Archive for the ‘Zen & Dharma’ Category

The progress of long-distance love

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

crows troutlake horiz8This long-distance cross-border love thing—this thing that everyone says DON’T DO, it’ll drive you crazy, it’ll never work—i daresay, seems to be working. The naysayers are probably right, too—long-distance love never does work. For the young. But I am a grownup, and grownup love is different.

I am in love with an American man, and there have been times when it has felt utterly crazy-making. There have been days when i was sure it was all just plain over. (more…)

Why knit?

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Know this: if anyone ever knits you a pair of socks, it means they really, really love you.

I’m well into knitting my life’s third pair of socks. And while they are certainly nice socks, they’re nothing spectacular. I don’t do fancy cables or intricate stitchery (and i have actually seen a pattern for socks with a stanza from Beowulf knitted into them, which is just plain insanity). They are plain, but they will be warm and fit just right, and they should last a good long time. But they’re pretty ordinary socks, and mostly they will just be hidden inside my shoes.

Sometimes when people see my hand-knitted socks they say hey—you could sell those! Yes. But, at $20 or more for the wool, plus at least 30 hours of knitting, thems would be some pretty pricey socks. (more…)

Flagged at the border

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Interrogation2I breeze into Vancouver Pacific Station an easy 20 min. before my 6:30am train time, all stoked for a little Amtrak adventure. A simple weekend trip, to visit Daniel in Pt Townsend. Snacks in my daypack, passport and train ticket in hand. Where you going, whatcha doing, who you visiting—nothing but the truth. My wallet is emptied onto the kiosk desk: bus tickets, credit cards, yoga pass. Please explain these. A second Homeland Security officer arrives at the gate. Problem here?, he asks. First officer replies: Possible 7A— but probably not. Sweat rises at the back of my neck. The questions get stranger, the air grows thinner. I am invited to follow the second officer into the back room—please, take a seat. Say nothing. Ask nothing. Over my shoulder I watch the last few passengers trickle easily through the gate. Not me. (more…)

O-Soji: of Me and my Stuff

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMoving in: I am on a mad domestic binge. The longest extended move-in ever, from my oryoki bus back into my tiny Commercial Drive apartment. It is an epic O-Soji: a big year-end temple cleaning. I am cleansing and evaluating, re-evaluating and valuing. In re-familiarizing myself with my meager collection of Stuff, I take each item in my hands, turn it over, and consider its needs.

Everything must be sorted, fixed and cleaned, recycled or purged. Screws, nails, bags of old cables and power supplies. Stale spices, unlabeled teabags, little boxes and bags and jars. All  sorted then emptied, or fed to the worms, or else funneled back into the freshly cleaned jars. Old papers, unread books, single socks, excess plates and pillow cases — gone, to the recycling bins, or carried to the East Van shopping mall by the dumpsters. (more…)

Not waiting for the bell

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

bellThe meditation app on my phone is my little monk with his whacking stick, keeping me in line. I find it impossible to meditate without a timer, my mind constantly wondering if that’s enough, how much time has passed, and blah blah blah and blah. I  hear people say that they just sit ‘for as long as feels right’ but i’m not convinced about that approach. Not only because my mind is so fluttery with no end in sight, but also because i know that sometimes it is necessary to sit a bit longer than is actually comfortable in order to get a felt sense of what’s going on in my body and mind. (more…)

The wake of Kenny-La

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKenny was the reddest man I have ever known. Pure fire. A burner, of bridges and walls and so much more. He left a wake of creation and destruction, chaos and art.

Kenny was my teacher in so many ways. He taught me about my own anger, my ego, my pride. There were times I genuinely wanted to kill him, but I kind of believed he was unkillable, since by all laws of physics he should already have been dead many times over. He forced me to work with the fire of my own anger, and in that Kenny was right: fire purifies. He taught me about forgiveness. Kenny did not hold a grudge against anyone, his own demons included. The times when I hated him for what he said or did, I had to confront my own monsters eye to eye, forgive them, and move on. (more…)

My dharma nephew Misha Mountain

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Misha Mountain Ross SchmittThis is Misha Mountain Ross Schmitt, my new dharma nephew. His mom is my dharma sister, Red Sara Ross. Misha entered into the world in a brave and unorthodox way— a bicycle buddha baby for sure.

Long before we were dharma sisters, Red Sara and I spun through each others’ orbits. Coinciding at Vancouver art happenings, celebrations and demonstrations, we were two red-headed shit disturbers, hell bent for saddle leather. For years, we circled the bike activist world of Vancouver like twin suns. But it wasn’t until I returned from Upaya in 2011, a newly-minted zennie, that we deeply connected. (more…)

Intimacy in relationship

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am working on intimacy in relationship, from the epic to the microscopic.

When I worked at the bike shop, sometimes I would challenge myself to have an intimate relationship with every person who walked into the store that day. I know, that sounds like a good way to catch a disease. But that’s not what I mean.

I would decide, if I sell a customer an inner tube today, i want our relationship to be intimate. From helping them select the right tube to leading them to the register, to swiping their debit card and handing them a receipt. I want that interaction to be intimate: mutual, respectful, and complete. (more…)

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