So workspaces are meant to be tidy?
Andrew’s musings about self justification has given me pause for thought. I may well have been one of those people who raised an eyebrow at the amount of time making three pizzas takes in the Taylor-Browne household. Yet I can spend all afternoon, making completely frivolous items in my sewing workshop. Although they make me smile, and sometimes other people smile at them too, no-one could describe them as especially useful.
For many years I was full-time full-on in, what Rev Mugo has aptly named, my war zone. Then I came to Buddhism and I learnt that it was possible to stop and allow this body and this mind to become settled. The formal practice of meditation, going on retreat, talking to monks and reading the scriptures has all helped me in this process. So where does making pizzas and vintage aprons come in to it all? For me, giving myself to a simple practical task, is where I have been learning to bring meditation into my daily life. I still spend time earning a living doing work that relates to my earlier ‘war zone’. The meditation, both formal and working, has helped me to become more ‘present’ within the chaos that such work can bring.
Since I stopped working as a Probation Officer I, like maybe you Andrew, have struggled with the question what is good to do? Yet I do know that I have to do something, whether it is making a pizza from scratch, walking to work or getting the bus, making a quilt or just going travelling for a while. But to just hold that question what is good to do in my mind and to keep on asking seems to be working for me.
I have not engaged in meditation in order to cope with being in my war zone. I want to do something about myself. And yes, doubts arise, as does the wish to have some sort of justification, approval or just have someone tell me what to do. But I can let those thoughts go as I notice them arise; and I manage to do this sometimes quite easily and sometimes it’s a painful struggle.
In my previous post I had started to explore the very human wish to preserve some sort of comfort zone and to touch upon this here seems appropriate. I know what it feels like to make huge efforts to protect something that is impossible to protect. I really do not know what the future will bring and I am in no doubt about the impermenance of all things. Yet I do have to keep making decisions about what is good to do on a daily basis despite the shifting nature of existence. Thankfully, I have begun to open myself up to the knowing that it is OK to not know……..to not know the answers……..to stop the trying to…….to let go of the shoulds and musts….. to have faith… and open up to something other than my own wants, needs and desires. And I have to say It’s quite a relief!
7 thoughts on “It’s Not All About The Pizza!”
Thank you for this posting. I can relate to what you are saying as I left my job a year ago, and though I don’t believe my old job could have been as challenging as the one you that did I still found it to be a bit of a war zone. It was also what Reverend Mugo has described as a ‘fur lined rut’ in that I found it very difficult to leave the security it offered me.
Leaving my job left me thinking and feeling – what next? I too have been asking ‘what is good to do?’ and I have also found that the simple practical tasks of cooking and sewing have grounded me and helped me to bring meditation into my daily life and help me to see the ‘good to do’. For a while I was waiting for ‘something’ to replace what I felt I had lost in leaving my job. I now realise that it is the process itself, of doing the next thing, and learning to trust the process that is important.
Thanks again for the postings. I find your contributions to Jade really helpful in my training.
Yes, I too, can identify with that ‘searching for something’ to replace the loss when I left my work in the prison. I did not make a choice to leave my ‘rut’, ill health forced me to leave. But apart from some pangs now and then, I have no regrets and more than that, I am glad.
It takes courage to do what you did and leave.
Thank you for this post Adrienne – it made me remember: of course, yes, it is quite a relief! – an enormous relief in fact.
How come we can forget these things that are so important? I remember a senior monk once saying that wisdom had an immediacy to circumstances such that it couldn’t be ‘remembered’ it had to be rediscovered over and again.
I’m so glad that you, Jim, Reverend Mugo and other contributors/comment writers are there to help me rediscover.
It might give the impression that I am playing with words, but I assure you that is not my intention. I wonder: you have given your reply to Adrienne the title ‘forgotten wisdom’ but to me – reading the advice of the mentioned senior monk you received and your last word ‘rediscover’- your ‘relief’ ís an expression of immediacy of ‘rediscovered wisdom’?
Hooray for ‘re-discovery’!
I think all this points to some very deep spiritual ‘truths’. Practice for me is about acceptance, acceptance of what is and thus compassion. And for this I need equanimity. Meditation helps develop that spacious mind which is essential in all this. But the challenge has come for me with meaning and purpose. Just to see what it is that is calling to be accepted, ie what is it that is calling to be done and thus to have purpose in the exquisite gift of life, that seems to require much wisdom, even if what has to be done is just to be.
Hard work, this Buddhist path, isn’t it?
Thankyou Dave, for taking the time to add your comment.