Friday, May 17, 2013

Hillbilly Zen

Wisdom springs from the unexpected
Sages masked in camouflage, ride 4-wheelers, hunt & fish…
Their life philosophies are simple yet profound
As they strike a chord with one-liners
Delivered with smiling eyes and twangs
And we are lifted from their Presence
That embodies the truths they share
Not trying to impress but to express
Their JOY in living is infectious
As they elevate our vibration.

I used to call my late-husband, John, my Hillbilly Zen Master.  He was masked in camouflage, riding 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, road bikes, snow mobiles, Sea Doos, and anything with a motor and a throttle that went fast and took him into adventures that fed him.  He was manly, an outdoorsman, hunting and fishing and gathering with the delight of his free spirit that craved open skies, open roads, open fields with sunrises and sunsets that he would attempt to describe with complete awe.  From his outward appearance, you would have never known that the depth of his silliness and playfulness was also the depth of his soulfulness as it all comes from the same place. 

My girlfriend, Diane, and I have discussed the idea of me writing a book:  Hillbilly Zen sharing John’s one-liners, morsels of wisdom he imparted and his way of showing up for life with a bigness that simply was the essence of him.   Living his motto come what may:  There will never be another day just like this one so enjoy it.  Practicing yoga, voraciously reading spiritual teachings, meditating and creating rituals in an attempt to tune in to my higher Self, I didn’t always recognize the Sage I was privileged to journey with.  He would leap out of bed excited by simply being alive and I would hold myself to rigid routines stuck in some idea of spirituality, wanting what he had, longing to embody what he knew and lived so freely. 

One time while we were at the houseboat on Lake Cumberland, I was meditating in the back bedroom with candles lit all around.  John had been out catching shad, throwing the net to get as much bait as possible so he could fish for Striped Bass all morning long.  I could hear the rain hitting the roof which I love in that it soothes me.  All of a sudden, he bounced into the room flung open his closet, grabbed his rain gear and said:  Oh, I’m sorry, Gee, I didn’t mean to interrupt your shit!  He grabbed my face and planted an intensely warm kiss on my mouth that was alive with his sense of joy, play and adventure.  He leapt back out of the room on a mission to enjoy the day rain or shine, and I laughed hysterically at myself as the John effect, raising my vibration was what I needed and was what I was trying to achieve from my rituals.  I knew in that moment, he was one of the greatest teachers of my life, the ultimate passer on of HOPE.

Hillbilly Zen is not my book to write, at least for now, but I met another John (I know?!) while out to dinner last night who could write the Hillbilly Zen books and give the talks to inspire the whole of humanity to love their life.  He identified himself with an endearing twang as merely a redneck that lives life like an adventure and can’t wait to get out of bed each day because he is excited by life.   But he was a wise one for sure – not merely anything.  Perhaps his book and talk will be Redneck Zen.  During our conversation, his wisdom that poured out word after word was dripping in humor with no agenda to impose his philosophies, and I soaked up the joy of this unexpected exchange, encouraging him to share himself generously and to keep loving his life because he teaches all of us without even trying.  The last thing he said was Hell!  We’re all headin’ in the same direction.  This life is a one-way street.  And one day, it will be over.

John, the Hillbilly Zen Master and John, the Redneck Zen Master continues to inspire my life, infuse me with hope and remind me to enjoy this grand adventure that is life.  Their sense of spirit comes from being tuned in to their Self instead of trying to live some concept of spirituality, trying to reach some place of attainment or sense of righteousness based on following a system of belief.  They are not impressed with their Self so they don’t try to impress, rather they express freely thoughts, ideas and beliefs that merely spring from them.  Their JOY in living is infectious bestowing their boundless energy generously without even trying or recognizing their profound effect on this world.

The invitation this day is to not judge a book by its cover.  Teachers, sages, wise ones live among us, dropping one-line zingers that open us to our Self and to the JOY of life that lives within us.  Their energy is palpable and being in their presence causes happiness, light-heartedness and leaves us with a sense of Life is so damn good (even when it sucks!) and one day, it will be over.


  1. There is such joy and such boundless freedom in simplicity, and it sounds as if your John was very aware of that. Your poignant words have captured this concept beautifully.

    I happened upon your post by chance, and couldn't leave without telling you how it made me smile. I self-published a book of essays and poetry titled "Hillbilly Zen" in 2008, and am currently working on a reprint. Please come visit my blog (also "Hillbilly Zen") on WordPress; we have similar views on what's important in life.

    You're a very good writer, and I look forward to reading more of your work (although I have to admit I hope you pick a different title for your book!).

  2. Wow!!!! THANK YOU sooooo much for your kind words and taking the time to read my blog. I will absolutely read your book of essays and poetry and will visit your blog. I truly have no plans to write a book titled "Hillbilly Zen" but I love that you have because this wisdom is essential to us all. LOVE TO YOU this day and all your days, Kathy