And so it begins...
I've been telling myself for a while now that a blog would be a fun thing to try out. I quite enjoy pouring out personal musings onto paper, but those notes rather sadly don't meet anyone's minds other than my own. I'm not so sure who my "target audience" would be, or whether or not anyone will actually read it. I won't be advertising or actively trying to get people to follow. I just want to quietly write, and see what happens.
I've decided to give myself some parameters to work within in order to keep things focused and interesting. I'd like to write about things that have meaning for me. Momentary inspirations, struggles, experiences, and perspectives are a few categories that come to mind. I expect a solid amount of writing related to my pottery practice and my new apprenticeship as well. So, if you're reading this, thank you. I hope that the following words might linger in your head as you operate throughout your day, and hold your interest enough to bring you back again for another dose.
The name for this blog came quite spontaneously as I was sitting here preparing to write the first post. There is a classic Zen quotation that you may be familiar with. The quotation goes, "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." Feel it? In our lives we create goals for ourselves. These goals sit at varying distances and hold varying weights of perceived importance. There are the small and mundane goals such as finally getting that pile of dishes done. And then there are big goals which you put days, months, years upon years of effort and energy into, such as graduating from college, scoring your dream job, or the dream of one day buying a house and starting a family. These goals can seem quite far off in the distant haze, but they give you purpose and in time become a part of your identity..."identity" being a fascinating topic that I could see myself writing about later on...anyway... They become beacons of light that guide us along like an ever-present undercurrent. But what happens when after all of that time and energy, your goal is finally reached?
The other day I was standing alone in the studio here at Mill Creek Pottery and I was filled with joy as I reflected on the journey that had led me to this point. My interest in apprenticeship began several years ago, and standing there in that moment it hit me that I was finally there. My hard work had paid off, and my dream had become my reality. The Zen in the situation is found when you realize that nothing has actually changed. My life is still happening moment to moment just as it was several years ago when that goal was conceived. I have chopped ample amounts of wood, and carried many buckets of water to get me to where I now stand, and now that I'm here I can smile gratefully, and I will continue to chop and continue to carry.
What this Zen saying is attempting to expound is that it isn't about the destination, it is about the journey. Life doesn't stop when you find your 'enlightenment.' Life was as it was during the search, and it will remain as it is afterward. It is a reminder not to become so attached to an idea that exists in the future, but to give emphasis to , and appreciate what exists right now.
So I borrowed the quote, but swapped around the words. It still works, kind of...and that's the thing! The original message remains, yet it is a reminder that life doesn't always have to make complete sense. Chop your water, carry your wood, don't be too serious, and enjoy.