Kung Fu Kommuting

21 04 2007

So ends my first week of kommuting to the new job. The job itself is ok. The people are nice. My space is still being setup. There is a Mac on order for me ( yeah). I am setting up my work area, adding the Zen touch. Very different from having my own office…one adapts…the bamboo bends in the wind.

zenspace

The pay is not great, but it is pay. The commute sucks! There was an accident everyday. Today Friday was good, maybe more people are dong the Friday off thing the road was not so packed. I was able to make good time going and coming home. I need to get my Cycle on the road, then I can ride the commute lane or the back/side streets, besides saving ga$ for the trip to work.

mirrorview

I am amazed at how much in a rush people are and how little patience. I guess that is a reflection of life, modern life here on the whole…stress. I got the flashing lights “move faster” from a couple of people driving just because I let a space of 5 car lengths in front of me. Even though just past that space was a backup of some 50 plus cars. So even if I did go faster I can only go for 1000 yards or so afterwards I would have to slow down. Then there are the people that cut others off to get that one car space in front of another, and the ones that jump across 3 lanes of traffic to get off at an exit because the were not paying attention.
What do this have to do with Kung Fu? well this is it. In training we are taught to be more aware of our surrounding, to find harmony with it. Seek a balance in the motion. In Buddhist philosophy there is mindfulness. Same idea , different words. how it works in this case, not being on the phone while driving, not cutting someone off because they are giving the car in front a safe distance, not playing so much attention to the car broke, flat tire, accident on the side of the rode that you rear end the guy in front, not putting on makeup or eatting or fiddling with the blackberry. Doing one thing well, being in the moment…driving.

It is watching around you, feeling the flow of the traffic, slowing, pacing, sensing. Not just looking but sensing. Kind of like sailing in a storm, in the fog. Or walking down a dark street, in a crime area. You look, but you also feel the space.

It is a dangerous world on the commute road, you have to be on your J.O.B. not on the phone!

Kung Fu as I have said many times is not just about fighting, it is not only about being in balance with the world, spiritually and physically, but avoiding danger, self defense. Protection of the temple, the vehicle of your spirit, the house of God takes many forms. Good food, meditation, exercise, love are part of it, and now in the modern world defensive driving. Modern weapons are not just guns, bombs, chemicals, but cars with people in a rush.

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ReBirth

9 04 2007

And now back to our regular programing…

Rebirth – Happy Easter

Easter Sunday… how fast it came. Weird to think just a couple of weeks ago I was in Japan. Then all our plans short circuited with the lost of my job. Yet here I am employed again in a matter of weeks, by Easter, starting a new life. A personal re-birth because much has changed in plans, goals, and way of life.

lake 1

It was a nice mostly sunny day this morning. After prayer, meditation and checking for any new job postings. I fixed breakfast and afterward headed to the City. ( San Fransico). Now being on money watch, with just me traveling I opted for using the Bart. It would have cost me 4.00 just to cross the bridge, then gas @ $3.30 a gal more or less it would have cost me somewhere at least $11.00 -13.00. The BART round trip was $9.00, plus I got some walking time in.

bart

I walked over to the BART station through the park across the street from us, then around the corner and pass the lake. Our area is nice, not the best, far far from the worse. We are both thankful to be able to live here.

On to the BART, there are a bunch of people. After a bit I notice they mostly have some orange on, a cap or shirt or something, then see the shirts and stuff. Oh I get it they are going to the SF Giants Baseball game. I’ve never been much of a major stream sport guy. When I was young I did it a bit because I wanted to be “in” with the crowd. Later I stopped caring about the crowd.
Next on the BART later down the line are a group of Latino. The only reason I noticed them was one woman had a very loud irritating voice was speaking Spanish LOUDLY. I was glad when they left.
The ride over was easy I read my book about a couple from Down Under who Yachted around Japan and the In-land sea. They had written a book on their adventures there. I brought it back form me from Japan, having ordered it from the writer and had it shipped to Osaka. It was cheaper that was. interesting book, but I digress.

revolution

Next stop the Mission District in SF. This is my first time taking the BART to the Mission, and my first time not just driving through. It is a different world from the “burbs” where we live. The main street language is Spanish, the beat is Hip hop, it is Urban in the real sense. It took me a bit to readjust my senses. The place I was going to is called the SF Buddhist center it was located in the Mission district. It was listed as down to earth for the community. I was headed there for the People of Color Meditation Group.

