Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Zen of Donuts

Here I am imitating a shopper at the Portobello West Market that I did last Sunday in Vancouver. With the temperatures and humidity being more like Georgia than Vancouver most of the vendors spent some time sitting in lumpish states or discussing where we were in the melting and wilting process. In more energetic moments we lurked around the open doors slurping up little breezes. Everyone was friendly and the quality of the craft out there was amazing and inspiring. It was quiet, it was not particularly profitable and it was fun; all of which are simultaneously possible if you give up wanting. I was curious about the "market scene" and circumstances made it possible for me to give it a try. I don't have to wonder any more. As my Zen teacher would say, "a no is as good as a yes."

So I have been out living in the real world with intermittent wireless access and no burning issues to blog about. I used to say about the dinner making process, "I feel like I've cooked it all." And recently I've been feeling a bit that way about blogging. Of course the Dharma is endless and everywhere but somehow those bloggable moments are not popping their cute little heads up in the landscape calling for me to capture them.

But here's a couple of things I have been chewing on. Worry and fear come up for me. I'm usually not a big worrier but I do get hit with these lightning strikes of fear. This week I had a little go round with worry. As someone who had cancer the mysterious twinges of the body can bring up fear which morphed into a little worryfest for me this week. It's interesting practice watching the mind respond in it's habitual way. First the mind responds to something in the body and then you see how that response of fear creates its own physical reaction. It truly can be suffering embodied, running with that fear and yet..... it is so hard to resist ... the human version of the moth drawn to the flame. And it sucks the energy right out of you, that little sponge towel, worry.

And it really is the cutting edge of practice, working with this. Experience the fear, the worry, yes let's look, what's it all about? And then when and how to redirect? Too much of this is not helpful is it? Or is it like a hole, you need to get to the bottom of it and see what's there? Is it empty or filled with old crap from the past? Get out the shop vac. Or is it just a bad habit, that needs to be directed, like a small child, "no, Melanie we are not going to jump off this cliff, why don't we go to the park instead?" It is skillful means and sometimes I'm not all that skillful, I think. And it's an experiment as is most of this good life. Try it one way, no luck, well on to creative solution #332. And of course as I well know it's not on my timelines. I do my work and the fruits of my training arrive in their good time not when I shout out the order. Who do I think I am, Gordon Ramsay?

I got to sample the fruits of some long hard training with a family member recently, someone who over the years has proved difficult to get along with, who no matter how much I had tried to avoid clashes with, always managed to draw me in and push my buttons. A special talent that drove me mad and then I simply chose to avoid their company. Recently I spent some time with this person and was able (for reasons unknown to me) to simply accept him at face value and spend some pleasant time with them. Life's small miracles.

So those are my Dharma bits. Is that like Timbits (you have to be Canadian to know what those are)? When I was a kid my sister and brother who are much older than I, would sometimes tease me by asking me if I wanted some donut holes from the donuts my sister was making? Of course I would bite and they would give me an empty plate and find this quite hilarious. That's a clue about Timbits and the zen of donuts.


  1. Ah yes, fear, I know it well... It is a persistent visitor at my door - in different disguises: worry, anxiety, hypervigilance, even disguised as anger... Pesky little fellow, and evidently quite talented too. It's been hanging around all my life. And yes, when the fear lightening strikes, fear fixation begins... It's very difficult for me to meet this visitor when it arrives, to invite it in and just sit face to face with it without crumpling. Like a frightened orphan, it just wants a hug. But I'd really rather hide under the bed. :) As ever - Christine

  2. Timbits...LOL MY Girlfriend is Canadian and I just found out what those are. You know before I met her I had no idea what a Tim Hortons was!