(a)ground…

A few days ago after a couple of conversations with people that I take refuge in (monks), I felt a load lift. It was an old load that I’ve carried around for a very, very long time. Longer than I can remember; it’s sometimes a part of me and other times I want to get rid of it, because i feel the weight.

Yet, yet. I also know that there is nothing I need to excise or get rid of, but there are some things that could use a fresh view and closer seeing/looking on my part.

So it was, and I feel less dis-eased. “What a difference a day makes”, as the old song title would have it: “Twenty-four little hours brought the sun and the flowers. where there used to be rain…” (toss up between whose version was better; Dinah Washington or Little Anthony?), yes this too shall pass, and return again in a slightly different form.

I do need to see all the facets of this jewel it seems.

Tomorrow I return to temple full-time(ish) and look forward to buckling down a little in my practice. At this point I foresee maybe a couple of months there, but time and situation will determine things. I may want to get a little job at some point or find a to great to pass up deal elsewhere in regard to a living situation in this super-tight and expensive real estate market; but mostly I want to drop my little plans and designs for a while and just abide and allow things to develop without all my effing input.

Cheesh! I can be a load.

Today I am very grateful and content. So many nice, honest, compassionate people in my life and I persist in worrying about unessential things. Oh, well.

I do look forward to tomorrow though.

Another day to try and do better.

What could be better?

Nothing, that’s what!

(a)flip in the air

It’s been a while since I last posted because I seem to be adrift. With the move, then the temporary settling into the temple, then the two weeks house sitting (and dog and cat caring), and then back to the temple; for not too long I’ve since decided, because I feel I need more freedom of movement. I need to be flexible so that I can find some part-time work that interests me and have the time and space to pursue some other interests as well, and have time for some traveling that I wish to do in the Fall/Winter.

So, up in the air.

It’s not a place I particularly like being at this point in my life but it is not incongruent with my over-all situation. There is a real need, though to go very carefully and mindfully in any directions I decide on because I am at a point, too, where I can probably get into screwy places just by virtue of the fact of being at loose ends. Attaching to the temple and the monk who is there is a good firm foundation for me and I see I have lots to learn and lots that I’ve “learned” that bears deeper scrutiny and more meditation. 

I’ve also been going back to more AA meetings because they too provide a solid anchor that has served so well in my and Linda’s life; after all that’s where we met and without which we would not have been able to cobble together a reasonable life.

The process of facing my yearning and neediness shortly before and after Linda’s death continues and is still uncomfortable because even though I can swallow some tough truths about myself; they do take time to digest fully.

A process it is.

Today I’m waiting to hear from a friend who I was supposed to visit this morning up in Napa, but it turns out the earthquake that woke me in the early hours of Sunday (It actually centered in American Canyon where I worked for almost ten years), did a lot of damage to his house and the section of downtown Napa where we were going to have lunch; so I offered to come up and help for a few hours, but I expect I’ll be more in the way since the whole are has difficulties with water and various services that have been curtailed by the damage, California; fires earthquakes and drought.

I’m sure there are various sects of crazy people all nodding their heads and and praying for more of the same for the heathen liberal left wing communist,bla-bla-blah Californians. Ad nauseum.

Anyway, my friend just called and I’m going up to Napa for a couple of hours just to say hello. I started to sponsor him in AA over 25 years ago and we developed a long time friendship, so this is a good thing to do.

More tomorrow, hopefully….

Air tossed, I fly.

It is not freeing. 

Causes looking

and then seeing.

 

.

 

 

(a)swim in the Sea…

Now that I’ve been in Berkeley for almost two weeks I’m starting to settle in a bit. I’m basically keeping the temple schedule with three meditation periods every day except Monday, which is sort of a rest day for, well, that. I will have some flexibility of course but intend to use my time here to deepen my training/practice. I’ve gone to several AA meetings since arriving and am reconnecting with that activity as well. Lots of good folks; I find it helpful to participate, not so much that I worry about drinking, I’ve been sober for over 31 years, but to let newer people hear what is possible; in other words, if I can get and stay sober, anyone can. Anyone.

I backed out of hell on my knees and even when I touched the open earth (as it were), I was still looking down that tunnel with fascination. Until, at some point I turned around and looked up and stepped forward into life again.

So, here I am and sort of re-learning some things I’d set aside during the urgency of Linda’s last two or three years and eventual death; and during my short lived infatuation/complication with a friend of ours after the initial period of mourning. My greed for the new was overwhelming and now I have been given the opportunity to (finally), sit still with all of that and let it all find its proper place in my heart. Every day it comes up for me in how greatly fortunate I am. How blessed with my life (and all its self-initiated complications), and circumstances I am.

One sort of amusing aspect of my transplantation has been a kind of simple, yet a somewhat telling set of experiences. The traffic and congestion is a matter of course here, and since I knew almost everyone’s vehicle in Tekoa’s vicinity, I had become accustomed to associating vehicle=person. Now I’m just getting used to seeing a given model of car and recognize that it is just some unknown person in it. It’s the little things like that which make the difference in how one’s life is perceived and lived.

The fish in the water

Knows it is part of the

Whole Ocean within which

It swims. We, often cannot

See we swim, Universally.

Things are settling down internally and in general. The continuous contact with fellow trainees and constant exposure to the dharma and the sangha are just what the doctor ordered. Being in a structured environment of this type is being in a constant learning mode because the whole point of the practice is to examine one’s self in detail. At this point I’m in a bit of a “limbo” because after next week I go and house sit for two weeks for some friends who are experiencing for the first time the prime imperative of all grandparent.

“MUST SEE AND CUDDLE NEW GRANDCHILD ASAP: COLLEGE LOOMS!”

After that I’ll be back at temple and probably have a different take on things just because of the proximity to old friends and the newness of the sensory overload will have worn off a bit. So many details left undone.

Thank you good friend who is renting my house for being patient with the things I left undone.

It’s also been fun seeing and working on repairing and replacing things I helped build or install twenty some years ago.

Life’s a journey

And we don’t go very far;

Not as far as we think.

Then again there is no

Limit to the space we

Occupy. Just us. Just This.

push/pull

I arrived in Bay area Saturday afternoon. I’m settling in slowly to the pace and activity of the temple. This week I’ll get up to speed on day to day doings and remembering various aspects of ceremonies and such, things we didn’t practice at home. But, like bicycle riding its in the memory somewhere. In my last minute rush of course I forgot some things and left a few things undone, luckily my friend who will be living in that house is helping to tie up loose ends, plus she was willing to take on the dog and cat care as well. She’s not  huge fan of cats but I’m sure will learn to love my adorable feline.

Moving from a small town in a rural setting into the Berkeley hub-bub is a bit of culture shock to say the leas,t so I think it will take a few weeks to settle in to the pace of everything; one block over is Solano Ave., and I would guess there are 30-40 restaurants in a ten block stretch. Only one of each Subway and Starbucks and the rest are just small enterprise. Everything from Nepalese/Tibetan, to Chilean, to Afghan/Cuban, and then there are some unusual ones. Same with stores, and the people. Any five people you see are all from different places in the world. A rather heady experience for this re-transplant.

I will be posting more often and get back to my previous blog’s practice of posting daily in a week or so, once I’m settled in physically and mentally (spiritually). I must say that when the time comes to make some choices in a year, that little town sure has lots of good memories going for it. I feel so fortunate to be able to have this type of quandary in my life, and even more so because any choice I make will be informed by the practice and training in Zen that keeps straightening my path, spine and convictions when I wander, feel weak, or am confused.

Propelled or pulled

No difference at all

When in motion trying

To be still, and at rest.