I think of beginner’s mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. I wonder what this is? I wonder what that is? I wonder what this means? Abbess Zenkei Blanche Hartman
I love to write. No. I don’t love to write; I write. You wouldn’t know it in the gap between my last blog and this, but while life and death and thinking about life and death intervened I wrote.
Most days I start my morning dithering about on paper, maybe about a dream, or nothing in particular – maybe a note about something I want to remember to tell my daily correspondent friend or a grandchild. Sometimes writing devolves to lists – my intention today is… or damn it’s raining too hard to work in the garden.
That’s my real love. Gardens.
Writers read about writing. Two months ago I borrowed Old Friend from Far Away, an old paperback library book about writing memoir by Natalie Goldberg. Two weeks ago I got the finger shaking message “the following book is overdue!” Bring it back lady.
I told a library lady that I knew I’d returned that book with a pile of others.
This morning I knelt down to retrieve my glasses that had fallen beside my bed which led to retrieving some books from under the bed – you guessed it. Old Friend was there.
I settled in with my coffee and began reading while the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other tittered back and forth, “It’s an old book,” “but it’s not yours.” I was absorbed in Goldberg’s question, What do you think your passions are? I thought I’ll write about the gardens I’ve left behind. Then in Goldberg fashion she questions, What are your obsessions? I thought, I’ll write about the gardens I’ve left behind. Then she writes, Tell me, what’s the difference between an obsession and a passion? Hint: Obsession is linked to suffering.
With that happy conundrum I’m back with a list of topics to write about.
One more thought. A participant in the group I’ve encouraged for seven months to write their spiritual autobiography or memoir, held up her well-worn notebook and told us, “I’ve filled my notebook with questions. Just questions. Hundreds of questions.”
Isn’t that wonderful? For seven months she’s written nothing but questions. She ended her confession. “And, I’m no longer afraid to fail.”