Lady Z had to work, so I was left to my own stuff. I got up fairly early for a day off after some Zanzen and breakfast, I did some computer work, gardening and dealt with virgin mobile on my phone problem. That was not fun, they promised to resolve it. I have been waiting for 2 months to get my old service number changed over to them, because for the amount of time I use my cell phone I might as well get a lower cost provider. Anywho…
After spending some time down on the boat, cleaning up the revenge of the birds, but not sailing, but messing around on the boat and some Yin time in the hammock to balance out some of the Yang time I’ve been on for the last two weeks. I set off to do my errands. Finding a Spark plug for my motorcycle, with no luck on a holiday. Returning something to West Marine, even after 30 days they refunded my money , nice. Spending Way too long at Fry’s in line to buy a printer/fax. Driving to Oakland to pickup my roster for my next sailing class this weekend. Finally I’m done. I head over to my favorite Veggie restaurant, the Golden Lotus in Oakland for dinner and to read a book whilst waiting for Kyudo class to start. I have 1-hour plus to kill.
It had been a month since I’ve been able to attend. There was a intensive four days training at the Sonoma Mtn Zen Center, two weeks ago. I could not attend. No time , or money. maybe next year. Anyway I did the circus thing that weekend.
I get to the Shambala Center I am the first to arrived for the Golden Tiger Kyudo class. I hang out in the car and wait to see if there is indeed a class today. I wait only 25 min. and a couple of folks show up. As I am in front of the building, I pop out of the car and get to the front door in time to help with the equipment and in we go to setup.
I get a bit of help in the dressing room with how things are tied since I’m still new at how it all fits together. Then we go do the group meditation. In a way part of my favorite things these days. We use cushions here like the Soto style, unlike the Chinese way so it is a bit more comfortable. Nice because my hip is a bit sore these days, from something I did, so having the cushion helps.
Tonight there is no group shooting, just single, everyone on their own. The class is small so everyone can shoot without waiting for a target. I watched for a moment to make sure I remembered the steps, then I joined in.
I felt like I did ok, I tried to remember my correction from last time. After I while Lucy the senior came over and gave me some corrections. On my draw and finger placement. Part of it was opening up my chest when I drew the bow, similar to expanding when doing Tai Chi, when I remembered that movement, it helped. It also helped when I took my time more and really centered my breath between movements. Since this was all about me and the shot I felt no need to rush there was no one waiting in line.
So after a few shots of 6 or more I sat for a few moments and watched. I remembered what the Sensei in Japan said ” you learn by practice, then watching , then practice. So I sat and watched.Lucy was shooting and her advanced student. I watched how they drew the bow and saw the difference. I questioned Lucy about it after she finished and got a few pointers. I was able to get one more shot in before end of class and closing meditation. The draw may have been better . but it did not feel prefect, nor was the sound of the arrow as it hit. Though it went in as other times. The sound was off as was the feeling of the shot. Next time I’ll do better.
Heart Zen (Chan) update:
Before I left for Kyudo I received an email from elder sister from the Zen class. She apologized that so much of the class on Sat. was in Chinese and Lady Z could not understand. She said it would be changed for the next session and sent along some practice tips for Lady Zen.
When I returned home that evening, Lady Z said someone had called from the Zen meeting, they wanted to know if she had any question or problems understanding what/how to practice and again said the other sessions would be more in English to be helpful to her and any others. Also said please do not hesitate to call or email if she had any question. So much different from when we went to the SF Zen center and had to leave as message with the visiting Phubab and never even got a reply email or other wise, from anyone!