Another day, another morning of play and errand-running with my small son, and then a long drive to induce a nap so I can write. It might sound fine, but he's in his car seat, afraid to nap alone in our room at the commune; and I'm in the front seat, tapping in to the free wi-fi that thankfully reaches all the way into the library parking lot.
Our long drives give me space for thinking in. Usually I find myself drifting along the rural roadways drinking in the autumn splendor, walking that very fine inner line between hope and despair. The endless trash by the roadside or the impolite truck driver spin me out into the very hopeless how's and why's of being here; the glory of nature herself beg me back again to squeeze one more moment of sweet mindfulness out of this life.
So today I am emptied, as my husband returns to our home to empty it out of what is still salvageable, leaving the furniture for the remediation the mold experts swear will only take "a couple of months."
It has been hard to not think too much on finding meaning in our mayhem; for a long while I was convinced of some karmic debt that needed payment, trying to wrap my mind around a positive outlook that just wouldn't appear despite my best intentions.
So the other day, finally at my wit’s end, I called my zen teacher, my Anam Cara, and spilled out to her my misery.
"I'm a Zen failure," I say; "I don't know how to be a priest in this."
She offers the kindest, warmest laugh.
"Our vows are not something we choose to do; it does to us," she reminds me. Immediately I feel immense, all-containing. Aren't words the best magic? "Don’t feel you have to be priestly! It works through us; it finds its own way.
"Karma is so complex… it is not useful thinking to try to untangle it, make sense of it, create guilt about it or try to solve it.
"Just do what’s necessary: don’t beat yourself up about it. Of course you are going to dislike it." It really is just that direct: chop wood, carry water.
I still don’t know, but the ache to know is gone.
The core belief—my faith—remains: that this is all ok, that this too is part and parcel of the Awakened quality of all things. It’s as big as all of us…
So I look again to the mold to teach me something, and I see that mold makes the world go 'round. It turns our waste into hummus, and the richness of that transaction feeds all of life. It was just my time, I see.
Many of the things I lost-- my handmade drums, my artwork, my zafu-- represented the spiritual chase of the first half of my life. I'm am at the doorstep of 40; and clearly, as the mold works hard to create the hummus that will sustain me in my years as a woman, in the words of Monty Python "it's time for something completely different." Can I let go of the nostalgia of what I once thought long enough to feel some gratitude for what really is?
Oisin G'Dea's mama, wife of an Ruaphok Gaiscíoch; lover of the creative life, nomadship and stewardship; zen priest, gardener, artist, writer, herb-crafter, counselor and dreamer... I've lived in the inspiring high-desert, mountain-punctuated New Mexico & Colorado ~ misty redwood-coated coastlines of Northern California ~ strangely elegant riversides in Southern Maryland ~ snowy, busy Greater Boston ~ lovely and welcoming Hilltown Massachussetts.