23 06 2008

This was my first visit with the Ch’an group since the retreat. After certain events I was feeling spiritually flat. I needed some cushion time today. Shixong ( brother) says, after we do some meditation we will have a special exercise to help with your detachment. It will help with those random thoughts you have during meditation. I’m thinking hmm ok, I can use that.

After about 30 min. of sitting we break. Shixong tells us about the drill/exercise. We are going to go hand out fliers. Oh No!!! I think. Facing strangers is good practice for you on detachment he says. Observe and reflect on your reaction to their response. In my mind I flash on the Japanese Soto exercise of begging, in a sense the same thing, but different. I think, oh jheeze, I do not like this, but I will do it. I have had plenty of exercise on detachment lately but one can not get enough, I guess until one is truly detached, It is always needed not just for sitting meditation but in daily life, eg: no email replies, job rejections, etc etc. Reminds of a Nurato Ninja cartoon where he was told, everything is training to a Ninja. Same as everything is Zen training. Ok, this one is dealing with strangers. For one as shy as I am, it is a major thing to do this, but I will “ganbatte” ( do my best) and face the shy demon. I will do the seperation, detachment thing I do when going on stage, getting up in front of a class, the like.

It was a nice day out side, cooler than it had been over the last few days. That was a blessing. We, my group, three of us, took a station in front of a Major Asian market. I notice there is already a group a people handing out fliers as well. Oh boy… It is not a real big deal to do this, but the other two in my group also admit they are shy as well. I pick a spot by a second entrance, alone and have at it. “Duweibuchi” ( excuse me) Jiega yau buyau, I say to the folks that look Chinese ( they look surprised to hear that from me, hehehaha) and show them the Chinese printed side of the flyer. Interested in class in Meditation, Would you like info, I say to the non-Chinese. One guy takes the flyer, looks at it, then looks at another flyer he is holding. He laughs and asks, this is interesting. This flier just handed to me a while ago is on the Christian path, now this one on Buddhism. We laugh. I say, this is not about Buddhism. Zen will help enhance the Christian experience. We use Buddhist words but it is not about being a Buddhist, it’s about being centered. We laugh, and he sets off to do what he was doing. There was one good encounter at least. Others just took the info, some with a slight smile some not. I thank them all.

After about 30 mintues, I had run out of flyers. Not bad. Only a few gave me the do not bug me look. A few plain ignored me, a few just said no, a few smiled and said no. I faced the demon and survived again…life continues. Did this help my detachment from thoughts when doing meditation…I’ve no idea. Perhaps the most important thing and Shixong did say something about this was…maybe it helped someone find THE TAO . Therefore helping fill my bodhisattva vows.

Fools rush in…

23 06 2008

The title is not what it is your thinking, no matter what it is your thinking. It is the name of a play by my student and her husband. Yesterday, Sat was show time. I arrived at the theater @10:00 am and got setup. I was hoping we would have a band rehersal. We did of sorts, but it was on the fly, as in doing a run through of the whole show, just like it was live. It went for the most part well. Afterward we got a very short break, then the stage crew and sound did some more checks and stuff. Still no practice time for the band…

By now it is lunch time, I had to go pickup the lady Z and #2 son from the Bart. After a quick stop at Trader Joe’s for some food, flowers & drinks we were off to the show.

As with any show  people we buzzing around doing stuff. In a few moments it was show time. There was a bridal family member sitting in with us as the band started some opening tunes.

It was a little shaky starting by we got rolling by the 3rd tune like we had been playing together for a long time not just a couple of hours. I kept getting signaled from back stage another some , another song, one more song. Yes, we had to stall for the players. It was ok, we got to warm up and by know we were cooking. Then …show time.

The show was a musical/clown show about how the couple got together and some of their life up to this point. It included meeting their familes who also came out and played with the band. The grooms family played some down home hillbilly kind of stuff, that went over well. The bride’s Mum came out playing bag pipes. The show was full of singing, acrobats, and fun stuff with a lot of good talent.

