I detest bios. We are more than the sum of our accomplishments, and, more often than not, our failures speak more truly of our true strengths and capacities. And honestly, what do we even really mean by “accomplishments”? So, let’s do this straight up.
I am a woman of 53 years, a mother of two daughters, a step-mother of three daughters and one son, a wife again, and deeply committed to them all. I am a writer primarily. I was an artist awhile back and just beginning to get back into that.
I used to be one of those “very involved in her community” women. I did sincerely hope to help. Long ago, my first husband was the mayor of our hometown. But, long legacies of grief and trauma led to our need to divorce. I said at the time that no one, when they marry, can viscerally imagine the end of their own marriage. But, I guarantee you, no one imagines having to write a press release about it.
Yet, asking myself what would I want our daughters to read in the newspaper became the universe’s way of asking me, really, what kind of dignity can I bring to the situation? And while we’re at it, Anne Elizabeth, what about to every situation?
That question began leading to question after question after question. Questions of values and of ethics. Questions of fundamental purpose. Questions of not only what did I believe, but more importantly why.
Thus began, about fifteen years ago, a personal spiritual reconfiguration that first found public expression in two years of writing magazine columns, then a year of newspaper columns about studying the world’s religions with my daughters, and then what you see here, “a blog about a spiritual unfolding” that I called the practiced accident.
Shunryi Suzuki, a Buddhist Monk credited with popularizing Zen Buddhism in America, supposedly said, “Gaining enlightenment is an accident. Spiritual practice simply makes us accident-prone.”
I am so not enlightened. Likely never will be, whatever it means anyway. But, as I’ve kept practicing things like going through instead of around so much and letting go of so much more, I’m at least having better accidents.
That, and how I have learned how to love so far – which is simply, more and more each day, even if it’s just a wee little bit more – are my only true accomplishments so far.
So, I offer my words and my accidents, in hopes of being of any encouragement to anyone else tripping over their spiritual shoelaces like I did for so long, and still do.