Thankful, but sad…

29 11 2010

I have been working as a Security officer now for about 7 months. It is not that I hate it, however it is boring as all get down. So much time I put into getting educated, skilled, trained, yet here I am walking around a parking lot. It could be worse, others are far far worse off. So I must remember to be grateful. It is a bit of a spirit lift when someone out of the blue says thank you for being here, it is scary in the dark, early in the morning. I have had that happen at least 3 or 4 times. I feel worthwhile suffering in the cold and dark of the early morning. Later the drab sets in and I get once again depressed I am not making any head way with life plans. One thing that I really do not understand about this job is, there are security booths setup that can see the whole parking lot, where the guards can be seen, but we are not allowed to use them, they, the company has them in use for keeping boxes. Boxes are more important that their workers to have shelter? Anyway the most troubling about this work is my spirit fades a little everyday. What they say about losing something you do not use, I feel happening to my artistic creativity. I am thankful to be working …at all, but sad, my spirit is fading as is my confidence to be any better than where I am. However on the bright side, I can use the time getting off early to job hunt, work on the boat, sail or whatever. Even though usually I need to take a nap from the lack of sleep. Yet still I have most of the rest of the day to do something. Also I get to get some exercise to help stay healthy and fit.  I need to keep looking on the bright side…

 

Is this Zen? All earth path lead to the same place…death

 

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Nov. Mantis gathering

21 11 2010

It was a dark and stormy night here on the island. There was lighting, thunder and sidways rain in abundance. I faced a 1 hour drive to Shifu’s in Campbell. It was the annual 1st of the Holiday Season gatherings. It is commonly called Thanksgiving. In Zen practice there is the philosophy everyday one should be thankful and give thanks. Do not wait for one day to remind oneself of living in gratitude. I have to remind myself of that daily when I go to work. I am hesitant to call it “Thanksgiving day” with the tainted background of the roots of this “holiday”. The premiss of the thought is good, but the reality of it’s history is not so good. That however is another story.

That is not what this post is about. It is about being grateful to gather with family and friends.

I made the drive to Shifu’s no matter what the weather. This was a time for me to be with “family” .  One of the few times i can be around those of like mind, and spirit. There is a connection that comes from training with others that bring this sense of family. It is also part of our training to think of our classmate, school-mates, system-mates as family. Addressing with other in that respect also brings this closeness. This is lacking in my Kyudo circle, for several reasons, but I will not go into that. There are a couple of Sempai and Sensei’s in Kyudo that I have this sense with, but for the most part I feel like an outsider.

It is interesting that Japanese systems are much more formal in structure and Chinese more casual, yet the Chinese system breeds a more sense of “family” rather than just dojo mates.

Anyway I arrived at the Campbell school and was surprised to find the parking lot full plus cars taken over the across the street parking as well.  There was a full house inside, lots of new faces. Shifu does not do advertising yet there are always new students, and/or returning students, along with the regualars.

It was good to see the familiar faces as I made my way around the room with greetings. There was a full table of food! Even veggie stuff, enough that I was able to get two plates of food.

I took it easy on the sweets as there a lot of sugar to be had. One of the students I guess has an espresso shop or something, because he had rig setup there. I’m not big on coffee but I had him whip me up something with milk, Bailies and espresso. It was good!

 

So mostly I ate, and chatted a bit here and there, and ate and chatted.

There is another gathering for Christmas in the making. There is a musical jam session planned. I am so there, I need to play! I’ve been having the need to release that spirit as of late dealing with being in a totally non-creative mode with work. It is hard and draining to my spirit. The body can take it because the work is not that hard to suffer through, Even mentally it can be handled as yet another form of training, but my creative spirit, I feel is dying, slowly being drained away. A jam will be good for me.

That gives me something cool uplifting to look forward to next month…Yatta!!

 





Rainy Day Kyudo…

3 11 2010

My posts are out of sequence, but I doubt if it matters…

The day started with light rain and wind and gradually picked up as the day progressed. I was not in the best of moods due to fighting a cold and the depression of losing 20 hours a week of pay. Yet, still considering this could be worse. I did get to sleep in, that was nice and needed. I was able to get in a nice long morning Chan-Ding ( Zazen) to start the day. I had considered going to the temple but that did not happen, I wanted to just kick it at home for a change. After doing some stuff around the house including laundry and blog updates I made ready for Kyudo practice and listened to and watched the rain. It was a peaceful morning.

The storm picked up and from time to time the power went out. This was a first since we’ve been here. The ride out to RSD was fairly easy not many people out in the rain. As it turned out I was the only one there at the Dojo. I guess the other guys had come on Sat. and covered the windows with plastic, yay! I was expecting the floor to be a mini lake but it was nice and dry…nice! I settled in for a nice afternoon practice. I had some incense, hot green tea, and enough clothes to stay warm. Not that it was to cold but I prepared for it to be so, so with my silk long john’s I was perfect.

I started with some Zazen, sitting hearing the rain but not listening was great. Those kind of moments remind me of Yoi Sensei saying how great it would be to do Zazen next to the mountain stream we visited in Japan. Also now whenever I hear the rain and I get to do Kyudo forever I will think of Tokyo.

I  followed Zazen with some breathing and motion Chan drills. Next on the agenda was Tai Chi ( Taikyuku) . Since I am writing an article for Kyudo Japan magazine on this topic I gave it some extra thought on what I was doing that would relate directly to Kyudo. There were a couple of positions I took shots of afterward to reference.

Finally it is shooting time, I had re- wrapped the hand grip on the yumi so I was curious to see if that would make a difference in my Tenoguchi. As is my custom I started with a few standing shots to warm up. I could not really see the traget well in the dim light of the warehouse with the storm outside also adding to the dimness but that was ok. I was really all about form today. Putting into practice what Jyozen -San had went over with me while in LA I work with keeping my draw big, while standing tall, reaching with the crosses and using my bones to open as it it says in the Kyohon.

All of my hits were high. They felt stronger like I was getting more power. The grip felt better I still needed to work on my Tenoguchi however the Yumi felt more comfortable with the thicker grip. After 8 standing shots it was time for Tai Hai. By this time I was warmed up and although could feel weariness setting in, I continued, now making better shots. I recalled Scott Sensei saying something about shooting using chi when the Physical strength is waning, that must have been what was happening here.

The rest of the practice session was really uneventful, I was hitting better, when I completly let go of wanting to hit better. Reminded me of Japan. Mushin, plus technique = better shots