Kitchen Dreams (written 2003)
All the world, this morning, is enclosed in my kitchen. I live in this world sometimes. A place I love, especially in the mornings. Our big bright kitchen. I'm sick of white, says my son, thinking, no doubt,of his aunts' houses with their explosions of color: greens and blues and golds and purple. So much bold, bold color. They laugh at me, my sister and sister-in-law, fondly, their homes so different from mine. I like it all to be simple. All white walls in our home and the carpet that kind that wears well because I hate to redecorate/renovate. It's just squares in shades of beige and floors in white and off-white and all bright. While out the windows everything is green. The trees and grass and private space. I treasure our home. This piece of the world entrusted to our care for a time. The wildness of the woods and weather outside our walls and inside, sunlight in my kitchen and sunbeams across our oak table, our only piece of “new” furniture with its soft golden color.
I like to sit here in the empty early mornings and watch the birds or if there are none in the winter, then turn to watch the fish in the big aquarium that takes up much of one wall. This is my world where I sit, sipping coffee in the quiet and reading or writing, pondering and letting myself think. Listening to the “discursive flies” buzzing in my head. This is the antidote and companion piece to the silent sitting meditation I've done a little while before in another favorite space in my basement where little light enters, but the walls are still white. Incense has soaked into them so when you go down the hall and pass that door it comes through the door to greet you. My sister slept in there on her last visit and mentioned how the scent was soothing and decorated her dreams. That's the space where I sit everyday alone and imagine my scattered sangha, still figures ranged around the white walls, sitting with me.
The buzzing flies this morning are weaving a story about my wildest dream. No longer so wild, my dreams, in terms of big or threatening or dangerous or crazy. It is, I think, to live in the temple within my heart. To forgive myself the missteps and backsliding as I move toward this dream, and to just keep moving in that direction. To live in this place wherever I am. Solitude that enfolds me like a bubble in a crowd. Silence that stands between me and the distractions of the world. Love and compassion that keep me still when reactivity twitches. Patience that keeps me rooted in the face of a desire to run.
Sometimes I think of a physical place. A place by the ocean with its steady breathing in my ear. Brave New World where anger and competition and materialism don't exist.
But really, the place I want to dwell is with me, in this temple in my heart. Peace I can feel. Not the world peace Miss Universes through the decades have wished for, an external peace that mankind doesn't seem ready to arrange, but peace that is carried in the face of what the world offers. Not a numbing shield around me but joyous energy moving through me, the ease that sitting often brings, anchored and accessible in my heart.