SFBC

I arrived early there was a group leaving the building, which was a small unassuming place located on a side street. My impression was, hmm must be a Gay group getting out of some session. I find out later I was right. My group was not in as yet so I walk around taking in the hood. There were a few interesting restaurants in the area. Some of them were Veggie types. I made a mental note of that. One of the cooler things about the area are all the wall murals. This was Urban art at some of it’s finest. Some were great, one was even 3-D not just painted on a flat wall, but had reliefs on it as well.

Wall art 2

I wandered back over and the door was open for the next group us. We were a small group. A Chinese lady was the leader, we were a small ethnic mix. We sat for a bit and intro and comments were made. From there we went into the Meditation Hall. The place was NICE. Low key but very good vibes.
The Buddhist center is from the Western Buddhist group, they we are told are a hybrid group which takes in many lines of Buddhism. We had no set way of doing meditation for this session. Whatever type you did was fine, we were just there to share the energy.

the hall

We did 30 min of Zazen , then about 10-15 min of walking meditation. That was my first time for that, though I had heard and seen it done. It was to me very much like Tai Chi walking with out so much body and balance awareness.

Afterward, we went back to the common area and had tea and chatted about whatever on the lines of meditation or asked question or wanted to share.

One of the common things spoken of was what a good vibe the Meditation hall had. One person said he was really impressed with the good feels in the room. He was a scientist and did not usually speak about good vibes and such, but his impression was just that. It was told to us by the group leader afterwards that , when the room was being built that many many people had place written prayers and other such things in the sub-floor of the room while it was being built. So the users of the room would have good feelings and find peace in there.

wall art 3

The session ran a little shorter than the normal as the leader was re-covering from a bout with the flu. So she in a way was having her own re-birth.

It was a positive experience for all. I was disappointed Lady Z could not attend as she had to work. The POC session are held every other month and on Sundays, so she will not be able to go. However the group leader is having a special half day retreat on May 5th, Lady Z and I may make a day of it as a little treat with dinner afterward.

wall art 4

I walked back to the BART station among the sounds of Urban life. It was a good day I felt blessed and was thankful. I was doing a bit of reading about the yachting adventure in Japan on the ride back home, but soon did the Japanese thing and took a nap on the train.

wall art 5

Happy Easter… find your own rebirth and be thankful.

lake 2





Saiwai

6 04 2007

feedingWell, not just the ducks will continue to eat. Although crumbs, food is food. I was offered the job ( yeaa), the one I said a few days ago I was not thrilled about and the I-ching said “It is not smart to turn one’s back on the lowly people”. I say that here because they can not afford to pay me even close to what I was making. So it is not the greatest, but a job is a blessing and the old saying a bird in the hand…

I can still look for something better… However I do feel bad about planning to still seek something better ( I can be really choosy now though). It goes against my sense of loyalty. More so since they are making an effort to give me more money and a vacation which they had not planned on. I could wait for something better, but who know how long it could be. The way things work though, once you have something, something else shows up. Like when you do not have a girl/boy friend, none want you, but once you are in a relationship, there are encounters at every corner.

Life is funny like that…





I-Ching

5 04 2007

I-ching

The I Ching (often spelled as I Jing, Yi Ching, Yi King, or Yi Jing ; also called “Book of Changes” or “Classic of Changes”) is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. A symbol system designed to identify order in what seem like chance events, it describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs. The philosophy centers on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change (see Philosophy, below). In Western cultures, the I Ching is regarded by some as simply a system of divination; many believe it expresses the wisdom and philosophy of ancient China.

