Becoming Buddhist

Attempting to Live a More Mindful Life

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The List

So last week I wrote about how I was choosing silence a little bit, and I am, still, but–I also am feeling this nice little pull towards this blog but totally unsure what to write about. This happens a lot to me. I kind of want to just settle in to this blog like it’s a comfy chair–no no, a welcoming zafu, rather–but then the words don’t come. So I had this idea that I would just throw out all the words. You know, the ones swirling around in my head as I try to meditate, as I fall asleep, as I pretend to be present with my kid, as I manage to be present with my kid, as I teach, walk, love, be, do.

Black flies, buttercups, two butterflies flying out of jars this week, one I was sure would be dead, but wasn’t, L’s desire lately to put in jars every creature the yard will throw at him: roly polys, caterpillars, earthworms, three salamanders under a rock last week, rock me to sleep, meditate with me, I should meditate more, I should meditate at all—no shoulds—my to-do list for today (send out an essay I have been writing for a month and really really think is good, take that big faithful leap and email it off, fingers crossed; blog; blog about poetry; grade papers, check in on classes; grocery shop, pay bills, try to buy a house, email Amelia to see how she’s doing; pick up L and his friend R at three, keep them safe and happy; play music tonight with the Buddha, every Thursday night—wait, laundry—return library books—wrap my head around the weekend—have M. call the landlady’s lawyer, who is sending us threatening notes) and sometimes I want to say no to it all, but it will never change, these words and these lists and this to-do-ness, will always be just. Like. This.





Oh, it’s been a long time. I’m having the urge to apologize, though I’m not sure that’s what’s needed. Perhaps just an honest expression of missing this secret blog world and having known, this past month of being very very checked out, that I would return. Hello, friends.

There's the path again...

There’s the path again…

(Aside: Bussokuseki’s beautiful poem “Almost Nine” this morning kind of slayed me. Go read it.)

Around the time I last posted, I had a personal revelation that I think has contributed to my silence. Around the devastating house business, I felt that no one could say the right thing. I am so grateful for the kind support of friends and readers–thank you, Momaste, Laal, and others–but it felt kind of impossible to explain to people exactly why I felt so utterly destroyed for a while there. Perhaps consequently, what I kept getting back was well-meaning but sort of not very helpful. And that was hard.

And M said to me, at one point, “You know, you don’t have to tell everyone everything.”

I’ve always been an over-sharer; that’s who I am. But I realized that some of that urge to confess everything comes from a place of feeling undeserved, like, I don’t deserve my feelings unless they’re validated, so I tell everyone in hopes of being validated–or I feel that if I’m keeping something to myself I’m somehow being selfish, closeted, untrue. I feel guilty for wanting a secret. It was a very strange revelation to have about myself, and it occurred to me that I really don’t have to share anything I don’t want to. There is power in keeping things to myself. I don’t need to justify what I’m feeling. I mean, right?

This reminds me of an earlier post of mine about silence, when I first started thinking about this stuff many months ago. Silence is feeling very powerful to me right now. And maybe I just didn’t feel like writing about the big life challenges I’m facing right now this past month. I’m sure I will, again; but not now.

I’ve found a women’s meditation group at a famous meditation center in Marin County, and I’ve been twice now. It has been incredibly powerful. It’s during the week, so it’s me and the retired ladies and a few others with flexible schedules, and I’m consciously trying to work my grading and teaching into other time blocks so I can go. In fact, I’m looking forward to it already!