The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This is my final weekend of Summer Vacation, and I've had a great month off!
It's something I look forward to all year long--a chance to catch up on that teetering pile of books beside my kitchen chair, movies in the Netflix Q calling out to be watched, friends to visit and family to finally spend more than a day or two with.

The Summer began with a bang out in San Francisco, attending my daughter's wedding to a terrific man, and partying (or at least trying....) for 3 days in one of my favorite cities. When the dust settled and the newly married couple and all the relatives and guests had left the city, D and I stuck around for a few days of day trips, amazing meals and wine and the comfort of B & J's stunning house.

Home again, we settled into a relaxed groove--maybe seeing friends, maybe not. Maybe cooking a meal, maybe not. Maybe going somewhere, maybe not. All days ended outdoors, watching the cardinals move in around dusk for a final meal at the bird feeders and the lightning bugs rise and shine from the grass like little lanterns.
Nothing seemed more pressing than taking it easy.

I spent an overnight and a Day of Mindfulness with my dharma sisters at the Mt. Equity Zendo, a wonderful treat. It's a place I will certainly return to.

I tried several times at Dokusan to find a way in (or out of) the koan Sensei gave me, and on the last attempt, there was simply a generous flow of energy and the "answer" was before me. That's the only way it can be explained.

And then I spent a week in Connecticut with my mother, who, at 81, is still a spark plug. Independent, lively and outgoing, she has over the years exposed me for the hermit crab I sometimes long to be....but she has always found a way to pull me out of my shell.
Sometimes that wasn't always necessary or even fair, but mothers and daughters learn over the years to push and yield--well, I guess I'm thinking more of a see-saw. Everyone has been left in the air with their feet dangling, while the see-saw partner sits firmly planted, watching you squirm. And conversely, we've all been the one firmly planted.

Huh? You don't like it up there? I can't hear you from down here!

A week in Connecticut with my mother has become less of the see-saw experience, and more simply of being present. Being a companion and the designated driver if she wants two drinks at dinner. Or someone to carry her beach chair and remind her to remove her hearing aids when we go to the beach, and then to offer an arm getting out of the water....otherwise, she won't go to the beach alone, and she adores the ocean.
One night we searched for her watch (hidden behind a framed photograph), another night we searched for her wallet (hidden behind a couch pillow), and yet again, searching for car keys, medication, glasses, checkbook, a particular newspaper article she saved for me.

But she and I got into a relaxed groove too; she slept well and ate well, we enjoyed her view of the salt marsh and the tidal river. We played on her new iBook.

On Monday I'm back at work, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the studios and whipping them into shape for a new semester. There will be new faces in the department as well, and that's always exciting, the chance to get to know another artist!
Sure, there is still plenty of Summer to be had, and I will still walk around bare foot as long as I can and forget the time of day, but it's time for me to get back to a bit more structure, to a little more discipline.
I've been feeling a little too much like a fluffy seed puff, blowing around aimlessly, but the ride has been awfully nice....

My heartfelt gratitude for all who made the ride possible!

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