . . . to Buddha, my partner, my companion animals. I vow to bow to those I distrust, dislike, don’t understand. I vow to bow to my dissatisfied & disassociated parts. I know–it’s a huge job. Yet it might also be simple…..if I just begin with bowing.

here’s the piece:

http://www.centreofgravity.org/notes/2012/6/13/beginners-mind-6-throw-up-and-bow.html