Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zen: A-Z Challenge or Holy Crap Balls! We Finished!

Holy Crap Balls!  We Made It!  Congrats to all the A-Zers who finished.  To those who didn’t, I understand.
Illustrated by Rob Z Tobor

Z is for Zen

I’m not going to pretend to be a Zen Master.  I’m not a master of any thing. Least of all enlightenment. Especially someone else’s. 

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned that I enjoy reflecting in to my self and reflection of my self, and that means two different things to me.

I find Zen at the beach, doing yoga, practicing morning mediation, during my daily reader, and while writing.  For me, Zen is a feeling of calm and peace.  Eventually, I hope it will mean something deeper. I’m at the beginning of that journey.  I’ll get back to you in another ten years or so.

I also find moments of Zen through reading other's words and reflecting upon them.  I don’t mean to get all cheesy and philosophical on this last day of the Challenge but (yeah, there’s the “but”) I hope you’ll find enjoyment in these words too. 

Like John Stewart but not nearly as funny, here are some of my moments of Zen:


 The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear ~ Ts’ai Ken T’an

Talking about Zen all the time is like
 looking for fish tracks in a dry riverbed ~Wu-Tzu
 Learning Zen is a phenomenon of gold and dung.
 Before you understand it, it's like gold; after you understand it, it's like dung ~ Zen Master

All things and I belong to one Whole ~ Zen Master

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought ~ Basho

Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening ~ Zen Master

For those of you not who haven’t had your cup of coffee (soda, tea) here’s your Moment of Zen from John Stewart:
You suck snow!  So do you snow plow driver guy!

Do you have any moments of Zen you’d like to share?  Any good Zen books you’d like to recommend?


74 comments:

  1. It's like dung - that one is funny.
    Dude got blasted by the snow plow. That is so wrong.
    Now that the Challenge is over, I'm going to go seek that peace for a while.

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    1. I'm with you, Alex. I think I'll take a break from the blogging world for a day or two and get some writing done. I miss sitting down with my book. I don't know how other bloggers do it.

      Yeah - I'm talking to you, Pat….

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    2. Talking to me, how nice of thee lol

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    3. The guy in that picture doesn't exist, Elsie. Pat Hatt is an industry employing thousands of rhyming cats. Like Big Brother, only more furry.

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  2. I love zen quotes and I am very intrigued by zen due to the introspection. Congrats on completion of the A to Z challenge Elsie :)

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    1. Well, since your name includes a very zen quality, I picture very zen like. Not to mention your profile picture has you in a zen like pose. *smiles*

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  3. Congrats on finishing the A to Z Challenge, Elsie! I've never had the nerve to attempt it myself! It's a long haul.

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    1. Thanks, Debra. It was good for me to do it. It gave me that push I needed to get my creative juices flowing. Now I just need to get my time back =P

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  4. Oh man! That plow truck was brutal. I love that piece of advice--not following in another man's footsteps, but questing for what he sought.

    Zen moments for me consist of reading (anything), hanging out in the mountains, watching fire, or sitting on the beach without having to worry about kids drowning themselves. =)

    True Heroes from A to Z

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    1. I love that mention of staring into a fire. We have a chimnea on our deck. We fire it up and roast marshmallows and make s'mores. But, staring into it is just priceless…when the dogs aren't running around like maniacs!

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  5. Those quotes are all wonderful. Talking about Zen all of the time is like trying to find fish tracks in a dry bed. That is so true. Someone who is looking for that peace and just talks about it... well, it will allude. And the one who says that if you want it seek it. That is how the Zen Masters found it. They went on a spiritual journey. Go on the journey already. Great stuff, Elsie!

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    1. Yeah, talk is cheap. I can say I'm going to go in the pursuit of zen but until I actual practice it, it means nothing. I'm content with what I have but I know there's more out there for me to pursue.

