Sunday, 6 January 2013

Working with a goose and a bottle

A woman raised a goose in a bottle.  When the goose was grown, she wanted to get it out.  
How can you get it out without breaking the bottle?

I came across this koan the other day. For those of you that don't know what a koan is, google it ! Loosely speaking it is a Zen question on which to meditate. Not something that can be solved intellectually but only by somehow 'holding' the koan in your body until an insight reveals itself. 

My day today was mostly taken up with returning my son to Uni. All through the drive I had this goose stuck in it's bottle sitting at the base of my skull. Goose, bottle, goose, bottle. It was squashed up against the glass but was smiling (?) and quacking contentedly. Why would the woman want to get the goose out? it looked pretty happy to me. Was it to be in control of it's life? She had nurtured it to adult hood and now felt still somehow 'owned' it and was responsible for how it lived...? 
It's difficult letting your children go, but go they will. They will find their own path, they will learn (or not) by their mistakes and may or may not live the life you had intended for them. Ultimately they must chose for themselves and be true to themselves and take responsibility for their choices.
We reached my son's house only to find that the last students to leave before Christmas, had not done the washing up, or cleaned out the fridge of perishables....yuk. What a stench. Without a moan or groan boy emptied the fridge of gunk, cleaned it out, put all the dirty pots, pans, mugs etc into a big box and put it outside. Cleaned the kitchen and got on with his day. He wasn't judgemental or angry, just accepting that that was how some people like to live their lives. All he could do was to live his life the best he could. He does his washing up and keeps his room tidy. And that is all any of us can do. We can take responsibility for ourselves and allow others to do the same. It doesn't mean though, that boy won't voice his concern for every ones health and is thinking about how he can resolve the problem.
This was a boy who six months ago was was kept clean and well watered and really didn't have to think too much for himself and I am very proud of how he has risen to the challenge and managed to lever himself out of the bottle all on his own. 

 The Winter light is so special, the subtle greys and slight pinks that fill the sky are such an inspiration.
The watercolour at the top is just the first wash of a painting I am working on, trying to get the delicate colours. The camera seems to have made it a little pink though it could be my laptop....I am going to save the photo above as a pallet for interior colours ! Reminds me of peeling French Chateaux interiors, grey paintwork next to palest grey walls, held together by rustic tables and chairs.