on the shape of an emptiness

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It is no secret that I love patterns – so much so, that I repeat them again and again and again (ad nauseam).

For many years I truly thought that being online was my only portal of expression. Here, along with another eleventy billion bright souls I was able to shine at my brightest self. Not only was I fully me, my whole being was Authentic. You know, just like all the other folks…

Then I had a crack. Like one of those moments you see in movies where the protagonist has their giant AHA! moment, and the audience is left rapt in the  emotion of it all. Except there was no one around me. There was a little bit of sound, kind of like that hush that happens before a glass hits the ground and shatters. It’s what I call the “pregnant pause” – a piece of time that grows into fullness out of an empty shape.

Side note: As I type this there are two kittens playing in my art studio and I can see them through my window. Also note, my art studio is just a shabby-chic closed in front porch. Don’t be jelly, it doesn’t even have real flooring, and it can only really be uses in the Spring and Fall. But anyway…

Never in my life have I been afraid to totally stop what I’m doing, re-evaluate everything, then adapt on the spot. You know, like an amped up chameleon… Anyway, after all these years of thinking that I’d find my inner place of real inner placeness, it was actually just a lot of yarn ends that needed to be woven into a bigger picture. Time and time again there would be yet another piece of yarn…just hanging there…all worn, angry, and ready for change.

But all of a sudden the entire piece was complete. No more yarn ends. No more “see, see, I’m all done being ‘this’ me, I’m now ‘that’ me.” Just BOOM! there was an entire quilt of my human being self.

“How will your rock shine, if it is not graced by every rub?” (my version of Rumi)

So, with that, here I am. Welcome to my piece of the web.

Shine on you crazy diamonds,
keu/yarn and zen

to be in cloister

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Not The Wind, Not The Flag
Two monks were watching a flag flapping in the wind. One said to the other, “The flag is moving.”
The other replied, “The wind is moving.”
Huineng overheard this. He said, “Not the flag, not the wind; mind is moving.”


There has been quite a bit of talk around here about the subject of Death. It is funny to me that we somehow feel in control of a Force that moves in the most peaceful way. As we all know, many people are not actually afraid of Death itself, but more about what happens to them when they “go beyond.” Or, even deeper, there is this fear that their loved ones will forget them or fall in love with another.

Mr. The Mister and I had some pretty deep conversations about dying recently. The way we speak about life with each other is always beautiful – even in disagreement – and I value my time with him. Despite all the odds, we have come to be in positive relationship with each other.

So after I said, “When my body leaves this Earth, I only wish happiness for you. Please do not fret over what I would do, or how I would want you to live. I’m gonna be dead, and will hopefully be on the way to a new Journey.” Mr. The Mister says, “Well, most likely I’ll got to a Buddhist Monastery…”

WHAT!! THAT WAS MY IDEA!! (but neither one of us had ever spoken these plans to each other until our talks about what lies beyond this realm)

“I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”
― François Rabelais

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We laughed about our mutual unspoken decision. Then we agreed that we would first make sure the children had what they needed before going to live our cloistered hermitage.

But then as we always do, we took it a step deeper…aren’t we already sort of living in cloister? Haven’t we made our home to be a refuge, to provide sanctuary for those who need it? And, in doing so, haven’t we embodied that which we would engage upon entering the monastic life?

Yes. And also no. It is the Gateless Gate, our personal Zen koan on Mind and how it walks around in our world. Sort of like this…

MTM: What is the sound of one hand clapping.
Y&Z: Lego pieces under my foot.
MTM: It could be the sound of a clean bowl.
Y&Z: Or the quiet mind.

The world will always be spinning, and it will have consistent change. We, the tiny human beings that inhabit this sphere, try our best to make sense of it all. Sunrise/Sunset, with all the finest trappings to make us happy. We work. We sleep. We love. Our hopes are that one day we will find rest, true rest, and that all will be as it should be. Each day we will strive to walk the middle way, helping others as we go.

On this day I give thanks for all that is, and all that shall be. May my days I spend in cloister bring me greater peace of mind, allowing me to be in deeper service to others. May all be fed. May all being be free. May all find rest.

Om Shanti Shanti Om,
keu/Yarn and Zen

bless the spaces between

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“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Today my heart is thankful for the many lessons provided by a beautiful Universe that is constantly conspiring to shower me with awakening. My guess is that the Glorious Expanse has had to shake its head a few times any time my name comes up. “Oh…that one…her again. What is it this time?”


For quite some time my life was lived in the wires. My work, my friends, my being – they were all tied into online activity. It seems that, at some point, I sort of forgot how to “human,” allowing my energy to be absorbed into what others thought of me (or more truthfully, how *I* thought others wanted to see me). At times I could literally hear my own heart saying, “OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD WOMAN,” each time I’d get myself involved in things that weren’t for me (but that I was convinced *were* for me because that is what everyone else was doing, too).

