Taste It Fully

ice circles on the lake

ice circles on the lake

We heard the angry barking of crows before we saw them. They were haranguing an owl. It flew into a tree only a few yards in front of us. For several moments, through the ruckus of the crows, we stared at the owl and it stared at us. Time stopped. Nothing else existed. The owl’s eyes, our breathing, the crow’s chorus.

For our wedding gift, H and Teru sent several collections of poetry, “Manuals on marriage,” they wrote in the note that came with the poems. Kerri and I are savoring the poems, reading one or two aloud to each other every day. They are a source of warmth and inspiration during these cold dark winter months. A poem cannot be rushed or read merely. It must be slowly tasted. It is meant to be entered like a meadow; to be experienced. Try to make sense of a poem and you will miss it. Just like life.

She said, “inner quiet is low maintenance,” and I laughed. Yes it is. The trick is in getting quiet. It is not something that can be found or achieved. It is not a place or a state-of-being. It is what happens when you stop looking for it. Like the hermit says to Parcival when the Grail Castle suddenly reappears, “Boy, it’s been there all along.”

For years Sam the poet was afraid of his poems. Like all great art, his poems, his art, revealed the artist, and so he kept them locked up, un-tasted. He came alive and supremely dissatisfied when he finally unleashed his poetry. He let himself want more but also refused to let himself experience more; one foot on the gas, one foot on the brakes. To taste fully one must be willing to be tasted.

A snippet of a poem (a koan imbedded in a poem), RELAX by Ellen Bass:

The Buddha tells a story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But, there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice – one white, one black – scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.

Taste your moment. Taste it fully.

I wrote in my black and red notebook a simple recognition. The field of possibilities cuts both ways: in your despair you must remember that anything is possible. In your joy you must remember that anything is possible. Tiger above (the past), tiger below (imagined future). Do not reject your moment or attempt to hold on to it – both are methods of missing the moment. Taste it regardless of the circumstance. Taste it fully.

 

 

 

Pick A Fight With Birds

654. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Marilyn dope slapped me after my last post. She wrote, “PLEASE turn on the light rather than curse the darkness…go to the shore and fight with your birds.” After all, we did just mosey passed the solstice and are now in the early days of light’s return. A good bird fight would do me some good. As a side note, my favorite chuckle of the day: last night as a precaution to prepare his audiences for imminent Mayan end-of-the-world-ness, Andrew, artistic director of Jet City Improv, and his players stood at the doors of the theatre and passed out bags of air as people exited. One can never have too much air especially amidst so much concocted uncertainty.

In preparation for my bird fight I pulled on my warm clothes, my rain boots and coat. It’s wet out there and the birds with their fancy all weather feathers have an unfair advantage. I meant business so I left my glasses inside: I’m a better bird fighter when I can’t see what’s coming. Also, if I took a wing to the nose I didn’t want my glasses to break. They’re new and I’m told make me look smart – which implies that I don’t look smart without my glasses and it’s better strategy if the birds underestimate my intelligence and mistake me for a simple street fighter.

I splashed out to the end of the street, the place where the birds hang out and look for snacks: it is the shore of the Puget Sound and there are plenty of snack options for hungry birds to choose from. My foes, the crows, were sitting in the trees. It was raining really hard. I said some disparaging things about the design of crows (I made fun of their beaks) and not a single bird flinched. They just sat there bobbing on branches, looking out across the water. They didn’t even glance my way. I mocked them, flapping my arms, splashing through puddles, running in circles and perched on the breaker wall. Nothing. Not even a “caw.” So I did it again, flapping arms, puddle dancing, circle running with a necessary perch break to catch my breath.

A policeman stopped, rolled down his window and asked what I was doing. I told him that Marilyn suggested I come down to the shore and pick a fight with the birds. He asked me, “Who’s Marilyn?” I told him that she was a fantastic teacher in Nebraska. He wrinkled his brow and considered asking another question but instead offered a suggestion: “Maybe throw something at them. That usually works.” I told him it was a great idea and I’d give it some thought though secretly I didn’t really want to fight anymore. Splashing in the puddles was much more light-giving than bird fighting. The cop wished me luck, rolled up his window, and drove on. I jumped in puddles until my shoes were soaked, turned my face to the rain and let it wash all of that darkness away.