A NEW CAREER

“Aussie, do you see a difference in me now when I get up in the mornings?”

“Not really. You’ve always been slow about feeding me.”

“I’m not depressed or anxious like I used to be, remember?”

“Do I remember! It was hard to talk to you for half the day.”

“That’s somewhat exaggerated, Auss.”

“So, what happened?”

“I decided to take anti-depressants.”

“WHAT! You, a Zen teacher, are on anti-depressants?”

“Bear with me, Aussie. I have felt depression and anxiety first thing in the morning for almost my entire life. It’s been a chronic condition for decades.”

“A Zen teacher on anti-depressants?”

“What’s wrong with that, Auss? It’s always been a struggle, and I would quickly get up and push it out of my mind. That worked to some extent, but the condition in and of itself never changed. Some months ago, I talked about it with my sister, and she, bless her heart, said: ‘You’ve been struggling with that for so long. You’re now 72, maybe it’s time to stop struggling.’ I talked it over with my doctor, she thought it was a good idea, and now I’m on anti-depressants.”

“And you call yourself a Zen teacher!”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“A Zen teacher should be able to deal peacefully with anything that comes up without resorting to drugs.”

“Who said, Aussie?”

“Nobody has to say it, everybody knows it’s true. Seeing the emptiness of all things, you know there’s nothing to really get upset about.”

“I wasn’t getting upset, Aussie. I would just open my eyes and the room would look dark—”

“It’s 6 am, for God’s sake!”

“—and I would feel this fear and nervousness overwhelming me. It didn’t matter what the plans for the day were, morning after morning was like that.”

“I bet you wouldn’t feel like that if you woke up at Mar-A-Lago!”

“Jeff Bridges, with whom I’m going to have a conversation on getting older on the Zen Peacemakers website (check out their Events), calls it the morning dreads. I’ve had them practically since I was born.”

“You’ve been meditating since 1985. What good has it done you?”

“No good at all, Aussie. The point is, this is genetic, it’s in the family.”

“Who cares? A Zen teacher should always be calm and have things under control, never have to struggle—and never have to take anti-depressants.”

“I can’t tell you how different my mornings are now. I come down and pet you, tell you how pretty you are, what a great day we’ll have together.”

“Now I know it’s Prozac talking.”

“No, Aussie, it’s me talking. It’s me without the depression, without the morning dreads. And you mewl happily and turn onto your back so that I could rub your belly.”

“No more. Now I know that you’re not the real thing.”

“The real what, Aussie?”

“Enlightened! If you’re enlightened, you shouldn’t need any of that stuff.”

“Aussie, sometimes it’s a matter of not enough brain chemicals or faulty mood regulation. If it goes on and on for years regardless of life situations, it’s a good alternative. What about what I take to sleep?”

“Oh, no. What do you take to sleep?”

“Aussie, I take pot to sleep.”

“YOU WHAT?”

“I take half a gummy. I can’t smoke it on account of my asthma, but the gummies are wonderful. Don’t forget, pot is legal in Massachusetts, and my doctor recommended it. After I turned 70 my sleep regulation went out the window. I could be exhausted, unable to read or watch TV, but as soon as I lay down, I couldn’t sleep. She said that instead of taking sleeping pills, why don’t I try pot? It worked beautifully. Half a gummy causes me to fall asleep gently and wake up gently. Never exhausted, never sleepy, awake and healthy, and looking forward to a terrific day!”

“No Zen teacher should have to take pot to sleep, or anything for that matter. In fact, if you just put on recordings of your Zen talks, you’ll go to sleep right away.”

“Aussie, you know how many people I’ve told to get sleep gummies? You know how many people I’ve bought them for? And just between you and me, not all were in Massachusetts.”

“OMG, A DRUG DEALER!”

“No no, Aussie, I simply share what I’ve discovered works. Look Auss, I want to enjoy these years, I want to enjoy my humanness. When I sleep well and don’t wake up with depression or anxiety, I can act much better in the world, things don’t hang me up like they used to.”

“I’m leaving home.”

“Why, Aussie?”

“I was so proud of living with a Zen teacher. Instead, I’m a drug dealer’s companion. What’s it going to be next, the Mafia? I’m outta here.”

“But who’s going to be my companion now, Auss?”

“Get yourself a couple of Rottweilers.”

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Make a Donation to My Blog Donate To Immigrant Families

You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.

THE BOOK OF HOUSEHOLDER KOANS

The Book of Householder Koans - Eve Myonen Marko & Wendy Egyoku NakaoThe Book of Householder Koans is a collection of koans created by 21st century Zen practitioners living a lay life in the West. The koans deal with the challenges of relationships, raising children, work, money, love, loss, old age, and death, and come from practitioners across three continents, and with commentaries by two Western teachers.

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THE DOGS OF THE KISKADEE HILLS

Eve Marko - The Dogs of the Kiskadee Hills: Hunt for the LynxThe 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.”

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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.

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You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.

ABOUT 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, came 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.”

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You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.