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as you are

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entrance to gardenI’ve been away for two days, getting my island home ready for the listing-to-sell. Cleaning the mess left behind by not-so-thoughtful tenants turned into a humbling and thus satisfying experience: watching judgement arise and paying attention to the task at hand again and again. Shovelling a winter’s worth of ashes out of the fireplace, gathering dog hair from just about everywhere, finding thick layers of dirt under the carpets, noticing lost and broken utensils and tools, etc etc. So many opportunities to practice generosity. 

It was heavenly to sleep and sleep: to bed at 9 pm and up with the birds, followed by a cup of tea, meditation, a few pages of reading … and back for some more sleep. Two energetic women worked on demolishing the old veranda-deck; what a delight to have country trades people show up on time, bring all the right tools, and work through the day with little chatter and few breaks. I tried to help but was gently nudged aside due to my gympy ways.

Friends brought a birthday picnic lunch which we shared in the shade of a plum tree. As one guest was an orthopedic surgeon, I learned (and quickly forgot) several medical terms for the injuries received in Monday’s bicycle accident (e.g., Anterior Talo-Fiibular Ligament). I’m still aching all over and bruises are changing colours each day. I continue to feel elated at being spared more serious damage, at being reminded how close living and dying brush up against each other.

Returning to the city for the evening shift at hospice, I was greeted by cards, letter, and emails on the twin occasion of accident and birthday. I’m deeply touched by all that kindess; only once felt a stab of regret for a card that did not arrive. That too shall pass, I’m told.

Hakuyu Maezumi Roshi, who was my Zen teacher’s teacher, said this:

In your daily life, please accept yourself as you are and your life as it is. Be intimate with yourself … I want you to take advantage of every chance you have to become a really intimate being.


4 responses »

  1. Irene Monroe

    Peter, having just discovered your website, was reading your June 13 blog(? – just learning terminology) and read that it was your birthday last Saturday when we worked together at Hospice. I am wishing you belated happy birthday wishes, and hoping that your peace and joy that you receive in this new year is equal to that which you give so willingly on the unit. All the best, Irene

  2. There are many things to comment about on your blog (which I visit on a fairly regular basis, especially when in need of wisdom, insight or inspiration….). Today, however, I am asking – not commenting – a very practical question. Will you include a link here to the listing of your house for sale?

    Wishes and warm thoughts for your complete recovery, as well.


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