Thursday, May 23, 2013

enough, already!

This morning, my older son wrapped up several days of painting the the upstairs hall. There were three colors (white ceiling, off-white walls, and a kind of mauve-y trim) and everything had to be painted at least twice. This morning, he was sick to death of it all. His voice positively dripped with get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here. He was fried ... frazzled ... bored ... and pissed off. Enough already!

The hall, be it said, looks pretty good.

But feeling his tenor and hearing his voice and watching his movements made me think ...

How often is it that anyone sets out to do a good job? Intention and enthusiasm are glowing. Yessiree, I'm gonna knock this one out of the park... do a really good job; something I can be proud of; something others might notice ... but mostly, I am going to do a really good job. Writing, meditating, banking, marriage, running, singing, bringing up baby, garbage collection ... a really good job.

And then there comes a point at which, like my son, the humdrum and the expectation kick in: I could be doing something more exciting, more important. I could be finished and forget about the "good job" that once lit my fires. Enough already!

I think this experience is a good one, however annoying. It is a wonderful warning that now is the time to redouble the effort, to slow down and really dig in, to keep going although keeping going is the last damned thing in the world anyone might want ... if IN FACT anyone wants to do a really good job.

Does such a redoubled effort guarantee that something will actually turn out to be a good job? Nope. But it is good training (like lifting weights): This moment is the fact, and the facts are worth paying attention to, if for no other reason than that escape is not possible and if there is no peace with the inescapable, then there is no peace.


  1. Wow...just read the previous piece..and Genkaku if you allow yourself to go apeshit over a WORD I would not bet on you being the survivor.
    I think you need your blood pressure checked.
    If that's what zen does for ya, I'll take straight samsara.

  2. Anonymous -- It's not so much the word as it is the insistent drool.

  3. Years of Zazen...and the result ?
    Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon.
    ....but without the chuckles.
    Its.. all.. so... old.

  4. Shunryu Suzuki said, "Zen is not some kind of excitement, but merely concentration on our usual everyday routine." He also said, "The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet."

    I ask you anonymous, did you expect more from zen than the reality you have?

  5. Becoming Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon happens anyway.
    Why bring Zen into it ?
    I dont need robes and a zendo to simply be what I am.
    I'll take my Jack on the rocks without little Japanese umbrellas in the glass.
    And little pretend Japanese names on the place setting..

  6. And i'll take mine with. Is that ok with you?