Tag Archives: zen

the action figure to-do list (each style sold separately)

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so, how does an action figure plan her impossible day? how does she prioritize all of that action, and order it just so, to make it from the bedcave to the blogbridge, through toddler forest and laundry swamp, around the steaming catlitter pit, over employment bluff and on to the peaks of packed and ready? i’ve never seen an action figure make a to-do list. neither the superheroes nor the superhilarious pop-art figures i’ve posed in embarassing yoga positions have ever whipped out a pile of post its, a ring bound notebook, or (blech) an Outlook Task List of Doom. they don’t do it in my real life fantasies or onscreen. perhaps i’m not looking for the right thing…perhaps they have an unacknowledged line to the “cloud,” whatever that really is, and it feeds them all of their regular and spontaneous engagements through effortless, thought-based communication. perhaps they’ve had it for quite some time without mentioning it…maybe they take it for granted…maybe it’s a sister benefit for action figure credit union members.

i still need a to-do list and on this particular day, i need a list of the lists i need. yeah. it will all happen somehow, i know. writing here this morning is an effort to inspire myself and lower the risk of a hair fire. conditions are highly favorable…pretty much all week. in preparation, i’m polishing my Zen-plated shield and collecting jokes and deep breaths with which i can mark my trail. later i will follow them back to my bedcave in time to rest for tomorrow’s intrepid adventures.

i’m a little envious this week of the action figures who can fly themselves instead of using mass transit. i’d take that low-emissions invisible plane any day of the week…or try the cape thingy if i thought that would work…and if i had that thought while not substantively altered. there is some foreshadowing of a possible overbooking problem on the last leg of my commercial flight home…plus, if i could get a designated pilot, i could still sit back and enjoy a cloud-top cocktail…call drinks from invisible liquorette bottles.

i’d like to see how other action figures handle scheduling, if they handle their own at all. the nature of our lives requires spontaneity, flexibility and periods of extended energy. how do they pull it all off, and since pulling it off obviously qualifies as its own superpower, why hide it? why isn’t there some caped crusader at the Hall of Justice with a powerful “E” for Efficient or Executor or Effin’ Organized emblazoned on her chest shield? you’d see her strike through a lifetime of chores in a single sweep of Sharpie, knock procrastination from power with a death ray of accomplishment flashed from sparkling eyes, fit “me-time” and exercise into the most hyperbolically full calendar.

writing that i realize it sounds like a pretty boring power…at least from a spectator’s point of view…but as i stare down into a villainous valley of expectations, deadlines and timekeepers, i have to say i’d be encouraged to discover that superheroine, who obviously supers out remotely, which is why you never see her killing time in the Hall of Justice break room.

action figure daughter is now calling plaintively from the dark of toddler forest. it’s time to get my lists on…over my big-girl superhero underwear…part of the uniform, not an underoos set.

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the Buddha on cookie crisp

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in a few moments, i will begin my mommy day. i will be better at it today than yesterday…but not because practice makes perfect. last night as i was coaxing my insomnia out the bedroom door, i opened and read a chapter of a book that a sharp and enlightened friend, also a new-ish mother, passed to me many months ago. the book is titled “Buddhism for Mothers” by Sarah Napthali. i’ve been remiss in reading it cover to cover…and without realizing it, i made it another “should” on my list of Admonishments for Procrastinators. when i mentioned to another friend that i’d only managed to pick it up and read certain parts that spoke to me in those moments, he said, “how very Buddhist of you,” or something to that effect. i loved it.

so last night i did it again, i picked up the book and selected a chapter toward the end. i was reading it, all full of myself for already “knowing” a great deal of the information, when part of it struck me full force in the chest and shook me with new awareness, spreading electricity from my solar plexus to all parts considered. and of course it did, why else would that chapter have been chosen for me?  the page i dog-eared, the question that started the movement inside of me, was predicated on such a simple twist of perspective…a simplicity so common to my greatest insights…like your quietest friend approaching with a hug and a knowing smile. it is a simple question reframed…a question we ask ourselves in the face of every decision, struggle or strain – “how do i approach this moment?” instead, ask yourself “what does this moment require?”  i first applied it as i was staring over a bowl of cookie crisp, chomping away with my head swimming in not very zen thoughts about the book and the Buddha. i threw the brakes on that train of thought and asked, “what does this moment require?” and my answer? “enjoyment of this loud and silly sugar snack.” from there i stared at each floating cookie, the dismembered chips floating and sticking to the sides of the bowl, and reveled in the crunchy ridiculousness of calling this substance “food.” it took all of 15 seconds of providing what the moment required for me to feel the smirky grin of understanding and connection crawl across my face. cookie crisp has never felt so good, never spoken to me like it did last night. it was the most zen cereal experience of my life.

in a discussion on the fallacy of “self” and its very existence, on the impermanence of everything, Sarah reaches deep into the Buddhist teachings to shatter my illusions of “the person i have become today,” and of “me-ness.” i have a lot to learn about and through meditation. i am a beginner with a busy and intrusive mind. i need it though, to sort through all the bounty, pain, joy and sorrow that fills my dreams and minutes. i feel comfortable living in this moment without a “self-image” except that i’m not very good at it…as indicated by the use of the word “i” at least 20 times already in these paragraphs. so perhaps it’s more accurate to say that i’m comfortable with the “idea” of living without a self-image, and that i’ve tried to think and read my way around any regular meditation practice.

that little taste of the Buddha, masquerading itself as a date with “whole grain” frankenfood, inspires me to write here, and to press on in practice and habits that feed illusory bodies and impermanent minds with something a little more substantial than floating cookies.

mmmm. floating cookies.