Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist


Yesterday Zen Master, Zen Mum and I went up to New York City for the day.  While we were visiting with family, I had the luck of running into my cousin, Kenny.  Some time back I had asked him for caricatures of us and I was able to finally get them from him.


I actually thought I was a bit more sexier than this, but obviously that was just a figment of my imagination.

Zen Mum, Me, and Zen Master

This is his little gem to my request for a family portrait.

And the artist for these cuties…


He prefers being behind the camera rather than in front, but he begrudgingly stood still when I asked him for his picture.

Sorry, ladies, he’s engaged. 

And speaking of engagement, I forgot to tell him that if I were to ever get married, I would be asking him to do my invitations.

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Today Zen Master, Zen Mum and I went for an early morning walk, trying to get in our 2-mile daily quota of exercise before the humidity and heat moved in.  Baltimore was projected to reach 94 degrees.

We usually do a circuit around our neighborhood.  Five minutes into the walk, Zen Mum begins to drag her feet and sweats beads.  Ten minutes into the walk, Zen Master takes off his white T-shirt, clad only in his dark gray shorts that stop at the top of his knees.  I’m remembering the one instruction that’s stuck in my brain from my Tai Chi instructor:  breathe in the flower (INHALE), blow out the candle (EXHALE).

In the time we made the 2-mile circuit:

  • We waved and smiled at neighbors and passersby.  We asked one neighbor how his wife was doing because recently she had foot surgery and hasn’t been seen since.  She’s fine.
  • A Raimondi florist delivery truck stopped by a townhouse to drop off a basket of beautiful flowers.  Hopefully they’re celebrating a happy occasion.
  •  We observed a dead locus lying on its back on the sidewalk.  Eww.
  •  I saw a car slow down to chuck a pair of used socks out the window before driving away.  What’s up with that?
  •  We passed a couple of cul-de-sacs hosting yard sales.
  •  I observed a rolly-polly on the sidewalk.  I don’t know the technical name for this centipede or caterpillar thing but I know that if you poked it, it would curl its body into a tight ball and roll away.

At our half-way mark, we saw a man on the street, approaching us from the opposite direction.  He was an older gentleman with short snowy white hair, wearing a white t-shirt and gray sweat pants.  On his feet were black roller blades, and he was striding toward us.  He was fluid in his movements, graceful in motion and steps.  We watched as he made the left turn at the stop sign, he passing us without so much as a sound from him or his roller blades.  The man glided in that turn, no movements wasted – he just flowed. 

Until he hit the slight incline in the middle of that street.  We watched as he crouched a bit and put more effort into the climb, showing grit and determination to get to the top.  It was either that or just topple over on the street or worse yet, slide backwards down the way he came.  Uh oh.

But he conquered that incline.  We watched as he reached the end of that street and glided out of sight without a backward glance.

That’s what I want to be when I grow up. 

Fluid.  Graceful.  Gritty.

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Hello there!

I’m a 39 years old single non-bald Zen Buddhist, a neophyte with absolutely no formal training whatsoever.  I am a student in everything and a master in absolutely nothing.  Just so we’re clear.

I’m pretty self-sufficient and independent, if you overlook the fact that I never really left home.  You can’t really count college when I lived on campus because as soon as I graduated, I moved back home and stayed.  Home is Baltimore, Maryland.

I’m also a cynic.  Sprinkle that with a good dose of ADHD (self-diagnosed). 

My true role model is my Zen Master, who happens to be my father.  He adores fruit smoothies, apple tart cakes, cruises, and is a firm believer in teaching by example.  He’s also a cantankerous old man who engages in snark-fests with me, his method of teaching me by example. 

He’s absolutely everything that I am striving to become.  Minus the old man part.

Mom – AKA ZEN MUM – is actually Catholic but she can’t recall the last time she’s been to church.  She’s usually the quiet one between the three of us, but you always have to watch out for the quiet ones.

I don’t think that my being a cynic is the way to go.  The end game for a true Zen Buddhist is to achieve “enlightenment,” the ultimate Nirvana – the moment that a person actually goes “oooohhh.”  The AH-HA moment of truth.

It’s safe to say that I’m not even close. 

Zen Master reminds me of the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” 

But really, just for argument’s sake, if I don’t ever reach my AH-HA moment, technically I’m still a neophyte, right? 

Thought so.

This is my personal blog with my own thoughts and quirks, and with absolutely nothing to do with my employer. 

Actually, it’s just a family blog with the usual suspects:  Zen Master, Zen Mum and me. 

Really, it’s about me trying to make sense of it all.

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