There was a time I whittled my wits for social media, a kind of “computer warrior” as a friend calls them. I sought battles that may have not been there. Seizing on one word or phrase and letting go of context.
Snark. You know the drill. I wasn’t any good at it. Zen showed me how bad I was. Embarrassing, actually.
I haven’t given up on social media. Just the opposite. Rather than preparing for battle, I just take a stand when or if it is necessary. Awareness is my armor and suits me better than snark ever did.
I’m wondering if worldwide connection is changing battle and its field. Connection is changing everything else. There is no absence of compassion but in its lack evil lurks, more patient than any of us might credit.
Awareness reveals evil as easily as compassion and in comparison, evil withers, kind of like snark, unable to stand the long light of day. Scrutiny. Either way, we are revealed; our hearts clench and open in response.
We’re seeking the security of the steadfast but awareness is shaky ground, ever shifting. And that is tiring. So why not throw some shade. Maybe give up for a while. Nothing seems to last because nothing does.
I think social media makes that clearer than any doctrine. All of life is an experience, one after another, the coming to and going from any one moment–all on shaky ground.
We’re like tectonic plates, and sometimes there’s an earthquake. And still, there is existence in spite of it all. In that, I am in awe.
So why not, as Pema Chödrön says, “be generous with your joy.”* Why not, indeed. Joy does so much with so little. Sort of like snark in that regard but joy is never-ending. Snark is more of a single position and like evil it evaporates for there is always more joy, and it comes from unusual places.
Just this past week I received a mint plant whose roots were all but bursting from the top and bottom of its plastic pot. Some strands had found their way through air holes. Life searching to stay.
I have not “shared” my apartment since feline EmmaRose left. There are fewer and fewer insects but I celebrate those who pass through. “We are always in relationship” Pema Chödrön once remarked regarding the insect in the room.
And now, it is a mint plant with rust on its leaves and a few shoots struggling for life.
I asked neighbor Grace for her expert assistance. What she teaches me about flora and fauna is such a gift. Within 24 hours, we visited the nursery where Grace once worked to select the proper potting soil, drainage rocks, pot, and tray.
It was a celebration of Grace and her years tending the native plants and the friendships of her life. She gave me the complete tour, including the goldfish pond.
When was the last time I knew such joy in the morning amid native species that somehow make room for me and my kind. Only they know why.
And that is what we brought home to the mint. With the care that comes with years of living, Grace aerated the soil around the squared roots, opening up more life, as we provided the breath of carbon dioxide.
Offering life for life. It’s existence, this joy.
*The idea of being generous with joy is from Pema Chödrön’s The Compassion Book: Teachings for Awakening the Heart, page IX.