Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This too shall pass.

Dear readers and writers,

I have been feeling a bit panicked about taking up teaching writing at SDSU along with my three MFA courses there and the first year seminar I'm teaching at my home institution.  So, after working on some of my course materials,  I opened a pdf of Writing Your Way Home by Fiona Robyn, hoping to find a little peace and happiness.  Here's the first thing that struck my eye: "Writing is an immediate mirror: it reports back to you. You can't fool anyone, especially yourself. Here you are the doer and the done, the worldly person and the monk. It's an opportunity to unite the inner and the outer, both being the same anyway, only in illusion two. A great challenge, a great practice.” ~Natalie Goldberg"

I took a workshop with Natalie Goldberg in Sedona, AZ two years ago, and it slowed down my "monkey mind" so I could connect with important deeper ideas.  So, as I read on, I looked for more ways Fiona might use Goldberg's ideas.  And, soon enough, I found this: "Acknowledging that we don't always know who we are (or what we're capable of) reminds us of our ultimate transience. Everything is impermanent, including our own selves. The writer and Zen practitioner Natalie Goldberg says this 
very well: “To have an intimate connection with the world …[is]… to know about its passing.” 

Ah, yes.  At times of great joy, accept and soak it in because it won't stay with you forever.  At times of great stress, know too that it's not going to stay.  Someday, you may wish you had so much to think about.  But whatever you have, the moment is precious.  This too shall pass.

That's another memory.  My daughter has that phrase tattooed on her foot where she can look down and see it, but it isn't all that obvious to people she passes each day. When I heard from her why she had it, it made me want to cry, but it's a very Zen idea, I think.  Give up the bad, give up the good, but don't give up the moment without seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, hearing its essence.  If you pass this way again, it will not be the same.  The molecules won't be the same, the people won't be the same, the animals won't be the same, you won't be the same. This "now" is all we have.

Photo credit: Monarch butterfly in May, Wikipedia Commons with thanks.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Laura, sadder but wiser advice here. It sounds a bit melancholy, but perhaps your panic has subsided at least. I know you can do it!
Eliza R

Anonymous said...

Hey, Laura,
Come on, superwoman, don't go all scared. You WANT to teach writing, you know you do! Go for it!
Betsy K

Anonymous said...

This too shall pass has a lovely rhythm. Four stressed syllables, although you can say it and vary the stress a bit.
I resonate to the idea that you need to take in each thing, good or bad per the world, using your senses and emotions. It's true, the moment is our all.

Elaine C

Lorelei said...

Hi Eliza, Betsy, and Elaine,
I'm glad you find it worth thinking about, and thanks for the encouragement. If I really take it one moment at a time, I can do it.