Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘Love’

In Depth of Winter

Frosted Wonder Woods

In these, our bitter days of winter,
As bare trees stand, their feet cold in the snow,
Above our heads icy north winds blow,
And from our eaves hang frozen crystal splinters,

Let us then retire to our rooms,
Where we’ll sip hot tea and clasp our hands,
And know the warmth of love still stands
As overhead the winter rage looms.

No embers of wood, nor burning coal,
As the fire radiates its heat,
Upon our faces, upon our feet,
Can, as the heart, warm the soul.

 

Stay warm,

 

Paz

Fabric

Ellie and the Pinata

 

Life is a delicate fabric, 

Held together with fragile threads

Of heartstrings.

Love is the gusset.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

The Circle Closes

I see the world, constantly in motion, as concentric and overlapping circles. The cycles of life, construction and decay, winters and summers, birth and death. By definition, a circle must be closed.

Anyone that has read a number of posts on Armchair Zen will know that my constant companion on my path to peace is my ever-present and loyal friend Chuy the Wonderdog.

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of Chuy’s passing. After 15 years, 6 months and 21.25 days, my dear furry friend has laid down his burden. Nothing can hurt him now.

Chuy The Wonderdog 2001 - 2016

Chuy The Wonderdog
2001 – 2016

 

Summers and winters, through sun and rain and snow, we shared our path. Countless silent hours immersed in one another’s company. Bonds and promises unspoken. No need to speak.

Many people mourning the loss of a dear animal friend will extol their virtues and claim they were the “best dog ever”. In Chuy’s case, it’s simply the truth. I have learned so much during our time together, and he influenced my thinking, my spirit, my soul.

I have had the privilege of canine companionship my entire life, and can attest to the fact that this was a very meaningful, very special friendship, the likes of which I have never known, nor am I likely to ever know again. It will be two weeks tomorrow since his death, and this is the first day I’ve made it through without tears for my sweet puppy. I had to wait to try to compose a blog post, as I knew my head would be clouded with emotions, fond memories, mourning and missing him.

It is he and our relationship that shaped the way I would navigate this, the final step in our journey. While my heart grieves for itself, my own selfish senses of loss and loneliness,  my spirit has taken flight, and soars among the clouds, among the heavens, with my little angel puppy.

Thoughts, feelings and words came streaming through my mind since the day he died. All of the lessons he has taught me, the gifts he has bestowed upon me. Our silent covenant that we would never think of this day, but live each day together cleaving to every moment. It is he that got me through my worst week in ten years.

Love is a miraculous thing, that fills a space that did not exist before it came. The space remains, filled with joy, even after our loved one leaves us. There are bonds that transcend space and time, and even life itself. My spirit will ever be shaped by him.

 

We cannot shield and protect our loved ones from The Big World.

We must teach them well.

On balance, life is a wondrous thing, liberty is priceless.

Love and joy, in the end, win out over pain and sorrow.

 

I leave you now with a lesson he has taught me. A quote from the book we wrote together. It’s titled:

“Woof” (Translation: Chow Zen)

All of my life I was told “Thunder can’t hurt you.”

That never stopped me from being terrified by it.

Spare people such senseless jabber.

Hold them, and tell them

“I’m right here.”.

It is truly the only solace you can provide.

– Chuy The Wonderdog

Sleep, Little One

Sleep, Little One

Be at peace, all you fragile hearts.

Love really does conquer all.

 

Paz

Snowstruck

Snowstruck

Snowstruck

I don’t know why

I was reminded of you by this

Gently falling silent snow.

 

As it softly caresses the Earth

I remember how you

Made me love you

So many wonder-filled

Years ago.

 

Downy Flake

Downy Flake

 

Pazlo

Love Is Forever

Wynonna Judd recorded a song in 1993 entitled “Only Love”. The lyrics refer to the flags flown on a ship’s mast, often called pennants, though historically, they’re called pennons. Flags indicate a ship’s activities, such as commissioning, religious services being conducted or inviting officers for drinks in the wardroom.

Out of all the flags I’ve flown,

one flies high and stands alone.

Only Love.”

As far as I can see, the lyrics continue, on this island of green, I can put my trust in just one thing.

Only love sails straight from the harbor.

Only love will lead us to the other shore.

