This past week I spent an inordinate amount of time organizing – lining up data in neat columns, sorting laundry, reviewing answers to an endless bureaucratic questionnaire – all of which brought some satisfaction. When we organize, we feel a little corner of the world is tidy and tended and controlled.
I was brought up short, then, when reading a passing reference to the Zen use of the word “mu” in a piece by poet Padraig O Tuama. One explanation of this concept is that “mu” is the answer when the question is insufficient, or misdirected, or based on a faulty premise.
Is the right box checked on every form? Mu.
Is that garden bed planted in neat rows? Mu.
Is our world beautiful or broken? Mu.
Dear ones, as we make our lists this week and tend to things as best we can, let’s not mistake the freshness of the mulch for the depth of our roots.
There’s almost always a better question to be asked.
Please join me in shopping at a favorite local bookstore this weekend (and beyond).
If you find yourself wanting to reflect on this past year, or to contemplate better times to come, we hope you might consider turning to Month of Sundays, which can be found at all of your favorite booksellers. One newly vaccinated friend recently mentioned that she’s bought a stack of books to gift as she begins to reconnect with loved ones who have been apart, as a way to say, “welcome back.”
Thank you to those who have supported this endeavor to date, where proceeds have allowed us to give more generously than usual to some of the most vital nonprofits around. We designed the book to be evergreen, and hope it will bring comfort and connection through times of ease and times of challenge alike.