Just a note … where I am right now – October 5, 2016

duck_small

Hello Everyone:

When I first opened my blog I had no particular goal in mind.  Then in March of that year I began to write poetry thanks to a defunct prompting blog and at the same time, elsewhere, I discovered power-shorts and other short forms of micro-prose and I started having fun.  I later discovered how to develop and upload photographs to illustrate my writing. Eventually I moved to Japanese poetry and haiga …

During all that time I was also struggling in a difficult marital relationship.  My companion was never very supportive of anything I did.  He had a lot of anger inside and tended to lash out against others. The closer a person was to him the more difficult it was for those people to live with him. He was rarely physically violent – so he felt safe in saying to himself that he wasn’t violent. But he was very violent psychologically and he did everything he could to persuade me to close down my blogs. Which was why I wrote at 5:00 in the morning. It was a compromise I was willing to take to keep writing without provoking his insecurities.  Which didn’t always work as I’m sure anyone who’s had this sort of problem will know.

Last October,  after a more violent storm than usual over a banality (the change from daylight savings time) I fled my home to get away from his rages.  It wasn’t the first time, but intimately I’d decided, no matter what the cost, I was going to leave him. The next afternoon a phone call came informing my son and I that he was dead, he’d died in an traffic accident.

In this sort of situation, the first thing that comes to mind is that there must be a mistake.  You don’t feel much … just sort of a numbness … no real surprise no shock just disbelief.  “No,” you say “that’s just not possible.”  It’s the people huddling around you – and the phone calls from people you’ve not heard from in years – trying to tell you everything is going to be “ok” that convinces you that there’s something wrong. To me it just kept feeling sort of distant.  I’d feel something like sadness but it would drift away and I’d feel numb again.

Then I felt relieved.  He wasn’t going to rage at me anymore.  No more flying furniture.  No more denigration.  No more fights.  Those who knew him and know me, told me I shouldn’t feel guilty – even before I felt that relief (which made me feel guilty). Feeling sad for the loss of someone mixed with the relief that a bad situation is over isn’t easy to focus on.  What is even more difficult is moving on.  During the 28 years I was with my husband our relationship became more and more closed.  It was hard to make friends with him constantly judging everyone so our friendships with other couples became stillborn affairs pretty quickly.  We didn’t have many friends. The friends I made outside our relationship were fragile affairs that lived on the time borrowed from my marriage.

I’m not a person who talks about my feelings … I’ve become sort of detached.  I’ve worked very hard to become detached to live in the here and now ;  to concentrate on the juicy strawberry whilst the tiger above and the tiger below wait for me to decide to climb up or fall into the gully.  I can tell you all about the moon reflected in a pond just reflecting a bit of reality.  I knew that my husband’s rages weren’t my husband’s nature.  I knew that he felt terribly about his rages – but couldn’t do a damned thing about controlling them – in fact it was a miracle he’d never beaten me up physically.

A friend asked me why I didn’t leave him.  I guess I could say that I didn’t leave him because I didn’t know where to go but that’s a lie.  In a very worse case scenario I always knew I could go home to the States.  I’d found a job at one time and I could have moved out and gotten an apartment.  I thought about leaving him, I really did.  Then I’d think that he’d have felt devastated – he was always so very aware of being alone, he knew everyone preferred not to have to deal with him.  I didn’t leave him because I’d committed myself to our relationship – because I knew that in his own way he did love me and in my way I loved him.

So now sometimes I think, he’d somehow guessed that I wasn’t coming back this time and I wonder if the accident was really an accident.  Of course there’s no way to know if any of this is more than my guilt feelings jabbing me in my conscience.  He’s gone and the battles are over.  He doesn’t have to feel detested any more and I don’t have to pretend that all that anguish wasn’t painful.  I feel lonesome sometimes.  I feel free sometimes.  I also feel like I want to wait a long long time before I even ever want to begin to think of ever having another relationship.