The book consists of a series of symbols, rules for manipulating these symbols, poems, and commentary.

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I believe we are given many things to help us make it through this life’s passage. We should use whatever is needed, Prayer, Meditation, Feng Shui, Exercise, Church, Divination, Drumming Circles, Acupuncture, Chi Gong ( but no Qujiboards, sorry bad juju, been there too scary, dark side stuff). All tools for sailing life’s waters. Also, that God, the Universe, The Force, speaks to us in many voices, when we are open to listening.

From time to time I use the I-ching, it is interesting. I do not think one should live only by that, but it can be used as a tool, counsel under the right circumstances, balanced with you could even say prayer if you like. If you are of the Heavy Christian Path, you could pray that GOD gives you an answer/guidance, then read your answer. Some do it by praying and opening the Bible at random and reading a verse. If you are in tune, who is to say & prove it does not work.

Anyway, back to the I-ching. Sometimes it makes no sense, at the times. One could say that later you apply whatever happened to what it said and make it right. Kind of like the prophecies of Nostradamus. Unlike his the I-ching is not about making world prophecies but telling of changing patterns. However those who follow the I-Ching find that when understood ( and many do , unlike Nostradmus), it can be scary right-on ( but not dark side kind of right-on). One thing to remember you do not asks yes or no question, but what if, or how about, or which type

eg:

last week I asked: 3/29 just after the lay off

_________
Question: how can i make the best of this time
Answer:
Present: hexagram #36

Darkening of the LightWhen the light goes down, it may be wise to become invisible. The image is of fresh darkness, the period after the sun has gone down or the fire has gone out. There is still much activity left over from the light of day,
and movements in the outer world are at their most dangerous. Even the smallest sound, the faintest glow of light,
can attract unwanted attention.When the darkness of stupidity reigns, it is best that your own brilliance stay “hidden under a bushel basket.”
That is, your thoughts and efforts should be quiet and self-contained, and protected, as much as possible, from
harmful external influences.Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be swept along on the current of conventional wisdom when dangerous uncertainties exist. Try not to become too depressed or anxious; this period will pass. Just endure it for now and inwardly preserve your self-confidence, while outwardly remaining cooperative and flexible. The time to assert yourself will come. Avoid looking too far ahead if you have not yet achieved your goals. That only brings regret and longing, which can eat away at your inner resources.

Be cautious and reserved. Control yourself. Do not needlessly awaken dormant forces of opposition. During dark,
unsettled periods, it is best to step gingerly around the sleeping dogs.

The most specific advice with regard to your question is contained in changing line 1:

When lost in a cave, one small candle is better than the light of a thousand dreams.

Attempts to soar above obstacles by ignoring them are usually futile. When impediments are real, one should not engage
in flights of fancy about imagined success. To do so can result in a great loss of face with others, for attempting to
solve large problems is actually a sign of weakness unless there is an objective chance at success.

Future: 15 Humility

This hexagram represents the quality of likely opportunities and challenges arising from changes that are in process now:

Humility is often rewarded in human affairs, just as valleys are filled by the erosion of great mountains. It is the way
of the world to fill the empty cup. Regardless of your position, humility is a positive and deceptively powerful attribute. If you are in a high position but are still humble, people will be drawn to you and the causes you espouse. If your position is lowly, humility will endear you to those of higher status. True humility is a virtue to which all should aspire.The most successful people are those who know how to bring each situation into balance by reducing that which is too great,
and adding to that which is too little. Such a person craves not power, but balanced and stable relationships.
Humility is the virtue which allows you to perceive the balancing force in each situation; humble people are not prey
to the many illusions which grow out of self-importance. If humility is not natural to your disposition, make a conscious
effort to develop a strain of self-effacing humor.
________

Hmmm, sounds pretty deep. Make cut backs, reduce spending needs, do not sit around regretting things I could have done, chill, re-center. Interesting eh!

