When you’re grieving you may no longer have the emotional bandwidth you once had. You may not be excessively happy, but neither are you always sad. What is certain is that you reject small talk and expressions of security, the underlying assumption that things will keep on going as they are and that everything will be okay.” | “Now I know that every story has its gates. If you walk through any one of these gates you’ll fall and hang in the abyss between what you badly wanted and what really happened, what you’d hoped for and how you’d messed up. Somewhere at the very bottom I’ve discovered a jewel that’s hard to describe, only that it has a lot to do with forgiveness.” | “I hurry over as soon as I hear him sitting up in bed. “How did you sleep?” “Fine.” “How do you feel?” “Fine.” But I look at the face, the body, the man, and what I’m really asking is: So today, who are you? Who are you, really?” | “And then one day, when it’s almost too late and fall is just around the corner, the orange dahlia emerges. A human peers closely: Look at that! Did you know that was there? Wasn’t there last summer, right? And not the summer before that, right? But there it is, flashing its colors shyly in the sunlight, waving at the phlox and nearby purple asters, as if to say: I made it; I’m here, even if not for very long.” | “It’s as if the trees are saying: Take your place among us. The small shrubs that struggle for sunlight are saying: Take your place among us. The fallen branches say: Take your place among us. The grass that’s brown for lack of rain tells me: Take your place among us. The only place you stand out is inside your brain; everywhere else you’re just taking your place among everything.”

YOU’RE JUST A PIECE OF WRITING!

My beautiful Saraswati looking over my desk, my first gift from Bernie

After great discussion, I added a button asking for donations to support the blog. Discussions with whom? The blog. It went something like this:

Blog: “I think I need a little help. You know, I don’t wake up every morning bubbling with vitality and something interesting to say, I get tired like everybody else. I have to work hard to do this, especially on gray, rainy days like this one after you’ve been gone on retreat. Even the dogs aren’t giving me one bit of help today. You think it’s easy to get updated and renewed three times a week?”

“Come on, Blog, you’re just a piece of writing.”

“And that doesn’t need support, lady?”

“Immigrants need support. People with no shelter in these cold times need support. Children who’re—”

“What about art, lady? What about writing?”

“Well . . .”

“Thousands of years ago, when it was a lot harder to survive than it is now, people would risk their lives to go deep into caves and draw on limestone that would preserve the drawings. They drew stick figures and painted deer and horses; they even buried their dead near these paintings so that their works of art could accompany them into the underworld. That’s how you should think of me, lady.”

“As a work of art that accompanies readers to the underworld?”

“Hey, I get into some pretty grim stuff there: Life, death, loss, Harry and Aussie.”

“Harry and Aussie are grim?”

“Turn around and look at them lying there, knowing they’re not going anywhere in this rain. The point is, lady, I go somewhere.”

“You mean, I go somewhere.”

“And you take me with you. Not just to different places and people, but also to the underworld. And I send back news.”

“What news, Blog?”

“That even in the underworld there is light, hope, inspiration, and fun. That there’s nothing so dark that it can’t be made light of.”

“And you think that merits support?”

“Yes. More important, lady, you need support!”

It’s a great luxury not to think about money. It’s fair to say that for much of our life together, Bernie and I had to think a lot about money. We spent a great deal due to his stroke, but we got so much help, so many people thought about money for us, that I could afford to forget about it for a while. He died and I have to think about money again.

Many people could not understand our life. “He never took out a life insurance policy?” they’d ask. “You don’t have a pension?” And I have to explain, again and again, that we chose to live a life of engaged dharma, not just teaching but also doing. That didn’t pay much.

I rejoice in my life, past and present (though it would be nice if Bernie, like Eurydice, tried to make his way back from the underworld). Creativity is everywhere. Not just in writing but also in deriving and articulating meaning from the life that streams through me, and sending that out to you to see if it resonates in your lives, if you, too, find something important and meaningful in similar situations.

Being creative isn’t just writing or blogging or doing something artistic, it’s using every situation as practice, as a way to go deeper, as a way to keep your feet on the bottom of the ocean even as you’re buffeted by waves.

I have been writing this blog consistently for four years now, with the exceptions of retreat times. I plan to continue to write and offer it freely, as I have received so much freely. But I need help to pay my bills, like everybody else, including the bills of maintaining this blog. I recently refinanced my home, half of which is rented out. I am so grateful for all these ways of cutting down expenses and deriving an income. But I still need more.

If you could make a donation of any size, thank you very much. If you could make a monthly donation of any size, thank you very much. If you cannot do any, thank you very much for reading this blog; it will continue to be free. What’s more important to a writer than to be read?

Deep gratitude to all beings who make this possible.

 

Make A Donation

THE DOGS OF THE KISKADEE HILLS

The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the Lynx begins a trilogy about a society of dogs after humans have destroyed themselves and much of the world. Living with their families and clans in the Kiskadee Hills, they’ve developed over generations a rich tradition and way of life, and have prospered. But now, an unknown killer is butchering the Kisdees of the Hills.

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges says: “You will never look at dogs the same again. Eve Marko gives us a story that explores the path that life on our planet has taken, and asks what your role in that course might be.”

Make A Donation

BEARING WITNESS

Eve Marko - Bearing Witness

To bear witness to anything is to be as close to it as possible.

It’s not to read books or see movies about it, it’s not to have an opinion or tell a story. It’s to let go of all ideas about it—be in the space of not-knowing—and simply be there, up close and deeply personal.

Eve has been involved with the Zen Peacemaker Order’s Bearing Witness Retreats—in places of suffering and conflict since her first visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

There have been 20 retreats at the site of those concentration camps since, along with retreats in Bosnia, Rwanda and the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Upcoming Bearing Witness Retreats:

Bosnia, May 2016 (Please email for details)

Make A Donation

ABOUT EVE MARKO

Eve Marko

Eve Marko is a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and head teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts. She received dharma transmission and inka from Bernie Glassman. She is also a writer and editor of fiction and nonfiction.

Eve has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and has been a Spiritholder at retreats bearing witness to genocide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, and the Black Hills in South Dakota. Before that she worked at the Greyston Mandala, which provides housing, child care, jobs, and AIDS-related medical services in Yonkers, New York.

Eve’s articles on social activists have appeared in the magazines TricycleShambhala Sun, and Tikkun. Her collection of Zen koans for modern Zen practitioners in collaboration with Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, The Book of Householder Koans: Waking Up In the Land of Attachments, is coming out in February 2020.

Hunt for the Lynx, the first in her fantasy trilogy, The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills, was published in 2016.

“When I was a young girl my dream was to be a hermit, live alone, and write serious literature. That’s not how things turned out. I got involved with people. I got involved in the world. Two things matter to me right now: the creative spark and the aliveness of personal connection. In some way, they both come down to the same thing.”

Make A Donation