Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pacing Myself as I Pack

I cannot just work nonstop, I have to pace myself -- pack, do errands, make phone calls, stop and check emails, read while I have lunch or tea. It's working, I am tired but I am not straining myself. I am catching up with magazines, of which one is Shambala Sun, a fine Buddhist magazine from Canada. In general the Zen practitioners interest me less than others but an excellent article about Roshi Joan Halifax [above] was fascinating. She radiates serenity and an inner beauty; her emphasis is on working with those who are dying. It's an area that frightens so many people, partly because we know we must face it but resist with all our might even thinking about it. As we grow older it can't be far from our minds. I'm at a point where people I know are disappearing from life -- just this week a high school classmate, the third in about eight months [all men].

The article I read quoted Roshi Joan quoting Annie Dillard, an essayist and novelist, saying something difficult to think about and yet, it seems to me something we need to think about. [Annie is the blond here obviously]. "There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end ... and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage." To which Roshi Joan Halifax said, fiercely, "I .. won't .. HAVE IT." She wants none of this itsy-bitsy business. She wants us to take our lives seriously. Then we can approach the end with some equanimity instead of rage.

This is a serious thought here in the middle of my muddle of other thoughts, but magazines, thoughts, ideas, come into our lives when they come and we need to pay attention to the hard things to look at.

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