Sunday, July 12, 2009

Salt & Pepper, Sukkha & Dukkha, A Sprinkle of Each

You Didn't Come For Cocktails
Mixed Media on Matte board
Matte 8" x 8"   Image size 3.75" x 4.5"
$25 includes shipping in North America

I confess this is an old piece.  I did not do it today.  Ah ... the best laid plans of small rodents and  mortals.  If  Sukkha & Dukkha were in the salt and pepper shakers, someone definitely shook a little more Dukkha on my plate than I find tasty, today.  But isn't that it.  We always like things sweet.  But somehow I muddled through.

Hearing that Bunny the cat died definitely shook me.  Sad news and weird timing.  But there it was.  Lately when I hear things like this they remind me of my own mortality in a first hand shaky sort of way that feels uncomfortable.  The unpredictability of life comes and pokes it's nose right in my face to see if I'm listening.  I can't hide, ignore or distract myself .  And the contrast from yesterday somehow added to the sullenness of my mood, the sunny Saturday sitting on a deck with friends toasting a glass of bubbly  to the newly married.   

And when we arrived at my mother's for a little visit this afternoon, she had fallen and grazed herself, yet again.  She was understandably shaky and somewhat agitated that her call button had broken.  Being a bit of a trooper she had declined the ride to the hospital that attending paramedics had wanted to take her on.  We managed to get her a temporary call button for the evening and made sure she had some pain killers for later if she needed them.  This event added another dash of Dukkha to the day.  And yet I wonder, am I supposed to be able to take it all in my stride and just say this is how it is.  I watch myself get out the little list I keep somewhere in my head, that goes, well there's another minus sign for today, grumble, grumble.  So all in all we're working in the negative integer zone (whatever an integer is?)

And so I came home and resisted collapsing into a small heap or melting into a puddle (too cold today for melting).  I got out my paints which is skillful means I think, and did something semi useful, grumbling when I couldn't find an eraser.  And that was today.  And it's okay.  Not everyday includes a glass of bubbly on a sun-drenched patio with good friends.  And if it did, the human mind being what it is, we'd probably find that boring and wanting after a while.  And in strange way, not pushing away what has been served up to me , is embracing what the day has offered up.  It's not licking the plate or asking for a second helping, but it's not dumping a bag of sugar on it or throwing the plate on the floor and shouting about not ordering this.  I didn't run off in search of comfort or distractions.  I didn't add to the dukkha by spinning some story about the future or possible outcomes.  I just muddled along and as the little collage points out, "you didn't come for cocktails."  Neither did I.


  1. Sounds like you could use a heart hug today :) My heart definitely goes out to you, and am so sorry to hear about Bunny the cat.

    Maybe a little Jack Kornfield will have to do from this distance :)

    "The true task of spiritual life is not found in faraway places or unusual states of consciousness: It is here in the present. It asks of us a welcoming spirit to greet all that life presents to us with a wise, respectful, and kindly heart. We can bow to the beauty and suffering, to our entanglements and confusion, to our fears and to the injustices of the world. To bow to what is... is not easy. To bow to the fact of our life's sorrows and betrayals is to accept them and from this deep gesture we discover that all life is workable."

    From where I sit you were certainly being present to what is, embracing the moment. No one said we had to "accept what is" cheerfully - just with awareness... And that you did. So bows to you, heart hugs, and don't be too hard on yourself. :)

  2. christine's comment struck me today...we don't have to 'accept what is' cheerfully, just with awareness...

  3. yes it is such a good thing to remember. we equate accepting and embracing with "yip, yip yahoo" but it really doesn't have to be this way. How subtle all our preconceptions are and how quickly and insidiously they creep in.

    thanks to you both and to the bowing...

  4. Best wishes to you, your mother, and the poor kitty. I've lost a few kitties over the years, and even though you know they'll go eventually, it's always kind of a jolt when it happens.