I don’t quite know how to talk about me on this blog yet, that’s why I hide behind the poetry of a word or two, a story beyond the river, maybe. I am a woman, and the same way a veil of make-up makes my lips look sexier, poetry makes my words sound better, fascinating and more interesting somehow.
Six months ago I was walking my first 90 days on a new vulnerable path, the one without drugs, alcohol and bulimia.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. Sunday morning, 9:00 AM. I had just walked walked the door of something new. The zen gate, in a part of Los Angeles I had heard of only for gangs and drug dealers, heroin and cocaine at a much cheeper price. I had walked those doors with a black loose outfit as it had been suggested. I had a broken soul and a tired body full of scars. I did have some hope leftovers in a paper box; they were from the previous 12 years of my life, but nothing more than that, they call it pink cloud. But I have never experienced anything even remotely close to pink, and I hate that color anyway. I had felt some early relief, yet I was still surrounded by the squirming discomfort I wanted to escape.
After parking on the street next to the white building (I would never have to park on the street again because HE wanted me to be safe and had me park my red Camaro inside from that moment on) I walked the door and found K. A precious soul. A friend, a teacher, and a guide. A man who doesn’t talk a lot with words, but who is able to talk for hours with his eyes. A man who listens without judging, that kind of friend who sets you free, because he knows you will be coming back, to never leave again.
With no clue of who the hell this woman was he opened his heart, home and soul to me, in the purest way you can think of.
If you have never been to a zen center you need to know gold is not on an altar or sculpted in the frame of an ancient painting. Gold is inside, outside, when you bow, when you sit still and your legs hurt, when you chant and lose yourself to find yourself and let it go.
Six months I was saying.
My hours of meditation became longer, our talks became deeper, and with it my relationships with K and few precious new friends I was discovering in those rooms.
Six months. Intense, quite painful sometimes (true emotions are, when you don’t shoot to kill them), Six months of studying and learning, my voice chanting at sunset and dawn, time passing by on a wooden board, the ringing of a bell, and our breathing together, with no separation.
“Is there anything I can do for you? I want to give something back, and get involved” – I asked K one night after the evening chanting.
“Well, you are Italian; would you make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner?” – K said, right out of his office, still wearing his black robes.
I smiled at him, with a sense of peace I had never experienced before. I said yes of course, but back then I did not know that Friday night dinners would become the most beautiful moment of my week.
Week after week new friends moved into the zen center bringing with them their own light and their own darkness. They started bringing their own recipes and their warmth, they were bringing a laugh and a hug when you needed it, for as cliché as it may sound, they were bringing some kind of togetherness in a kitchen that had become our kingdom of culinary excellence, for six months.
Zen teaching is all about non-attachment. Probably it’s because I’m just a junior student, but when I love I do get attached.
Today, after morning zazen I drove with K to pick up 7 boxes. K has been moved to Colorado and will leave very soon.
I knew without my fake weapons of self-destruction I would feel emotions, but I don’t remember this sadness and this pain deep inside my soul. Not even for my broken heart and loves gone bad. It hurts deep, in a place I didn’t even know existed anymore.
The feeling today was real. The man who changed this part of my life is about to leave.
This is for you K.
I will never forget what you did for me.
I don’t believe in goodbye and farewell. We are not going anywhere.
There’s no distance and no separation.
Breathe. We are not going anywhere.
Music by great songwriters and dear friends Maesa & Rosa Pullman.