Nov 202011

I love Zen stories. Each has such a wise message. Here’s one of my favorites:

Word spread across the countryside about the wise holy man who lived in a small house atop the mountain. A man from the village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, he saw an old servant inside who greeted him at the door. “I would like to see the wise holy man,” he said to the servant. The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked eagerly around the house, anticipating his encounter with the holy man. Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the servant, “But I want to see the holy man!”

“You already have,” said the old man. “Everyone you may meet in life, even if they appear plain and insignificant… see each of them as a wise holy man. If you do this, then whatever problem you brought here today will be solved.”


Nov 062011

It’s Saturday night, and I’m seated at one of Greensboro, North Carolina’s finest restaurants. My dinner is a treat; I’ve been in an all-day workshop, and the day has been intense.

The small bistro sits proudly in Greensboro’s historic district. The exterior is brick-clad, and the interior is bathed in candle light. My dinner is magnificent: Triggerfish in a delicate tomato sauce, complimented by a fine Rose.

My journal is my dinner companion. Normally, I’d delight in her company, but not tonight. I am lonely. I am longing for “the one”.

I laugh. I am eating Triggerfish, and I’m triggered. The old fears return. Will I always be alone? At fifty-six, am I too old for a long-term relationship or worse, am I too flawed? I take a deep breath. I am sad.

Sadness isn’t so bad, I tell myself. Sadness often inspires inspiration. Some of my best paintings, writing, and business plans have been birthed out of sadness, but not tonight. Tonight, the muse’s breasts are dry.

I hear my therapist’s voice telling me to welcome sadness; offer her the empty chair. I think why bother; she’s already taken a seat.


Sep 212011

Several years ago, a friend introduced me to the Osho Zen Tarot deck. There are fifty-six cards in the deck, each with a beautiful illustration and poignant message. Often as a part of my morning meditation, I shuffle the cards, cut them, spread them out facedown, and pick one randomly.

This morning I picked “Aloneness.”  I often do. The message is a good one: “When you are lonely you are thinking of the other, you are missing the other. Loneliness is a negative state. You are feeling that it would have been better if the other was there – your friend, your wife, your mother, your beloved, your husband…. Loneliness is absence of the other. Aloneness is the presence of oneself. Aloneness is very positive.”

I am once again reminded that whether single or coupled, I am called to be “a light unto myself.”