Chop Wood, Carry Water

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.

About goodyniosi

Writer, avid(!!!) hiker - living life to the fullest. Love, life, bliss - getting high on getting high (in the alpine that is)
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5 Responses to Chop Wood, Carry Water

  1. Arlene Collison says:

    Goody….Thank you for sharing your humanness. I can relate to every word you have written. I have learned so much from you and Simon in the world of politics. I love your blog and your breathtaking pictures. I feel that we could be good friends if we lived close to each other.
    I feel your sorrow and your joy all mixed together with the uncertainty of your life as you make a new path for yourself. I’ve “begun again” so many times in my life. Please know I am thinking of you and sending comforting love your way. ❤️

  2. goodyniosi says:

    Thank you, Arlene – yes, I feel sure we would be good friends (already are perhaps – but at a distance 🙂 Where do you live?

    • Arlene Collison says:

      Yes…..we are long distance friends. 😁. I live in the quaint, historical town of Amherstburg Ontario. It sits at the mouth of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. It’s a beautiful little town and I love it here. I live a quiet, simple life. I took care of my mom until she passed and then one of my brothers created a stuido apt in his home for me. I work two jobs and spend time with my daughter and 4 grandsons. I have another daughter….my oldest….and two granddaughters……in Marco Island Florida and that’s where I vacation. I have a son, two grandsons and a new granddaughter…..who I haven’t met yet…..in Indianapolis Indiana. Seth and I have struggled because he’s a Trump Supporter and I’m a Critic! But we are in the mend. His wife is struggling to forgive my outspoken views which is why I’m not saying much about Trump these days. Lol. I’m now concentrating my energies on the Green Party. Something more productive. Life is busy but quiet. I’m very much a loner and the older I get the more I become. I’m very friendly but I love my alone time. And that’s where I live. 😁.

      • goodyniosi says:

        Thanks for the short bio – lovely. It sounds like you have a good life. I hope we meet one day. Like you, I am also friendly, but very much a loner – off in a few minutes to snowshoe (alone) up a mountain. Hugs to you.

  3. goodyniosi says:

    Thank you, Arlene – yes, I feel sure we would be good friends (already are perhaps – but at a distance 🙂

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