31 August 2011

Survivor 23 - Ozzy and Coach HAIR again - South Pacific.

Ozzy is back! Coach is back! And for some weird reason Russell’s 19 year old nephew is on the show…so what? Weird. I guess he must have paid off some executives to get him on the show. I hope he’s voted off first. I mean…okay, maybe he’s a nice kid and he should be there and I should be all super supportive…but really, I just want Ozzy to win and maybe they’ll auction off his hair when it’s all over…did you see it? Sweet.

So – Survivor is back and I’m going to need something to distract me from my studies…I will be sending out weekly(ish) updates. 

I do this pool thing at work and I've gotten positive reviews so I started posting it on my blog. I know...it's weird and doesn't really seem to 'flow' with the whole Zen vibe I'm on...but then again...maybe it is completely appropriate. :) 

Either way...I'm so excited Coach is gracing us once again and Ozzy grew out his hair. 

Ozzy...why the hair?
Why Ozzy?

29 August 2011

Running, Sitting, Young the Giant, and Tricycle.

Well, it's August 29, 2011. I started Zazen practice on July 28, 2011. I haven't missed a day yet. I just do it. I just sit. I sit and try and notice my breath. The basic trend for me so far as been to sit and think, 'okay I'm going to breathe in and then out'. I was counting my out breaths to start with and I used to emotionally beat myself up for straying from the count. Then I only counted one for each out. Now I like to just notice what I'm thinking and feel those thoughts in my body. I am reading, "Zen Mind Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki. I read about breathing and internal and external 'stuff'. I read that we are like a swinging door. I didn't quite get it when I first read it and now I think I get it a little bit. Each time something shifts in me I understand it a little bit more then something shifts again and I have no clue what it means at all. Click on Shunryu's name and you will be directed to the quote...it's on the Tricycle website.
CURRENTLY - I suppose that each time I breathe out - a little of 'me' is shared with the planet and each time I breathe in - a little of 'you' is shared with me...a little of the entire universe...I know...don't think about it too much.
I'm watching Much Music right now. I'm not sure why. Nothing else on I guess. I like this song - My Body by Young the Giant.

I noticed last week that I really like the taste of milk. Weird. I never used to drink milk and now I find myself reaching for it from time to time. I wonder what has shifted in my body/mind to enhance the taste of milk. I think the chemicals in our body/mind switch up toxicity and that is why our taste buds change over the course of our lives. I think maybe I'm more aware of what my needs are - like, I need Vitamin D and Calcium and am finally a bit more aware of the good things my body needs because it's good for me and I deserve it. Hokey? Most likely reads that way for sure. I know what I mean.

Tonight is my first night shift in quite some time. I am done the team leader day shifts. I'm back to two day shifts and two night shifts. I'm going to start school tonight. At least that's the intention now...if I still feel that way I'll do it. I'm going to crack the books for Statistics and challenge myself. I have to finish up a little Team Leader stuff as well. Bottom Line? I just have to do what I set out to do. That's all I can do.

Since I've been running - I learned something about myself. I learned that setting goals for the future are no good. The only good thing is doing what I want to do. I've only really ever let myself down. What I'm getting at - When I'm running and looking ahead I used to think, "Once I get to that sign, I'm going to stop." Then if I didn't feel like stopping I would keep going...that was so weird for me. There was one time when running, I did look ahead and decided that I just wanted to get to the last turn before my driveway and then I stopped myself. I realized that I was sitting there waiting in a future that hadn't happened yet and I was just uncomfortable in the moment I was in. I thought about it and decided, "I'm just going to check in with myself right this second and if I'm feeling alright to continue, I will. If I'm too tired or in too much pain to continue then I will stop." After doing that, I have been able to run much farther without stopping. I'm also in better shape for it. It's difficult to break promises with myself when I don't make them. I don't have the disappointment to contend with anymore...well, right now. I still make plans and have ideas for what I would like to accomplish in a day - I just don't carry the expectations anymore.

