Saturday, March 26, 2016

maybe i'll become a monk

Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
- Leo Tolstoy
I went to the book store the other night.
I was picking up my son at a friend’s house at 9pm,
so I decided to drop into a local book store
for a bit before I picked him up.
My mind’s been going a little crazy lately –
all over the place.
So when I walked into Chapters that night,
here's what was going on in my head:

So I'm back at work. Again.
If i know I don't fit in there,
why do I keep going back?
For the same reason everyone else works.
For money.

I can’t believe Donald Trump made it this far.
I'm afraid terrorism has become the new normal.
So much anger in the world.

I miss mom…
I think back at when she was in the hospital,
and how much she suffered.
Life isn't always easy.
I wish _____ didn't drink so much.
I wish _____ was more at peace with himself.

I’m so happy _____ met _____.
They seem so good together.
I think it takes a lot of courage to divorce.
Some couple just shouldn’t stay together.
They start out ok, but something happens along
the way & they lose one another.
Too many people stay together
for the wrong reasons.
I loved that movie we watched
about Jean-Michel Basquiat.
I love that he did his own thing.
I hate that drugs took over his life
and we lost him much too soon.

I wonder if I'll ever "make it" as an artist?
And what does that really mean anyway?
To be in a gallery?
To be known?
To die young & tormented?
I'm so happy I have writing and art.

Being an artist is more about
how you feel on the inside
than about what happens on the outside.
It's about knowing your heart.
What more needs to be said & done?
So I walk into Chapters
with these thoughts flying through my head
like birds around a branch
and I stop at the first table I see.
Books on meditation and well-being and yoga.
Not books I would normally look at.
I pick up a small book by Thich Nhat Hanh,
the Vietnamese Buddhist monk,
on brush painting.
I flip to a page,
and I see these beautifully
hand brushed words:
a cloud never dies.

And all at once,
my mind was quiet.
I began to picture a blue sky,
with a slow moving cloud…
the way it moves and changes
and rearranges itself in the sky
– and then it slowly dissipates.
At one point, 
it is there
and moments later
it is gone.
I stood there with the book in my hands,
staring at the beautiful,
simple brush strokes…
imagining his hand writing
these few simple words
that said so much me
in that one moment.

My thoughts dissipated
just like the cloud.

And I understood.

All of the buzzing in my head
only moments before
no longer mattered.
It never had.
Life is suffering
and confusing
and frustrating at times.

But it is also beauty and truth and love.

These opposites always co-exist
and always will.

I can choose to go against the tide – or with it.
I can choose to see only darkness
or to see both light & dark.

I can choose to be the suffering,
or I can choose to be the dissipating cloud.

I much prefer being the cloud.
Thank you all for being here.
Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!


  1. Oh what a lovely ending of a post Pauline! I have one of Thich's books but did not know about this one so now I'm going to look for it. Happy weekend!

  2. A wonderful post, Pauline! Thich Nhat Hanh has some amazing quotes. So simple but profound at the same time. I often have a busy mind just as you described your own experience and, when it happens, I usually feel very fragmented and off-kilter. A moment of clarity or meditation definitely helps. :)

  3. Hi Pauline! What an awesome post!!! I am so glad I got to read this. The words you wrote I'm sure resonated with so many other artists of all kinds, I think that is why we are artist. Why most people I know seem to just roll along in life, I look at things deeper and I feel it. Your words are what I feel, about life and about the moments. I think I would like to be a cloud too! GREAT POST!!!! Hugs, Rasz

  4. This is again such a powerful post... that tore at all of my emotions....I had goosebumps then a tear..Such honesty and truth. Such an awakening!! You are so much more than an artist... you are a wordsmith of the highest order! Thanks for every word you write and every stroke you are a Canadian treasure!! I love that you are able to grow even more in the evolution that is you!

    Hugs Giggles

  5. I really don't know what to say. This is such a powerful post. I see myself in you words. I choose the could as well. Thank you.

  6. Such lovely and good words, thank you! :)
    Beautifyl images!

  7. Que c'est beau Pauline... your words, his words, your sharing both with us. Thank you. xox

  8. Your blog, Pauline is like reading a good book which you do not want to put back, you just want to read more and more. It makes things even more precious knowing that you are the author and there is your life in there, moments, memories and art- super inspiring art. Thank you so much for sharing