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Chop Wood. Carry Water

 Chop Wood…Carry Water

“The novice says to the master, ‘What does one do before enlightenment?’
‘Chop wood. Carry water,’ replies the master.
The novice asks, ‘What, then, does one do after enlightenment?’
‘Chop wood. Carry water.’”   (An ancient Zen tale)

A strange little story, but one that grabbed my attention. Oh how I’ve searched for some form of ‘enlightenment’ over the past few months! I’ve read stacks of books, streamed hours of videos, podcasts, Ted Talks…and on and on. But was still left hungry…for something. I didn’t know what.  So when I came across this quote, I was curious. As I searched the internet for the source, I realized that there seemed to be little consensus as to its origin or even its meaning. So, because many ancient quotes are subject to the reader’s interpretation, I bestowed upon this one my own, albeit personal, understanding.  I determined that, for me, this parable was another call to mindfulness – in the sense that, no matter what or who we are, there are basics that need tending to and we may as well enjoy the process, not just the results.

I think this may have been playing out in my own life without my even knowing it.

Now, chopping wood and carrying water are two pretty menial tasks, right? But in these days, over […]

We Will Dance

This year, my year end message to you was particularly hard to compose. Normally, even last year, I was able to muster up tidings of joy and sentiments of deep gratitude for all the blessings of the past year. But this year, this strange, unsettling year, I can’t quite get to that place.

I haven’t written in a while. I should say, I haven’t posted in a while. I have been writing all along. But the tenor of my journal entries (which are usually reflected here) has consistently fallen short of my vision for this space. I’ve always envisioned it as a place of comfort and peace…a haven of sorts where we could gather to be refreshed and nurtured. I hope you feel that, so far, I’ve met this goal.

But this year, especially these last few months, I’ve been struggling with how to stay true to the reason I write, true to myself and most of all, true to you. I’ve been so frightened by the state of our world. I fear for our children whom we can’t keep safe. I worry about our leaders who are more focused on power than on doing what is best to preserve our democracy. I dread thinking about our precious planet and how we are ignoring all the signs of its […]

December 20th, 2021|Minding Our Spirits, Uncategorized|26 Comments

A Feeding Frenzy

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “my son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.

 The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

 The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

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I came across this beautiful, brief  bit of native American folklore very recently. If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you could predict that it would immediately find a permanent home in my psyche.

This confrontation that the old Cherokee speaks of has churned inside me virtually everyday for quite a while. And everyday, I consciously struggle to find a way past, through, under, or around the negativity.  It’s so very hard for me – an uphill battle – like the one Sisyphus faced.

It’s a fine line I walk. For me, the preferred path to being an informed, engaged, responsible citizen, both of our country and of our world, leads me directly into that evil wolf’s den. And the feeding frenzy begins. I am confronted with an opinion contrary to mine and the sparks of anger begin to ignite, the embers of jealousy enkindle, […]

And Now We Will Hope…

 A good and sweet year to you,
may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!

Consistently, since I began writing this blog in May of 2020, I’ve based my writing on an idea I received from something, someone, someplace along the way.  But over this summer, I’ve been without of any type of inspiration. Though I’ve made several starts to a new post, it always felt like I was forcing the issue rather than really feeling it. So, weeks went by and there was nothing…nothing at all.  This absence of any enthusiasm to write was disconcerting. What was going on with me? Why this numbness?

But then, as I began sorting through my emails this morning, there was the offering from A Concord Pastor. Each morning this Catholic priest gifts his subscribers with a short motivational post that typically starts our days off on a peaceful note. I’ve been so grateful for these writings!

In today’s offering, in homage to his Jewish friends celebrating the New Year, the Pastor provides a tutorial for understanding this holiday and includes a link to a selection of beautiful Jewish writings and prayers found in another blog. To Bend Light is authored by Alden Solovy, a Jewish liturgist and poet, whose work has been used by people of many […]

September 8th, 2021|Minding Our Spirits, Minding Our World|6 Comments
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