Things That Didn’t Get Put on My Resume

I too read the tales of Narnia and the Ring Trilogy as well as the Wheel of Time, the tales of the Dark Elf, Drizzt Do’Urden to name a few. I didn’t put them on my resume because there were other things more important.

Like bouncing my children on my knee while plowing a field in preparation for planting; or showing them how to lure crawfish out of their mud houses in the road ditch; or how to bait a hook with a worm or grasshopper. I didn’t put that on my resume either because there were other things more important for the job.

Like knowing how to put a band-aid on a skinned knee, or providing reassurance that monsters were not under the bed and later helping to mend a broken heart. Or taking care of aging parents, organizing medications, and coordinating doctor’s visits, or laying them to rest when their time had come.

But I did not put these things on my resume either because, well, it just seemed that employers didn’t really care about these things; those things that make us human.

Not that it matters now, but there were a lot of things that did not get on the resume. Things that I was good at; things I wouldn’t change for the world.

Maybe these things didn’t get on the resume because I didn’t want them to know who I really am.

—Paul Causey

Inspired by “Things You Didn’t Put on Your Resumé” by Joyce Sutphen

It's Always the Animals

There was a time when I used to know what the animals were thinking; what they felt and knew about our universe. There was a time when I felt a part of all there is, was and ever will be. It must have been in a previous lifetime; or maybe it was simply a dream.

The connection I once had is so tenuous now it seems hardly real. Every now and then, I'll watch a hawk glide over its domain in search of prey and feel like I can see forever. I feel the wind flow over and under my wings lifting me higher until the sticker in my butt brings me rushing back to earth.

Whatever happened to our connection must have been truly traumatic for the animals, for they have been skittish ever since. They must be wondering what they did to upset those humans so much that they have separated themselves from the rest of the universe; to isolate themselves from the source of what "is." I imagine that they are sad, for this world could be so much more with a little help from their lost brothers.

I wonder if the animals remember the ark and the rain and the floods and were afraid. I wonder if they are afraid now whenever it begins to rain. I've got to go now. It's starting to sprinkle.

—Paul Causey

Inspired by "It Was the Animals" by Natalie Diaz


Frogs Estivating

Breathe. In. Out. Become love. 

The frogs once singing loudly their love and adulation of living are silent now. They did not fail
even though I knew their singing would not last. They have gone underground, buried beneath
layer upon layer of Mother Earth's love. Hibernating perhaps, or maybe estivating if it's in their
nature. I like to think they are meditating deeply and have become one with the universe. I wish
that I could meditate so deeply, so peacefully and become one with —who? Myself?

They say that God is love. Do the frogs become one with God and do they know what love is? I
don't think love fails or fades away. I think love is always with us; surrounding us, and we simply
stop breathing. We forget who we are and sometimes, it takes a while to
remember. Sometimes we have to become frogs so that in the spring, we can sing our joy for
living and loving and simply being.

Breathe. In. and Out.

—Paul Causey
Inspired by “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert and by a discussion about frogs

The Screen

They…the ubiquitous ‘they’…say to 

wake and sleep and go through the

day with my mind like a white screen

that life can be clearly projected on.


Is that even possible?


On waking, dream images continue

to drift in and out—last night, it was

the satin dress I was required to wear

in my role of counselor/realtor to a 

woman with an aviary.  It was filled 

with what she insisted were doves,

though they were striped and dotted 

in every extravagant color.


Then come thoughts of breakfast.

    NO!  NO!

Say blessings first! Give thanks!


I give thanks for the thought of

a soft-boiled egg, a creamy yellow

center, a dab of butter and strong

black coffee.  But the dog comes

first.  He does his yoga stretches

and wags happily as I reattach

his green collar that jingles.  He

is one proud Chihuahua…a dog

of strong preferences and a sense

of protectiveness.  Later at the park, 

he growls, snaps at the Great Dane

who tries to befriend him.


And so it goes all day long:  breathe in 

and banish the movies of what to do 

after the park:  grocery shop, write the

holiday letter, pine to travel to 

the sea.  Notice long gray moss 

hanging in the live oaks.  Notice

the reflections in Shoal Creek 

and the presence of fall colors 

on the winter solstice. Breathe

in the golden light and note to 

self:  how lucky, how lovely to 

breathe deeply when so many 

around us struggle.  How lovely

to see the giant tree invite me to

climb, recline on her long

stretching limbs.  


