Thursday, February 07, 2013

Happy to Be Here

Good day, all. Donis here. I'm thrilled to be back with you here on Type M for Murder. Did you miss me? Did you notice that I was gone? I was one of the regulars here at Type M for six years, from 2006 through February 2012, when one family health crisis after another finally got the better of me and I had to take a blogging sabbatical. But now, almost one year to the day later, things are really looking up and I find I can actually think of something other than hospitals and doctors.

In the interim, I managed to finish my sixth Alafair Tucker mystery, The Wrong Hill to Die On*, which came out in November 2012, and have been busily promoting ever since. I don't know how long this happy period is going to last, so I'm trying to make up for lost time while I can. I don't take anything for granted any more.

I’m more grateful for small things these days than I used to be. I used to have big expectations and was disappointed when they didn’t materialize. I’m seldom disappointed by anything now, since I no longer have expectations. Is this a bad thing?

For forty years, a swami lived in a cave high in the Himalayas, seeking enlightenment. For forty years he sat meditating in complete isolation, naked except for a blanket, never seeing another living soul, eating only rice and drinking plain water.

When the forty years were over, the swami’s mind was as clear and still as a mountain lake, at peace at last. “I have achieved enlightenment,” he said to himself. He decided to come down off the mountain and attend the Maha Kumbh Mela, the great Hindu pilgrimage to the Ganges, which only occurs once every 144 years.

The crowd was so great that the swami was caught in the tide of humanity and swept along as though he had fallen in a river. The noise deafened him, the colors blinded him, the press of people took his breath away, but he was at peace. Until a beggar stepped on his foot and he yelled, “OW, get the #$%*& off my foot, you *%^@_!”

Richard Alpert, better known as Ram Dass, spiritual seeker, teacher, and author of Be Here Now, suffered a stroke in 1997 that nearly killed him and left him barely able to speak. He reports that when the stroke happened and he realized that he was probably dying, his entire lifetime of faith and understanding flew out the window and he became a whimpering coward. What courage it takes to be able to admit something like that.

I think of both those stories often, especially when someone tries to convince me of the rightness of his philosophy. Or when I think I have it all figured out myself.

I used to know stuff, but no more. In fact, in many ways I used to be a better person than I am now. I used to have prescient dreams. I meditated. I played music, painted, and believed things. I read everything and wrote what I wanted. I loved and had passion, and even when I was sad, and afraid, and grief stricken — and I often was — I was basically a cheerful little person.

Now I know nothing, nor do I understand anything. Yet I’m not pessimistic. Or optimistic either. It’s more like I am whatever tide or emotion or event is happening in this moment.

And this moment I am very happy to be back at Type M 4 Murder.
*Read the first chapter of The Wrong Hill to Die On on my website by simply clicking on the book’s title!


Aline Templeton said...

So pleased to see you back, Donis, and with good news on the health front. Wise words, too, about not taking things for granted.


Vicki Delany said...

Wise woman, our Donis. And great fun to travel with too!

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Welcome back, Donis!

Donis Casey said...

I missed you all.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Donis, welcome, welcome! Can spring be far behind?

Toe Hallock said...

Dear Donis: I just recently came upon this website, so I am jealous that I know nothing about you. All your friends are among those I read all the time. Glad everything is all right. Hope to see more from you. Yours truly, Toe.