Zen Day 40: Experiencing

You just look around, look into the eyes of a child, or into the eyes of your beloved, your mother, your friend – or just feel a tree. Have you ever hugged a tree? Hug a tree, and one day you will come to know that it is not only that you have hugged the tree but that the tree also responds, the tree also hugs you. Then for the first time you will be able to know that the tree is not just the form, it is not just a certain species the botanists talk about, it is an unknown God – so green in your courtyard, so full of flowers in your courtyard, so close to you, beckoning you, calling you again and again.

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 2

An “experience” is something that can be filed away in a notebook, or captured on film and pasted into an album. ‘Experiencing’ is the feeling of wonder itself, the thrill of communion, the gentle touch of our connectedness with all that surrounds us. 

The woman in this card is not just touching this tree, she is in communion with it, she has almost become one with it. It is an old tree, and has seen many hard times. Her touch is gentle, reverent, and the white on the inside of her cape reflects the purity of her heart. She is humble, simple – and that is the right way to approach nature. Nature doesn’t bang any drums when it bursts forth into flower, nor play any dirges when the trees let go of their leaves in the fall. But when we approach her in the right spirit, she has many secrets to share. 

If you haven’t heard nature whispering to you lately, now is a good time to give her the opportunity.

****

After half the night spent awake fretting over the smallest (to the largest) worries I have, I would say that this is the universe giving me a big ol’ smack on the butt and a silent, “Dummy!  Shut up and live!”

Sometimes I need that.  At least my mother claims that I’ve always been overly sensitive and analytic, over-thinking things and unable to let them go.  I know this about myself.  It can be a, well, shall we call it preoccupation?

It has always been a very conscious act on my part to separate myself from my mind and to simply observe unthinkingly in order to just experience the world around me.  I suppose I can’t force my mind to stop analyzing, I can only recognize it, be aware of it.  But I can also be more mindful of the world around me and try to drink it in just for the sake of its being there.

That is one of the many reasons that I was initially drawn to BD – where I am overly analytic and bookish, he is a lover of nature and of the world.  He is very observant and is always able to point out the random hawk flying overhead (in the city?!) or the bluebird perched at the top of a tree.  Just being around BD makes me more observant and mindful, which I treasure.

And so…today I will make a concerted effort to just observe and experience.  To enjoy.  To not over-think or analyze.  Even if it kills me.

****

Last night I had my first pregnancy-related hormonal meltdown.  At least it was ridiculous enough that we were both laughing while I couldn’t stop crying.  I was just so tired!  And it wasn’t helped by the fact that BD and I had been quibbling over upcoming trips and chores and projects.  BD was a sweetheart and just played along; luckily, a restaurant down the street was having a guest chef doing a taco night (my childhood favorite), so we went over there and gorged ourselves on quesadillas and carne asada tacos.

I finally figured out how to explain to BD what my discomfort feels like: I feel like someone has cut me open, inserted an aspic into my belly, and closed me back up again.  Every time I take a step, the aspic jiggles, and because it’s crammed into my gut, it really hurts inside my belly!  That’s about as accurate a description as I can come up with.

Tagged , ,

Zen Day 39: Past Lives


The last time I picked this card – on Day 2 of this adventure – the commentary was, quite frankly, so beyond me that I obviously really had nothing to say!

I know that I was hung up on the concept of “past lives,” something that I really don’t believe in, per se.  I do not believe that souls reincarnate from one body to the next, willfully choosing to regenerate and continue an ongoing existence until reaching spiritual enlightenment.  Perhaps one day I will change my mind.

What I do believe in is the oneness of the universe and cosmos.  I do believe that you, I, this computer that I am typing on, the cords and airborne waves that transmit information, the Gatorade that I’m (still) drinking, as well as the purple martins chirping outside my door, my dogs rolling in dirty laundry, and my babies forming their tiny hearts (this week!) are all connected and made of the same thing.  What all these things have been, what all these things are, and what they will all become is the same – we are all, in some shape or form, of this universe and therefore share a oneness that is divine and eternal.

So, in that sense, yes I believe in past lives.  I know that what I am made up of has always existed and will always exist, even if not consciously.

Thus in contemplating the idea of “past lives,” I am drawn to that idea of universality, oneness, eternity, and the cyclical nature of things.  I am eternal as my children develop inside me, taking of my body to create new life.  I am eternal when I die, my ashes becoming part of the ocean and trees and rain and, perhaps one day, reintegrating into another life form.

For today, I will contemplate how I my eternal footprint looks – and will look.  As a part of the cosmos, what I do and who I am matters, if only simply because I exist.  My existence should bring peace and joy.  Am I doing that?  If not, what inhibits or obstructs me?  If I am, how can I spread it further?

