There are little leaves and twigs all over my carpet. They lay scattered over the marble floor in the back hallway, over the pink shaggy family room rug (I know you’re asking yourself pink? Really? Pink? But trust me, the color really works in that room) and up, up, up the stairs on the plush pale gold carpet. The oval shaped leaves speckle our bedspread, and leave a trail through the hallway already gathering small twigs and bits of dried weeds.
I didn’t bother working out this morning. Instead, I picked up said leaves, twigs and dried weeds. Bend, 1,2,3, and up 1,2,3 and stretch the arm overhead, 2, 3 and shoot that unwanted outdoor piece of nature into the waste bin, 3,4,5.
And repeat at least 50 more times.
And then another 50 times, and another, each time our four-footed friend comes inside after the freedom she enjoys romping the yard within our invisible fence.
Our dog is a Coton De Tulear, which was originally the palace dog of Madagascar. What is the weather like in Madagascar? I wonder if there is a season that is like our fall? I suppose if there is, they had servants in the palace to pick up the falling leaves that the dogs carried in, caught and twisted in their long, long fur (Coton’s actually have hair, which means they are hypoallergenic, which is why we have one in the first place. Let’s face it; Zyrtec can only take care of so much).
We named our dog Karma. We figured we’d spend a lot of time saying, “good karma,” and that would send positive energy our way. It’s not that we are saying “bad Karma,” when she comes back in the house after playing in the yard, shaking off the leaves, twigs and dried weeds that adorn her fluffy coat. It’s more like we say, “oy vey, Karma,” as she leaves a trail of nature the way Hansel and Gretel left a trail of bread.
We are empty nesters now. In fact, our youngest just turned 21 years old today. But any vision of a spotless house with shiny floors and perfectly vacuumed rugs continues to elude us.
Karma sometimes takes the food from her bowl and brings it into the family room to chew it, adding bits of kibble and bacon (yes, she likes bacon mixed in, and since we don’t keep kosher we acquiesced) to the little leaves, twigs and weeds. I suppose it’s our fault. My husband and I do enjoy occasional meals in the family room watching television and so really, what are we modeling but eating in the family room in front of the TV? I guess we have no one to blame but ourselves (but really, who can resist eating a pizza in the family room while watching Homeland or Dexter)?
So I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed that my house gets littered with all this stuff, and that I have to vacuum it up all the time or walk up the stairs almost like I’m on all fours, as I pick my way up each step gathering a handful of nature to add to the wastebaskets.
But then this morning when I thought about my annoyance, this never-ending picking up through the seasons— winter, when it’s little pieces of snow that fall from Karma’s coat onto the floor and within seconds gathers into puddles; spring, when little pink petals fall from her furry body; or summer, when it’s paw prints of mud after a mid-day thunderstorm followed by some digging in the flowerbeds—I connected with our Karma and her good dog energy. Yes, I could see all of this as an annoyance, as a ruffle (or, pun intended, “woof-el”) in my feather to the perfect, spotless house I envisioned, or I could embrace it for what Karma was joyfully bringing to us—the beautiful changing of the seasons, and the chance to notice nature all around us.
Sure, it’s a bit frustrating, this constant parade of the elements from outside lifting a ride on our fluffy Karma and making themselves right at home on our floor, our bed, our couch (but only the basement couch, she knows she’s not allowed on our living room or family couch; we do have some limits). But once I shift in my duality of thinking, once I let go of inside and outside, and of clean and messy, once I can understand that life itself is meant to be lived in the flow of constant changes, in the joyful messiness that life itself is so blessedly full of, I can let go and let in. Let in the little leaves and twigs and dried weeds that shake off our Karma and that fill our house with the gift of nature and life just as it is, in this moment. On this carpet.
Posted by emfrankel at 10:48 AM
A Jewish Buddhist In India
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
For many years I have considered myself a Jewish Buddhist, or what is now commonly referred to as a JuBu. To be honest, I found the Bu part far more compelling than the Ju part. Growing up Jewish, I found synagogues lacking in spirituality and during services experienced myself more as an observer than a participant. As secular Jews, my family strongly identified with a cultural Judaism and took pride in both Jewish accomplishments and in Israel. Though we never lit the Sabbath candles we ate matzo ball soup and noodle kugel, enjoyed bagels on Sunday and cheered for the contestants with Jewish names on Jeopardy. As I sought greater connection to a spiritual tradition, I discovered a Buddhist path one could travel toward self-transformation and enlightenment. Brown rice and tofu spoke to me in whispers of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, while my Jewish roots spoke to me of oven-roasted brisket breathing down my neck with onions and heaviness.
When I was in my forties, I had the great fortune of living out my dream of traveling to the Himalayas on several occasions, visiting both Nepal and Bhutan to trek in the midst of 8,000 meter peaks, meditate in Buddhist monasteries, and spin prayer wheels at sacred stupas.
Read more at http://www.viewfromthepier.com/guestroom/a-jewish-buddhist-in-india/
Posted by emfrankel at 5:58 PM