About sitting - I've notice that when I sit sometimes my body gets really hot. I feel super warm and I just roll with it. I haven't thought too much about the why yet. I haven't placed what my thoughts were when the heat begins. I'm almost uncomfortable in the warmth. I sit in it though. I also noticed that when I wear more than a t-shirt the weight of the second layer is really noticeable. I don't generally notice it throughout the day. And to point out...I'm not dressed to warmly when the sitting starts and I don't think my attire is contributing to the initial heat I feel being emitted from my body. I feel it and then when I finish the sitting, I no longer sense the heat.

21 August 2011

"like a tay inna wihin" jody foster in some movie I can't recall the name of...

Yesterday's Zazen session was difficult. I was pretty much crying near the end of it. I should have sat for longer, but I think it was long enough. It had to be because that's all it was. I wonder why. I can't recall exactly what I was thinking about and I can't recall where my body was aching. All I remember is recognizing that we all have a choice in whether or not we stay here on this planet and there is nothing anyone can really do about whether we decide to remain or to leave. I'm glad I didn't recognize (really understand) that until now. I don't think I would have done so well if I figured that one out years ago. I suppose that's why I was crying - the recognition of life for life's sake and how wonderful I am - you are - we are - and aren't (trifecta). I recall hearing the wind and knowing intrinsically that it's always there.

So - sitting each morning and evening is getting somewhere. I would still be here whether or not I was participating in the zazen, but I feel better for it. I was sitting in my feelings and knew that they would calm - you know, like the wind and all that jazz. I knew I had it coming to me. I was just thinking before I sat down that I didn't know what the hell all those books about how difficult sitting can be were getting at. Okay, yes, I get it. I understand. :)

Well, time to finish watching "Little Red Riding Hood." We spent money on renting it. I know. So far? I'm going to give it about a 5.5.

My next book? "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki.

Let's see what this book brings. I am certain I read the inside flap of the book before I sat and it mentioned stuff about thinking about who we are and stuff like that. I guess that's what I had in my mind at that time. 

17 August 2011

INTP (which should really be IiNTP I think)

I'm still sitting everyday. I thought I was ready to move on to 20 minutes each morning and another 20 each evening. I have done it a couple of times, but for the most part I'm not. I'm sitting just 15 minutes each time. I don't know why I haven't made the commitment to progress. When I'm not feeling pressure to get up early or miss out on time spent with the LOML, I'm okay for the 20. I excuse make to avoid it. I'm just not ready to commit. Or is it better said, "I'm not doing it yet." I guess that's honest. I mean, if I really wanted to do it for the entire time, I would just do it.

Learning more and more everyday. I'm sitting and sitting and sitting and recognizing my thought patterns. I'm thinking about them and then I'm not and then I'm lost in some other thought. Yesterday evening I remember I am thinking about 'Mu'. I have starting thinking, 'Mu' on my in breath and then again on my out breath. About three breaths into that mantra I could hear Moksha (we call her Mu) eating downstairs. I smiled. That's what it's about for me.

For a two mornings in a row I chose to look down at the time and saw there was three minutes and change left for my sitting. I thought it was interesting that both times I was only 12 minutes into it.

About two evenings ago I got stuck in a numbers' game. I was thinking about 32 times 32. I have no idea why 32 was in my head...maybe because I was thinking about the 1x1 = 1, 2x2 = 4, 4x4 = 16 and then I fuck it up and just multiply 16 x 2 and get 32 and then I do the 32x32...but I generally just multiply it by 2 and saw the error in that...instead of figuring the 16x16 first I got stuck on the 32x32...oh dear me...I have to go back and do 16x16...I find it difficult to clear my mind enough to just see a chalk board with those numbers. I can do it when I write it out...I should be able to see it the same way as when I write it. Maybe that's what I'm working on figuring out.

