As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a bit of a magazine junkie. While living in Europe, I’d snap up French magazines to practice and expand my French vocabulary. “Zen” is a word used often in French mags, and it doesn’t refer to Zen Buddhism, but rather to a relaxed state of mind, to simplicity in cooking, decorating, and one’s daily routine, to shedding stress. In women’s magazines such as Avantages, Marie-Claire, Elle, and even Cosmopolitan française, you’ll find articles about zen vacations, zen decorating, zen workouts, zen weekends, zen attitude, zen recipes, and even zen back-to-school (la rentrée).
I try to maintain a zen attitude (in the French sense) in moments of stress, but I’m not yet very good at it. Malcolm Gladwell says I need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a master—I still have about 9,990 hours to go. The little Buddha charm I wear around my neck helps. When I’m feeling impatient or bored, especially in conversation, I finger my little Buddha (that sounds nasty, but you know what I mean) and breathe deeply. Otherwise, my little Buddha rests in my cleavage, over my heart, reminding me to chill. I hope he enjoys it down there.
I face many obstacles on my path to a zen attitude. I’m an impatient multi-tasker, not given to deep reflection (unless I’m writing about it), oblivious to undercurrents. My totem animal is the dragonfly, zipping here and there, never still for long. But “zoom” is antithetical to “zen.” I have a long way to go on the road to inner stillness and peace. Perhaps a course in meditation is in order.
On the plus side, I do like to keep my physical environment uncluttered and simple. I’m a great weeder and discarder of the superfluous—unless we’re talking about books. There’s no such thing as too many books.
Dear bloggers, as we leave the month of April behind, and with it our A-Z challenge, I thank you for stopping by, and for sharing your personal thoughts and experiences with us all. I wish you inspiration, easy-flowing words, and a “zen” summer.
“The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.”
– Anais Nin