“Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.”
― Lao Tzu
“We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blond who
Comes on at five
She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
It’s interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry
Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry” – Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”
“We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’” – From the movie, Network
“He pulls his prayer book out of his sleepin’ bag
The Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
He’s waitin’ for the time when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
With a one way ticket to the promised land
With a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand” – Bruce Springsteen, “Ghost of Tom Joad”
Now that I have your attention…
Something has changed. Not sure what it is, or how it happened, but there is a new thing around me. It has be a bit perplexed. It is good, for sure it is, but I am learning about all these wrinkles in my being.
For years Buddhism held this sort of super-mystical appeal to me. Not only did it offer deep spirituality, it allowed for pieces of Mystery to sneak in. Also, it fit nicely with my existing spiritual framework. So, I read the books, practiced meditation, and sought to learn more about the inner machinations of my mind.
During one of my pregnancy’s I decided to teach myself knitting. My goal was to create a receiving blanket for my wee babe, made entirely by me, out of natural material. For months I would sit on the back porch, knitting needles in hand, and I’d chant, “Om Mani Padme Hum.” over and over and over. When I ran out of yarn, the blanket would be complete.
When that particular kiddo was born, the sounds made at first breath were deep…and Mr. The Mister and I swore it sounded like OM. Even the medical staff around us stopped for a moment to listen to the vibrations.
It was then that my love of fiber started.
Not only would this be a way to support my family (think of it as a get rich slowly idea), it could give rest to my wild mind and seeking heart.
Twelve years later, and I’m still going strong. Now I’ve got crochet hooks, looms, lace tools, and a studio stuff with yarn.
Then I saw a Buddha on the road…and now everything is different. If you know the story well, it is a koan that sort of “shocks” the listener. After sitting with it a bit, a realization comes that this just might be a metaphor of some kind…
And that’s where I find myself right now, in this very moment — I just need to sit a minute. My mind is racing. My usual places for finding calmness and peace are now full of exhortations about how I live my life. This is not just social media, or online communities, but real life human experiences. At this time in my life, and as a momma of kiddos, there is just not enough time for me to be angry every moment of the day. Please don’t ask me to throw rocks in the windows of corporations, or inform me that my life decisions are the wrong ones. This is not how my life will change. Offer me a skein or two of yarn for making prayer shawls…then offer to pay the shipping as I send it out to someone in need. Don’t laugh when I talk about having a open table meeting each month at my home – that will have no agenda, just yarn and food – because you feel that is a “wrong” way to be the peace you wish to see in the world.
In short, stop kicking my Buddha. Let me handle it.
That is where I am. Time for listening to myself. The Buddha I met on the road is now gone, and the way ahead is clear. Let me learn how to clear my thoughts on my own. And, if I come back, then we can chat about what happened. You be you; I will be me.
These days I’ve had some new mantras. While the traditional ones are there, many of them look like this:
K1; P1 (translation – knit one; purl one) You can do this in the cadence of “chop wood; carry water)
SK 1 DC, DC in each DC until end, CH 3, turn. (translation – skip one double crochet, double crochet in each double crochet until end, chain 3, turn) This one might do better in the rhythm of gate gata para sum gate bodhi svaha
keu/Yarn and Zen