I get worried when I start to think too much about numbers. About two years ago almost I had to take time off work - I was sad. I was off for about three months. I got stuck on those gad dang math crosswords. Not sudoku, but cross sums. The basic idea is to add numbers together in the white blank box spots (1-9 with no two numbers the same) so that they = the number indicated in the black box beside it. I could not figure this out just in my head. I became obsessive. There was a correct answer and I wouldn't stop until I had it. I ended up writing out all the different permutations for all numbers adding together. I started with 1+2, 1+3, 1+4, all the way to 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9...I did this for each number 1-9 and did every single mix that could occur. There were pages of these numbers. I stapled it together and when I had this "cheat" sheet done I was able to complete the puzzles in a much more timely manner. Holy. When I finished it I thought maybe I needed help! So, when I get stuck on numbers I'm nervous that I'm going to that place. I'm not sure if it was really a bad thing...just an obsessive trait I guess.

Shit. Now I need to figure out 16x16, but I won't do it on paper. Yes, I know. I'm weird. 256. Yes. That was much quicker.

I was really doubtful that I was an INTP. I thought for sure there must be a mistake. I took the Myers-Briggs test about five times before I determined that it must be valid to a higher degree than I gave it credit for.

I've successfully avoided reading any of my Personality Theories reading for today. Time to get to it. I'm also a little more interested in the statistics course I have to take. I think I might even like it. It'll give my mind some math focus. Joy.

12 August 2011

Damn PO Box Elf.

I'm bitchy. Ya. I woke up in an okay mood...slowly of course...check facebook, play backgammon and bejewelled, check mail. My books have been delivered. The note said that they dropped off a card as they attempted to deliver. I wonder where the elf was that lives in the mailbox. I wonder why he never collected and signed for my package. Damn PO Box elf. 
I should get a new one. So, I'm pretty excited to go and pick up my courses! I can sift through the books and really feel them. I'm going to open the package and then figure out what I need for back to school supplies :) hehe. I'm pretty excited about that purchase. I think I'm going to get some pencils for math, a calculator (maybe), new pens! oh joy! I love new pens, and I think a couple of notebooks. Lined. Fancy covers. Retail therapy of sorts. I'm a nerd at heart and I really loved picking out school supplies when I was a kid. It's even better now because I can get a real LeKit if I want to and no one will stop me.
How awesome is that pencil box? We'll see what wonders I will find at Walmart. I don't care. Judge away. I've already spent a tonne of cash on the courses...I'm going to save a couple of bucks at Walmart on supplies. I could go to staples...but I would get lost in nerd nirvana for hours. I have plans today. I'm going to see "The Change Up" yes on purpose.

10 August 2011

Intuition vs Thought - battle of the senses.

I recently read a blog post a person wrote conveying their desire to remain in an angry and sad state and not wanting others to try and find some dharma teaching in a tragedy that had recently past. I was really touched to read his words. I'm a dick sometimes. I try to find out what is bothering someone and quickly venture out there in the depths of my own interpretation of psychology and try to plant the seeds of "yer gonna feel much better after I give you the lesson - I'll lead you to the water with these condescending words." Of course my intention is never that. My intention is good. Or is it? Seriously? I wonder sometimes why I do what I do and say what I say. I wonder if I'm trying to bloat my own ego by helping others. Who knows? I guess I'm learning more and more about the why I do what I do everyday. I take back calling myself a dick. I'm not a dick. I'm trying to be helpful, just sometimes I step over the line of being helpful - at least that's my take on the situation from time to time.
I'm glad I read from someone able to express emotions and be okay in sitting in that space and energy. Sometimes we have to be there. Sometimes I have to resonate in the shitty feelings. I guess other people need to sit there too. I guess I should sit back sometimes and just be there and not try to fix. I think that's what helped me make the right choice for me when it came to turning down the offer of extension for the acting supervisory role. I really enjoyed the title and the admiration from my supervisor, but it really wasn't getting me any closer to the goals that I have for myself. I wasn't fulfilled. Know what I mean? I wasn't pushing myself in the right direction. I was in constant battle with where my intuition wanted to take me and where my 'thoughts' were peer pressuring me to go. I needed to find that discomfort and realize that it really wasn't uncomfortable at all, I was caring for myself. I had to lean into a feeling I was not used to and explore it a bit.

I know it sounds weird when I read it over too. I suppose I should explain for me and for you (if you want - you might already get it and I'm the one struggling).

