Well, we are at the end of 52 Haiku. I am humbled to be here. And grateful that I was able to do this for 52 days.
We also meet the end of this challenge at the exact week Coronavirus has provided us with a daunting new challenge (at least here in the U.S.). Life does not seem the same this week as it did last week. The world has shut down in so many ways. And that does not feel very good. The statistics are horrifying, almost 9 thousand people are dead after 4 months of this new virus. And that's just the beginning of a curve. The first wave is soon to end but nobody knows what to expect over the next few years. Our ancestors lived through similar uncertainties but this is frightfully new to us softy narcissists who are used to an easy life of predictability and self-gratification. For us, this week was a let-down of cancelled plans and disappointments.
So what do you do when you're feeling this way? Well, you can keep going or start over. Plan A or plan B. Your choice.
I can hear someone saying, "what about plan C: giving up?" And to that I would ask, "Is this part of a pattern for you, though?" If so, then that is really just plan B. Or if you're giving the final give-up, that's actually plan A for all anybody knows.
And then there's this thing about finishing being scary. Ends are scary. They imply an unknown, "what next?" They are not the euphoria of a runner bursting through a ribbon. And they don't really exist anyway. You either keep going or start over.
The Prompt: Finishing
This week's prompt:
"Even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray."
First task is to sit for a meditation on that for 5-10 minutes or however long you feel is good to you.
...inspired by my drawing:
Leaves fall to the ground.
They rise up invisibly
and sprout from the dead.
Enlightenment is like an ending. It's not a helpful goal. When you get to the end of the line, or what feels like the end of the line, the best thing is to keep on going or start over, just like little poems do. And like leaves do. I picked up this leaf from a cottonwood tree on the grounds of Abiquiu Inn. It's become a memento to my transition between last week and this week.
The last few days before I sequestered my self in a self-quarantine, I visited Abiquiu, New Mexico, with some friends. We hiked around the Abiquiu Inn (which we had to ourselves) and it's neighboring White Place and around Ghost Ranch, all areas were Georgia O'Keeffe lived and painted. It was very quiet and reflective. I thought about how there are no big sunset endings to life because life is really not movie-like or novel-like. Life is poem like, which is why philosophical people are drawn to it. And why haikus are good for it.
To keep going, here some more Zen sayings to explore.
To start over with the challenge, visit the table of contents.
Thank you for taking this challenge with me!
Off you go with my many hopeful blessings to you and meditations, haikus and drawings!