Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm Working on my Inner Zen

As a child I adored Doris Day. I’d hole up in the living room, snuggle under a blanket and dedicate entire afternoons to Doris marathons. This hermetic behavior confounded my mother. Doris Day was from her generation and therefore old-fashioned and passe. On the contrary I found Doris to be sweet, stylish, innocent, humorous and wise; certainly not passe. Consider, for example, her signature song:

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Does this advice not transfer to today? Is this not the essence of zen? To stop worrying about the future, tomorrow, the next minute or second? To accept, to live in the moment, to appreciate? Karen Maezen Miller put it best in her book Momma Zen; Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, “Zen is the direct realization, the incomparable experience of what is.” And on that same line, whatever will be will be.


I’m working on my inner Zen. I have stacks of books on buddhism and meditation. I’ve listened to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I do yoga. And yet, I am not zen. I’m far from it. I’m a multitasking blockhead who can’t seem to sit still.


Chest pain and palpitations sent me back to the cardiologist today for a follow-up ecg. My heartbeat was normal. He scheduled an echocardiographic stress test to rule out complications from my ablation but suggested self-induced stress may be causing the pain.

“It can’t be stress,” I told my husband, “I’m not a stressful person. Although my life is stressful I let it roll off of me. Plus, I have this week off work.” He muttered, “Uh huh” in that whatever kind of tone.


I unloaded the dishwasher, did a load of laundry and vacuumed the living room despite an increase in chest tightness. No one had a gun to my head.


I am sitting in my clean living room secretly pleased with my overachieving self. It’s nice. It smells good. It’s peaceful. But, it is not zen. Zen would be to sit, meditate and rest - in a messy room. I am not zen. At least not yet.

But part of being Zen is accepting ourselves just as we are; even if we are mutli-tasking blockheads with heart palpitations. So, I am sitting here, in my clean room and accepting that right now I’m doing what I need to do. Tonight I’m skipping the meeting at the elementary school. My husband is in charge of dinner (mmmm Thai). The baby will play at the neighbor’s house instead of the girls playing here.

And, I am accepting this crazy beating of my heart. Each time it jumps out of my chest, each time it reverberates up my neck, it is a little hello; a reminder that I am still here, my heart is still beating. And it is a reminder that this is what is really important. Que sera sera.


Anonymous said...

Inner zen = outer zen. You can still do, just don't judge either/or.

Bridge said...

With you on this journey mama. Its always finding balance, awareness of our thoughts....

Shelli said...

I loved that song as a child too, although I didn't know who sang it. Sometimes I hum it to myself. I think many times we are under stress without realizing it. It can be hard to just sit down and relax and let whatever will be just be.

Take care of yourself!

jennifer said...

will you please take it easy already!!??? you're giving ME palpitations, worrying about your palpitations. now put down your windex and go lie down! maybe this heart problem is a sign... i think people with children and without cleaning ladies are meant to have messy houses. it is one of those universal laws of nature.