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February 10, 2008


I didn't know where it would end, fifteen years ago, but I had one conviction, which I held firmly (though I didn't know it): that it would get simpler as time went by, one way or the other. Now that seems very dubious, since over time it's become more complex and problematic. My faith has strengthened where it was weak, and weakened where it was strong. (Not that we use the word "faith" in my tradition, much; I'm translating a bit.)

Time was, I could have told you exactly why I was a Buddhist and why I meditated in the shrine room on Sundays. Now, I couldn't tell you at all. But I'm still there.

Hugs. It's a queer gig, being a human being. I'm glad I got the job, but I wish the instructions were plainer.

Yes, one of my recent realisations was that it never gets simpler. It never gets easier. There is no "destination" or fulfillment.

However that realisation in and of itself paradoxically makes things simpler and easier because it diminishes (doesn't end, maybe one day, maybe death :->) the struggle and the yearning. The struggle with complexity and the concomitant feelings of inadequacy over the inability to untangle it intrinsically; the yearning for ease and the magic extrinsic quick-fix which will suddenly resolve everything.

It is far more nuanced and veiled than any creed, and I've also come to see and accept it as a path rather than a destination -and even to love it for being obscure, difficult, changing, and relatively un-comforting - the opposite of what I thought I was seeking when I was starting out.

Tracks made by a naked animal that seem distinct one day, are covered by fine, new snow the next, and then melt away.

I love this beautiful and true pair of lines. For me, the (short) (early) periods when I had more certainty about everything, religious faith/connection in particular, were a lot more comforting, and far less honest or mature.

Was reading some writing about drawing this morning: the writer was talking about 'traps' ('this is how you draw an eye/tree/hand/whatever'), and how they prevent the artist from seeing and being able to draw honestly what is actually there, prevent her/him from doing something startling and true and finally moving. It came back to me, reading your post. Bearing witness as both the point and the point of departure toward something useful and good.

Thanks, Beth. Love your writing so.

Beautiful, Beth. Something about you standing atop your snow-covered garden, transitioning between houses, transitioning between churches, in the in-between really resonates for me.

Lovely thoughtful words, Beth, thank you again for your writings. And, about winter, I've found it harder this year too, even though it's not as bad as Montreal. The beauty of it still stirs me though. Spring will be here soon!

oh beth. so many hugs for you in this move. this change.this new path. this yet again embracing the fact we haven't got it sorted, that our shrine room has become a mobile home......

Good ending! (Well, and everything that prepared us for it, too.)

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.