You know the Zen Master saying:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
Today we chopped wood (in a manner of speaking), which follows fast on the heels of carrying water only a week ago.
Is this before or after enlightenment? Given that I’ve felt enlightened a couple of times in my life (Yes – of course that was just ego talking), I’m hoping after. The truth is that it’s before and it will likely continue to be “before” for some time to come.
Today Simon and I went up into the bush to get more firewood to see us through to the end of this insane cold spell that is breaking all weather records. But then, it’s probably the new normal right?
At any rate, he chopped and sawed while I did a bit of limbing and carrying logs back to the wood shed. Heavy work. We both hurt our backs. I don’t think either one of us feels particularly enlightened but we do feel warm. That was the point.
And March sun is pouring into the south windows of the house and it’s lovely.
I’ve been thinking hard about what I’ve been sharing on my blog. Namely, my feelings; my emotions. Emotions are not very logical – they just are. At any rate, I want to make a few things perfectly clear:
Every choice I have made along the way for as long as Simon and I have loved each other (and every choice in my whole life for all that) has been my choice. I have not been coerced. In my life I’ve made choices that I could label good or bad, smart or stupid – but I can really only make those judgments in hindsight. The old, “If I knew then what I know now…” And the truth is that every choice, every decision, has given me this life and made me the person I am. And all the past is past. All that counts is right now and the steps I will take in the future. Regrets? No – that would be foolish.
I am a deeply flawed human being. I can’t count the number of times in my life I’ve wanted a do-over – not because something went wrong and I want a particular outcome to be different – I have wanted do-overs only as far as my attitude and response goes. Many, many times I have thought that I could be a better person – that I could be kinder; that I should be brighter, more cheerful – that I should try harder.
Sometimes I wonder if I have made any improvements at all as I’ve grown older. And here I am, in my seventies for heaven’s sake – and I’m still striving to be a better person and the emotions that surround that are identical to those I had when I was fourteen.
How long does it take to get it right? Will I ever get it right?
The trick is (there’s a very fine line here) to stay on this side of self-hate. I remember a course facilitator once telling me that should look at this idea of self-hate. I remember thinking at the time, “Not me! I’m cool!”
Well – maybe not so cool.
I still have enormous amounts of work to do.
Okay – I’ve wandered a bit off-track from making a few things clear.
The second thing: I love Simon. I support him. I want him to be happy. I don’t blame him for a single thing in my life. What he does he does out of love. I see this in him. He is passionate about his principles. One of the things I admire so much about him is those principles. And I love the way he cares about him family. Really cares. He wears love like a shining light.
In the days and weeks that come, I will have times of happiness and sorrow, of joy and despair – feelings of freedom and fear. And I may share a lot less of that. I don’t want to infringe on Simon’s privacy – that’s important. I fear that I have. I’ve given this some thought: how to honestly share myself in my blog and, at the same time, respect and honour the person I love.
I’m going to do my best to do both.
Tomorrow I am going to wander alone in the alpine and I think that’s going to be very good for me – a long walk in one of the most beautiful spots on earth.