And that’s where I am right now.  I don’t feel inspired to write very often.  I don’t feel very inspired to go for walks anymore either.  Right now I’m drifting – so I’ve made an appointment with a psychologist to help me work through some of these feelings that are walled up inside me, basically because I’ve no one to talk to about these issues.

Maybe I’ll be a better writer for all this … or maybe I’ll never really be able to write at all.  As my Sis would say, it is what it is.  But I hope to get back to writing soon.

Ciao, Georgia

Thoughts on Emptiness- Haibun – July 5, 2016

leaf in the water

I’ve been back home in Italy for a couple of weeks now and oddly enough I haven’t done much in the way of writing.  I’ve thousands of photos, lots of memories and ideas but oddly enough not much energy.  Could it be jet lag?  Could it be nostalgia?

This has been a period when many of my friends too have been having problems.  Some have had marriage break-ups, others have lost a parent or close relative, the children have grown and left home – financial problems are beginning to erode their serenity – they’ve gone into retirement or their retirement has been blocked – and I’m a listener, their listener.

One of my friends broke-up with her husband and then her Mom died just a couple of weeks before my Mom. She wanted the break-up and found her own apartment and works hard at her job to build her career – but that hasn’t saved her from melancholia.  The void of change, even change actively sought after, is disorientating.

So there it is. The void.  Wholes rent in ones life once filled with another person or situation. A father, husband, wife, child, job, project suddenly gone and with them, all the fantasies, illusions, expectations and familiarity of a rapport – of the status quo. It’s odd sometimes that emptiness would seem to be so welcome, like after a long stressful illness or an abusive rapport, but when the moment comes, one risks being sucked into the emptiness. That’s when it begins to seem easier to put things off, maybe go take a nap, read a book or drown in the TV or a video game.  Some people drown in drink or drugs, like another friend of mine.  The common denominator among all my friends is emptiness.  And if they happen to decide to go to a health worker, they may be diagnosed with depression and they’ll probably be prescribed a pill or two to get through the day.  So then they drift with pills when what they really wanted was something that would help them overcome the emptiness.

So I return to the first paragraph I wrote here as I realize that my problem right now is that void caused by all the repentine changes in the last nine months of my life.  They’ve been a roller-coaster ride in a way.  I’ve made many changes and haven’t made many others that I really would have liked to have made – it seems that my life is living me instead of me living my life.  I do know what the problem is but I don’t know where to find the energy to move on, especially as I don’t dwell on my problems consciously – perhaps that is what I have to do.

Zen has often been an aid to me throughout my life but I’ve given no thought to Zen in the past few months, except as an abstract idea.  What I have around me now is the roaring sound of one hand clapping … and I’m mistaking the moon in the puddle for the real moon. Where is the emptiness and more importantly where is the fullness – the reality and the illusion?

In Zazen one sits (or walks meditatively).  No books or films or distractions – one sits seeking nothing observing everything.  One listens to what is around one … thoughts are leaves blowing in the wind.

red autumn leaf
water splashes – a fountain
rain drops falling

© Gsk ’16

 

Spring and passing – haiku and tanka – June 30, 2016

cross country 2_small

in passing
even a single tile
tells a story

late spring
after the thunder-storm
fallen trees
the sun shines brightly
the wind whispers softly

© Gsk ‘16

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Confucius

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille June 29th 2016

Carpe Diem: Death as Peace of Mind – Tanka – February 20, 2016

Eternal Voyage

in a morning
yet unknown and yet unseen
my voyage ends
before me the universe
behind me the world

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 4: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Insight 3 “thinking about death gives life meaning”

Introduction

finding peace of mind
the soothing sound of rippling water
the rustling of leaves
strengthens my tired mind
that’s fortitude
deep inner peace, the beating of my heart,
the music of life
caught in the rippling stream –
finding peace of mind