The only downer to the show was that I did not get any of the band’s stuff recorded.

Oh well. At one point the projector was not working so we had to fill in with a made up Jam. Fun stuff… I love live theater.

The final act was their real wedding, and a dance-in with everyone on the stage and the band played on…

good time… I needed it!

I need to play more often.

This N That, that n this

21 06 2008

Life is not full of sunny days, love n happiness, and flowers nor are real blogs by real people. Alot of things are going on these days, not all pleasant, some are. Standard Yin and Yang. Studying Zen is about being Happy even when things are bad. Finding Joy in Sadness is another way of saying it. Overall I’m in a good state of mind. But some things bug me and disrupt my “Wa”

I’m not pleased about several things right now. In the big picture of life, small beans…or the pea in the bed. I got a letter from our condo management company saying, I had to replace a window in the club house…What??!!  It said I broke it and rule something something said I need to replace it in 30 days. Grrrrrrrr. I did not even know there was a broken window!!! My students and I are very respectful of the place and the people who use it. I was not happy to get the letter. I wrote back. I DID NOT break any window. I want the person who said I did to face me and say it and be ready to prove it in front of a Judge!!  I will not pay! Grrrr, Some excuse to get me to stop working out there with my students I think. I heard they have been bringing me teaching up in the owners meetings. I only have sometime three students there, most times two. This may turn into a big thing, crap. I pay my dues I should be able to use the club house for guests and exercise. I keep things very low key. There is always the park across the street, not great but, people do it. Winter will be the problem. However unless I get some real work soon, all this will be mute as we will lose the condo and have to move… non-attachment is a good thing.

Next it really bugs me when I take the time to write folks emails about whatever and get no reply! Not even a simple courteous, yes, no , maybe, thanks whatever!! I have written about 6 or so emails to different folks on different topics and no one has said boo in return!! I know it works, because sailing work related mails I get answers. Sigh, I know I expect too much of people sometimes, manners, politness and such, I try to keep that to a minimum, but sometimes… one wants a bit of courtesy. Sigh, I’ll need to work on that fault of mine. Ommm Ommmm 🙂

With the economy as it is, as I said, we have been thinking about major what if’s… scary times.

The government has come up with yet another way to get money. They now want people who spent over $1,000 to get their Captain license to carry a new card when working ( as in teaching a sailing class) that proves something about they are not terrorist! This new card cost 300.00 dollars! If one does not have it, their license maybe revoked. Isn’t THAT special!!!

For the 5 or so regular readers, not the spammers, you may recall I said back in April I had a “feeling” ( the Zen sense) something would happen work wise in June. It did, and is, it is not enough to save our home, but we will not starve 🙂 That is a good thing! Possessions, things, home cars, boats, whatever are temporary anyway. Health is our most important life value. Buddha said, non-attachment is the way, Jesus said give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s…and old Kung Fu Shifu ( who lost a lot of money) of mine once said, it is all a game anyway. Anyway we still have about 3 months before we run out enough money to survive as we are.

Interestingly I have been reading this book called 9 night with a Taoist Master there are many statement about relaxing and letting the “Tao” “God” take care of things. I’m trying to stay in that mindset. Sometimes it is not easy…sometimes it is.

There maybe another bit of light, I applied for a job at the college I went to for graphic design, they are looking for a media design person P/T. The pay is about what I was making hourly in the corporate world of design. They called!!! It is my first call since the bomb fell back in March. I did not speak with the person as I was out at a sailing instructor meeting at the new place, but they left a message. I am guessing it is for an interview, otherwise why would they call. If I can land this, along with the other P/T work this we could hang in there, until I get another break or we head off for Japan after cutting our loses. I could also get a chance to work on my ceramics again.

I heard today that unemployment in Cal was at it’s new high since 1970 something! I would not have guessed it when driving through Berkeley/Rockridge today on the way to band rehearsal. The restaurants and shops were full of people. Eating, laughing, shopping , etc.

