Sunday, 1 September 2013


Since my dad died, I think a lot about impermanence.  I think about small impermanences, like my breath that comes and goes every second, and big impermanences, like other people I love dying, or me dying one day, or 'the end of the world as we know it.'  And everything inbetween.  I've become a lot more at ease with small and medium impermanences, and I've gotten a lot better at appreciating things for how they are right now, even the things I don't like so much.  Because I know they won't be like this/that forever.  Maybe not even for today.

I'm getting better at noticing when my mind wants something to stay the same, or when it really wants something to change.  Meditation has helped with that.  More and more I can notice when my mind wants things to be/not be a certain way, and how there is suffering attached to that.  If I notice it soon enough, I don't get too wrapped up in the idea and I can just watch it come and go.

I've gotten a bit more comfortable with the idea that life and death are not that far apart.  The causes and conditions that lead to life happening at all are really quite rare I think.  Being alive used to seem so solid, so durable, so 'status quo.'  Now it seems so ephemeral, so fleeting, so brief.  There's poignancy everywhere.  I'm ok with that.  

Friday, 31 May 2013

It's been a while...

Well, hello there.  It's been a long while since I've posted.  A lot has happened since my last post, way back in November 2010.  Since then, I've been trying to do things more than write about things.  I've been eating more mindfully, and running more regularly.  I've managed to keep off almost all of the 40 pounds I lost through mindful and balanced intake of calories and output of engery.  I ran some 5K races, and a few 10Ks.  Life was good.

Then came the year of 2012.  It started off well, with a nice trip to a southern location, for some rest and relaxation, just as I was starting a new and exciting job.  My sister and I started training for a half marathon.   Then my mom got sick, and was hospitalized for a while.  Then she started to get better.  Then when she was feeling pretty good again, my dad got sick.  He got sicker.  Then in May of 2012 he committed suicide.  He was not able to see that there was any other way out of his suffering.  Life for the rest of us has not been the same since.  We are managing, we've adapted, as best we can.  Things are mostly ok, much of the time.  We have pulled together, and we are a strong family, stronger than I ever believed was possible.

I have had to face up to the fact of impermanence.  Nothing stays the same.  Everyone I love and am close to will die.  I will die.  I am one day closer to death as I write this, and so are all of you.  But that is ok.  Life and death go together.  Life can't happen without death.  They are both essential to each other.  Like the yin/yang symbol, there is always light in darkness, and always darkness in light.  This is a necessary condition for existence.  These are lessons I wish for no one, yet know everyone must experience for themselves, one day.  Maybe even today.  The poignancy of life/death is everywhere, all the time.

My dad was a renaissance man.  He was wise, and kind.  He was a good dad, a fun and interesting dad, who wouldn't hurt anyone or anything on purpose.  He was a teacher; he teaches me still.  I aspire to be a willing student.  I aspire to fully inhabit each moment of each day, in the knowledge that each of these moments is singular, and perfect.  Even in grief, each moment is full.  Fullness in the face of loss, contentment in the face of grief.  These possiblities give me some comfort, some of the time.  As does the sight of a lone yellow butterfly, flying with me as I run up my gravel driveway.  Hi Dad.  I miss you.