Friday, March 17, 2017

Word of the Week - 158

Jeong Kwan, a South Korean Buddhist nun, is featured in an episode of the series, Chef's Table.

Word(s) of the Week:  TEMPLE FOOD

I will allow the links and the chef herself to tell what moved me so deeply about this program.  The most I can add is that my own sense of rightness about the world, a world in which peace, beauty, devotion, ceremony, sacredness, generosity, stillness, attention and love not only exist but are valued, perpetuated, feels greatly affirmed.  If you, as I, have felt estranged from long-held truths,  please permit yourself this accessible period of restoration.  And the pure art of vegetarian meals, called simply temple food by the chef.

This will take you to a New York Times article about Jeong Kwan.  Here is a recap of the series episode, available on Netflix.

To find the show, it is Episode 1 of Season 3 of CHEF'S TABLE, however you watch streaming programs.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Word of the Week - 157

Art by Lisa Kaser.
Word(s) of the Week:  HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY THAT I LOVE YOU?

My family of origin was not much for saying, "I love you."  I actually cannot remember it being said to me or among the five of us as my sister, brother and I were growing up.  We siblings say it now, yes we do.  The words are spoken between me and my friends, me and my son.  Anyone who reads this blog or any FB posts knows that I love lots.  Lots of people, things, weather, states of being, colors, creatures and love itself.  I had a rubber stamp made, small, simple, that urges, "Fall in love with everything."

I was already thinking of this phrase for Word of the Week when last night I dreamed - for about the nine-hundred-and-forty-seven-thousandth time - of an old beau.  In the dream I had to turn down an invitation to be his date at a car show, his yellow dream Chevrolet beckoning, as I was already going with someone else.  The someone else said, "You know how much he's in love with you, don't you?"  My answer was, "Yes, but he won't do anything about it."  (Please excuse me for I know the dreams of other people are generally tedious.)  The dream caused me to ponder more than four decades speckled with memorable, treasured blurts of affection.  We are not growing younger, just like the rest of you.  I grapple with the still-adolescent parts of my mind that think saying those words to a man who has been a friend, uniquely, to me for more than half my life has to be "going somewhere."  What a twit I can be.  It has always been somewhere, everywhere.  It is a gift, as my sister might say, "A pearl beyond price," to have people we love, even better but not required if they love us back.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Word of the Week - 156

All paintings by Stephane Dauthuille.
Word of the Week:  INCOMPLETE

I look at the art of Stephane Dauthuille, the heads or limbs of his richly-gowned women existing just outside the paintings' edges, and I do not wonder what is missing.  I have no feeling that what these works say to me is an incomplete message.  They speak fully.  We are each allowed to interpret as we will.

The notion of a life in which nothing essential is missing is relatively new to me.  Any of us of moderate means is capable of wishing for material goods or circumstances that could, we believe, make everything better.  Depending on your definition of better.

A heart or mind that chases after the unattainable allows a sense of lack to cast shadows on what actually IS, obscuring, diminishing what we have.  Contentment is not a product of merely having but of the awareness of and gratitude for what is present.   As I write this, it sounds simplistic.  Of course, everyone knows that, I chide myself.  I can't say that I've always known it.

As the only story I can tell fully is my own and though I may write "we," what I mean is me/I.  Historically, my greatest sense of incompleteness involves my relationship with myself, with a notion of insufficiency in every nameable category.  Becoming our authentic selves, allowing that to be not only enough but desirable requires such traits as acceptance, faith/trust, the willing suspense of doubt and continually reviewing the situation.

I assume of others as I do of myself that we are all works in progress.  I once believed that meant an endless striving to be somehow better than I was.  I had no idea there could be something succulent about being miraculously ordinary, ordinary meaning just me being me.  To be fully who we are,  treasuring that profound and unique state without apology or asterisks to indicate missing parts, ah, there's a challenge.  Within the boundaries of human life with its sorrows, we seem to have the option of being not only happy but complete.  When our mother passed, my sister described her as dancing in heaven with her mother, now restored to two good legs.  In the realm of spirit, measured by the heart, I believe I have what I need, two good legs and a great deal more.