To be completely honest, such questions and meditations take on a whole new meaning to me now as I sense my little maybe babies coming to life.   Life is so much bigger and grander than I ever imagined.

****

Today, an hour into the day, I am feeling much better than I have for the past two days.  One thing is for sure: that Chinese dinner the other night, while awesome, has cured me of any yen for Chinese food (you know, the psychosomatic connection between food and feeling ill, perhaps).  It was a wonderfully calm and uneventful day yesterday spent at a resource fair for families of children in a federal education program for tiny ones; it was actually a really wonderful gathering of resources and it was heartening to see families find job solutions, education opportunities, and health and medical advice in one room.

One of my coworkers, who is like my auntie, is on me daily about getting my support system prepared for the children – daycare, doctors, babysitters, and the like.  Culturally, we come from very different places – where I was raised and am surrounded by people who believe you should be self-sufficient and manage your own family affair individually, she comes from a background where help and guidance and interaction are almost expected.  I am very lucky to have her and my other coworker here to provide that type of support when even my own family approach is to leave it alone to me to figure out.  So, I started vaguely browsing around for daycares and came to the realization that I need to engage in conversation with other mothers; the resources readily available on the internet are not the only ones (and certainly not the most affordable – $1000 a month for daycare?!).

I better stop procrastinating from getting the dogs off the pile of dirty laundry and start my day…

Tagged , , , ,

Zen Day 38: Courage

The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed. 

Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls – and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will be many. 

There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves. 

The same is the path for man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed.

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 4

This card shows a small wildflower that has met the challenge of the rocks and stones in its path to emerge into the light of day. Surrounded by an aura of bright golden light, it exposes the majesty of its tiny self. Unashamed, it is equal to the brightest sun. 

When we are faced with a very difficult situation we have a choice: we can either be resentful, and try to find somebody or something to blame for the hardships, or we can face the challenge and grow. 

The flower shows us the way, as its passion for life leads it out of the darkness and into the light. There is no point fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them. They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower we must go through them. Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be.

****

It’s funny how some things work – from the moment I woke up this morning, I kept repeating to myself, “You can do this.  You can do this.  You can do this.”  You see, as of yesterday morning, I have officially exited the No Symptom Zone and entered some wacky land of combined meds/first trimester nastiness.  Mostly, the painful bloating is causing extreme cramping (which really makes me grateful that in my normal life I don’t experience these ever!!  Didn’t know how lucky I was!) and a general inability to transition between different positions without major discomfort.  I know this will pass and I know it is worth it, but WOWIEZOWIE is this distractingly painful!

Add in to the mix our dinner last night with my father’s ex, who still remains his biggest supporter.  It was a lovely dinner, but tinged with the melancholy and slight awkwardness that comes with that sad, hulking pink elephant sitting in the corner of the room.

It is nothing short of amazing to me that I am technically already five and a half weeks pregnant (a medical technicality that is frustratingly confusing to my entire family given the practical knowledge that this/these being(s) have only resided in my belly for not even two weeks).  It is going by so quickly and I want to treasure every single moment of it.  But with these distractions – both internal and external – it is so easy to forget to be present.

The Flower reminds me to keep the larger goals in mind, to “not sweat the small stuff.”  To be mindful that there is purpose and beauty and meaning – and that trials and tribulations are part of the journey.  Physical ailments will come and go, family crises will come and go, seasons and celebrations and mournings and lulls will come and go.  In all honesty, I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, let alone today.  All I can do is maintain the fortitude to put one step in front of the other and to smile.  And it will be as it should.

****

Recap of Day 37: At the clinic yesterday, the nurse inquired if I was feeling any cramping or had any bleeding, to which I quickly replied, “Not at all!”  Fast-forward 3 hours and I was in a brand-new situation.  Cramp-opolis Population: Me.  And between now and then it has not subsided much.  I definitely noticed that I am helped some by not wearing anything tight around my bloated midsection (note to self: jeans are not such an awesome idea right now.  I don’t care if it’s the only clean pair of pants, don’t do it).  I’ve been fairly good about weighing myself – the clinic wants to make sure I don’t gain 5 pounds in a day, which would indicate massive fluid retention – and I’m consistent, so I really can’t do much except wait for it to subside.  Not my favorite solution of all time, but the one I’m stuck with….  As my doctor told me yesterday, if I weren’t bloated, he’d be concerned – bloating is common with all women who respond well to IVF and I just need to continue to drink ridiculous quantities of Gatorade and V8 until it goes away.

Tagged , , , ,