My Karma Ran Over My Dogma
She felt the small disk glance off the steering wheel and land on her lap as they jolted over the rutted dirt road. She picked it off her leg before it was jostled off and onto the gray carpet covered with dirt, gravel and slips of paper containing quickly-scribbled lines of inspiration for future poems. Quickly, she glanced at the words printed on its front. “My karma ran over my dogma.” What did it mean, this button she now stabbed back into the sun flap over the steering wheel of her dusty van?
She had thought it hilarious when she saw it pinned to the poetry sweater of the stranger at the reading at the L.A. coffee shop almost twenty years ago, and now here she was, driving eleven young men, one young woman and a puppet theater complete with sound system and fifty 3/4 scale puppets to a tiny village on the other side of the largest lake in Mexico.
This simple button had led her to this and now the man who wore it for every poetry reading they’d attended for 15 years was fulfilling his karma on another plane while she fulfilled her own in the life she’d planned out for him on this one. So had this entire adventure of living in Mexico simply not been part of his karma, or was karma such an intricate tapestry that it was impossible to untangle yours from that of those near and dear and even strangers met in passing?
Surely, the unbelievable interplay of serendipity was more than coincidence. Some force that is called karma by some, fate or synchronicity by others, and God, Allah or The Great Spirit by others, may be what determined who walked into your life; but it was up to you to decide whom you let walk away, whom you let stay, or whom you refused to let go.
“The school is here, Judy,” said Eduardo, as he pointed to a dull gray building much-enlivened by a huge mural no doubt painted by the students themselves. She pulled up in front of the school and Isidro, Jose Luis, Mario, Roberto and the other young men who formed the membership of the loosely-jointed cultural council of her own small pueblo started to assist the husband and wife team who constituted the entire backup cast of the puppet theater to unload their equipment. When their own truck had broken down enroute on the other side of the lake, villagers had told them to call the leader of this young band of artists, poets and dancers, and inevitably, she had been the one they called. How many times had she proven to be their backup player when plans, money or a vehicle had been needed to further their plans for the cultural enrichment of their small town?
Here in this life she had fashioned to be free of the regulation of a job, applications, shows, schedules, boards of directors, groups, clubs and all of the “have to’s” of her former life, she had not resisted the charms of synchronicity and so had allowed herself to be pulled into the slow current of life in Mexico that, although it was not free of obligation–to family, friends, community–was nonetheless contingent on another sort of energy not so dependent upon schedules or clocks or calendars. Here things happened because they happened and you were drawn into them because you were present or known or because you had been willing to be drawn in in the past and so were known to be someone open to chance and willing to play along in this great jigsaw puzzle known as Mexico.
She had planned it all out. Her husband, sixteen years older than she, was wearing out fast, she could see. They would move to Mexico to live simply so he could retire. They found the town, bought the house, sold most of their worldly goods and packed their van. It was only then that they’d received the results for his final checkup before they hit the road. Cancer. He’d lived three weeks. She dealt with what needed to be dealt with and hit the road for Mexico. Who knows, from day to day, whether we are part of someone else’s karma or whether they are part of ours?
The Prompt: Karma Chameleon–Reincarnation: do you believe in it?