Trying to Get Things Done in a Zen Way

Trying to do things in a Zen way

I’m not sure how to do things in a Zen way. To me, Zen is about being selfless and doing things in a natural, uncontrived manner. I’m not sure I have that freedom right now.

I have to function for two, myself and my husband. I read Zen books and magazines and they talk about the virtues of silence and solitude. I read them and think, “That would be nice!” There is nothing silent about calling people to fix the various parts of the house that are breaking down. I have to let go of the money involved in a non-dramatic way. There is no solitude when Barry spazzes out about the window fracturing into pieces from the pressure of pushing it upward to put in the air conditioner.

What I have always loved about Buddhism has been how reality-based it is in terms of psychology. It understands how the mind works. However, much of it is Asian-descended and patriarchal (read: irrelevant) to me, married to a husband capable of taking responsibility for nothing. My philosophy at this point is basic: If you’re not going to help, you don’t get a vote.

I try to live a simple life, eschewing non-necessities. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize just how little one needs to live: shelter, clothes, food, and meaningful activities. Everything else is optional. Needing to function for two has forced me to put my physical and emotional health as a top priority. I just got my first mammogram in over a decade. I want to leave Michigan knowing my health status. I explained to Barry, when I saw the hole in my window so close to my head, about how to get things done if I should die. If there is no Cindy, his options get real limited, real fast. I can only “dumb down” things to a point. Beyond that, he’s on his own.

I am reaching my limits, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There seems to be some understanding of human limitations in Zen. I cannot find solitude or silence at this point in my life. Anyone or anything that does not understand the slamming of a person against their limits is out of my life. It’s not just about other people’s suffering anymore; it’s about my own. I don’t have the time or energy to pretend otherwise anymore.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

2 responses to “Trying to Get Things Done in a Zen Way”

  1. oxherder says :

    This is beautifully and painfully honest. I am sorry for your struggles and suffering. What a horrible position you are in. I am so sorry. You say you do not know how to do things in a Zen way yet you are brutally honest with yourself. Don’t hold an idea of what is the correct Zen way.. Cultivate that loving-kindness towards yourself that your heart knows it needs… and this can then blossom into other peoples lives as well.

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