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  6. I go to my Zen place when beach combing and making crafts. So I'm off to the craft room now! :) Congratulations on finished A-Z!!

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    1. That's why you're so good at crafting, JoJo. Because you love what you do and it shows through your work. Have fun! Thanks!

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  7. The a to z is done, my break is over under my sun, wait, 120 posts ahead? Hmmm I can still lie in bed. No need to do much until fall, so nice at my hall. Just had to rub that in, Zen is nice at every bin. Yoga and a bit of meditation can do it for me.

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    1. No yoga for me today, I'm down with a migraine at my bay, you still just had to brag, the cat is always such a drag, it's okay, I made it through, now I can take off a month or two!

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    2. Yuck to the migraine, hopefully Dan doesn't see it haha

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    3. Too late...I done saw it. I'll just keep my mouth shut and let the migraine do my work for me. Yeah, I'm that evil.

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    4. Aww, Dan, I know you truly care for me and you're really sending me some of those sweet healing vibes of yours. If not, I'm telling your wife!

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    5. Tattle tale at your sea, but now you are free to do a whining spree lol

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  8. Love Jon Stewart and the quotes are awesome. I seem to always be looking for Zen but don't find it very often!
    I'm so glad to have reconnected with your blog thanks to the Challenge, Elsie. I seemed to have lost a lot of the blogs I was following when I started using Feedly and I think yours was one, it's great to follow you again now.
    Congrats on finishing!

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    1. Me too, Julie! I had the two blogs and it was getting so confusing following everybody on both. Now that I'm down to the one blog, I'm hoping it will be a bit easier. I think once I'm done with the Challenge and then the IWSG, I can go back and reconnect with everyone again. =)

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  9. Looks like you did a killer good job
    with the A/Z game. Well done you.

    Has doing these daily posts changed
    the way you feel about blogging?

    And if so, how?

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    1. Thanks, Ivy.

      You asked a great question. I don't know if it really changed me but it gave me the desire to write more. Maybe not blog every day but it reminded me what it was like to blog three times a week, like when I first started blogging. With summer around the corner, I don't think I'll go back to that, too much fun in the sun for that. But, maybe twice a week. Plus, it allowed those creative juices to flow again. I needed that.

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  10. Zen doesn't exist in my world. But that's okay, because I'd rather be busy than at peace. Peace is highly overrated when you're churning out 4 novels at once. :)

    Congrats on making it through A-Z! And now that you're all burnt out... get crackin' on those edits!

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    1. I was at peace until I saw my dropbox. haha Just when think you're out, Bryan pulls you back in (to writing!) Truth be told - I told my hubby, "Bryan just gave me an excuse to keep writing my book!" lmao

      Now, can I write four books at once like you? Hell, no! Two? Maybe...

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  11. Well done for sticking at it. Impressed with your staying power - I'd have given up about C or D probably!

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    1. That's why I made sure I was also an assistant. I was afraid I'd be too tempted to quit haha

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  12. A-Z challenge is complete. Now I can start reading some real blog posts! lol And there is where I find my zen.

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    1. I can't wait to change over to rants and raves again, Dan!!

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    2. I've been trying to keep my blog rather professional these days, avoiding the rant type posts. But if I hear one more thing about your stupid migraines I just might have to go back to a ranting spree and put the shame back into shamefulpromotions!

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  13. ELSIE ~
    Years ago, I used to meditate daily, and I really need to get back to that.

    I was always under the impression that I wasn’t very good at meditating, but looking back on it, I realize that had I been as inept as I thought, I never would have had some words of wisdom enter my mind from The Holy Spirit – words that I did internally hear at times.

    I guess one could call some of then zen-like. Here are just a few examples from the Meditation Journal I used to keep:

    “Due to the perfect righteousness of God, not one of us is able to EARN our way into Heaven, however, He has made it possible for each of us to LEARN our way back to it.”

    “There is only ONE LAW. Will we break the law simply because others do? There is but One Law: Love is the Law.”

