Stepping Stones and the Zen Master

I kept walking in the great expanse of old broken sticks, fallen trees, dead fern and dried up riverbeds. There was nothing left to this side. It was dead, and with each step came a deep sadness. I shuffled along the dry earth looking for a way to escape it. I walked for several hours, head bowed and heart broken before I reached the churning clean river.

The river fought with gusto as it danced fast over rocks and banks. The water was clear and I drank from it. Pure and clean its taste was sweet. I found a clearing on the banks and looked to the other side. I sat and observed the green on the other side. I remembered the cliche, “it’s always greener on the other side.” In this case it appeared to be true.

I heard steps gently breaking the fallen branches as they moved towards me. There in front of me was a Zen Master. Quietly he took a spot next to me and just sat.

“Breathe into the freshness of what is around you. It’s wonderful and sweet. Are you aware of it as it fills your lungs and lightens you?”

Surprised that he appeared next me and was directing me, I was at a loss of words. I did as he said and breathed in the sweet smell of green and felt my lungs fill with life.

“Energy flows where the attention goes. To awaken is to become who we are,” said the Zen Master. “What is your intention?”

I told him that I dreamed of getting to the other side, but didn’t know how to escape the deadness I was in.

“Then why don’t you do it? If you have clarity and awareness of your intention, you could cross to the other side. Look around you. What do you see?”

I saw large smooth stones that crossed in a path to the other side. Why hadn’t I noticed them before. They must not have been there before, I thought. As if he read my thoughts, he nodded and smiled.

“They were there all along. You were blinded to their possibilities, and open only to the prospect of staying stuck in this dead space. Awareness of the present moment, of being part of something much greater inside you, has and will always bring you clarity of your intention. It is not hard. Just breathe the sweet air of possibility rather than focusing on the lack of movement. This stream is pure and clean because it moves, changes, and rushes over every obstacle. It’s alive and free-flowing. You can be like this stream.”

I reached over to touch him and thank him for his wisdom, but he was gone. I looked around me and he was nowhere to be found. I sat there for many minutes in awe of what I had just experienced. Perhaps he was actually my inner voice. I got up and stepped down to embankment into the cold stream. As I looked closely at the rocks, I saw words of wisdom on each surface as I took my steps.

Clarity…..Awareness…….Intention……Manifest……POSSIBILITIES and ABUNDANCE

“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”
Eckhart Tolle

Please comment and let me know your thoughts!

Happy Mother’s Day

Originally posted on Writing Around the Bend:

Today is Mother’s Day. I am a mom, and I am lucky enough to still have my mother with me. I don’t have many memories of Mother’s Day from when I was child other than to go to my grandmother’s house and take her flowers. I was too young to realize that although we honored my mother’s mother, we really didn’t honor our mother. I don’t remember any complaints from her for this oversight. She was happy with the little cards we made for her at school. She was Mom, and like many children, we took advantage of that and didn’t know how lucky we were to have her in our lives.

I used to complain how she would curl my hair in rags every night, and force me to wear frilly dresses. Of course I was a tomboy, so she always had a fight on her hands with the…

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Today I Put it to Rest

Today I decided to put my company to rest. After 16 years of working with the disabled, I closed my company in December 2012, and today I have boxed it all up. Glancing and reading through old files and programs, I was both happy and sad. Over 2,000 people I have serviced in my years, and with that ten times the memories.

Today I decided to put my life in order. After years of being a mom, a grandmother and wife, ex-wife, I put my thoughts, in a file cabinet in hopes that those I leave behind will read what I have written about so many periods of my life- my happiest times, and my low times. I have filed away years of writing to leave it in wait for when my children will come across it and finally understand who I am.

Today I ran across an old goal list I wrote in 2001. Out of 25 goals, I reached only 3. I put away the list, and will start a new one. Many of my goals no longer exist, such as being the best company, or having a new dream house. My goals were misdirected, and caused so much heartache in my marriage and life. Now I have no marriage, and no dream house.

Today I put my past to rest.
Today I am happy to have a house, small and old as it is.
Today I realized how much I have learned from my past.
Today I love my children deeper and richer
Today I love my life- simple as it is
Today I look forward to what is to come with no expectations
Today I packed away my regrets and am now thankful that the regrets brought me to the place I am now.

Les Brown said, “The good times we put in our pocket. The hard times we put in our hearts.”

Today I put them in a safe place to take out and hold in memory and quiet expectation and joy with no regrets, only sweet and bitter life lessons.

What have you learned from you life lessons?

The Whisper- I Did Done Do It

For thirty years I have written stories for my children and grandchildren. There have been action stories, fantasy stories, and many Christmas stories. My stories are my gift to my children as they have been written with love, humor, and good life lessons. I never felt that they meant anything to them as they never jumped for joy when I announced I had another story to read, but I continued to write them and read them as they grew up. Now I write for their kids.

A few months ago, my son Derek, asked me if I was ever going to do anything with The Whisper. I was dumbstruck that he even remembered the story let alone ask if I would someday get it published. I joked with him and told him that I had been waiting for him to grow up so he could do the cover. He called my bluff and asked me to send the first three chapters to him and he would do the cover! I had no choice but to finish it. He put me on the spot and off on another writing spree of editing and re-editing. He got me excited again about that old story.

For years I kept my stories hidden from anyone but my children. I don’t know why, really. I suppose I felt they weren’t good enough or strong enough to stand up against the change in kids of today. I didn’t write about vampires and strong evil out to kill. I just wrote good fantasy that was about good feelings and life’s lessons. When Derek asked me to do something with it, I thought, what the heck, at least the kids will have an actual book I wrote.

My son gave me a gift- that of encouragement and the feeling that my book may be worth something special to some little kid who might just like the softer fantasy of wizards and adventure. Time will tell, but I’m going for it. The next chapter book is in the works and will be a continuation of Tippin ,a twelve year old boy, and the aging Wizard Gladwyn, whose spells don’t always come easy. Together they journey on exciting adventures.

The Whisper is available on Amazon.com and Amazon Europe.

Derek Von Ecker is an artist, dreamer, and curator originally from Michigan, with a B.F.A from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. Derek now resides in Chicago, Illinois where he draws inspiration from his imagination, pop-culture, and personal experiences to create his works of art. Von Ecker’s work can be seen in galleries throughout the Midwest, and his illustrations have been splashed across everything from children’s books, shoes, handbags, skateboards and t-shirts. To view more of Von Ecker’s work you can visit his web gallery at http://www.voncecker.carbonmade.com