24 March

The Return Of Eve Marko: Bearing Witness To The Person I am

by Jon Katz

Eve Marko came to the farm to spend the day with Maria and I, and that is always such a profound gift, she left us with so many things to think about and talk about. She also helped me understand how to deal with a painful personal problem I have been dealing with in the past few  weeks.

I don’t see Eve Marko very often or even speak to her frequently, yet I consider one of most important and valuable friends. She is an author, a Zen teacher, a social activist who travels the world helping the vulnerable, from displaced Palestinians to the urban poor to Native Americans seeking to protect their land.

She is a remarkable humanist and creative, I admire her greatly. We trust one another in a deep and important way, especially after today.

It was an important visit. Eve told me she thinks I am wary of people getting too close, so she hesitates to call me or talk to me sometimes.

I said, “let’s just be friends, Eve, I trust you completely. I love being your friend and talk to you whenever either of us wishes. I have had issues about people getting close. But you are a strong and independent person with your own rich life, I fear nothing from  you. I am not wary of you in any way.”

We made a deal to be friends. I could  use a friend and so could Eve.

Her famous husband Bernie Glassman, a Zen master, died on November 4 in Massachusetts. Our basic problem, said Glassman, “is how to get rid of the idea that we are going to get rid of our problems. Only then can we relate directly with the real issues of our life.”

Words I have tried to live by.

Eve is an influential intellectual in her own right, one of the most thoughtful and creative people I know. She reminds me of Hannah Arendt, the brilliant moralist and philosopher. She is also at a turning point on her life.

Like so many gifted writers, Eve is a literary snob and was reluctant to publish a blog. So many people, including me, are grateful that she did.

She is a blogger now, with a devoted following.

Eve has been writing on  her blog about the death of her husband and its impact on her life ever since he died. She joins the author Joan Didion (The Year Of Magical Thinking) in having written  brilliantly and usefully about  death, memory, loss, obligation, and the impact her husband’s death has had on her own life.

There is so much wanton grieving in our culture, for people, dogs, politics and life.  Eve’s writing helps me understand mortality, and let’s face it, life. We shall all end.

Eve is also an animal lover and  writes regularly about her dogs. She speaks to them a lot.

I can’t talk about the details of my problem, it is too painful for me and would be unfair to other people. Some old and deep and frightening memories relating to my childhood have been triggered and opened up. Things I thought I dealt with years ago, but clearly have not. I asked for Eve’s guidance, asking for help is not something that comes naturally to me.

I am not going to get rid of my problems.

I was up all night, I couldn’t sleep for a minute. I have a problem and am stymied as to what to do or what the proper response is for me. Some very old and deep wounds have been opened, and spread like bile through my consciousness in recent days, and especially, last night.

Eve said she couldn’t tell me what to do, of course, she knows I am not seeking that. But she advised me to look deeply into my own life and  self, and completely accept how the early events of my life have shaped the person that I am.

Once I know and accept who I am and how I got to be who I am,  things would be clear.

Then, she said, I would know what to do.

She was right, of course. In my meditation, I bear witness to my life and the things that have shaped me. Like many people, it is hard to fully accept who I am, and what has happened to me.

I have spent a lot of time denying or trying to change who I am, I am just learning that is neither possible nor wise. This hurts.

Our problems don’t go away.

This is who I am, and this is why I am the way I am. It’s okay. There’s nothing else attached to it, it’s just that. There’s no fault or blame or judgment. That’s what I need to tell myself, and to tell others.

I understand what Eve was telling me. In accepting rather than apologizing for myself, I can accept the truth and the reality, and then I will know what to do.

She told me that she too has had problems with family, and also with friends. I am grateful to have a friend like her in my life. I will not push her away.

1 Comments

  1. I needed to read this today for my own reasons. You really do have a positive impact with your journal. Thank you and I wish you calm (for lack of a better word).
    Take care,

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