So, what I mean is I was thinking - "Oh yes! I'm getting picked first to do this wonderful thing. I must be awesome. I must be loved. I must be first choice! I don't want to turn this down. What if I'm never picked first again? What if I turn this down and never get another chance?" So, in my own desire to be the 'best one' out of the lot I forgot that we are not really separate to begin with. I really don't need to be chosen first by anyone but myself. So, I put my needs last when I thought I was being put first. I did this so that I didn't have to feel that sadness. I mean if I were to stop looking to please someone else, maybe I could enjoy my own happiness. I guess that's what I used to do - I used to try and 'make' others happy or proud of me or try to shine and then feel uncomfortable when I would get the praise...like that's what I really want, but then don't know what to do with it when it comes my way. I figure this speaks to my old self hating way. Old way. I finally get it. I finally understand (at least most of the time) that I ain't so bad.

I've been reading Thoughts without a Thinker by Mark Epstein, MD. I'm really enjoying this read. My friend Jack (he's my biff, hit the link to see him talk about his awesome play 'Heather's String Theory') gave me a lend of it. SO GOOD. I've been reading a bunch of Buddhist stuff as of late and it just seems that each book I read is in the right place at the right time for where I'm at. I don't know if reading this book when he first lent it to me (about four months ago maybe more or less, I can't recall) would have been the right time. I wasn't as comfortable or exposed to really any Buddhist stuff...I think I would have been more confused and lost and then frustrated because I already have to look up words to find out what they mean...so, I would have had to do a lot more research while reading the book. If you get a chance to, you should pick it up or borrow it or something and read it. You might enjoy it as much as I am.

08 August 2011

Paradise really is right here :)

Today is the day I tell my boss that I don't want to volunteer in the position I'm currently in. I'm nervous. I don't need to be. She told me she would support me whatever decision I make.
I realize now I put too much worry into what other people think of decisions I make. I thank zazen for that nugget.
OMG - I just got an e-mail from her and I'm so nervous! I need to pull it off like a band-aid. Just like that - just say it. I could go to her office right this second and spew it out. I'm going to have this nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach/guts until I tell her and she says 'that's okay. taking care of you is what is important in life'. Until I put myself in position to hear that, I'm going to mess with my guts for a bit. It's like a test. "Why?" you ask. Well, it's just what I do to myself.
Here it goes. I'm going to have breakfast with my coworkers and then I'm going to go up front and talk to the boss. I'm going to tell her the same way I told the other person acting in the same job I'm in. Just quick and painless - to the point with no denying my intention or my decision. Just be clear.
Oh my goodness - that was the easiest/hardest thing to do in my life. I was super anxious when I walked in. All I did was say, "Okay, I'm going to do this like a band-aid. I do not want to be extended in the position. I want to go back to the floor. I'm registered for two more university courses." There was no response except, "That's great! Do what you have to do. When do you want to be back on the floor?" I hummed and hawed and said, "Well, I can stay until September 1 - you know until you can get someone else in and blah, blah" and I was cut off with, "What is best for you?" So, we looked at the schedules and I'm done August 25, 2011. I'm back to my substantive position with the intention of doing a fantastic job and rocking my courses. There you have it. I'm on the path to getting this degree out of the way :) Yeah for me :)

Subtle changes and improvements for me:
1. Brushing and flossing every night (don't judge me)
2. Meditation (zazen) every morning and night (booya!)
3. Eating smaller portions and better for me foods (diet pop, light beer)
4. Exercising every day - even just a little bit
    a) Doing some weight lifting to tone (every other day)
    b) Stretching every day
    c) Walking my dog :) she loves this one best
        i) running sometimes...sometimes I run - she likes this one too.
5. Not smoking (since June 3/11) (like not even a little bit - like not even thinking about it or anything)

Via the zazen, I am able to recognize some of the thinking patterns I engage in. Dear me - I am always trying to "make" everyone happy. I do this at my own cost and without really knowing what would truly "make" someone else happy. I'm learning that I can only account for my own feelings and others are just as responsible for their own well-being. I needn't fuel my body/brain/thoughts with assumptions about others. Life is good. I'm good. I have to be - there really isn't any other way to be quite frankly. I read somewhere in one of Brad Warner's books - something along these lines, 'paradise is right here, right now.' I interpret that to mean there is nowhere else we can be but right here in this moment and that's where I am - where I want to be. What I do in this moment writes the "future" I experience. The fantasies of future do me no good.
My goals are present and being met daily. When they aren't - they are. That's what's amazing about this moment. 'paradise is right here, right now.'

