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Passed

Simon died 9 days ago. My little brother, whom I admire(d) and adore(d), is somehow no longer here. I was there – with him for the long days of expectation and determined hope for healing, for the meetings with surgeons and neurologists, for the pronouncement that he would not survive. Along with many others, and as far as I was permitted, I accompanied him on the journey of last breaths, and watched as his body was left behind – as we were all left behind.

Here I am, though, ten days later, and I am lost. I get up, manage the morning with my boys and get them to school (thank god for school), come home and return to pajamas and bed. I knit, watch Netflix, and keep this ocean of sadness at bay with the repetitive motion of yarn around needle, up, down. Rote doing and mechanical being.

I didn’t take a picture of it, but in the hotel room we lived in for nearly three weeks as we kept vigil with simon, there was a lousy corporate “art” thing framed in the bedroom. I noticed it the first night: an enso, open at the top, its inner contents pouring out into the sloppily-rendered sky. I hated that painting, for it’s spirit-less, mass-produced essence, and for it’s symbolism of death, seemingly unseen by the slouch in whatever cubicle who decided it was appropriate for thousands of rooms around the world. I hated ending my days by looking death in the face.

Somehow this blog about certitude got wrapped up in my (so far failed) attempt at developing a daily practice, but really, I migrated here from my last blog because my orientation had shifted and I wanted a new place. So here I am, showing up as-is.

20111025-092641.jpg

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in daily enso, family, loss, relationship

 

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old silver enso

old silver beach

 

We’ve been on the East Coast since early August, enjoying and enduring in equal measure lots of unstructured time. The past year has been like that for me – being happy, content, and engaged in the present moment has been deeply challenging. Is it ADD? Perpetual exhaustion? Personal failure? It seems like it’s just this unending struggle I’ve entrenched myself into. I cut out more and more – trying to do less multi-tasking has been the main thing I’ve focused on, which is one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging, and have spent much less time staring at facebook to name just a couple of things. It’s been freeing, but it has cost me a lot of communication with friends and family. In this world of increased demand on packing every minute with multiple actions and priorities, my decision (which wasn’t even really a conscious one) to just do one thing at a time has been quite impactful in both positive and negative ways. It’s also been harder than I imagined before becoming a parent to be consistently and joyfully and imaginatively engaged with my young children.

Anyway, the enjoyment of our vacation here on Cape Cod has been abundant. My boys – just newly three years old – are so full of vitality, curiosity, questions, repetition, imagination, driven exploration… it’s so much fun to get out of the daily grind at home and spend hours and hours outside.

In general, we try to keep things simple and cheap. We stick to the little woodsy lake beach a mile from my childhood home rather than pay $20 a day (which for us ends up being more like 2 hours) for ocean beach parking. This one day, however, we decided to spring for the parking, and let me say it was well worth it. Old Silver Beach in North Falmouth is a delight with small children, particularly at low tide. The shallow water was peaceful and lots of fun, and sand structures left over from other beach-goers provided so much fun to the boys – what looked like a giant hole surrounded by castles became a nest for my two nature lovers. Tidal pools filled with rocks didn’t attract the attention of other kids, so it gave my two firecrackers a place to throw rocks to their hearts content.

After tracing an enso in the sand at Old Silver, I thought I’d use this time without inks, desk space, or special papers to simply observe and create enso in my environment.

 

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in artistic expression, balance, daily enso, parenting

 

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daily enso: three

blue enso circle

permeated

 

playing with color in creating enso. blue and green on the table, painting with maxy: a lovely way to combine some creative time with mama time. i made a lovely, big enso that got left on the table, and the word i’d had in mind was permeable, as that day i was feeling emotionally out-of-sorts, unbalanced, troubled. the boundary around my being felt shaky. truth be told, i’ve been in a rather shaky state for a number of months. more on that later.

i left the wet enso on the table, and shoghi came over to check out our work. in the process, the watercolor paint on all of them was smeared, and really, i felt that this only added to the depiction. i have always enjoyed the impact of externals on the creative process, and i enjoy how sharing my designated meditative space with my world changes the outcome.  i don’t particularly seek to create anything flawless, in life or art.

interestingly, intent is a key element of creating a circle. did you know that? children actually pass through a developmental stage where they acquire enough muscle control and cognitive intention to draw (or paint, as the case may be) a circle. you can see that altough max and i both use our right hands and both of us begin these at the bottom, my enso is painted clockwise, while his is counter-clockwise.  significant? doesn’t really matter – it’s just part of the reflection.

green enso circle painted by toddler

toddler's enso

 

The Circle Game (excerpt) BY MARGARET ATWOOD

The children on the lawn
joined hand to hand
go round and round
each arm going into
the next arm, around
full circle
until it comes
back into each of the single
bodies again
They are singing, but
not to each other:
their feet move
almost in time to the singing
We can see
the concentration on
their faces, their eyes
fixed on the empty
moving spaces just in
front of them.
We might mistake this
tranced moving for joy
but there is no joy in it
We can see (arm in arm)
as we watch them go
round and round
intent, almost
studious (the grass
underfoot ignored, the trees
circling the lawn
ignored, the lake ignored)
that the whole point
for them
of going round and round
is (faster
       slower)
going round and round

 

 

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daily enso: two

black enso circle

protection

Day two. Learning the brush, feeling the beginning of the stroke the lower right, the lift of the brush to completion. I love this!

These days, one of my protections is my love, Ted, who steps into his recognition of himself as the bringer of love to the world hour after hour of the day. His presence helps me feel my borders more keenly, and recognize the stillness within. For him, then, this enso, and this poem.

 

It is love that brings happiness to people.
It is love that gives joy to happiness.
My mother didn’t give birth to me, that love did.
A hundred blessings and praises to that love.

~Rumi

 

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