Saturday, May 22, 2004

Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire -

Today I watched this film with C. It is one of my favorites and I wanted to show it to her. There are many things that I enjoy about the film I love how it encourages, almost demands, that we celebrate life in all its forms. The angels serve as witnesses to everything around them, never touching, never changing for eternity. One angel begins to desire the things that we take for granted, to come home tired from work and feed his cat, to read a newspaper and get ink on his hands. These are things that we can do but they aren't special to us. Why not?

I love the way people speak, so poetic. In fact, part of the naration is a poem by Peter Handke.

When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?
Given the facts of evil and people.
does evil really exist?
How can it be that I, who I am,
didn't exist before I came to be,
and that, someday, I, who I am,
will no longer be who I am?

excerpted from Song of Childhood
By Peter Handke


I love the grace and beauty of Marion, the trapeze artist. After watching Marion and knowing her thoughts, her strength to each day defy gravity and her fears to feel the joy of flying, Damiel falls in love. Then finally the desire to be human is strong enough.

Wings of Desire -

Wings of Desire

Friday, May 21, 2004

Weird dreams

I has some weird dreams last night that seemed to be connected to dreams of the night before. I have been thinking about starting a separate blog to record my dreams but I am not sure I want to get that into it. I used to belong to some dream interpretation lists and it was a lot of fun but it really took up a lot of time. These dreams seem to be very related to my daytime life and are screaming to be interpreted.

2 nights ago: The Sweatshirt dream

I was at my place of work (which looked much different than it is in reality. It looked more like the school where I attended 6th grade). A number of people were wearing grey sweatshirts with the work logo and some exotic place name (e.g. Bahamas). I knew that they were the higher ups and they were able to go to a special work retreat in these wonderful places. I also knew that I was not one of the higher ups and I hated them for wearing the sweatshirts, flaunting their specialness.

Last night: Discovery/race dream

I and a colleague made a great discovery and our supervisor (who isn't actually our current supervisor but was my supervisor previously) claimed it for himself and all of his colleagues (the higher ups) went to a bar to celebrate. Some of them (the nicer ones) called me (actually paged me on this strange paging device) to join them since they knew it was really my discovery. I was so angry and bitter that I put the pager under a pillow and ignored it. Later there was a big race (running). I friend of mine won but I was still upset and I didn't congratulate her. She was mad at me and later I found a birthday card and bouquet of flowers she bought me but didn't give me. Oh, and the whole time I was a man (at least I had the parts) and I was only partially dressed so my, shall we say maleness, was displayed for all to see. I tried to cover my nakedness a few times and was uncomfortable about it but could never completely cover it.

Both these dreams had a lot of bitterness and anger with respect to work.

Looking up some of the key objects in Betty Bethards "The Dream Book":

Being nude - totally open and exposed, not trying to hide who or what you are.

But I was trying to hide myself and I was something that I didn't know I was, actually the opposite (male rather than female) of what I thought I was and what I had been 'pretending' to be. Hmmm.

Bouquet - celebration of growth, pat yourself on the back for a job you've done well.

Well I didn't receive the bouquet. I found it discarded in the trash and it was because of my attitude that it wasn't given to me. In essence I rejected it before it could be offered.

Birthday - celebration of a new part of yourself coming into being

Again, I rejected it.

My friend who won the race was older than me and blond, she reminds me a bit of my mother.

Mother - older, wiser, more experience self

That seems to fit. My older self has run the race and won and she wants to give me something, something about growth and a new self but I reject her simple because I am so resentful of the insults and rejection I perceive from 'the higher ups'. I discover this when I am in a bathroom trying to rearrange my less than adequate clothes to hide my newly discovered male body part.

Penis - procreation, power, aggression. That which penetrates, impregnates with ideas.

Am I trying to hide my power, my ideas and creativity? Is this power newly developed, newly born?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

a stinky, muddy swamp

If this blog is a path then right now the scenery is not so great. I would say we are walking through a stinky, muddy swamp. Sorry. I am having a crisis which often happens when I start a new project. It gets bigger and bigger in my perfectionist (no. 2 in my 100 things) mind until it is really impossible and then I feel so OVERWHELMED and consequently DEPRESSED until... you know... the stinky, muddy swamp thing. I want it to be perfect and I worry about what other people will think about it (no. 55). I worry that people will read it (no. 9) but I also worry that no one will read it. I feel vulnerable showing myself to the whole world, opening myself for criticism or disdain or just apathy. I have compartmentalized myself. I am one person at work, another at home, another in the past, another with one friend, and another when I am alone. I had ideas of compartmentalizing myself here, only sharing parts of me in separate blogs. Not letting the scientist interact with the poet. Keeping the meditator away from the sore loser--actually hiding the sore loser completely--who would like her? Which one is the real me. I often ask myself what I would do if I didn't consider what others would think? Who am I in the absence of others opinions?

There is a real difference between being who you are without concerns about what people will think and trying to convince people that who you are is ok and should not be condemned. Even when I am trying to be my true self, I am gathering my defenses to prove that you should approve of my true self. That it is worthy of you. I can document it with photos, couch it in wit, surround it with organization and clever technology. But the real question I am grappling with is am I worthy of existence. And that is a difficult question for me, my friend. I think it will take a long time for me to find a satisfying answer. But that is my path.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

If I were a poem...

