Thursday, May 15, 2014

Paradise in Plain Sight

The first time I  saw Karen Maezen Miller's name was on the book jacket of Momma Zen.  I was experiencing a rare alone moment as a new mother, drinking a Starbucks coffee in a large bookstore when I found myself trembling in front of the display.  The subtitle, "Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood" were the words that made me feel less like everything I was doing was WRONG WRONG WRONG, less as if I was totally screwing everything up.  I was a new, midlife mom and definitely walking that crooked path.  I laughed and wept through every page, then started the book over and absorbed them.  Then came Hand Wash Cold, more brazen and hilarious observations on how to survive humanness through the endless and thankless task of laundry and, oh yes - the path of zen.  I devoured that one too, then started it over again.  Now, Paradise in Plain Sight has arrived and I don't want to finish it.  I know I can start it over again but I am really breathing this one in the first time around.

Anyone who has read Momma Zen or Hand Wash Cold will have heard about "The Garden" but for the benefit of any who - gasp - may not have heard of Karen Maezen Miller, I will tell you that she bought a small neglected house that had a 100 year old equally neglected zen garden.   In Paradise in Plain Sight she eloquently speaks of the kismet that brought her to that door and her road to rediscover the garden.

But don't take my word for it.    From the chapter entitled, Moon, "I was in that peculiar misery that follows as soon as you're handed what you ask for.  Up close, it doesn't looks quite the same."  From, Path, "Once you admit you are lost, everything you see is a sign pointing home."  This lovely bit from Curb, "The best parts are nearly always the parts we think we don't have.  At least, that is how it looks from the curb, where we judge ourselves at a distance from everything and everyone else.  We can stand on the curb for a long time, turn it into a crossroads from which every direction seems unappealing or even dangerous, afraid to take even a single step, so accustomed are we to feeling unlucky, unloved or stuck.  That day, I felt like all that, but I was about to get my way.  Everything was about to change.  It always is." And some favourite bits from my (so far) favourite chapter, Weeds, "Weeding is not a popular pastime, even among gardeners.  Weeds are the very emblem of aversion.  Weeding doesn't produce a rewarding outcome.  No grand finale, no big reveal. There's absolutely nothing to show for it. ...The most common weeds in the yard are crabgrass, dandelion and chickweed.  The most common weeds in the world are greed, anger, and ignorance.  This is the way to weed.  Anchor yourself low to the ground so you can get a good look at what you're dealing with.  Use a spade to loosen the hardpack and go deeper.  The next part is tricky.  Take hold of the stem and apply your attention, allowing the root to release.  Haste and carelessness will only aggravate the situation.  Sometimes you can get the root on the first tug.  Other times you'll just tear off the top.  Even if you don't get it all the first time, that's okay.  It may take two or three, ten or twenty, one hundred thousand or a million times, to get the root completely."

Yes, yes, yes.  And you can see and hear the lovely Ms. KMM here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My two month blogaversary

It has already been two months since I last posted, marking another cavernous space wherein I have gone dormant, figuratively speaking.  Although, as much as being a bear this winter has its appeal, I have been busy doing my life work anyway.

I was struck by this post about showing up and being meaningful and it inspired me to say that I, too, want what I put out here to matter, to find what resonates deep within me with the hope that it might also resonate deep within you and make you want to carry the ripple far and farther out.

I have been hearing the galloping of the year of the wood horse approaching, feeling the drum beat of the hooves thrumming up from the earth.  Are you ready to trust your wild stallion and ride bare back through this year?  I am.  I shed heavily with  snake last year, with yet some patches of skin left to ruck off.  I realized today that I am ready.  Under all the changes and shifts, the angst and fist pounding denial.  Under the healing and the nourishment, there is the nugget of me who is feeling the light on her skin, the barest glimpses of the truth of who I am and what I am here to do.  Are you with me?

A glimpse of me and my world lately....