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The Good Life

I was talking with a friend on Friday, and as this particular friend lives by Buddhist philosophy and is coming into town to do a mother’s retreat in October, I was explaining that perhaps the venue we’ve chosen is not “zen-like” enough–you know, peaceful, full of sunlight and happiness–what you’d expect when you hear the word zen.

“Elissa, Elissa,” she said.  “Zen has been equated with a Japanese aesthetic.  What we think of when we think zen is not what it means.  Zen is the practice of daily life, no matter what you’re handed, without judgment, without preconceived notions.”  She added, “Of course, the venue will be just perfect.”

A big relieved sigh from me.

I do believe it is easier for me to handle one day at a time, and I do believe that it is more feasible to deal with life when I am aware that all things are part of my life–what I’ve falsely deemed good or bad–because really, they are neither.  We make them what they are.

I found a lovely poem to illustrate.  “The Good Life” by Mark Strand.

You stand at the window,
There is a glass cloud in the shape of a heart.
The wind’s sighs are like caves in your speech.
You are the ghost in the tree outside.

The street is quiet.
The weather, like tomorrow, like your life,
is partially here, partially up in the air.
There is nothing you can do.

The good life gives no warning.
It weathers the climates of despair
and appears, on foot, unrecognized, offering nothing,
and you are there.

[Post image: Water Drops by alanford01 at stock.xchng]

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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