I returned yesterday to a scribble I did in class with my students earlier in the week. What emerged was this lovely older woman with long hair sitting cross-legged in turquoise harem pants on a tasseled pillow. She is holding something close to her heart, securing and protecting it. My thought as I was working on it was that it was something I created that was to be held close. Later, I thought it might be the soul or a dream. She is sitting in a zazen lotus pose, so perhaps what she holds close in the result of long practice.
At first, I thought she held a spiral shell, Peter said snake, but now it seems like the strong unfurling of a frond, but larger, like a tiger lily or a monkey-faced orchid.
It is growing and unfurling naturally from the core of her zazen practice, and as I have just started to read and introduce to my classes Natalie Goldberg’s new book, Old Friend From Far Away, which as always emphasizes writing as a spiritual practice, and because the image emerged from the classroom, I think it is the soul of my teaching and writing practice unfurling into the light under my protection.