And for a moment, that moment,

the screen is not a screen but 

only blue sky

with a blue heron 

soaring,

flapping away into her

indigo

future.


—Beverly Voss

Screen

If it’s true

(could it be?)

that we reveal to others

only a fraction of all

that goes on inside

our minds—

with untold millions of thoughts

flitting at random

in a blur of impression—

and untold millions more

processing

assessing

undressing

obsessing—

if it’s true

just who are you

anyway?


—Marilyn Duncan

Projection

Dim the lights,

take a breath,

strike a pose,

hold the blink,

project serenity, 

exude equanimity,

breathe in silence,

breathe out insolence,

toss the vanity,

check the mirror,

smile.


—Marilyn Duncan

A Death by Covid

  Everday life is like a movie …

Have a pure, white screen.  — Sunryu Suzuki


The mind is white and silent.

Then we fill it with our baby lungs, our searching eyes. 

We scream or coo to bring us what we need.

From the start we add, I want, I need. 

Joy. Despair.


The e mail informed me of his death.

I read it to my friends as we sat with lowered tea cups. 

When I opened my computer, there it had sat: 

unexpected, final. No more chances.

They knew him too, had worried 

what might happen at his release, coming soon.

We couldn’t believe it. Dead. 

Two days before his sentence ended.


The statement to the news gave no name. 

It could have been any prisoner, any cause.

Any of us, any day, any cause. 


One site linked to a photo: 

long, graying beard, erratic and sparse

on a face that had always been smooth,

eyes dim and blinking.

I wondered how far he had sunk into himself.

He did not seem to see out of those eyes.


And was it him?

The boy who wandered alone past midnight on dirty streets, 

whose breath choked as he scratched and flailed

against classmates piled heavy on top of him, 

the man who raged against the fate that trapped him,

who feared his failure, who drew a woman close

and loved—or tried to love—

was that man there, that boy?


The reds and blacks of his mind could fade to white.

I saw it in his photographs: a flame of ice

melting on basalt, a girl—his sister in a tweed coat—

spinning between track lanes that led to different futures.

He had it in him to be still, to let the screen pale to white,

to see that clearly.


Years ago and in a different country. I cannot know

the mind inside the man.

Nor do I know if it whitened at his death.

Did he go into silence then?


And can he take a breath now?

Some time, some place, can he begin again?


—Sarah Webb

Fire

I said the other day that I don’t like curriculums. I seem to be going through a period of not liking things. I suppose I could figure out what I really don’t like, so that the other stuff wouldn’t have to suffer. But that isn’t in the cards for today. Suzuki Roshi talked about turning on a pure plain white screen. In meeting others, whether it be an individual or a group, that seems to make so much sense. Another Zen teacher quoted or misquoted Buddha saying “Gaze upon your thoughts with kindness and remain still.” As we gaze either upon ourselves or others, with stillness and presence it is hard to be anything but kind. The next nugget from the Zen teacher was this phrase, “without manipulation or judgement.”

So you walk into the classroom. If you were a boy scout or a sailor, you’d wet your finger and see which way the wind was blowing. That’s starting with a pure, plain white screen. You certainly can have a topic but curriculum seems to bind you to a particular approach to the topic. Suppose you approach the other as a pure white screen. At first you notice how they walk into the room, and then you notice how they are when they sit down. Are they ready for wonder and curiosity, or are they preoccupied with what happened last and how are we might be perceiving their constructed colorful screen?

When we sit in meditation we can construct the same pure white screen. We might have pictures on the wall, but we can pull down the screen and start there. When you clear your mind, what appears? What have you been obsessing about that is on your screen. You walk into the zendo? You bow to the zafu and then you bow to the room. Finally you are sitting and physically still. But where are you? Did you remember to even open the door? Did you get out of your car? What is on your screen?

You don’t have to worry about being bored. The whiter and purer the screen the more it will reflect the space around you. You’ll see everything in the room, including yourself. You’ll see your mother who hit you. You’ll see your father who deceived you. You’ll find your childhood pet who licked you on the face. The challenge is simply to watch the movie rather than to be in the movie. Typically you have nothing to add to the old stories. But you do have the opportunity to watch these thoughts as you might watch birds playing in a spring puddle, without “manipulation or judgement.”

Kim Mosley