Way station

June 15th, 2007

I have an unusual backyard full of old and unusual things. Sometimes when I find out that people need help, that they are struggling with fear or illness, anxiety or worse, I say, “I’ll go into the backyard right now and say a service.” And I just open the door, step into the garden and say a chant, which is a prayer.

It’s the least I can do; it’s the most I can do; it’s the only thing I can truly do.

Then I come back in and empty the dishwasher.

Lately it seems I hear those kinds of things a lot. I hear about women, my friends and sisters, strangers and soulmates, waiting for their children, waiting for the news, waiting for arrival, waiting for a turn, waiting for health and optimism, waiting for benevolence, waiting for a safe haven, waiting to start again.

This is who hears all of that. This is Jizo, a kind of Buddhist guardian of women and children and travelers (because aren’t we travelers all?). She is in my backyard, she stands watch and hears prayers. She does this for you, because who else could there ever be?

Take comfort today. Take comfort always.


  1. What a moving and healing post. Yes that’s how life is, isn’t it: there is no division between the “sacred” and the “profane.” We pray and then we empty the dishwasher. Nice to hear about Jizo. I recently cut some images of her out of a catalogue because she spoke to me so deeply.

    Comment by Leah — June 16, 2007 @ 2:05 am

  2. Karen,

    Your words are poetry. They inspire me and give me hope. They are music to my ears. Keep singing! I am listening always.

    In truth, I have two teachers. Many thanks and much love.


    Comment by Melissa Moore — June 17, 2007 @ 12:01 am

  3. Karen,
    Your words today were a healing, a comfort I needed but did not know to ask for.

    To have a presence that stands watch and hears, this is the medicine we seek in so many places. And to think, she is with us always.

    I am grateful that as travelers, our paths crossed and here we meet.


    Comment by bella — June 17, 2007 @ 9:08 pm

  4. Lovely post. I just found your site. I didn’t know you had a blog. I am blessed today. Thank you for writing your book, of which I read long ago, and this blog.

    I’m wondering if you’d mind if I interviewed you for my blog? Please let me know at ubertwins@gmail.com. Thanks.

    Comment by Shawn — June 19, 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  5. Thank you so very much for offering a service in your garden for my young nieces. If they could, I’m certain they would thank you as well.

    Comment by shauna — October 22, 2007 @ 2:12 am

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