Ok next. I get an interview for a job, feels pretty good. I am unsure about if I should take it if offered. It is the one with the suckie commute. They say there will be a 2nd interview for some…

the next day:…I get the call for a second interview

I ask the I-ching:

Question: what is my best path at this time?
Present: hexagram #44 Liaison

The attraction is strong. But the relationship is not destined to last. Be careful – the coming together of disparate
forces may not be what it seems. An apparently harmless, but potentially dangerous, element has attracted attention to
itself and is pulling on a stronger one. One ancient image is of a bold but immature young girl who uses her charms to
gain influence with a powerful man. The man dallies with her, thinking that it can do him no harm. Ha, famous last
thoughts! When power shifts into the hands of those unprepared for it, harm comes to all parties.Still, you need not fear meetings with those whose positions are widely different from your own, so long as you know you
are free of ulterior motives.Be especially wary of temptations which arise because of your position, or your connection to someone in an important
position. Generally, it is best to combat such temptations by snipping them in the bud before they can flower. As soon
as a dangerous liaison presents itself is the time to speak up. On the other hand, there are times when the meeting of
the yielding and the strong turn out to have been opportunities for truly positive and constructive relationships. The
difference between careless connection and a relationship of depth lies in the motives of the heart. How sincere are you?

The most specific advice with regard to your question is contained in changing line 4:

It is not smart to turn one’s back on the lowly people, for you may need their support sometime in the future. When people of small influence have good intentions, it is wise to keep them on your side in case their support is ever needed.
Seemingly insignificant people have a way of becoming significant eventually.

Future: 57 Gentle Penetration

his hexagram represents the quality of likely opportunities and challenges arising from changes that are in process now:

The general situation suggests a subtle penetration. Reeds bend softly in the wind, symbolizing flexibility and endurance. Here we see quiet, relaxed effectiveness in action. A gentle influence is at work, but just as the wind is ceaseless in its efforts, so too small forces can persist to produce lasting results.

Gentle penetration bodes well for new relationships. Just as a summer breeze slowly penetrates the woods to cool the
forest, the ideas of gifted leaders slowly reach the minds and sink into the hearts of the people. In personal
relationships, a gentle beginning is often linked to a long-lasting union.When employing a force that is weak but persistent, careful aim is necessary, for only when a small force continually
moves in the same direction can it have much effect. In human affairs, this kind of influence comes more through strength
of character than by any direct confrontation or seduction. It’s important to have, and stick to, clearly defined goals.
Maintaining a strong vision and following a steady course of least resistance often brings good fortune.

______________
Wow trippy eh!, I think so. I go in today for the second interview. I find out they have no benefits, because they are a new company. Later they want to add stuff for their workers but for now nothing. This also includes they do no have paid vacation, they will pay for major holidays but that is it for now. Hmmm seems even less attractive to me, but it is a job, they can not pay close to my old salary, but it is a job, I am told by Sisook, and Lady Z. There is a chance it could turn to something good, down the road as it grows…I can always look for something else while I’m working. It would get me off Un-employment. Hmmm

We’ll see if I get the offer. They did spring a surprise design test on me as part of the second interview, to seeif I really knew waht I was doing, heheheh. I hate tests, but no biggie. They asked for two design drafts in a certain format, and configuration, with X & Y info. I did it, easily and rather fast. However did not get to check the printout before one of the interviewers checked it and he found one typo (graphic designers flaw), unlike this blog I do proof my paid work. Maybe not a big deal, maybe so… we’ll see. Jheez I’ve already put alot of time and gas into this low pay, no benefit job. Wonder if it is worth it

(“the relationship is not destined to last”) there was that statement.

The rest of the interview went easy. The owners seem like nice folks, I could get along with them. The commute, well I could ride my motorcycle.