These lyrics may have been written by an Armchair Zen Master, or perhaps they just sounded good and fit the meter. Somehow, it seems a deep level of philosophy is conveyed.

Peaceful waters, raging sea,

It’s all the same to me.

I can close my eyes and still be free.

When waves come crashing down, 

Thunder all around,

I can feel my feet on solid ground.

I like the metaphors of the boat, the sea, the threatening weather. In the first verse:

I’ve sailed a boat or two, on the wild blue.

Yonder do dreams rarely come true.

It’s not often you’ll hear poets come out and say that “dreams rarely come true”. But it’s truth.

How can love be forever, you may ask. Isn’t that one of the great heartbreaks of life, losing those we love?

Love is not something that comes and goes. We’re talking about real, honest-to-goodness love here, not infatuation, obsession, fascination. Love is kind of a magical thing, a wonderous thing. While other children don’t know me from Adam, might even be afraid of “the stranger”, my kids and grandkids love me deeply.

It’s a wonderful and predictable thing with babies. Being the grandfather, I could only see the babies intermittently. A holiday here, a visit there, an afternoon of babysitting. At first, baby sees me only as not-mommy-or-daddy, and that’s all that counts. Nothing but mommy and daddy will do for those first few months. Before too long, after witnessing the same wide grin and squeaky “It’s Pop Pop!” greeting, complete with hand gestures, baby begins to recognize me. Then, somewhere around the six month mark, suddenly baby remembers me! My ear-to-ear grin is met with a wiggling toothless smile, and we officially love one another.

Love is forever. It doesn’t die when those we love die.

I love my departed mother as much today as I did when I was a child. Perhaps not more than my younger self, but in a way deeper, broader. I know not only the rigors of raising children as she did, but by now appreciate the fashion in which we were raised. Safety and security, fun and wonder, guidance, support, laughter and hugs. Coursing along through my life I’ve had to come to recognize and appreciate the other aspects of adulthood which she navigated. Loss. Death. Insecurity. Divorce. Illness. Tragedy. Gone a decade now, I think of her as often as when she was living. At crossroads and challenges, I’ll often listen, trying to imagine the things she would say to me on the occasion. At times, she is still my mentor, as I ask myself “What would Marie do?”. She was absolutely decisive.

 

My Dad, Mom, sister & me. Circa 1966.

My Dad, Mom, sister & me.
Circa 1966.

 

My dear friend Richard died, just a couple of weeks ago. We met through work, lived our lives in parallel, raising kids, buying cars, high school graduations, weddings, grandchildren. We spent about seventeen years together, a better record than many marriages! We spent a lot of time together on the road. Shared some philosophies. We were sometimes mistaken for brothers.

Love is forever. It doesn’t die when those we love die.

My grandpa, the original Pop Pop (from whom I take the sobriquet), has been gone for more than twenty years. I never heard his voice raised. Never heard him utter a profanity. He was the gentlest and kindest, most patient person I’ve known throughout the course of my 56 years. With him, I felt secure and loved. My mother’s father, he was the next best thing to mom, almost equal in my book. I find I love him no less today than I did when he was with us on the planet.

Love is forever.

 

Pop Pop, Nana, my sister, and me. Circa 1970.

Pop Pop, Nana, my sister, and me. Circa 1970.

 

As the road behind me grows longer with each passing year, I’ve come to know the simple sense behind a life with an end. While there are babies born to bring me toothless smiles, and there are beautiful young people standing together promising love ’til death, while there are green springtimes, bright summers and glorious crystal winters to look forward to, there will also be sorrow. There will be loss and pain and hardships to witness, presuming life continues as it always has.

It’s comforting to have all that love stacked along the road. Up the hill or down the hill, I am bounded by those who love me on every side. My heart is filled with the love of all the dear ones I am now honored to see in the flesh, and also with the love of all those that have gone before me, to the resting place where dreams do come true. Love is something that comes out of nowhere and fills a space that didn’t exist. It’s free to give and never runs out.  Another song, Minutes to Memories, by John Mellencamp, puts it this way:

My family and friends are the best things I’ve known,

Through the eye of the needle, I’ll carry them home.

Love is forever.

 

And of all the flags I’ve flown,

One flies high and stands alone.

Only love.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

 

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