Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who Is That Tapping On My Cocoon?

Impermanence is very busy at my house. Impermanence is definitely pushing its way around at this address as furniture moves on to new homes, scads of papers get torn and recycled, boxes fill with belongings and give-aways.

This evening's round of drawer cleaning produced my mother's birth certificate, my parent's marriage certificate and both of their cremation certificates. And there it was, in a bottom drawer, the tangible leftovers of a life, some letters and papers, bits of pressed, inked fibre. A little sad, a little tug at the heart. And then the practical matters: snip up the plastic cards with scissors, tuck mementos into a folder.

And it seems in this state of getting ready to move I am more conscious of this movement, the flow of impermanence as it reaches its tentacles into all the nooks and crannies of the house and our lives. It is good to just be carried along with it. But I notice how sometimes I hang on to a rock on the shore or grab for a strand of seaweed, trying to slow down the swooshing of impermanence all around me.

And while my homeless friend has an intimate relationship with impermanence, what she has really taught me a lot about this week, is about listening to that "still, small voice" that each one of us has inside, that voice that can provide the direction, the voice we have such a hard time hearing with our doubting-thomas socks pulled up around our ears.

You see when I finally found her a potential place to park off the street, she didn't do a happy dance. She sat with it, consulted her pendulum and decided no, that wasn't the right option for her at this time. It was hard for me to imagine that she would not grasp at the first opportunity. But there she sat in all her dignity and composure, with a sense that she needed to follow some other options. She was so grateful for the offer and said all she really needed, the important part, was our support. She felt cared for and loved and supported by those of us who had come forward to offer help and that was what really mattered. And so we parted ways that day both feeling unattached to the outcomes and really enjoying each others loving presence. We agreed that we would talk next, when we needed to, that we each knew how to find the other.

Her fine example reminded me to slow down from the frantic busyness of getting things done and listen for "what is it good to do next?" I wish that someone so wise and full of teachings will come into your life. I wish that they will present you with interesting puzzles and predicaments and little hurdles to jump over as you run through the days of your life. I suspect they will come disguised in some interesting form, perhaps a bird with a broken wing, a lonely neighbour, a broken hearted co-worker. Will you hear it as your call to action, as a place to breathe life into the Dharma or will it be just another sad, depressing or slightly annoying event tapping at your cocoon.


  1. I appreciate the openness you present here. And the letting go of outcomes and just being there.

  2. the ying and yang of permanence and impermanence -- the cylces of pemanence and the weathering and passage of time-- changes that occur in nature and in life

  3. I chuckled when I got to the part where you wrote that she did not do a "happy dance" at your efforts to find her a new place to be... Instead, she consulted with her "sense that she needed to follow other options" - in her own way waiting for that inner sense of "Yes." :) What a gift...

    As for "wise teachers that present interesting puzzles, predicaments and hurdles to jump" - I'm married to him :) LOL - C

  4. Hi Nathan, good to see you over here! And my friend definitely led the way on non attachment to outcomes. Its easy in a way when someone else sets the stage for it. I think it would have been a different scenario were she really "wanting".

    And yes Donna your post here reminds me so much of the earthy, groundedness of your most recent post on stones. "weathering and passage of time" I love this phrase. It speaks to the heart.

    Ha, "your married to one" I had to smile when I read that one! Lots or practice in those intimate relationships, that's for sure!

  5. Wow, knocking on our cocoons...such a quiet knock that would be on the downy softness of the cocoon. We must listen very, very carefully. I do feel blessed to know some pretty amazing teachers...not all "official" teachers, but teachers none the less. Thank you for your blessing though, I am listening deeply for the gentle knocks of more wise beings wishing to enter my life...I hope they hear me knocking too!

  6. So beautiful, so inspiring . . . Lately, I am turning more and more to each moment, as friendly opportunity, not something to dread as before. And I feel incredibly grateful for being able to do so. The best gift of all.

    I was thinking of your homeless friend, and how in the Buddha's time, becoming a monastic was referred to as going into homelessness. How many Buddhas in disguise behind the mask of contemporary homelessness, I wonder?

    with much metta,


  7. That is a really interesting comment, Marguerite. I have had a very strong sense of that "Buddha-ness" of my friend when I'm with her.