“Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don’t change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.” – Woody Guthrie
For those who don’t already know, I am leaving my beloved city, Chicago, to work as the facilities manager at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia. I don’t know all the answers to questions about what it will be like, so I started this blog to tell you when I find them out.
The Old Town School of Folk Music is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie this year with a few shows and tributes and displays in the lobby (not least of which is a great woodcut by Chicago printmaker Liz Born). I had the great joy of coming upon Woody’s list of New Year’s Rulin’s and thought all, with a bit of amendment, could be of use to me. Numbers 2, 6, and 7 will already be taken care of thanks to the tight container that is provided at the abbey. I’ll substitute my sister Lisa for ‘Pete’ in no. 30. Read ‘art making’ for any musical reference, etc. etc.
But there are 2 of particular note that I will be keeping at the forefront of my thought. No. 31 – ‘Love Everybody’ and no. 33 – ‘Wake up and Fight’. ‘Love Everybody’ seems like an obvious choice for a person going to the end of the continent to live at a Buddhist Abbey, especially an Abbey who’s spiritual teacher is Pema Chodron, whose brilliant and simple way of explaining maitri or ‘loving-kindness’ has been a great benefit to those of us who need simple explanations. Sometimes it seems a challenge to remember to love the ones closest to you, who love you back, who make your life worth living and build you up when you need it, not to mention remembering to love all the miserable people who act as stark mirrors of your own miserableness. Most of all, don’t forget to love yourself, you are part of everyone too.
Now ‘Wake up and Fight’ may sound a bit aggressive for a Buddhist but no. 33 is the entire reason for me to go on this adventure. To stop viewing the world through lenses and filters, to stop weighing every moment within a context of the past and the future, to wake up and fight to live compassionately and intentionally, to commit to doing what is right, to work for the benefit of the entire world.