© Chèvrefeuille

Morning Haiku and Waka -Time – February 8, 2016

clock tower two

ticktock
time passes or maybe not
the tower clock

looking at the past
old photographs and films
– bright illusions

where is yesterday
where tomorrow
a leaf falling

§§§

even for the mean
there will be a reckoning
and their spiteful deeds
will be opened to the sun
the past will catch them
and all their wormy sickness
soon everyone will see
what bides behind illusions
of false honeyed words
but eventually they fall
these self-proclaimed holy men

time
an empty illusion
life a passing dream
infamy – senseless egos
caught up in samsara

§§§§

Time is of course something we use to mark the passing of our presence on Earth. Is time actually a reality.  It would seem that some people give more importance to time than others.  It would also seem that time can be a cultural affair to be interpreted wherever one happens to be.  Perhaps what we call time, which more often than not is just how we organize our social affairs, is just a man-made invention and has nothing to do with the universe.  Where is the reality of yesterday?  Can you touch it, smell it – what colour is it.  Where is the reality of tomorrow?  Five seconds ago is already out of our reach and five minutes from now unattainable.  The reality is that my conscious self is here now – and now it’s gone.

zazen
here and now
in illusions

© G.s.k. ‘16

CDHK

Morning Haiku and Waka – Meditation – January 31, 2016

sunset Malcesnine_small

here and now
the sound of gravel swishing
a gull cries

golden light
colouring the barren tree
as darkness grows
thoughts like leaves swirl
in the silent wind of time

cooking dinner
cleaning swiss-chard and leeks
stirring the rice
here no past – no future
only veggies and rice

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem #907 meditation

Seven Days to Christmas (5) – haiku – December 22, 2015

this silent night
peace reigns under the full moon
here and now

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem Seven Days Before Christmas 2015 #5 Peace

scent of Jasmine
sound of a gurgling brook
peace of mind

© Chèvrefeuille

The Narrow Road (13) – Choka – December 20, 2015

WuWei

in the willow world
praying, they sway, their tears fall
walking a narrow road
outcasts these orchids must go
travelling alone
drifting on the ancient sea
of rain and clouds
renewing their lifeless vows
with the setting sun
these wilted flowers are cast-off
at dawn with moon-set
as white froth beats on the shore

lonely travellers
go on as all travellers go
seeking redemption
in the warmth of the Saviour
follow then the middle road

© G.s.k. ‘15

* Wu-Wei – in Taoism (which Zen incorporates) this is cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly aligned with the flow of life. It is also often translated as “the middle road” by some.

Carpe Diem #883 journey through the rough north of Honshu: a rough sea; in one house

Exhausted by the labor of crossing many dangerous places by the sea with such horrible names as Children-desert-parents or Parents-desert-children, Dog-denying or Horse-repelling, I went to bed early when I reached the barrier-gate of Ichiburi. The voices of two young women whispering in the next room, however, came creeping into my ears. They were talking to an elderly man, and I gathered from their whispers that they were concubines from Niigata in the province of Echigo, and that the old man, having accompanied them on their way to the IseShrine, was going home the next day with their messages to their relatives and friends.

I sympathized with them, for as they said themselves among their whispers, their life was such that they had to drift along even as the white froth of waters that beat on the shore, and having been forced to find a new companion each night, they had to renew their pledge of love at every turn, thus proving each time the fatal sinfulness of their nature. I listened to their whispers till fatigue lulled me to sleep. When, on the following morning, I stepped into the road, I met these women again. They approached me and said with some tears in their eyes, ‘We are forlorn travelers, complete strangers on this road. Will you be kind enough at least to let us follow you? If you are a priest as your black robe tells us, have mercy on us and help us to learn the great love of our Savior.’ ‘I am greatly touched by your words,’ I said in reply after a moment’s thought, ‘but we have so many places to stop at on the way that we cannot help you. Go as other travelers go. If you have trust in the Savior, you will never lack His divine protection.’ As I stepped away from them, however, my heart was filled with persisting pity.

in the same house
prostitutes, too, slept:
bush clover and moon

© Basho (Tr. David Landis Barnhill)