Morning ashes

– Missy Elliott’s new show is quite entertaining in that train wreck kind of way. Who will get voted off the island next? Do you have what it takes to be a triple threat?

– Morning, the grey sky is revealed slowly behind the branches. Winter rain and fog, and a cough. The cats are wily.

– I am reading about Zen and mindfulness. I have started reading a comic about an ex-preacher who is hunting down God who has abandoned His post.

– My cleaning is mostly in order. The day’s challenge is depression which is sometimes overcome by getting everything organized and dusted off. When that is done, I sit and look about the room. The cats are sleeping. And I sometimes wonder what to do with myself next.

– The coffee shop is a good place to go to get out of the house. It is a combination of hanging out and talking with people—sometimes strangers, sometimes friends—people watching, reading, writing, and just enjoying life. Sometimes a friend will come in and bring bad news. At others, there are one too many derelicts on the sidewalk. The other day one was throwing up on the curb. Then he came in with vomit all over him and started talking to us. I left, but felt bad later that I was not kind to him. Now I wonder what has happened to him, and if he’s all right.

– Spicy Thai soup for breakfast. Acupuncture for the body’s chronic asthma syndrome and hip pains. I learn so much these days how everything is about balance. Soups, she says, are good for me, especially around lunch. Approves also of my relationship with Indian food. “Breathe like this…” she says.

– If I go to sleep around 11:30, I generally wake up around 2:30 AM feeling like I’ve slept a full night. Trying to ween myself off this Singulair, naturally I wake coughing with some phlegm, and wheezing. At this point, I make some tea and do whatever else I can to feel better, then begin to read. Wide awake like this, I can read in bed for what seems two or more hours at a stretch.

– Matthew (farmerpoverty) and I are working on a conversations book. I’ve promised him sometime this week I’ll send the rough draft.

– Am I retaining what I’m reading? Zen steers away from high concepts and goes straight for direct experience. I like this, and it reminds me of … Direct Action. The two, when you think about it, should go together. Direct Experience/Direct Action.

– Breakfast this morning is basically lunch.

– Meditation with the group went well as in I was present for the whole thing. That is, two sitting meditations with one walking meditation. Much of the time sitting I was screaming in my head. I have a lot of anger. “Anger issues.” “That guy has issues.” “That kid is pissed off.” I hide it well. No I don’t. Yes, sometimes I do. People can see it. That’s okay, let people see it.

– He told me about my poetry performance, “I was really shocked. You were really funny. Last time I think I saw you your stuff was very angst.” I told him angst is valid, but I think it’s important to mix it up a bit. I want my style to be broad.

– This other guy told me how he used to work for the “mob” in the old days, in Vegas, and that he liked it for the most part. Stay on someone’s good side and they treat you well. Isn’t that universal? Bless the mob for their moments of kindness.

– Is it me or is the show Boston Legal actually enjoyable? Not much left on TV these days, outside of HBO. Joss Whedon is off the air and returning to the silver screen. Come September, his epic Firefly will debut its first film “Serenity.” But with Buffy/Angel gone, what is there really?

– Joy is: …petting my small cat Kalika when she is sleeping. She is so soft and fuzzy. Now she is sniffing a fragrance in the air. …reaching clarity, my true state. …laughter.

– Thinking about going to a formal all day meditation retreat (sesshin) one of these days. This means I will really have to up the ante and get my mind and body used to sitting peacefully. Kind of a scary thought sitting for such long periods, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.

– Here’s a parable. Once a man was returning home from his voyage, only to find that his house had gone up in flames and there was nothing left. He panicked, unable to find his son. In the woods he found what he thought was his burned corpse. And so he kept these ashes with him in a bag and mourned in the following days. Three years later, the son was able to break free and found his father’s new house. Banging on the door, he shouted, “Father, it’s me. I’ve returned.” “That’s not possible,” he said, looking at the bag of ashes. “My son is dead. My son is in this bag. Go away! Go away!” So his true son was lost to him forever.

I was mentioning how beliefs are “bendable.” If we hold on to one single belief, doing so without really looking at others… we deny ourselves the ability of really seeing. We hold onto ashes thinking they are of value.

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