Thursday, September 27, 2012

Real, Simple

Extravagant birthday lunch
I had a certain amount of working up to yesterday's birthday, because I am a ten-fingered creature, and educated in base-ten math.  Therefore it seemed important to turn 70.  After some thought I knew I wanted to retire - but from what?  I haven't worked for money for years. I don't do much.  I spend a surprising amount of time staying alive.

I think what I experienced Monday was part of this.  I dug into making some chicken and noodles with this natural chicken Tom had pointed out in the grocery store.  I was sorry now that I bought it and had to cook it.  Such thoughts I had as I cut up onion and carrot!  They surprised me.  They were my mother's thoughts.  Usually I am tormented by my father's criticism.  But this was her grumble. 

It was part of the terrain of the kitchen, where she spent most of her time making a lot of noise with pots and pans in invariably gray dishwater.  Her central statement was, "I'm nothing but a goddamn _____ around here," using a highly offensive term that meant to her worthless slave.  Observing this going on in my mind, I got worried about negative energy going into my cooking.  But, somewhat to my surprise, the dish turned out to be a pleasure.  You could tell it was home cooking. 

So then, Wednesday I woke up pleased to know it was my birthday, and some nice things were planned in my collage group, and lunch with Tom.  And in the general midst of that mood, I thought, "I want to live in a beautiful house."  It was a rather quiet thought, but it was my thought.

I do live in a beautiful house.  The point was not to own some different house; it was that I had shifted my relationship to how I live just a step.  I had stepped out of the heavy chains of my mother's belief that the house had to be immaculate, just did.  Because that was right. And it was evidence of a woman's value. Instead, I know what I like.  How I like to live.

I felt a little fresh air with this small realization.  It is said in Zen that if you keep practicing, you know things for yourself.  Sounds simple, but it seems to take a lot of work to get simple.  And here, just posted today, is a quote from a discourse by Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine.  It seems weirdly auspicious to me that it was just posted today, as if to supply my need.  (But I know better.)
The Way is basically perfect. It doesn’t require perfecting. The Way has not form or sound. It’s subtle and hard to perceive. It’s like when you drink water. You know how hot or cold it is. 
If that isn't spiritual enough for you, I can't help it.


  1. Happy Birthday Jeanne! I hope you had a lovely day. Simple realizations are indeed gifts, aren't they!

  2. Happy Birthday! You are 12 in cat years!

    Interesting to hear the mental pain this Dr had that drove him to explore consciousness. We are not unique.
    Dr Amit Goswami 'Consciousness, Quantum Physics and Being Human'