We’ll see…

I see an ad tonight that would be prefect for me. Designing for a company that” is the American subsidiary of DHC Corporation, the largest direct mail skincare company in Japan”

Needs: Ability to read and write Japanese or designing with Japanese typography . Near Bart! Nice, In SF means good money…

—————————

I went to visit a friend after the interview who opened her own Coffee/sandwich shop. Her place was near by, I had not seen it since she first purchased the place. I designed her logo years ago. She was surprised to see me. I got treated to lunch and we did the catch up chat thing.

Afterward I went sailing for the rest of the afternoon…re-centered in the “Zen-zone” Tada Sailing

 

Tada Sailing II





I don’t get it…

5 04 2007

Rant #2

Here in the good ole US of A, we have a lot of good things going, & many that suck. The old yin/yang thing is one view. But not really because that is all about balance. So it is really more about taking the good with the bad. Well one of the good things which is bad is the operation of our un-employment system. Yes it is good that it is there, HOWEVER…

The way it is run SUCKS. You can work 20 yrs and PAY money into this system , but when you need some of it back they only will give you 1 yr max! If you work 6 months then go on Un-employment, you get 1 yr Max. and only that if the economy is bad!

WHAT THE FUDGE!

This is money you work for , they MAKE you pay into , but when you need it they treat you like they are digging in there pockets to give it back, like it is charity! This is money YOU earned!, they keep it, insist you pay it, but when you need it, you are made to feel like a beggar. I do not get it!

If you quit, you get NOTHING!!

Not fair!

But if there is a war for gas somewhere…$$$$$$ away it goes.

sad.

In Japan even if you quit, you get Un-employment. But you do have to wait 3 months before you get paid, quit or not…see, the good with the bad thing again.

Life is funny like that…

End rant..now back to our regular programing.





Centering

1 04 2007

I went to Shibo’s tailor shop today as usual when I’m not otherwise pressed with things to do and I did a few things for him. He is very concerned about my job lost and is coming up with things for me to do at both the tailor and weddings/ photography shops. Some say Chinese are very racist to Blacks, however all that I have met have been very kind to me. In many ways he has been my mentor. The Chinese I know treat me as family. Even the ones I know casually are still respectful, they tend to warm up after they know you better. Maybe they appreciate someone having an interest in their culture. Not to say I have not met some who are not, but I’ve met some of everyone who are not, there are jerks everywhere, of all colors. Still… Maybe it has to do with how one treats others and the level of respect shown, or just personal enlightenment… or that due unto others thing.

Anyway I digress.

He reminded me to useOn leg this time to get some practice in, even though it maybe difficult to focus. Another way of saying being mindful while practicing. I had wanted to go to HeartZen Meditation class this afternoon, however there was none. Shijie is locating another place for it to be held. Too bad I no longer have my studio I could offer that although it was rather out of the way I think for many. Anyway, other than my own morning Zazen no session today.

There are other ways of centering, which I really need to do more of under these darken sky’s. Tai Chi, Sailing, Ceramics, Gardening, Zazen, Kyudo all part of that Zen oneness, centering , mindfulness thing when approached correctly.

I took a break from the events of survival and did some Tai Chi Sword practice. Shibo is of course right, I do need to put some more practice time in now while I have it. That does also go on the list with the other things I need and want to do while I have some free time. Spend more time on the throwing wheel before school ends, I have a few items I want to make still, raise my web skills so I can find more work in that line of design, work on the balcony garden, sail, increase my Japanese skills, clean/organize the storage space, catalog/video the Shaolin Mantis sets. If I could do only all that stuff full time and still have money, that would be sweet. There is however that pesky need to make /have money. Money really is the root of all evil…

However one has to look at things in a balanced way, as in the Tai Chi symbol. As as some Zen masters say there is no good or bad there is only the moment. So …if money is used for good, or to inable one to do good… then we are back to perspective and the moment. Simple, yet complex.

Hmmm. Anyway, I’m spending the day centering on Sunday, Zazen, Tai Chi , Sailing, Band practice. I have an interview on Monday, not a job I really want, because of the commute, which means, I maybe offered it and have to choose.

Life is funny like that sometimes.