Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting Real

When Zen master Katagiri Roshi was sick with terminal cancer, his students watched him closely, nervous about seeing their teacher so frail, so ... human. One day he gathered his students around his bed and said, “You want to see how a Zen master dies. I’ll show you.” The students held their breath and waited for something profound, perhaps magical. Suddenly he kicked and flailed frantically, shouting, “I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!” They jumped back. Then he stopped and spoke quietly. “I don’t know how I will die. There is no right way.”

I spent a lot of my life trying to do it right. Trying to present myself in a certain way, terrified that someone would see the real me. And who was that? I didn’t even know. It was exhausting. Thank goodness I’m older now. Not necessarily any wiser, but too tired to care. If my daughter is horrified by what I’m wearing to the store, then ... well, too bad. If my students ask me a question I don’t know the answer to, then great! We’ll find the answer together and all learn something new.

I was sitting next to the former choir director in church last Sunday. She has a lovely voice. I don’t. I was momentarily intimidated when singing hymns. Then I thought, what the hell, and started making a joyful noise to the Lord.

That’s how I want to live my life now. I want to make a joyful noise.


  1. Thanks very much for suggesting your blog!!!! I've only read three posts so far, but you've really got me thinking!!!! I will be reading more later tonite....sometimes I don't have time to comment much, but please know I'm reading!!!
    Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment, Carol. Hope you enjoy it.


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