06 August 2011

Not falling for my own bullshit :)

Wow. Today I am tired. Not so much that I couldn't get out of bed and make it to work on time - but sort of soul tired - which is really tired considering there really is no such thing as a soul in the traditional sense. I'm tired. I got out of bed after 2 snoozes (I think it was only two). I rolled onto the zafu and decided to be anti-authority about it. I didn't sit full or even half lotus. I didn't even sit with my legs crossed period for most of it. I hunched my back and hugged my legs for stability. I checked the time twice and I mocked my determination to keep thoughts about just what I was doing. I thought about whatever the fuck I wanted to think about.
My back hurts.
My knee is feeling pain.
I'm tired.
The 15 minutes went by uneventfully and even though I checked the time twice - it really wasn't dragging on all that much. I was falling into an old pattern of convincing myself that something was worse than it really was.

I realized something today. This whole mess of trying to decide what to do about the work gig I've been doing for the past few months. I may have the option to act in it for an extended time frame. I don't want to.

I'm doing really good right now. I feel great. I'm exercising. I'm doing zazen every day. I am going to sign up for two more university courses. I'm ready to be in the shift work pattern that will be more conducive to studying in the night and during my five days off. So, I'll be working 2 days shifts. I finish at 7pm one day and then don't work again until 7pm the next day - so there's 24 hours right there. I work 2 night shifts. So, let's say I finish at 7am on Monday morning - I don't go back to work until Saturday at 7am. There is a lot of school work to be done in that time frame.

I currently get 4 days off in a row - without the night shift to fuck up my circadian rhythm. The first day of those four are spent assessing whether or not I forgot to do anything pertinent for my cross shift partner. I'm rethinking every decision and every comment I ever made during the four days I was working and beating myself up about something that could have been misconstrued and maybe pissed someone off. Eventually I relax, but it takes me some time to get there.

Maybe I can't really handle stress that well. Maybe I'm learning how to deal a little better every day. Maybe I'm just ready for a change. Maybe I want to do the job that I applied for for a little bit. Maybe I want to do what I want to do instead of worrying about how other people are going to react to the decision that I make for myself. Maybe, just maybe (that's a cliche now isn't it?) I should do what I want to do.

This is what's best for me in this moment. I won't do any university courses while I'm in the acting position. The sites are set on my degree and I have strayed from it long enough. I've quit doing a tonne of shit without finishing it. I have to start calling myself on that.

It is time. I'm deserving of a degree. I'm ready for the work that's needed. I'm ready because I finally believe enough in myself and have the drive TODAY to get there.

The LOML is behind me 100% - she's awesome. I know she would like me to be in bed next to her each night. I love being next to her too - however, should I stay I will *maybe most likely* start to dislike myself, get disgruntled with work, embarrassed that I haven't gotten any closer to my goal, depressed potentially, and then where am I at?

Now the tough part. It's not tough - it is what it is - I mean the argument back for me to stay could be "It's only an extra couple of months". However, I signed up for three and now nine have gone by. Each time I get an end date the extension is offered and I'm ready to do for me now :) It is now time to tell 'em where I stand. I figured out today I knew the answer all along. I was trying to convince myself otherwise. I find it harder and harder to trick myself into believing my own bullshit :o)

03 August 2011

No really...Zazen is boring.