The show/wedding /play is tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that, I always shift into a different space when I get to play! # 2 son will attend with Lady Z. It will be his first time seeing his old man play. Wonder if he cares…teens. Seems he mostly cares about his X-box 360 🙂

I did hear him talking to his friend the other night about GW Bush ( he thinks he is an idiot), the environment, cars and such, there is some hope. :-

Life is an adventure ne! The good, Bad and the ugly, full of this n that!

Musical Z

17 06 2008

I had a surprise last night. I was asked by an old student to play with the band for her wedding & play this coming weekend. She and her husband-to-be are professional clowns, I did a show with them last year, for those who follow this there remember the the theater and the circus shows. Anyway, so I told them I would be glad to do it. I’m always up for playing. It meant going late to another event I had planned, over on Treasure Island for a Summer Sailstice event. Acually I had planned sailing to it, but that had to be canceled with the Wedding. Anyway, on my last gig, my Amp started to major act up. I had put off getting it fixed. At this point it was too late. I ended up with a little bit of extra money from our tax refund. So I went looking for a Used Amp. I found one, I thought would be good. I drove for 1 hr to this place got lost, which meant losing another 30 min. Only to find this Amp was NOT a good buy. Bummer!! 😦

I went back to the search on Craig’s list. I happened a cross a new ad the next day. It was for “like new” Amp much closer. I jumped on it! I called the guy only to find out, he runs a mUsic store and is clearing out some Amps he had. The amp was not “like New” it was NEW!! Still in the Box. At less than half price!!! Cooll!! I was there!

So now I have a new Amp, prefect size and weight and the Brand I wanted CHEAP!. How cool is that!? So last night I went to my first rehersal. The AMp sounded nice, but sounded better after I put in my In-line EQ. Now it was great! However that was not the surprise, I digress

The surprise is, I was expecting to do this gig for free. However when I got there my student has a small stack of stuff for me, which included MONEY! NICE! I tired to turn it down of course, but she insisted. I have learned through the years, not to try to argue with a woman 🙂

Zen’s Loving Day (month) Sangria

15 06 2008

Zen’s Loving Day Month Sailing Non-Sailing Celebration Sangria:

1 part pineapple juice

2 parts merlot wine

1 cup orange juice

1 part ginger beer

1 organic apple cut up

1 organic orange cut up

4-5 stawberries, cut up

2 oz ( or so) tequila ( gold)

2 oz (or so) Shochu ( a Japanese Liquor)

mix and chill over night…

enjoy…. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh oooshiiiiiiii!

This was the drink we had along with some grilled salmon w/pesto, a small spring veggie salad with Artichokes, palm hearts, red wine vinaigrette dressing, salsa & chips.

This was our Loving Day boatnic ( picnic on a boat) celebration. I had planned a sail with a couple of international couples friends. However no one could make it. The day was perfect for a sail, however since I had the boat backed into the slip so I could access the starboard side, I passed. To take it out meant I would need to back in in the slip again. Therefore since it was just the Lady Z and I choose to just hang out, grill some fish, drink Sangria, eat, read and NAP. It was a good afternoon. The Lady Z read her Japanese book on “Zen”. It was not written by a monk but by a layman. She said, he says the same as you, “Zen” is not about religion, or limited to Buddhist, it is about living life. I read Nine Nights with a Taoist Master. It is the Tao Te Ching, written in a story form about Lao Tzu. Interesting reading. There were some very pointed items in there that are relevant to our current financial situation and life change.

The wild salmon I grilled on s/v “zen” BBQ. It was delicious ( Oshii). This is the way to have salmon remarked the Lady Z, much better than frying. It was our first BBQ since last 4th of July. It went GREAT with the Sangria and the gentle rocking of the boat, and the sounds of Kudo and Japanese songs playing on the laptop. Things were quiet at the marina, but there were lots of picnic in the park. I doubt if they were for Loving day, but I let my mind think so anyway. Happy Loving Day ( month) to all you mixed couples out there. Remember it was not THAT LONG ago that you’d be breaking the Law in the good old US of A.


More on loving Day here clickx