    “God’s singers are many, but His choir is One.”

    And my very favorite...

    “We have fallen asleep in God’s embrace
    Having a nightmare that we are elsewhere.”

    Congratulations on finishing the ‘A To Z’ blogfest!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

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    1. Wow, Stephen, I'm truly stunned by these and appreciate you sharing them with me. I think my favorite of those that you shared is the about learning our way back into Heaven. I think we've made things far too complicated in our world. We just need to sit still and listen for a little while each day, let God's voice in and He will speak. I think people have forgotten how to quiet their minds.

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  14. Hi Elsie .. love Rob's Z illustration ... very clever. Also being zen like is something I need to learn .. perhaps over the summer I can add it in ... I've been thinking about it ... the snow plough (as we'd spell!) .. oh crumbs poor chap - be tthe drivers do that all the time ...

    Fun way to finish off with though - cheers Hilary

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    1. Rob is very talented. I've loved showing off his work throughout the month. I wish I could say I'm zen all the time. I'm far from it but it's something I'm working on. I like to think I'm a work in progress =)

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  15. I suppose my moments of zen occur when I'm playing my drums. I cease to exist, the world ceases to exist and my concerns cease to exist.

    Congratulations on completing the A-Z Challenge!!!

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    1. That's it for me too, Anne. When the worries are gone, the aches and pains aren't top priority anymore, and I can just "be", if that makes sense.

      Yeah, baby, I did it!!

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  16. Haven't explored zen at all. I like the first quote. Yep, if we stay silent, we definitely hear and learn more.

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    1. Staying silent also keeps me from jumping into other peoples conversations before they've finished speaking - helping me learn in that way

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  17. Zen is one of my favorite words and spanish we say Zen too! (don't have to translate)
    Dear you finish and was a lot of work I know!! Congrats:))))
    and really I learned a lot dear!
    xxxx

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    1. Hooray! Finally we share a word =P

      Maybe I need to learn Spanish one of these days? xoxoxo

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  18. congratulations on a job well done, and thank you once again for using one or two of my images, it is much appreciated.

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    1. I have really enjoyed featuring your images throughout the Challenge. I really think you're quite talented.

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  19. Those are great Zen quotes!
    I love my own company and can spend hours in quiet contentment... just pottering around... or reading... or writing...
    Congratulations on reaching the A to Z finishing line, Elsie!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I admit, I toss between liking my own company and wanting be with others. I think I grow lonely after some time. Congrats to you too, Michelle!!

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  20. I have no Zen that I can think of, Although I do like the quite after the kids go to bed!
    Congrats on finishing!

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    1. I used to cherish the time the kids went to bed, David. It seemed like there were no moments of peace. Now, with them older (and almost gone) there's too much quiet sometimes aahh!

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  21. I remember briefly studying Basho in high school. I'm sure you can guess what I got out of him... yep, a sore arm. Whadda kids know?

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    1. Kids never appreciate what they have until it's long gone. And, even as adults, we don't appreciate some things until someone points it out for us haha

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  22. LOL, I'm a fan of any blog that can successfully put 'Zen' and 'Holy Crap Balls' in the same sentence. Congratulations for that - and of course for finishing the challenge! I'm so glad I got to know your blog through this, and I'll definitely be back :)

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    1. We did it, Liz, we did it!! What the hell am I doing on Blogger on the 1st? Oh, right, I slaked yesterday…ahaha I'm glad to have met you too, my new friend =)

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  23. Living in doubt is living in paralysis. At some point, you have to give up doubt, awakening or not.

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    1. I would hope that once you've given up doubt, you've have gained an awakening in the process otherwise what have you learned in the process?

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  24. i think there is def much to learn of the zen life
    of the contemplative awareness, for sure...

    you made it!

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    1. I have a lot to learn. I want to learn to over come pain, learn to quiet my mind and still my thoughts. long way to go for sure!!

