Zen Spot #123 — Mindfulness, meditation and imagining the family February 15, 2018 00:05

The image

The photograph above is, by far, the most popular image that I post on Twitter. The home, I believe, looks hopeful and warm and interesting. One’s imagination is stirred. A story is evoked.

The story

A one hundred six year-old woman has lived in the home since 1920. With eight children, twenty-one grandchildren, six great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren, her genes have dispersed to western Europe, Morrocco, Japan and eleven states. 

Built in 1906, in one of the first neighborhoods on the west side of the Schuykill River, the home has three bedrooms and one bath. Essentially two shotgun shacks, one sitting atop the other, coal was shoveled through a street-level window in the front of the structure, to heat the home, until 1952.

Her name is Dorothea. For sixty years, she cleaned offices in Center City Philadelphia. Otherwise, she stayed at home, cooking for her family and, when she had time, painted pictures of her neighborhood.

I’ve never spoken with her.


Dorothea doesn’t exist. Never did. I fabricated her soul because that’s who I want to live in the home. Could be an artist lives there — or an electrician, a vandal, a trash truck driver, a nurse or a secret billionaire.

Show me a home and I’ll tell you a story that always ends with a question and about an existence that doesn't exist.


About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?