Thursday, April 8, 2010

Managing the many human obligations – with help from a spring meditation


My mind is drawing a blank: good for a Buddhist, bad for a blogger. Actually, my head is way too full: corralling many details. And our basement flooded in last night's torrents of rain, so we literally had to sweep water down the drain, under the ground. Ground water. It's an interesting form of zen practice.

How to be mindful when you have a head full of strands to connect? That's the challenge of our time, but probably of earlier times, too, in different ways. Wanting to empty the head, the cup, the vessel, the calendar, in order to fill it with something fresh. To experience completion and calm. To tap into the flow state of mental wonder and emotional beauty. To find time to reset.

What do you do – to pause, complete, move on, renew, manage the many human obligations? Give me a tip...

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In the meantime, voting closes today over at SAFE: Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy, where there is a poetry writing contest going on. Soapmakers have written poetry in the hopes of scoring some soap supplies. I love this poem by Laura Natusch of Urban Eden; run over there and give her a vote!
(Here is a little "How to Vote" tutorial: First you click on comments. Then you post a comment saying who you vote for. You'll have to do the word verification thingie. And then – this might be the tricky part – you need to choose an identity. This was easy for me because I have both a blogger account and a google account. If you don't, you'll have to register to be able to post. That involves choosing an online identity and giving them an e-mail address – so they know it's not the same person voting more than once. If you've ever made a comment here at elenabella, you're all set up: just use that process. If you are new to this, once you vote over at SAFE, you'll be all set to join the comment gallery over here – which would be terrific!)
An interesting thing about switching to only bars of handmade soap – not only are they wonderful for your skin, but they seem to last much longer than those liquid soaps in plastic dispensers. I see them as good luck talismans for self and household care. Maybe for mindfulness, too, especially when combined with meditations such as the one below.


Gardener's Poem:The Week Before Easter

Walking up Mountain Avenue
With my green plastic watering can,
I head towards the FRESH community garden,
Passing the abandoned pickle factory
And the stoop of a white, wind-chimed two-decker
Where two girls on cell phones
Unfurl their bare arms.

Salsa from the Super Fiesta Market
Mingles with sparrow song

And I think of the squirrel who, earlier this morning,
Raided my compost pile, burying her face
In an avocado with such bliss

That, reading the sign in front of the Madry Temple Church,
I can almost believe
No bunny loves you like Jesus.

Maybe today the pac choi will have sprouted?

Dandelions muscle their way through cracked sidewalks.
Forsythia swells yellow

And when, in my raised bed I find
Not pac choi, but pea seeds
Wrinkling their noses in the unexpectedly dry air,
I tuck them back under their blanket of soil,
Telling them, "Hush. Be patient. Wait
'Til you see what's coming."

Laura Natusch 

1 comment:

UrbanEden said...

Thank you so much! I live along the shoreline in southeastern CT. Just after I wrote this, we had record flooding, but my little garden survived and the pac chois--as well as the peas, the mustards, the mescluns and the radishes--have sprouted.--Laura