The master and the elf

(SAMI was a residential treatment center for mentally ill addicts. It had no budget, supplies or support, and got no respect, lucky breaks or funding. Luckily, it had elves and masters…)

Once upon a time there was a Zen master who ruled over a very chaotic kingdom – SAMI-land – which was frequently at war with surrounding regions. Although he was only one man, he managed to temper the impulsivity and absurdities of his followers simply by breathing and being himself. He had spent no shortage of years being impulsive and absurd himself, and since he had grown to be a master, he held space that others might come to see the same in themselves. He had faith in the face of darkness, for he had spent many years in darkness, and had emerged whole and holy. He was, in short, imperturbable.

Nonetheless, the master was only one man. His Lords and Legion in the Motherland frequently misunderstood the needs of his land, and there were nights when, despite his best efforts, he was unable to clear his head and be truly present to his family. On those nights he would run miles and miles, letting his loneliness and frustration leave him with his sweat, eventually calming himself for another days battle. “If only I had some help in this war” he thought to himself, although he would never ask, or admit to the need aloud.

Shortly after one of these angst ridden runs, the Motherland sent to him – as if by magic – the requested assistance. But…. it came in the form of a small magical elf. She was 180 degrees from a master, but he withheld judgment and maintained an air of curiosity. “Elves and Masters, they need to spend more time together” he told himself, and as he believed – so was it true for him. He built a friendship with the Elf. It wasn’t hard to do, for she brought to his kingdom the same passion for promotion and protection of the people that he felt, although her ways were vastly different than his.

Eventually, inevitably, there was a battle. Enemy troops invaded the land of the Master and the Elf, seeking to take both land and supplies. Word was sent to the Motherland, but no assistance arrived, and they resigned themselves to fight alone.

Stationed at the front line of battle, Elf and Master fought side by side to protect SAMI-land. The Master would calm himself and then project that calm imperturbability out into the enemy camp. The Elf would conjure up all of her life force, center it in her solar plexus, and WILL things to be different. Together, and very likely with the grace of God/dess, the enemy was driven back, although not destroyed.

Master and Elf sat together after the battle, drinking warm cups of coffee. They reviewed the battle and their strategies, and speculated about what had worked and what hadn’t.

“Do you realize Elf”, said the Master, “that apart we are very different creatures, but together we create something greater than ourselves?” “I think it’s called ‘synergistic’”, Elf replied, “it means we’re bigger together than we are apart.”

Master nodded then, in silence, and they sat for some time, contemplating the way of things, and the way of each other, and the process that they together trusted.

Years later, Master was called to a new battle station, and Elf was promoted to care for SAMI-land. Their final meeting was held in the small cluttered battle tent on the edge of enemy lines. They sat in silence, as was their way, and then spoke of daily things… the sun rising, the children playing, the green of the corn and the slight chill in the air. Then, without formal goodbye of any kind, the Master moved out into the world, found his solar plexus, and willfully projected his life force into his new position. Elf breathed and practiced an air of imperturbability as she watched him walk away.

Of course, they met many times after that – in regional gatherings of strategy…. And Elf had magical delivery-owls, and Master had telepathic lines, so they spoke regularly. Blessedly though, it didn’t matter if they spoke or not, or if it was a month or a year. Their time together in the battle of SAMI-land had forever cemented them as kindred.

And as they believed, so it was for them.

They, and their lands, lived pretty much happily ever after, even when they didn’t.

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