Trust

Most of the time i can’t trust myself enough

To know that i know enough about what i’m doing.

Running on the treadmill always trying to keep up

Gnashing teeth. Wringing hands.

What is it i don’t understand?

I keep trying to fill this emptiness, with some goddamn ideal will it ever be enough?

Spiraling cottonwood seeds drift and build up like snow curbside.

Cracked sidewalk shifted and bent atop gnarled ancient tree roots.

When will I know enough to know that all this striving, this ideal of

perfection is what keeps me from peace.

Hiding Spots (Haiku) In the Park (Tanka)

In the park we found so many trails, diverging and converging all over again. There were so many special hiding spots which we made our own, though, I knew that other kids, families, newly dating couples, did the exact same countless times before us.


Hiding spot under

Twisted branches and broad leaves

Small stream trickling


All of the trails though led to the same great grass field, with plenty of shady spots to tuck a family away and find some solace, even if it was a pretty busy midmorning. We took whichever path seemed fitting and discovered what needed to be discovered so that we could emerge in the sunlight under the watchful pine and enjoy the sprawling field to run on.


I like driving the
Other parents in the park
Crazy, by lying
Down in the grass, letting the
Kids run, acting so care-free.

This one was a first tanka attempt, written onsite, I wanted to include it, because of its spontaneity, after looking at it later though I thought I’d try my hand at a more traditional one.

Which includes according to poets.org:
the tanka employs a turn, known as a pivotal image, which marks the transition from the examination of an image to the examination of the personal response


I lay in the grass

Under big blue sky and pine

Letting the kids run,

Acting care-free and easy

Other parents go crazy.


Today, in the park, we took a hands off approach, we took paths less traveled, went along when someone else made a choice and did not worry about what we looked like. We weren’t concerned with control; making the situation perfect; living up to our preconceived ideas about what the day at the park was supposed to be. Often we are so concerned with the idea of perfection that we are scared to try, but just the willingness to try is perfection.


Earlier in the week I’d read a quote by Shunryu Suzuki:

To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him.

Now the aim here was not to control, but rather to feel freedom. As a parent who has a tough time giving his kids the freedom to make their own mistakes, this was more a discipline for me than them. But we all gained. If i can also treat the mind in the same way, I can give up the conflicted, divided mind, and do everything with a wholeness that feels like freedom. In a way our visit to the park, with all its paths and decisions was a microcosm of this idea; regardless of all our choices and options if we give up the idea of control any path can lead to the open meadow.

The Guardian

The Guardian summarizes the conflicted, straining mind by way of an interesting allegory.

When I finally got to the top of the mountain I asked the Guardian, “how is it that you see everything, but it is so hard to see you?” The Guardian said to me, “it’s much like trying to take a shit while distracted; you know it has to come, but because you have no focus you sit, and you sit and finally you get tired of waiting, and so you push and strain, push and pinch trying harder and harder, but still nothing, no shit. So you start to get frustrated and think, ‘no shit will ever come.’ So you push some more until finally now your stomach is upset and it’s hurting and now you sit in pain because of all the strain. Writhing back and forth you struggle, until after some time, finally, shit. But it is not a quality shit, it is a bad kind of shit and so you finally finish and now your stomach remains hurting. There has been no relief. It is in this way that it is hard to see me; too much strain, not enough patience and focus.”