Monday, October 18, 2010

Susan's Shuso Blog: Grief

Today I will blog about the grief I feel. This grief bubbled out of the depths somewhere hiding but felt. Today it wanted out and I began the morning by working in my small sketchbook collaging images and painting watery figures bent over like willow branches weighted down by days of rain.

I experience layers of grief. Grief is never about one thing, one person, one path of suffering. It is many layered. There are layers I can't know. Layers that will never be uncovered. Layers that want attention and layers that want to lie low .

Sometimes, in the midst of joy, grief lies in wait. It knows that we are about to lose something precious and beautiful. It anticipates the change we know is coming. Grief invites us to feel and face our losses. It can bring us fully into the moment if we let it.

Yesterday there was a celebration at Russian River Zendo. Our teachers, Darlene Cohen and Tony Patchell were presented with ceremonial robes that had been hand sewn by many people from several different groups. After a brief and beautiful ceremony about fifty of us saw Tony and Darlene wrapped in shades of lavender and maroon.

During a pause in the rain we enjoy layers of chocolate layer cake on the patio. The cake has been decorated with two monks wrapped in robes of lavender and maroon.

All is as it should be. We know that soon we will lose Darlene to cancer. This is part of what is. This is what brings grief up for me this morning. Soon I will lose Darlene. I will lose all I hold dear. It is the human condition. This knowing is basic to Buddhist practice.

There is suffering in life and there is a way through and out of suffering. I move, I cry, I sit, I laugh, I breathe, I play in my sketchbook. I try to be present with all of it; moment by moment.

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