A Meeting

This and my food blog have become increasingly similar in content, since I started toning down the Zen focus, and stopped uploading food pictures as often. As a consequence, I have decided to merge them into a new blog, which is on Wordpress, so I can have proper comments. Please feel free to catch up with me at Bare Feet and Tea Leaves.


Pushing Thirty

In about two weeks, I shall turn thirty. It’s strange. I’ve sometimes thought about where I want my life to be by the age of thirty, and I’m certainly not there. Not that I’ve fallen short of a destination, just that I’m not living as I thought I would be.

An ex once mentioned that his female friends (a bit older than I at the time) all had plans for before they turned thirty. Children were on that list, because apparently you have to have your first child before you turn thirty.

Obviously, that’s not happening for me. I used to think I would never want children. I don’t think that anymore, but part of me admits that I probably won’t anyway. I’m feeling a little old, and a lot past my peak, even though I know I probably have another 50 or so years in me. But maybe those years won’t be as a mother.


Minimalist Valentine

My boyfriend got me a trash can for Valentine’s Day. And I’m pretty happy. I’ve been living for almost 3 months without one and it’s getting old. But I’m too adverse to shopping to make the trip to Target to get my own. So. Valentine’s Day trash can. Trash can of love?

I got him a blanket so he can curl up on my couch without being cold when I commandeer my one blanket. We also exchanged chocolate bars. Who needs fancy shapes and boxes and ribbons when there’s good chocolate to be had in rectangular form. Mine even has caramel filling.

I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day. I’m not even anti-gift. But I am against giving out of obligation, when you don’t know of anything the other person requires (either in earnest or to make life more fun).

Also, happy Nirvana Day.


The Art of Falling Down

Today’s run was cut short. It was icier than I thought and I ended up slipping and falling, banging up most of my left side. After that, for some reason, I lost the desire to keep running in just-above-freezing weather.

It made me realize that there is an art to falling down and years of clumsiness have left me an artist. Martial arts has taught me to counter the fall with the heel of my hand, which actually hurt more than my hip or knee right after I fell. Meditation and yoga have given me the ability to relax as much as I can so I hit and flow with the fall, rather than trying to fight it.

There is a moment when you fall when you know you’re going to hit the ground and it’s best just to let it happen and deal with the result afterwards.

Also, my mother taught me that the first thing you do when you fall is make sure none of your clothing has exposed you in an embarrassing manner. Luckily that wasn’t an issue in running clothes, but it’s still important.


Eight Limbs

My body is a staff of eight limbs. Bamboo, I wave in the currents of time, flexing and folding when demands are made, but standing straight as needed.

I reach for the sky, honoring the sun, which has yet to even rise. I bend, feeling the heat suffuse through my body. Jump, lower, raise again. And back, rest. I flow.

The focus is in the flow and the gaze. The heat grows, until my body no longer feels the cool of my room. I practice with the devas until, satisfied, I sink into the floor on my back, practicing for the release of death in some small way.

My body is a staff of eight limbs.


Let It Come

I’ve started writing again. I mean again, again. I’m still working on a novel, but I needed a place to put my short pieces. Mostly fiction, although I’m throwing in a non-fiction series. It’s called Words Flow Like Wine. It’s still very young.

WFLW is the result of a slightly-tipsy conversation between myself and a friend who is a teacher. She talked about how she gives her students a writing prompt for 5-10 minutes every week. And that got me thinking: what if I just tried to write — something, anything — for 5-10 minutes, a few times a week. So far, it’s been almost every day since I started, but I’m sure that will taper off. But it’s a good place to keep things. And I can write up a draft with the prompt and flesh it out later. It’s where I keep my ideas, since I have too many to actually ever do justice.


The Cold Light of Day

The bodhisattva finds the truth in the cold light of day. The harsh light of truth shines down on the ugliness and beauty of the world alike. Me, I prefer a softer glow, candles, dim light bulbs, even a room lit by the first threads of dawn snaking through a drawn curtain. The truth is hard, but I will seek it.

But I am not yet a bodhisattva, to enjoy it.


Self-Medicating

As I mentioned before, I’ve been battling a bout of the blues. And I definitely tend to self-medicate with food. I’ve managed to drop the tendency to drink too much when I feel low because I realize that, ultimately, I end up feeling worse. But I still rely too much on comfort food, which is usually food that makes me feel bad after I eat it.

But this time, when I decided that the thing that would make me feel better was a sticky bun, I decided that, really, what would make me feel even better would be buying a whole box of pastries and sharing them at work. And you know what? It actually did. It turns out that sharing with other people, doing something nice for someone else, is actually more potent than all the delicious sticky buns out there. And I actually felt better afterwards.


Blues

Sometimes I get the blues. It reminds me of a poem my sister once wrote and performed at a poetry slam about how the fact that she’s a skinny, attractive, white girl made people think she didn’t belong at a poetry slam where most people write poetry about how hard their lives are. How hard could a cute little white girl’s life be?

So I feel bad. Then I feel bad about feeling bad. Then I feel bad because when I feel bad, it’s tough for people around me. And then I feel bad because when I feel bad I don’t do any of the things that might help me feel good. And it runs around, eating its own tail until I can kick myself metaphysically and make myself feel good again. Which is hard.


Take Tea With the Divine

I no longer meditate very often. I’ve toyed with the idea of officially stopping my visits to the Saturday Zen group so that I don’t tell myself I will go and then feel guilty when I come up with an excuse to skip.

But I need sitting time. I don’t need zazen, per se, but I need quiet time alone in a spiritual setting.

I need to take tea with the divine.

There is a profound parallel between my zazen practice and my morning tea. On days when I have the time, I sit with the cup between my hands, sometimes for 20 minutes, sometimes just five, and experience the tea. I recognize that there is divine in everything, that sitting with a cup of tea and no distraction allows you to commune with your own sense of the divine.

Call it a soul, call it buddha-nature, call it the goddess within. It is the divine-in-mundane that cries so softly we have to be very quiet to hear it. And right now I might need some focused, very-quiet time.