Destiny

 

My weekly column for your reading pleasure. Some of you will recognize it as a longer version of a blog I did a few days ago:

“I do not understand how a poem can be better than a peppermint plant.” ~ thich nhat hanh

Perspective is that illusive entity that helps us make sense out of the events of our lives, or, at the very least, gives us a proportion by which to measure those things. thich nhat hanh puts life so in perspective for me. Sometimes I do not appreciate the beauty in everyday things and tasks—okay, most of the time, I do not appreciate the beauty in the everyday—but his thoughts in this poem, found in a short chapter in his book “moments of mindfulness” help me to see tasks as more than necessary evils, and value the things in life I take so for granted:

Planting a seed
washing a dish,
and cutting the grass
are as eternal,
as beautiful,
as writing a poem.
I do not understand
how a poem can be better
than a peppermint plant.

I do agree with him wholeheartedly about the “planting a seed” thing, and even the “cutting the grass” thing, but I will need more convincing on the “washing a dish thing”. I have to admit that I do not embrace the beauty of everyday tasks, and need a little “mindfulness” to convince me. I find the term “mindfulness” somewhat annoying in that it has become somewhat of a clichéd watchword, but if you define it as awareness or thoughtful consciousness then it becomes a clearer destination, rather than a muddy journey.

Everyday tasks are an inevitable part of the human condition. Taking a page out of thich nhat hanh’s book and giving those tasks the same weight as the things we deign as more “important” is one way of gaining a new perspective or way of looking at things.
Hanh evaluates the seemingly unimportant as significant, and heightens trivial chores to a loftier plane. So the washing of dishes becomes just as important, just as beautiful in its own way as something considered more creative.

We label things, and put them in columns or charts and graphs—quantifying them, thereby taking away their essence. I have always found labels wanting, never quite a good fit, just as hanh finds it difficult to see why writing a poem is better than a peppermint plant. I guess it all comes down to the fact that you cannot compare apples and oranges—each is distinct and unique in colour and flavour, in shape and size. Even comparing apples to apples is a dangerous thing—there are so many different kinds, shapes, sizes and colours that grouping them as one entity misidentifies their individuality. We do this with people too—we group them together by colour, language, economics, and heritage, without looking below the surface and seeing each person’s singularity. I am not my white skin, my English language, my age, my job, or IQ score. I am a bundle of all these things—a supersized combo (with pickles) if you will.

Zen Master, teacher, advocate of peace, human rights and justice, nhan sums us up accurately in the last tiny chapter in his book by writing:

We are the children of the Earth
and not separate from the soil,
the forests,
the rivers,
and the sky,
we share the same destiny.

And that, dear readers, puts it all in perspective for me. Even when we are relegated to cutting the lawn, doing the dishes, or writing a poem.

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Next………..

Skimming across the surface
The smooth flat stone finally sinks to the bottom~
But before it lands
It is caught by the undercurrent
And tossed and turned and rolled and lightly cuffed
Until it comes to its resting place
Half immersed in the sand, half exposed
Tranquil, serene, waiting for the next wave…..

 

 

Published in: on April 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm  Comments (7)  
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Awakening

The essence of my being
Is superficial at best
Barely registering on the Richter scale
Of mindfulness.

When I do delve a bit deeper
I am surprised at the artifice,
And disappointed at my shallowness~
While, at the same time recognizing that one can………….

drown in a puddle.

Published in: on April 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm  Comments (9)  
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Because

The storyteller arched her eyebrow,

Paused, and without losing a beat

Answered the question

I had posed only in my mind ~

“Because” she said.

 

Sometimes, I think, “because” is the only answer to some questions. What do you think?

Published in: on April 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm  Comments (14)  
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Hide and Seek

I caught a whiff of spring yesterday ~
Efforts to capture its fleeting essence
Were for naught.
Freshness escorted by bird ballads
replaced by cold rain and squally winds.

Winds threaten spring again today ~
We are enrobed by a diaphanous cape of fog.
Spring plays hide and seek
But I will keep looking ~
even if I have to count to one thousand and sixty-two.

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm  Comments (13)  
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my momma told me there would be days like this–my momma said…..

 

 

blank page before me

a layer of blank white outside

blank brain sputters and hesitates

to spit out meaningful words,

grasping at clichés

reaching for metaphors ~

white flag flutters

no more reaching and grasping.

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm  Comments (13)  
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Frozen Souls

 

Sadness permeates

Frozen winter souls

A warm thaw of hope

Melts the core ~

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm  Comments (25)  
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Foreshadowing

Grey Sky as far as the eye can see

Grey Sky as far as the eye can see (Photo credit: Etrusia UK)

Cascades of grey clouds

Formed mountains in the dawn sky

Looming, ominous

Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm  Comments (17)  
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Welcome Change

Hidden secrets lie

In gentle change of seasons

Mystery ahead

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm  Comments (7)  
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Coming Back for a Limited Time Only

The title of this post is somewhat misrepresentative–I am not coming back for a limited time only–I just thought that might get you interested in reading this post. As a journalist I know the importance of a headline, but I also know the importance of honesty–so to be more accurate — I am coming back on a more limited and day-to-day basis. Maybe I will even come up with a schedule (stranger things have happened–but for now I am leaving things a bit loosey-goosey, as opposed to henny penny.)

My so called “sabbatical” is just not working for me–I miss this lovely cyber world too much to leave it–but I am returning on a basis not quite as rigid as the one I had set myself up for lately. I think the poem a day in April exhausted my creativity in that I liked some of my poems, but some were produced under a certain amount of self-directed duress just to keep up with the challenge, and were not totally satisfying. I now know what it is like to hit “publish” and not be happy with what I produced.

Blogging Heroes

Blogging Heroes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have discovered a fellow Canadian blogger, David Kanigan of Lead. Learn. Live.  just recently, and his words resonated with me on why he blogged. He has adopted Seth Godin’s reason for blogging as his own. He says:

Why Blog?  I think Seth Godin captured my inspiration for blogging when he was asked why he blogged.  He said “if you are blogging for other people you are going to be disappointed…even if no one would read it, I would still blog…this is a great chance for me to clear my thoughts and put them into the world, what an opportunity.” ~ David Kanigan

My second inspiration for the day comes from another fellow and favorite Canadian of mine,  Le Clown,  whose post today served to make me feel less guilty about sometimes not fulfilling responsibilities in a timely fashion (or sometimes at all). He quoted an online friend of his who said:  “NEVER feel guilty if you don’t have time to do something. […] Life is WAY too short to waste any time on people who make you feel guilty.”

So, I am back. And though sometimes I may hit Publish when I am not sure I should, I am going to take Seth’s statement to heart and take the opportunity this blog affords in getting my thoughts out into the world, with the addition of dropping a little guilt along the way. (Don’t pick it up if you see it on the side of the road!)

Bliss is doing what feels right.  Not posting did not feel right to me. What about you?