Friday, January 15, 2010

Have A Soft Heart & A Strong Back

Here's a picture of my soon not -to-be entry way. It is a time of coming and going, of endings and new beginnings, a time of letting go of old stuff to make space for the new. It is a time of finding a new way of being in the world.

There is a lot to train with these days. And my friend living precariously in her non running camper van is head teacher. I am learning a lot about non attachment and patience as the days unfold. I am working to find a solution to get her off the public street but so far there's a lot of work and not much in the results department.

And I am learning how little our society provides for "the have nots" I am learning how those of us who have are so comfortable inside our warm little cocoons, how we don't want anything to come in and disturb us. We might offer a suggestion, forward on an email, throw $10 in a street person's hat but that's as far as we usually venture out of the cocoon. I am not pointing any fingers here. I live inside my own cozy little cocoon. "Be willing to be disturbed by the truth." I can't remember now who said this but it floated by on the flat screen of my mind today. It is an eye opener. I get a glimpse of how unwanted and unconnected and alone these folks must feel. It truly breaks your heart.

Another phrase that came up for me today was: "Have a soft heart and a strong back." These are words from Trungpa Rinpoche. It was a good reminder as I continued to let my friend's situation touch me . I needed to remember to not fill up on a diet of worry. I needed to remember not to flail about in a frenzy and waste my energy. I needed to remember to exercise my strong back. Part of this was to follow all the leads, to check in on her and do what needed to be done.

Many phone calls filled up the day and furniture and trinkets left the house as our downsizing continued. There was even a bowl of Thai green curry at a local noodle shop and a good laugh to be had amongst it all. We posted a single bed for free on a local site and a lovely young couple with 3 kids came to claim it. When they had left my partner went to sweep up the dust bunnies that have natural homes under all beds. These bunnies looked like the jack rabbits of dust bunnies looming largely in the far corner. Well it turned out that the dust bunnies were in fact a dead bird,probably a sparrow brought in by the long gone, Bunny the cat (who left here in May)! We laughed at the thought that the young couple may have seen the bird. "Did you see that Susan, those people had a dead bird under there bed, eeww! And they didn't even have a cat!"

And so life goes on, with dead birds, and hopes for a place for my friend, and a scouting trip tomorrow for a new place for us to live; the varied tapestry that makes up a day and weaves together a life. And always the Dharma is there working behind the scene, delivering perspective and sanity to a sometimes crazy world.


  1. Once again a lovely post... "a time of finding a new way of being in the world." Yes. Music to my ears, even though I know it's creating a lot of upheaval for you. And yes, "allowing ourselves to be disturbed by the truth." And you do it with such Grace! You continue to offer such wonderful reminders for us all! Thank you. C

  2. synchronicity. I too just wrote about "a time of finding a new way of being in the world" not the same words but similar enough...I think this is a continuous teaching/learning/opening/witnessing/healing/unfolding/releasing is the art of living.

    May you find a place soon that feels like home...and your friend too.

  3. Yes, I know the comfy cocoon . . . and I am very aware of how closed my heart is, still.

    There is also the practical aspect, of how far can you go in helping your friend, while still taking care of yourself in the midst of your move.

    Thank you for another heartfelt, thought provoking post. You caused me to pause, once more :)

    With much metta, and wishes for you to find your next home soon.

  4. I loved your poetic words..."the varied tapestry that makes up a day and weaves together a life"...
    i feel for your friend on the street...may her needs be met.

  5. I'm glad I bumped into your blog. Very nice. I think we met on a retreat at North Cascades BP, but maybe not. In any case I enjoy the flavor of your blog and this post reminded once again that everything and everyone must at some point be left behind. Best wishes,
    In gassho,

  6. Thanks as always for your company and support, the community build by acknowledging and sharing this is how it is for you too out in your little plot in the world's garden.

    And in some strange way we are all like my friend out on the street, we are just not so keenly aware of it.

    And Helmut, yes I remember you from North Cascades! How nice to bump into each other out here in the vast territory of cyberspace. And yes some things just remind us of that impermanence that is always flowing through our lives.