Archive | January, 2013

Zen and the Art of the Parking Ticket

9 Jan

Parking meter.

It is sort of a thing in Charleston, parking tickets: a ubiquitous visitor to anyone who ventures downtown, tourist and local alike.  Those “ticketers” are GOOD at their job, and I have always paid the ones I deserved:  the forgotten meter time, not really a spot ticket, oops, I thought it was Sunday ticket (free all day Sunday).

But this time, I had a case.   I read the back of the ticket and figured out I could squeeze by the DMV Appeal Hours between dropping Chloe off for dance and picking up Eden…yada yada.

Forgive the tedious details…I want to get to the main point, which is a Zen Master at the DMV…I swear it is true.

I rode the elevator up with a woman, after showing her where to go.    She was in a huff, “I lived in NYC for 15 years and never got a ticket.  I’m here one week, one week!”

The appeals ended this particular day at 6 pm and she and I sweated our tight arrival together, arriving at 5:56 pm.  I thought they would say, too late.  But in we go…there are 4 of us there.

The women behind the glass make it clear that all they need is to get our names and info on the list – we are to wait to talk to The Man. I wish I could remember his name.

I am last on the list.  After sitting a few minutes,  a slow moving, large, authoritative black man emerges from his office.   He owns his space and does not show his cards.   He calls names out one by one and in each one goes.   In quick succession, the first  two offenders are quickly dismissed out of his door with polite “thank you’s and have a good night” and grins.  “You too” he calls after them.

My compadre from the elevator is before me and she gives me a grin and a thumbs up as she heads out the door.

Once I’m seated across from him in his office, surface conversation ensues, totally unrelated to the ticket, but it is his BEINGNESS that is radiating out from him no matter the words.  He is fully present with me and he knows what he is to do with purpose and grace.  How often do we experience this in others?    He is here to diffuse, to accept, to excuse…everything about him radiates peace – AT THE DMV – AT THE TICKET APPEALS OFFICE – really?

So I tell him my story, and he nods and says, “I know that parking lot, very old, you can hardly see the lines…of course you are right.  No problem.  Have a nice night Ms. T.”  I get the feeling that we are absolutely bowing to each other in mutual kindness, respect, love.

I know I am drawing out a story that is small and personal.  But I think, more and more we are all having these experiences when we are present to the moment, honoring the flow, saying “Yes, and…” to life.

I read a book years ago called Breakfast at the Victory by James Carse –  a philosophy professor at NYU.  In the title story, he illustrates a master (much like my parking ticket appeals officer)  shining through the owner of the diner he frequented every morning on his way to work.  Every move of pouring coffee, idle converstion with customers, wiping the counters was pure, radiating beingness.  If we are observing, we know IT when we see IT- and we are drawn to IT because these beings, workers,  masters in our midst are mirroring our true being back to us.

We are becoming masters of our own beingness.  The way an animal in nature inhabits its grace, beauty, perfection without resistance, we humans are remembering how to be.


Trusting What Is

8 Jan


The lesson is always for the self.

The way of the path, for me, since it has not been an instantaneous, permanent remembering, seems to be about encountering the perfect mixture of circumstances, chaos, escalating hot heads, etc. 🙂 to help me find myself in a reactive state (much to my “spiritual identity’s” dismay) so i can ferret out the tendrils of identification with thought within and RELEASE…ah, the relief.  Like waking from a nightmare.

The path that has led me here has been horribly and beautifully orchestrated with my agreement.

In a fractal sense, every little release has an effect throughout our realm and other realms unseen.  Does that feel true to you?  No matter, because the release is enough for just tiny, amoeba me.

Now here is the freaky part – in the state of release, “I hate you” sounds the very same as “I love you.”   That blows me away 😮

Another lesson:   when I become nonreactive to a particular sticky spot forevermore, there is no thought that these changes in me will change another in any way.   I don’t mind.

Flowing to the bus pickup today, two girls who know my daughters get in my car – their ride has not shown up. I bow to the trust that I will take them home.  I experience no worry that it may make us late.  Then we get caught in a traffic back up and creep forward for many, maybe 6, lights in a row and it only feels like space to me.

Existing in the space of that which I already am, I find that time itself stretches and contracts according to the needs of the moment.

What’s not to trust?

Eckhart Tolle  is much clearer than I…getting quiet now.

ONCE: Falling Slowly

6 Jan


Thank you to theachristie29 for reminding me of this gentle movie, Once.    Seems like a “love” story, but really points back to the self and the deeper, real current of the love coming from no separation.





Dark Matters

5 Jan

There was a guy who used to be at the library down the street.  He drove an old car with an enormous antenna off the end and a sticker that said something about info wars and a website to check out.  He looked a little bit like this:

crazymanThis was a small, local library, so the children’s story time was surprisingly close to where this man was conducting his research, daily.  What I’m trying to say is that I noticed him.

I was curious about just what he was up to when a librarian whispered to me one day that he was a “Crazy Conspiracy Guy”.  We all know this stereotype.

So when I found myself exploring DARK MATTERS a few years later, this man was in my head, and I wondered if I had fallen off the deep end.  What is a sweet (haha), stay-at-home mom doing exploring all sorts of dark, confusing information by internet, book, film, and lecture while her kids were away at school?  I didn’t know why I found myself drawn in this direction either.  Before, I couldn’t get enough information and teaching about meditation, non-duality, Buddhism, Taoism, Love and Light.  What is the pull toward darkness?

