Monday, July 02, 2007


I have always subscribed to the belief that we should live in the moment. One of my favorite books is "The Power of Now". The problem is, it's way too easy to let life get in the way of how to best live your life. I manage to live in the moment about thirty seconds a week. Sometimes I catch myself, and I think "okay, I'll do better next week when I'm not so stressed, busy, cranky, overwhelmed, emotionally drained, bla bla bla."

Of course, there has to be some balance here. After all, looking back down the road is good for a few things. It's a useful way to avoid the same mistakes, to appreciate how far you've come and to realize how quickly the present becomes the past. Unfortunately, most of us use it as evidence against ourselves to keep living in a world of self-imposed guilt and penance.

Looking forward also has its usefulness. Humans have evolved to possess an imagination, a tool in our survival belt. The proper way to use this tool is to avoid and prepare for possible disasters in our future. This is how we survive, how our species exists, but unfortunately it is not how we find happiness.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Zen. Zen to me means living in awareness of the moment. Being both the participant and observer in one’s own life. Being both the artist and the one standing in front of the canvas, smiling in appreciation.

Over at Shawn's place, she has an interview up with Karen Maezen Miller, author of "Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood". Karen is a Zen Buddhist priest, a wife, mother and writer. She is also giving away five copies of her book! How Zen is that??? So, in order to enter, you have to post at Shawn's place and finish the statement, "For me, Zen is....."

So, here goes:

For me, Zen is…

The moments I can block out fear. Fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of failure. Zen is the moment one of my children meet my eyes and I feel a rush of love. Zen is the moment of a new discovery, a moment I recognize a connection with a new friend, a moment I feel myself breathing and am grateful. Recently, I have consciously logged a few moments while I was experiencing them and so these I would call Zen. A moment standing on the porch while black clouds rolled in and heavy winds made me catch my breath. A moment when my twins were crying after a biting match and I let myself cry with them, completely overwhelmed. For that moment I let go of all fantasies and preconceptions that I could control anything. It was a surprising moment of peace, a seed that had burst forth from the heat. A moment of physical pleasure with the first mouthful of a newly discovered wine, a freshly scrubbed kitchen floor, and a moment of relief when my kids actually ate the new recipe I tried, instead of throwing for distance.

I suppose for me, Zen is just being able to exist in the moment and let it be what it is. A moment without reigns. A moment embraced and then released to make room for the next moment. Whatever it brings, heartache or joy, saturating myself in it because it is life. Life is not one perfect moment after another…or is it?

What is your Zen?


Shawn said...

Beautiful!! Just lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I like.

Anonymous said...

Very insightful, as always. Gosh, it was a wonderful day when you decided to begin blogging! Thank you!

Zen for me is watching my dogs discover new things. Or playing. Or sleeping. Pretty much anything. I also have incredible Zen moments in writing when, in the process, some tremendous epiphany occurs and it brings the entire story together nicely. I love it.