In short, I was allowing myself to be drawn into places that weren’t for me…solely on the premise that maybe someone would give me acceptance for the Sliver of Sameness I carried in my pocket.

When I became sick last year with a massive kidney issue, my body began teaching me things I’d refused to see for so many years. This wasn’t a gentle little walk in the park, but one where I spilled my entire metaphysical guts to a room full of medical professionals. By the time my confession was done, several of the nurses began asking me questions about things I sense around me. It was an intense experience.

But, as some of you may already know, I’m very hard-headed…and am not prone to listen the first 100 million times.

Once again my body is trying to teach me – but this time it is really making a strong and sturdy point. This is not the time to ignore what it is saying…

“I want to feel all there is to feel, he thought. Let me feel tired, now, let me feel tired. I mustn’t forget, I’m alive, I know I’m alive, I mustn’t forget it tonight or tomorrow or the day after that.” ― Ray Bradbury

Today is the first of July. The Sun is in Cancer, the moon is in Libra. Later in this month I will climb closer to 50. A New Moon will come, and there will be a grand celebration for those who are making big life changes. The ocean will rise, and flowers will bloom. All will be as it is. And in every moment, I will be thankful…

Be well,
keu/yarn and zen

P.S. To those of you asking me about my yarn and fiber art, I will be posting more on those topics later this year. 😀

 

close your eyes to exit

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“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

“That we are who we are ’cause we need to” – Klangstof

There is a thread that runs through all the cloaks and garments of the world’s great mystics. It is a story that they all tell; an inner truth they all understand. And while many folks try to navigate around it, there is really no way to keep it from happening.

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Once in this place, it is most difficult to turn around. As much as you’d like to, it follows you around like the Moon each night.

“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”
― Kahlil Gibran

If you want to live a Mystic’s life, you must follow you awoken heart. Or, as all the cool kids are saying these days, “I am woke AF.”

Much love,
keu/yarn and zen

interdependence of being

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“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”
― Masaru Emoto

It is no secret that I miss the chickens. There have been no greater teachers than these two legged little dinosaurs with wings. When there was danger, they knew all the right trees in which to hide. When they needed love, even the old giant rooster, they would come to the back porch for snuggles. If there were goodies to be had, they never horded them for later, but instead savored the delights as they were given.

Sadly…not everyone say the Wisdom of Chickens, so we had to find them a new home. It was a choice that was made out of fear, as I was too worried about upsetting the status quo. Finally, it seemed, life was settling down. There was consistency. Nothing was dramatic or horrible, and there was a bit of comfort.

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“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
― Frank Herbert

And so began a very long period of what I’d like to call, “The Troubles.” Looking back at it now, Wisdom appears in the situations, but during the span of nearly four years, every single Fear manifested in my life. No exaggeration – it happened. During this time when nearly everything felt like it was on fire all the time, a little perspective was gained.

“Whatever is not yours … your letting go of it will be for your longterm happiness & benefit.” from the Na Tumhaka Sutta (Buddhist tradition)

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There is a story about how a wise person learned how to “feed the demons” that lurked in his soul. Each day a meal was set out in front of each box that contained a certain aspect of life – greed, fear, longing, and so on. With the “demons” fed, they could no long cause harm, and stayed away from the Soul. In modern times there are several cultures and faith systems that participate in processes just like this – keeping that which bothers them in a safe space, so that life may never be troubling. But…how will we ever begin to shine, if we should never, not ever, feel a rub? (nod to Rumi for the inspiration)

Summer is coming, and I feel something new blooming within me. For so long it was my way to blather all about in online, especially social media, so that others could come along and see the Beauty that was presenting itself in my life. But what would happen was that the filters of their own issues presented in my garden. Their boogies, stinky old flowers, and insecure feelings can to roost in my safe place. Even more wild was that I actually let those things in my own self. Better to have something than nothing, right…even if it caused me more pain than growth.

The greatest fear of humanity, or at least one of the biggies, is being utterly alone. Advertising companies, Facebook, and politicians play upon that fear. We fall prey to the “us versus them” psycho-babble, allowing ourselves to despise the “other” instead of love them.

From First John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” Even though I’m not a big fan of “verse picking,” this pretty much sums up a lot of what Mystics say – fear is not the enemy, because love can cast out all doubt.

And how can one truly worry about being “alone” when we are truly connected to every little thing around us. Theologians and scientists agree – we are made of everything we see. The “kingdom,” so to speak, is within us…as well as all around us. We are amazing human machines, part of an intricate web of life that shines brighter than 100 suns.

much love,
keu/yarn and zen