Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Breaking the rules

When composing a photograph, you always want to be aware of what's moving into or out of the frame -- and this picture breaks a lot of rules.  I have several more traditionally composed images, with the space needle and other sailboats carefully balanced with the rule of thirds.

But I like this one, like the energy of it, in kind of the same way I like the energy and disruption that comes this morning of having my daughter and her friend in the house, getting ready early to catch a ferry and head for the airport -- Peter is heading home to Copenhagen.

Yes, the balance is off, the routine is disrupted, but it's a bit like having puppies in the house: noisy, but fun.  It was fun to watch them take a dip in the icy sound (the sound is always cold, and today is rainy and blustery to boot: fortunately there's a hot tub ready to go when they come out of the water) and then scurry around putting a quick breakfast together.  Peter had decided he wanted to make a pair of canvas knickers/bloomers, so my daughter was helping him with that, too, trying to get all the pieces sized and cut and pinned before he got on the plane so he could sew it up when he got home.  Crazy.

Fortunately I was already done with my walk (my first in the rain, and my first without taking ibuprofen before starting out) and my meditation (which was amazing) so I was awake and had the energy to give the moment.  Lots of energy, in fact; I feel like I've discovered a new energy source within me, and am beginning to understand why it is that my neighbor takes her long daily walks.  Not that I'm there yet, but comprehension is beginning to seep in.

And Jack Kornfield was helpful this morning as well:  I particularly loved this passage in his book, A Path With Heart.  He begins by saying "In all sorts of weather, we steady and deepen our prayer meditation, and discipline, learning how to see with honesty and compassion, how to let go, how to love more deeply," and then goes on to clarify:

"Meditation is very much like training a puppy.  You put the puppy down and say, "Stay."  Does the puppy listen?  It gets up and it runs away.  You sit the puppy back down again. "Stay."  And the puppy runs away over and over again.  Sometimes the puppy jumps up, runs over, and pees in the corner or makes some other mess.  Our minds are much the same as the puppy, only they create even bigger messes.  In training the mind, or the puppy, we have to start over again...

Finding it difficult to concentrate, many people respond by forcing their attention on their breath or mantra or prayer with tense irritation and self-judgment, or worse.  Is this the way you would train a puppy?  Does it really help to beat it?  Concentration is never a matter of force or coercion.  You simply pick up the puppy again and return to reconnect with the here and now."

So maybe you should just look for your inner puppy -- and then, in addition to patient discipline, do what comes naturally with puppies: just love him to pieces!


Maureen said...

Love how happy you sound today. The post is a pick-me-upper.

Dianna Woolley said...

"Coming back" to my prayer life after having such a disconnect for a while - this post is so lovely in its depiction of the inner puppy. I've certainly heard and used "monkey mind" before in reference to our minds wandering all over the place when we "think" we want to pray, never inner puppy. It seems a very apt description. Thank you. The book by Kornfield sounds intriguing as well. I'm making a note of it. Thank you.


Unknown said...

Thank you for reminding me not to beat the puppy. =) xoxo