Saturday, February 03, 2007

How Many Souls Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

Yesterday, the brilliant and talented Ziji Wangmo commented that we'd started our friendship talking about changing lightbulbs and have now moved on to finding ourselves, which she finds much more interesting.

With all due respect to Ziji, whose work I adore, I disagree that the conversation has changed. It's all pretty much the same to me.

Even back in the day, I had the physical and mental skills to change a lightbulb. I also had an attachment to seeing myself as a woman who asked for such things to be done for her and a serious aversion to doing them myself. I had an attachment to my fear of ladders, another to my fear of electricity, another to my fear of a bulb breaking in my hands.

The first time I climbed a ladder, unscrewed one lightbulb and screwed in another, I turned loose of those attachments and found a little piece of myself. It wasn't much different from the first time I turned loose of feeling uncoordinated and attempted a headstand in yoga class or the first time I turned loose of my aversion to sitting still and meditated for a full 20 minutes instead of giving up after 4 minutes of monkey mind.

If you avoid changing lightbulbs, changing one is practice. If you've spent years finding reasons not to use power tools, picking up a circular saw is practice. And, let me tell you, if you've spent a lifetime avoiding gardening, pulling weeds and spreading compost is practice, one that becomes joyful if you let it.

It's all "Chop wood. Carry Water," and it's all part of finding ourselves.

BTW—if you haven't checked out Ziji's gorgeous artwork and photographs, go here to see some examples of her artful practice.


Amber said...

LOL! We must have been on the same energy cord this morning! You were the first blog I checked, and when i got back to mine, there you were!

Yes. I'm fine. I'm doing better. Thank you for all your love. oxox It has helped me to keep from closing in on myself, as I am one to do sometimes, to lick my wounds.

But. like your post here says. LIFE takes constant practice. ;)

much love


Prema said...

LOVE this post. Really now, Jerri, it's great. It makes me wish that blogland would suddenly collapse and put us into the same town. Doesn't even matter what town!

holly said...

me, too. LOVE this post! And sometimes it's just the simplest things that become the best practice. one and then another and then another. and you can't do anything else without changing the light bulb first.

Mystic Wing said...

Wonderful post, friend. The seeds of growth are available at any time, in any circumstances.

Even at -13 degrees, headed for a high of -6 today.

Do ya miss Minnesota?

Carrie Wilson Link said...

What's the sound of one hand clapping? Love when Van Morrison sings this song, "Enlightenment"! Love this post, Jerri!


Ziji Wangmo said...

Love this post -and guess what...I changed another light bulb today, after I called tech support! You're right, it' all chop wood and carry water.
Sometimes in my delusion I think there is something else, over there in the sparkling sun, something else that is more important and more interesting than my day to day.
When are you coming to CA to see me and Prema?

Terry Whitaker said...

A simple truth--simply beautifully told. thank you.