Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The Samsara Of Home Renovations
Where do you find the Dharma when you discover hidden mold on the wall during your kitchen reno and you don't know what to do? How does the Dharma fit into a house bustling with 2 plumbers, 2 tilers, a carpenter and fallers arriving to remove some trees? Well for starters, you do the best you can. You get to see your habitual tendencies in full bloom and then you dance with them as you negotiate the chaos. You feel your way along like a blind person, carefully. You look for openings and light shining through from some other place. You try to find the opportunity in the problem. And as much as you can, you let go of what you "want". And occasionally you remember to breathe. Never helpful to pass out from lack of oxygen.
So that has been the work of the last week. Phone calls and following the thread to make sure that what we were dealing with was not toxic mold and a health hazard. And I got to see a strong panic reaction in myself that relates to anything that feels like a threat to my health. I was learning to be prudent but not alarmist, to weigh and measure the information I collected. I could see the inclination to feed off the panic of someone else who was present. And of course all the time the new kitchen I wanted was barking at my heels. And so by the third day we had figured out what to do, found someone to test the mold, found it wasn't any of the seriously dangerous types and then proceeded to remove it safely. It was an exhausting experience and everyone had several opinions on it. The trick was to weigh it all in a balanced manner, to put strong emotions out of the decision making loop.
I was stressed but with awareness! I did the best I could to work with it. I remembered to practice kindness to those that were part of the process and be thankful that I was in the position to be doing all of this. There was a serious samsaric quality to the whole experience. Life is like that sometimes! And so the house is deliciously quiet tonight as I nurse a sore throat. In the thick of it all lies opportunity, opportunity to get to know ourselves (and thus others) opportunity to take a stab at right speech and right action. Opportunity to not succumb to despair and doubt and panic. Opportunity to dig deep inside and find what Jiyu Kennett called "our iron being". Add a little faith and stir vigorously.
And did I mention that the sweetest 2 tilers broke the washing machine moving it back into place? The tests continue!
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.