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  25. I read the book Full Catastrophe Living by John Kabat-Zinn. Sadly, I wouldn't recommend it for just anyone. I would recommend it for someone dealing with physical pain/ailments, as a great tool for finding moments of zen. It's based on mindfulness meditation, which I really should get back into.

    Congrats on finishing the challenge, Elsie! I hope you make time, even if only a small amount, for zen now.

    xoRobyn

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    1. This may be a book for me then. It's what I want to use zen for. As a way to get through migraines and the muscles aches and pains I've been dealing with the last few months, in addition to quieting my thoughts. I'll have to look in to it. Thanks for mentioning it!!

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  26. Zen Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, appears! :)

    I reckon you needed a lot of Zen to get through that alphabet challenge. Yes, the alternative to my nice and easy going, Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

    My human like his solitude. Quiet, tranquil reflections and a sense of inner contentment. I've trained him well.

    Hearty congrats on finishing the alternative challenge! :)

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny

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    1. Zen Penny, I like that. I'll have to try that on for size with my dogs.

      Nope, they said they didn't like it for them. They needed to be able to bark loudly out the windows at the other dogs. They have no room for zen in their lives. Silly dogs.

      Thanks, Penny!

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  27. I've learned over the past years that introspection is one of the most important ways to true happiness. Only when we can see ourselves we're able to change what's keeping us from being happy :) Love all the quotes. And that snow plow driver really does suck! Congrats on finishing the challenge! :)

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    1. Hi Beate! It was great meeting you through Keith today. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It took me several years to change myself inside but it was well worth it. A long but fulfilling journey for me.

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  28. I love those zen quotes ~ I learned that at my age that I haven't really learned anything and I am still a child inside ~

    Congrats on making it ~ Hugs and wishing you happy week~

    Grace

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    1. I have the feeling that as the years continue, I'll be learning something new with each passing day. I have to remember to keep my mind open.

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  29. The challenge was pretty easy until the last week, damn flu. Congrats to all who completed it.

    My moments of Zen.....I'm generally at peace other than when I'm at work so for me, anytime I'm not working.

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  30. Wonderful quotes...

    Wonderful post...

    Aren't we always seeking an awakening?

    ~shoes~

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    1. "Holy Crap Balls!"

      How did I miss this?

      HAR!!

      ~shoes~

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    2. I have a theory... but I'm a gentleman and I like you too much. ;)

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  31. Once you know it, it is dung. Thats why search fr knowledge keeps growing. Congratulations on completing the challenge.

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  32. I like to have my moments of silence to collect my thoughts.

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  33. You're not a master of anything.... Now, how come I don't believe that? You're a master of patience. That's one. Need I continue? You're a master of kindness. There. That's two. Need I go on? You're a master of honesty. That's three.

    Seek what they sought.... I like that.

    Just stopping by to say hi. A to Z... you're done and so deserve a weekend. :)

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  34. Great Blog! I worked so hard finishing the A-Z Challenge that I didn't get a chance to read as many others as I'd of hoped. Glad to be a new follower :) ~Rhondi http://yagottalaughaboutit.ca/

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  35. Elsie,

    I come to you with head hung low.

    I have strayed from your awesomeness and beg forgiveness.

    I made a feeble attempt to post again after an unacceptable absence.
    I am here to endorse you for being so awesome. As it was it was in our old days, I do not pretend to understand or absorb the content of your amazing writing talent. I just know you are a cool chick and I still want to get those special "pictures" from you. (wink)

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  36. I have no Zen the past couple of days. I feel like a total suck because I've been missing all of your posts! I hope I'm back now...for real, yo!

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  37. Hello Elsie,
    you visited my blog on23rd of April. I just want to say thank you for that. Unfortunately I did not have time to read all the A-Z posts. It seems you have had a lot of fun to participate.
    Have a great week.
    Cheers,
    Edi

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Your respectful comments are greatly appreciated