• Charles Cherney

117: True Transformation

I recently re-read Charlotte Joko Beck's two books Everyday Zen: Love and Work (1989) and Nothing Special (1993). This quote from the latter book stopped me in my tracks:

Maybe the next step is to be a bag lady.


The transformation that life has us going through during the pandemic is this quote writ large.


I now walk more than I drive. As an American who owns my own car, this is really saying something.


I quit drinking a few months before Covid kicked off. More than eighteen months later, the transformation stemming from my decision to quit continues to play out in many unforeseen ways.


I have made only one trip more than a few miles from home in the last year – to Martha's Vineyard over the 4th of July. It was cool and overcast for my entire stay on the island. We huddled around a space heater.


We think we're going to be wonderful new versions of who we are now.


And then my office closed.

And then someone rear-ended us during one of the few times we were in the car this year.

And then a family member had to begin contending with not feeling well.


Oh, and the kitchen faucet wouldn't turn off one day.

Also, both our boiler and on-demand hot water system died.

And it rained more in July than it ever has before – ever.


Maybe the next step is to be a bag lady.


Well, as it happens, my office re-opened in a new location.

I got my VW fixed at a favorite auto body shop and it now looks better than it did before.

My family member is learning to cope with how they are feeling, and their experience has taught all of us a great deal about gratitude.


Yes, the kitchen faucet is fixed. It now sparks joy just to turn off the water.

Also, we now have a new furnace and new Navien tankless hot water system.

And rumor has it the sun will come out tomorrow.


This much we know: Life isn't always comfortable and smooth.


That's okay. Really. It is.


As long as we are open to the transformation that life wants us to go through, we are just fine with where we are right now.