"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

If I Eat Rice

Zen Koans are short questions, riddles, or dialogue designed to help us find the truth. A catalyst to awaken awareness that’s hidden behind the mind, Koans aren’t logical questions with rational answers, so oftentimes they’re left unanswered. Below is an example:

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Photo taken at the Idaho Botanical Gardens — a short bicycle ride from our home in Boise

The student Doken was told to go on a long journey to another monastery. He was extremely upset because he felt the trip would interrupt his studies, so he said to his friend, the advanced student Sogen, “Please ask permission to come with me on this trip. There are so many things I don’t know, but if you come along we can discuss them and I can learn as we travel.”

“All right,” said Sogen. “But let me ask you a question. If you’re hungry, what satisfaction is it to you if I eat rice?”

Is anyone eating rice for you?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Whatever Is Worth Doing…

“In truth, whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” — Lord Chesterfield

That quote is the first thing that popped into my mind when I happened upon this mud-encrusted truck. Covered from top to bottom, bumper to bumper, no square inch was left uncovered. Clearly the driver poured his or her heart into the task as they enjoyed an off-road adventure!

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Big or small, commonplace or unusual, each new day presents us with the opportunity to do things: sing a lullaby, fix a squeaky door, write a book, wash windows, run for public office, pull weeds, save a life, bake bread, volunteer at the soup kitchen, grocery shop, or pump gas.

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What was the last task you poured your heart into?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Getting Cheeky

In our neck of the woods the squirrels are hurrying and scurrying in fat-cheeked ernest as they gather, stock, and store in preparation for winter. These industrious little fellows click, chatter, and scold as we walk by, warning each other with staccato-like tail flicks of potential danger — “Duck and cover, there’s humans and dogs!”

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Considered to be in the “autumn” of my life, I recently enjoyed my 57th birthday. Unlike squirrels, as a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist I have not amassed a collection of things. I have, however, accumulated great memories—with many more to come!

Do you stockpile anything?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Ad Infinitum

When Len and I attended the Da Vinci exhibit at the Discovery Center in Boise, one of the displays they offered was a view of infinitythe state of endlessness or having no limits in terms of time, space, or other quantity. Accomplished with lights and mirrors, it gave the visual impression of forever.

Infinity Exhibit

Trying to wrap my head around the idea of timelessness in a way that I could personally relate, I reviewed my life experiences. The one that comes closest to limitlessness is the view we savored from the summit of Ben Nevis. Located in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, it’s the highest point in the British Isles.

In your life, what personal experience best represents infinity?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Give and Take

We love Boise, Idaho. Absolutely love it! On one of our regular walks, we discovered a new addition to the neighborhood, a Take a Book — Leave a Book stand. Completely weatherproof and chock full of good reads, I could hardly wait to get home, find a book, run back, and trade it in.

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The give and take concept works beautifully in this context: Take one book. Leave one book. A delightful balance.

Their both important — give and take — yet sometimes they can be a bit unbalanced:

  • Some people giving while rarely taking
  • Others taking while rarely giving

What is your relationship with give and take?

© Laurie Buchanan

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An Apple a Day

“Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, an’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread.” — A Pembrokeshire proverb

Translated from Elizabeth Mary Wright’s 1863 Rustic Speech and Folk-lore, today we say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

And while apples—especially organic—enhance good health, there are a number of things we can do to promote wellbeing.

A mainstay in my whole health regimen—body, mind, and spirit—is restorative yoga, a slow and gentle style where each asana (posture) is supported by props such as bolsters, straps, blankets, blocks, chair, or wall. This support enables the practitioner to comfortably sink into a pose and hold it for up to five minutes, allowing them to let go, be present, and completely relax in the moment.

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What is your “apple a day?”

© Laurie Buchanan

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Majestic Wings

While pushing my cart from the Co-op, I spotted a dragonfly on the blacktop in the parking lot. Frail in appearance, their iridescent wings are actually quite strong. Among the fastest flying insects in the world, dragonflies can fly backwards, change direction in mid-air, and hover.

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Native American folklore tells us that the iridescence in a dragonfly’s wings is a glimmer of hope; believing that with the dawn of each new day the dragonfly brings possibility and joy.

Where do you see a glimmer of hope?

WRITERS, if you want your writing to soar — to take flight — I’d like to introduce you to my friend Laurie Scheer. Here is a link to my review of her wonderful new book, The Writer’s Advantage.

© Laurie Buchanan

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