The Zen Monk & Me

It’s already day 5, and I’m still dealing with fear.  Unlike the Zen monk in the story of the cabinet for the King, my focus is not as pure or as still.  He was done with fear after the first two days, and then went on to tackle pride and egoism.

My work has been more of a medley–mostly fear–with a little ego sprinkled in here and there–and even a touch of visioning– something which the wise monk waited to do until his 5th day when he had cleared out everything else.

It may be that my fear has more layers than his, or that he is more efficient with his time.  No doubt, he isn’t the mother of two, wife of another; nor a YogaDance instructor or a life coach finishing up with clients. He’s definitely not a blogger or an email checker or Facebook poster or Twitterer. He’s not following the elections or making calls to voters. Perhaps he IS planning dinner.

That said, a commission from the King to a carpenter, even a master, is as demanding a gift as the one I’ve been given–and that makes the Zen monk and me companions across the seas of time and continents and desire.

Although I’ve lagged behind his progress, I can be a quick study, so perhaps by the end of this day, I will be ready to begin my work, just as the master craftsman was after his fifth day of  “preparation.”

In fact, I’ve already dusted off my great-grandmother’s atlas, the one in which she marked all the places to which she and my merchant marine great-grandfather traveled in the early and mid 1900s.

After marveling once again over its pages, like I did as a child on her lap, I decide that this is the first item that I will pack for my new role. This large volume will sit beside my desk as testimony to a lifetime fascinated with the world at large.  Its hard and faded ruby red cover will root me to that desire and to my great-grandmother who fertilized that dream in me.

The thing is, when I examine my fears more closely–the hours, the juggling of work and home, the limited time to soften my soul into writing, the need to get dressed for the public on a daily basis–it’s of little matter.

Somehow, for the first time, the essence of the work transcends. Whether I won the lottery, or got a book deal, or found out that I was sick, I’d still want to be connected to this role.

That itself is terrifying; and I’m not sure why.

The only thing I can liken it to is love.  For despite the literal laundry list of chores and aggravation that parenting brings, it has been my richest endeavor.  And despite the challenges that accompany marriage, I’m equally as enamored. Both of these roles transcend the “work” involved by their connection to the heart.

Perhaps I’m afraid that there isn’t room for another…

Kelly Salasin, November 3, 2010

To see the post at the beginning of this week of “preparation” click here: The Fire of FEAR

Or the ensuing post: Great Expectations.

or to start at beginning of beginnings click here:  Life Purpose Path.

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