Thursday, February 2, 2017

Retreat

I've decide to return to this Blog writing whether anyone reads it or not. It makes me happy and seems to organize my thoughts.  Good enough reason at my age.

Given the tone and angst in the air these days, I decided to take a five day semi-retreat in the warmth and comfort of my house on the lake.  The fact that my husband, Dick, is off on a ski trip for five days and I have the resurgence of a terrible viral thing makes for this easy decision.

I recently bought a book I hadn't taken time to carefully research.  The Experience of Insight. It's comprised of lists and chapters to read and meditate on in a month long Buddhist inspired retreat.  Well, I only have five days and am not going to get up at 4:30 to sit and walk and am certainly not going to meditate for hours at a time, but I am reading the various chapters and finding that it just what I needed to get some idea of how to live in this turbulent time.  I'm meditating a few times for brief periods, doing my yoga, writing, cooking, listening to jazz, reading and trying not to talk--just a couple of phone calls and those didn't really add to my peace and quiet.

I would however recommend this approach even if I am only in the third day and starting to get a bit antsy.  I think it bears looking into.  I believe the political scene today has the danger of burnout for some of the most sincere and politically active people I know.  How do we sustain the pressure to restore morality and decency to this world if we are so stressed and angry that we can't sleep or have a civil conversation with those we disagree with?

So we can send money, march if we are able, write and phone and pray if you pray.  At least I will write and paint in these few solitary days. And read. One bit of reading I've just finished is the recent Sun magazine. They feature a recently deceased poet from Vermont, David Budbill,  in a previous interview and offer a few of his wonderful poems.  He was a Buddhist and self described recluse and a previous activist against the Vietnam war.

When asked how someone living in isolation make a contribution to society?  He replied,"Not everyone should be out on the streets protesting. I have a Buddhist friend who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. He says, "What I can do for peace and justice is split wood." To do no harm is a great service to humanity.

Budbill's poetry is plain-spoken and thought provoking.  Here are two of his and one of mine from today.

What We Need

The Emperor,
his bullied
and henchmen,
terrorize the world
every day

which is why
every day

we need

a little poem
of kindness,

a small song
of peace,

a brief moment
of joy.

Words to Myself

Ryokan Says: With what
can I compare this life?
Weeds floating on water.

And there you are with your
dreams of immortality
from poetry.

pretty pompous --
don't you think -- for a
weed floating on water?

David Budbill


And here is mine:


Memoir

Mindful of the waves
I skimmed them like a gull.
There were rocks
and sandstorms, horizons
and sunsets to recall—wistful
paintings and poems, glorious
lies revised as memory, still one more
sighting off to the west and then
the next. Proof that there's no finality

to a good story.

Thanks to Andre Theisen for encouraging me.
Tomorrow i will try to send a painting at whatever stage it is in.

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