Alison Colby-Campbell, humor, Meditation Trials, Natural zen, Uncategorized

The Unpredictable Pursuit of Zen



Covid messed me up for over a year, and my inanimate best friend during that time was the combined solitude and expansiveness of my deck. It became a place to calm myself, drink coffee and eat peanut M&Ms. It was so in tune with me that it called me off my floor mat this morning with suggestions that it alone should be my space of contemplation and meditation.


I began my first-thing-in-the-morning (pre hair brushing as evidenced by my photos) meditation for Lent this year, and imagined the natural setting would enhance my connection and relaxed state. I groggily nestled into the outdoor couch feeling at one with nature, potted herbs, and bug decimated kale. I’d done my research for an appropriate meditation guide and video and found one that seemed to fit the situation. It was a meditation for the pursuit of positivity, optimism and joy. After carefully supporting my back with cushions and assuming the “open to the gifts of the universe” position, I clicked on play.

A scant two minutes in and I edged up the volume. Two more minutes, and the volume was at max and alternately blasting into my neighbors decks and literally becoming inaudible. My serene guide’s voice was drowned out by basically everything. Between the cars, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters doing successive touch and gos (municipal airport within a mile or two), freight trains within a mile, a herd of raucous starlings (do they have the second worst birdsong ever or what? I reserve worst for kingfishers), then a flock of a dozen or more cranky chickadees (what was up with them), a messy V of honking geese trying to coordinate a migration to what – the next pond over? These things never leave the neighborhood. A neighbor sneezed a few townhouse units away and despite my commitment to being mindful and introspective I shouted a blessing on him without receiving a response. He sneezed again more ferociously, definitely demonstrating a need for a blessing. I hollered another one over only to be ignored again. I opened my eyes to see if I could check on his welfare and a few slow walking, trash talking turkeys ambled through my yard. I just started to laugh.

My Zen was not quite the meditative peacefulness I sought. On the plus side my meditation theme was building positivity, optimism, and joy, and I definitely felt the joy and hilarity of coming up with a plan in a universe where my plans are just a challenge, a poke in the side of the mischief making lesser deities. I must have poked them pretty hard this morning. Ommmmy.

Photos and text (c) Alison Colby-Campbell


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