October 20, 2003

Zafu, Zucchini and You

I know that you have all been eagerly awaiting a progress report on my home remodeling project. You probably are wondering how Merry and I are enjoying sitting in our new spacious living room in front of our new glowing fireplace. Guess what? IT’S NOT DONE YET!!!!

I am sure that this surprises all of you. I am the first one who has ever had a construction project not finished on time. The contractor said it would take nine days. Today is the beginning of week six and it will not be done this week.

Fortunately, I am a flexible kind of guy. Complete disruption of every inch of my home does not bother me a bit. Instead I am concentrating on the Principles and Skills of Loving and I am sending loving vibes to my contractor, wherever he may be. I would even enter into a quiet meditative state if I could just find my meditation cushion. I think it is called a zafu. Maybe if I wander around the house yelling, “Here zafu,” it will reappear.

I saw an important announcement on the community bulletin board outside my health food store. It advertised a “Veggie Playgroup.” That sounds right up my alley. A raving lunatic like me should be forced to mingle with zucchini, summer squash and radishes. I even have experience. At the Couples Festival this summer I was in the Asparagus group. Finally, Shalom training is good for something!

In between rants I came across this in my reading: “If you are going to live at the cutting edge, you better expect to bleed a little.” Does that mean that if you are bleeding you are living on the cutting edge? Probably not. I am bleeding but I do not think of myself as a cutting edge guy. I am more like the guy who sells used computer equipment and advertises that he is “on the trailing edge of technology.”

Lately I feel more like I am lodged down in the throat of a funnel. I am slipping down and being washed over by life. But I am starting to climb up and am moving toward the top of the funnel. Even funnels have a cutting edge.

I have made my progress “with a little help from my friends.” I can hear Joe Cocker singing the old Beatles tune. Left on my own, I would stay in that swirl at the bottom of the funnel. But with help, with intimacy, with relationships, I am stronger than on my own.

Hank, a longtime Shalomer, recently wrote on the listserv, “I am awake again. I cannot promise I will not go to sleep again. I do gain satisfaction and peace in knowing that there is a community for me where not everyone is asleep at the same time. Therefore, each of us awake can pray for those asleep to wake up and pray for us next time we go to sleep.”

I am offering a deal to some lucky listener. To the eighth caller who prays for me, I will pray for you when you are at the bottom of the funnel. And to the caller who predicts the correct year that my remodeling project is finished – you will receive Shalom beatification along with Mother Teresa. And maybe also a zucchini to talk to.