So hard to sum up years of experiences quickly and walk back through a trail that seemed to make no sense, but now seems perfectly ordained and meaningful in hindsight.

Super speedy telling, I had an NDE during the birth of my youngest, and upon coming back, I could see that things were off.  We all have a sense that something is rotten in denmark, something is off, but most of us, collectively, are able to sweep that “knowing” under the rug and get back to Consensus, conditioned REALITY.  My dark night of the soul made me so uncomfortable that I couldn’t just tolerate what was off any longer and the uncovering began.  To me, at the time, this exploration seemed the antithesis of my spiritual exploration.

One teacher in particular, that I came across, magically put all of it together for me.  In his “Gates of Awakening” teaching, I see a consolidation of the avenues I have found myself exploring through the years.  My Neil Kramer awareness came to me through some podcasts I stumbled upon.  Never did I listen without experiencing a deep pang of truth from within.  The teaching from this ARC Conference in particular spells out this exploration of Dark Matters as a necessary step upon the path of our Unfolding.

I think this is a 5 part lecture, but here is the next part.

So maybe you are wondering if I’ve turned into this:


Not yet.  But I am a little weird.  Here’s a picture from Improv Graduation 🙂  I’m in the green pants.


Dark, love, and light to you in your own exploring and improvising today!

It’s Okay.

3 Jan

peace in chaos

Everything is Okay.  It is.

I’ve been here before.  The first time felt like coming home – remembering the place from which everything is okay.

I don’t know why or how I could cloudy up again once I knew this place existed, but that too is…okay!

There are mixtures of okay and not okay all around.  Large thrashings of misery, small whimpering expressions of pain, happy laughter, birds coming to life in the glowing morning, everything is okay – and it always has been.

I think it is coming up on 2 years when a breakthrough of okayness came while we were still living on the boat.  The marriage was in free fall, but something had shifted in me.

There was a fundraiser that my husband had planned to attend.  I mentioned that we could go together, but the time of leaving, the time of coming home, the price, the gas of separate cars, and the destruction of the planet came into the discussion and  I ended up staying on the boat while he went out.

As the light came in through the hatch the next morning, I realized that he had never come home.  And I felt peace.  (One beautiful thing about living on a boat is the way the light comes in through the hatches and wakes you up.)  A week before this peace, I would have been angry, worried, tied in a knot.  The light hit my eyes, his absence was realized and I wished him well where ever he was.

Soon after, I was able to make the steps I needed for moving my life in a more appropriate direction, but the drama was sucked out – a gift of the universe – helping me to come to the place where everything was okay.

A strange aside, I actually can smell the air of this place.  It is sweet, mild, delicious, slightly tropical (even in winter) – The Place of Okay has a tangible smell!  Does anyone else share that sensation?

So, how do I go from that place of peace to an off-kilter, reactive state again with the throws of teenage misery?  I don’t know.  Every time I remember The Place of Okay, I imagine it is for good.  And one of the days, it will be…which seems more than okay.


The Subtlety of No Agenda

2 Jan

Oh my goodness.  I just stumbled on a teaching much needed at this time.


I’ve been in a struggle for many months – which I have alluded to in this blogging expression, but I haven’t wanted to spell it out because the struggle, while mine, is not only mine.  My daughter has had an incorrect thought, from my perspective.  This lens she is looking through is a distorted doozy which has caused her much unhappiness and suffering.  Thoughts of separation do cause suffering.

But what I was not able to see was my agenda here.  I have not been able to fix her thought, correct it, punish it, banish it…The therapist wanted to medicate it.   Living with it expressing itself so aggressively, so painfully everyday for months and months has been exhausting.   Often I was smooth and nonreactive, but fatigue or sticky spots in me got activated and I was reacting largely at times.

I feel so cagey talking about it as “the thought.”  But it is not mine to share in a public way.  Just now on my jog around the block, a metaphorical equivalent occurred to me that might illustrate just why this “thought” is so difficult.  Imagine you are married and your spouse thinks that you are having an affair.  You are not, but nothing you can say or do changes this idea in your spouse.  This is a powerful and dangerous thought to daily, family life.  Every moment is rife with evidence to support the belief –  if you laugh on the phone, arrive late, engage in talk with someone, answer an email…any normal behavior can be interpreted as fuel to feed this incorrect perception.  The accused in this scenario can try to reassure, try to convince, try to walk the straight and narrow, but until the thought is no longer there, life is full of suffering for the believer of that thought.

Some days I think the incorrect thought is gone for good; actually, it seemed to leave for a whole week recently.   I got cocky and relieved and imagined it gone, so that when it reared its ugly head again, well, that is when I tipped the boat over.

I’ve tried everything…why?  I know better, but I have never been faced with such large suffering that I cannot fix, run from, or tolerate.  This only leaves what?

Opening my heart.

And staying there.

Resistance to  this suffering feeds “it” and engages my own ego as well.

Here is a teacher I stumbled across who reflects the subtlety of having no agenda in the face of the ego of another in the delusion of separation.  The practice of being present and totally open in the face of such suffering unlocked a difficult situation for this man.

Rupert Spira shows me here how this “other” that I am judging as incorrect is my own, intimate self.  There is no other than awareness.  Reacting, constricting in any way is judgement.  This is a slow and quiet answering that takes Mr. Spira 13 minutes, but this talk is full of truth for me today.

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