I had this grand idea that I would blog daily about my adventures in sitting alone staring at a wall. I could barely contain my excitement and desire to share this experience with the world. I thought, 'wow, I've got something here. people will want to read about how easy it is to get down and dirty with a blank wall.' Not so much.
Really, it is quite easy to get to the wall and to sit there. I'm rather enjoying the experience. Sometimes I find myself waiting for something magical to happen, but mostly I'm just sitting there adjusting my posture as necessary and holding my hands as per. I sometimes count my out-breaths and I sometimes remind myself that it's not the future so I might as well not think about it. I was also thinking that the past is gone so let it be there. I had a thought I rather enjoyed - Lose the 'to do' list and just do. That's what I'm going to work with for right now - Just do. Nike had an then added 'it'. I suppose I could take it another step further and work with 'do'. That's all - do.
Mu. I'm mulling on Mu as well. When I find myself getting lost in the critical, self-loathing, 'why the hell did I do that' state - I consider Mu. I'm reading this book about the Mu koan and I'm about 1/3 of the way through it. I get stuck when they start talking about how enlightened I'm going to be if I just think about Mu all day, all night, even in my dreams for the next 30 odd years. Brad Warner talks about enlightenment being bullshit (not in so many words). He warns against getting caught up in books or with teachers that promise such enlightenment experiences. I'm reading it with a grain of salt mos' def. I just put a different spin on the 'e' word and take it for what it is.
I took up the running thing again. I did my first one the other day. I ran a wee bit and then walked and then ran a wee bit more and walk some more. Yesterday, I did a wee walk, about a 1.5 km run, a 1.3 km walk, a 1 km run, 1/2 km walk, and 1/2 km run. Today, I did about a 1.5km run, 1.3km walk, 1.5km run, 1/2km walk. We'll see how my hips feel tomorrow. I'm doing alright so far. Why the hell did you break it down like that? Okay, so I don't run the entire stretch at once. I could have added it all up and then said I ran this much and walked this much, but in my INTP mind - that is not accurate. So, to be accurate, that's how it is broken down. I don't think I'll introduce much more running yet. When I run too much I can't walk up the stairs for about a week. Baby steps - or strides :o) Besides, when I run too much Moksha gets tired too quickly. She was lagging behind on the second running section. I had to run backwards to ensure she was away from the vehicle coming up the dirt road. She's not a little girl anymore - she's 49 years old now.
That picture above - I did a search for boring zen images and that was the first one to come up - happens to be from Brad Warner's 'doubtboy' url. Interesting.
Then I found this one:

02 August 2011

Losing the Training Wheels (zen style)

I decided this morning that it is time to get rid of the timing bells telling me of when three minutes have passed. I moved it to five minute notice. Tonight I'm losing the training wheels altogether. Really, it is only fifteen minutes of sitting silently - I should experience the waiting it takes. I was going to up the time to twenty minutes - I will eventually - I'm going to get through the silence first.
I noticed last night when I was sitting my entire body started to shake. I then realized I wasn't sitting properly. I wasn't sitting with my knees on the ground (or blanket). I was sitting up high on the cushion. Not a good idea. I tried to figure out what the heck was going on and thought I was having some sort of religious experience and then adjusted my sitting and it went away. Boo. :) Or maybe I shouldn't say boo, I should be super happy that I can have that sort of experience without any intervention but my own imagination!
I took out the tones altogether last night. It went alright. I think it went quicker actually because I wasn't thinking, "when will that bell sound?"
During my sitting this morning I realized how much I think about work. When I noticed how much I thought about work, I started to construct what my day was going to look like - what I was going to do when I was done sitting and then after coffee, and after yard work, and after...etc...I adjusted my posture and decided to just sit. There is nothing I can do about the future except experience the present. It doesn't matter what I do to plan my future if I'm not going to be present for this moment - wait, this moment, or is it this moment? Damn it, as soon as I try to focus on it, it's gone. :)
My back and neck are aching - shoulders too. I'm not used to sitting yet. I figure I'm using muscles I haven't used in a while - I'm sure I'll adjust eventually. I really value the 15 minutes in the morning and the 15 at the end of the day now. The adventure started on June 28 and I have practiced as decided ever since. I'm almost at the one week mark (pats self on back).
I am off to see the wizard...walking the dirt road path with my dog. Until next time.