Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

what’s important ~

So, following a night spent boring everyone w/ whining about my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, reality asserted itself today. Funny how a night’s sleep, a beautiful morning of bird song and great tea will do that :).

And poetry. Today’s poem from poets.org is a perfect comment on ‘our precious human lives,’ as Ringu Tulku says. Daily Life, the poem reminds me, will not go on forever. And when so many of my friends are struggling with health and job and loss issues… what on EARTH am I whining about?

Enjoy the day “unfolding like a bird slowly/ spreading its wings.” And your precious human life :).

horrible, difficult, challenging very bad days ~

Doug Savage, savagechickens.com

Some days just suck. They may even start well — today did. Soft blowy morning, a chance to write a grant for a project dear to my heart. Great salad already  made for lunch, and a bird w/ a teasingly unfamiliar song in the next yard over.

Then it all began to unravel…

An expired driver’s license, for someone who’s driving an average of 400 miles weekly (or more) is not something to put off. Especially when my birthday is in April :). So a trip to the license bureau. Wait in line 1/2 an hour to find out that after 30 days, you need a birth certificate.

A trip home ensues. Return to tag agent w/ passport (acceptable on the website, it says) and ‘secondary’ ID. Nope — you have to drive this several miles (7.8, to be exact) down the road.

Waiting of three-ish hours ensues. Nice lady, seems like a happy ending is on the horizon. Then the detour: back to the original tag agent. This tag agent can’t issue licenses, only do the prep work.

At the original tag agent, one very unflattering picture later, I’m issued a license. W/ my first name, middle name and family name. My previous license had my first INITIAL, middle name and last name. A rather big deal, since under TSA guidelines, tickets must match your driver’s license. I have several air tickets for this summer. Each issued in the name on the now-expired, deeply missed driver’s license.

Are you bored yet? There’s more! Apparently if you take in a passport, they re-issue your driver’s license NOT in the name on the old one (wouldn’t that be silly??).  Which means I either have to go back tomorrow and do it ALL over again, or pay hundreds of dollar$$ to have my air travel changed. I so love an avoidance/ avoidance conflict!

Please note: I don’t have many bad days. When I do, people tend to run :). I hope to overcome this tendency to blow like a whale surfacing as I grow deeper into beginner’s heart, but right now? Well, let’s just say I bring out the sailor tendencies in folks nearby ~ there she blows!

baby step enlightenment(s) ~

I believe in baby enlightenments — little things that illuminate your day, your practice, change some profound (although possibly small) piece of you and/or your life. Kind of hard to put in words!

I even wonder if that’s the whole thing — these small signposts along the Way that signal you’re on the right path. Like the white stones in the fairytale :). So you don’t lose hope…

I don’t remember my first one, but the one yesterday  washed over me like music. You really don’t expect transcendence on a hot Saturday morning, driving to the Farmer’s Market. :) Dido on the radio ~ nothing I have is truly mine ~ and the world shifts into slow motion, into a clarity like every edge was sharpened.

What if awakening — enlightenment — is simply this? I thought… What if it’s just ‘waking up’ to the world around us? These green trees, the water brown and still in the river next to the road… What if it’s really that simple?

What if all we have to do is literally WAKE UP! Smell the grass smell from the freshly mown median. Look up at that searing summer sun. Just be here now, as Ram Dass says. Just wake up…

What if it’s really that simple?

beginner’s heart and piggies, all the way home ~

I have a complicated relationship w/ vegetarianism. I’ve been vegetarian at several times during my life, sometimes for as long as a year or more. But my best beloved is a die-hard meat eater (Lady GaGa is lucky there wasn’t a grill nearby, is all I can say), and he is my best beloved.

Pretty  much I gave up complete vegetarianism when I had my first child (who’s getting married next month to a wonderful woman — that’s another story…:)). It was too hard, and I had too many other things on my mind.

But I’ve always felt there’s too much death in the world to contribute more than I need to. I don’t eat huge quantities of meat, and I’m careful to buy only from sources I know: humanely raised, organic and/or local. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that meat means a conscious being — an animal w/ a life — died to feed me. And I go back & forth on that sacrifice, and its relevance to beginner’s heart.

Don’t get me wrong: I have no problems w/ anyone else eating meat. It’s almost as personal a decision as who you love :). Besides, I agree w/ Barbara Kingsolver, in her wonderful book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: she argues that domestic livestock — cattle, pigs and most sheep — won’t last very long in a vegetarian culture. Sheep fare best, as they offer wool. But pigs & cattle? They eat too much for most folks to keep them as pets. Their entire raison d’être is as food. So I’m still ambivalent about no meat at all.

But I know there won’t be pork any more. At least not for a long long time. The universe (and a hundred+ fearful little piggy faces) has spoken…

See the livestock truck above? Imagine each of the perforations framing a piggy face, like the one on the left. Imagine the little pinky-white snouts pushed all the way through the round ‘windows,’ and ears flying in the wind created by 80 mph highway speeds. Young Yorkshires or American Landraces or Chester Whites — as smart as dogs, pigs are. and obviously frantic…

Now put yourself in my little blue car, pacing the pig truck for miles — more than 50 of them. Watching as the squealing, terrified pigs stuck their noses and ears and rumps against the metal walls of the truck, jostled by speed and each other.

One of those memorable moments when you can’t help but think the universe is talking to you. And it’s saying — Enough already w/ the pork. Eat more veggies…or fruit.. .or…:)

I hope it waits a bit before I have to cut out chicken…

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