Wednesday, August 16, 2006

mindfulness and apples

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Apples are just starting to come in – Ginger Golds, that is, and a couple of Wolf Rivers. Some early Golden Delicious - which, when they're eaten right off the tree, have a crisp texture and tart flavor that complements peanut butter in a shamelessly irresistable manner. More later on the apple developments. Is it too early to start the applesauce? See, the earlier I make applesauce, the earlier I can start on the apple butter. Hmm. I foresee more bitching from my husband in the very near future.

Last night I cleaned off Duckie’s changing table/dresser. My dad made it the year Duck was born, out of a deep cherry wood that he was able to keep more or less natural. If you let your eyes unfocus a little, the top looks like a desert at twilight. Red valleys, silt riverbeds, and the occasional knarled outcropping. Still gleaming after three years of being peed and shat upon. Thank goodness for those changing pad thingies – but we’re far enough along that we don’t need one anymore. So the dresser is now a dresser again – gleaming wood, empty space, and a couple of dim nightlights so Duck won’t have to fear the dark. Keep your fingers crossed for us – I would love to get back in the habit of seven unbroken hours of sleep. It’s been a few years.

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On the way into work this morning, I was bitching mildly to Brian that in many ways I feel assaulted by Christian messages here – and not good messages, either. Not “love your neighbor” or “the Prince of Peace” or anything like that. You know the ones I mean, I’m sure: “Dusty Bibles make for dirty lives” and other inane sermonizing messages on the ubiquitous marquees. One was awful enough to engender even Brian’s wrath: “God is like a Hallmark card: He cared enough to send His very best.”

The exception is the message on the AME church on 64, a couple of miles from the plant. Usually their signs are simple, direct, and don't seem to exclude non-Christians: “There is hope,” the sign said one morning. And nothing else. Zen minimalist Christian signage. I can get into that. Addendum 8/17/06: If it were truly minimalist, it would simply say, "Hope." But it's still a step in the right direction. This is the kind of stuff I think about in the shower.

Brian went quiet when I mentioned my discomfort. I thought about it for a moment, then remembered a story I read yesterday about the situation of Buddhists in China. In many places, it’s not a good idea for a Buddhist to show a picture of the Dalai Lama even in his or her own house, let alone carry prayer beads. So on the one hand it’s annoying to live here – and on the other hand, I’m fully aware that it could be worse – and that I am, at the least, free to bitch about it.

Yesterday I posted a picture of the Dalai Lama on my personal bulletin board here at work, right up next to Kwan Yin. Both images are unobtrusive (I’m a wimp about having to defend my spiritual beliefs here) but they are enough to help me maintain some semblance of mindfulness. And they’re enough to help me remember that there are people all over the world (China, Tibet, Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, yes I could go on) who can’t worship and express themselves in their own ways, because the consequences would be dire and dangerous. Which is, to me, utterly absurd, outrageous, and infuriating.

So I have an image of HHDL above my desk – for myself, and for those who can’t.

2 comments:

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SB Gypsy said...

I too find myself "stealth chanting", that is, setting a chant to the tune of a pop classic, and then humming that. Wouldn't want to creep anyone else out, although they creep me out all the time.