I am heroic couplets; most precise
And fond of order. Planned and structured. Nice.
I know, of course, just what I want; I know,
As well, what I will do to make it so.
This doesn't mean that I attempt to shun
Excitement, entertainment, pleasure, fun;
But they must keep their place, like all the rest;
They might be good, but ordered life is best.
What Poetry Form Are You?

100 things about me...

I saw lists like this on numerous blogs like these
so I thought I would try it myself. Is it a spiritual practice? Zen teaches me to dissolve myself not enumerate myself. But it is also about self exploration. And fun. So here goes.

1. I could not decide what to put first so I will leave this one empty.
2. I am a perfectionist.
3. I am a scientist.
4. I worry about my weight 70% of my waking hours.
5. I love to eat junk food but I won't admit it publicly... uhoh!
6. Popcorn is my favorite indulgence, sometimes I go to the movies just as an excuse to eat copious amounts of popcorn.
7. I am the eldest of three daughters.
8. I often feel uncomfortable like I don't belong or fit in.
9. I hate being the center of attention.
10. I get nervous when I realize people are listening to what I am saying.
11. I want to take an acting class.
12. I was once skewered by a knitting needle, by accident.
13. I love dark, small places, like caves.
14. I am not afraid of heights.
15. I bite my nails, but not 'til they bleed, just a little.
16. I have my mother's legs. :(
17. I have my father's hair. :)
18. I used to think my eyes were large but lately I realize they are small. Very disappointing.
19. I hate pain. I take ibuprofen at the first sign of it.
20. I am a biochemist.
21. I love to look up things on the internet.
22. I hate perfume.
23. I love essential oils.
24. I have studied Reiki and am a level III practitioner.
25. I have tarot cards but haven't used them for a while.
26. I own hundreds of books, I love each one.
27. I tend to be a collector.
28. I love earrings, I have many pairs, some I made myself.
29. I don't like necklaces (they choke me) bracelets (get in the way) or rings (look bad on my stubby hands).
30. I am married---second time.
31. My husband is Russian.
32. I have been to Russia twice.
33. I used to scare my youngest sister by putting a green superball in front of my left eye and claiming I was Kukulamunga.
34. I also would scare my sisters by pretending I was only a head like that movie "The Head That Wouldn't Die."
35. I was a loving but 'pain in the ass' big sister.
36. My parents are both dead, both had brain aneurysm.
37. I used to really worry when I got headaches, but now I don't. I don't know why.
38. I am not much of a worrier although sometimes I try to be because it seems to show you care (ex-mother-in-law taught me that).
39. I am still on good terms with my ex-husband. We don't talk much but I still care about him.
40. When I look back 20 years, I can see that I was really young.
41. I will be 40 in 2.5 weeks.
42. I am doing this instead of working and I feel really guilty about it.
43. I like my job most of the time but I really wish I had enough money so I could do whatever I want.
44. I drive a Honda Civic Hybrid.
45. I am concerned about the environment.
46. I am a pushover, if you call me and ask me to donate to your cause, I probably will.
47. I believe in giving.
48. I often feel guilty that I have so much while people around the world are starving and suffering.
49. I cry at movies, songs, books, poems, sometimes even commercials.
50. I have learned that if you blink a lot, most people don't know you are about to cry (at least I hope I fooled them).
51. I write poems when I am upset or angry.
52. I have written very few happy, joyful or pleasant poems.
53. I got a C in composition in college and gave up trying to be a writer.
54. I still dream of being a writer.
55. I am too concerned about what other people think of me.
56. I am working on eradicating all my bad traits.
57. I am optimistic.
58. I love Star Trek, it is such an positive picture of the future.
59. I read Star Trek novels in PDF format, when on a roll, one a day.
60. I have published my scientific work in several respected journals.
61. I am not especially proud of my scientific work, its good, clear, reproducible science but not particularly creative.
62. I have trouble accepting praise or believing it.
63. I love lots and lots of things and have many interests.
64. I am enthusiastic.
65. I try to do things I am afraid of.
66. I like to help people.
67. I love being part of a smooth functioning team.
68. I earned money for college by waiting tables in a restaurant in a family owned amusement park.
69. I liked waiting tables, I got into the flow during the dinner or lunch rush.
70. I grew up poor, sometimes on welfare and foodstamps.
71. I want to be compassionate to homeless people but I feel really afraid and uncomfortable around them.
72. I don't feel comfortable around wealthy people.
73. I love organization and neatness.
74. Many times I am not particularly neat or organized.
75. I always hated my handwriting, not as beautiful as Kerri Boyer's (friend in 1st grade).
76. My favorite color is green.
77. My favorite numbers are 4 and 6.
78. I could never name a favorite book or song or movie. I like many for my many moods.
79. I once broke my personality down into 4 different people, two female, two male.
80. I am glad I am a girl/woman/female.
81. I wear makeup--it is like painting only on your face.
82. I love colors.
83. I paint but don't show people my paintings--usually.
84. I love to make CD's of my playlists for friends and family.
85. I love iTunes.
86. I put a lot of effort into choosing songs and putting them in the 'best' order, making my playlists tell a story or becoming sort of a 'song poem'.
87. I played viola all through grade school and high school. I loved being part of the orchestra and string ensemble.
88. I hated tuning my viola because I was never sure it was right.
89. I have always had a depressing suspicion that I am tone deaf.
90. I am vegetarian.
91. I hate it when people ask me why I am vegetarian because mostly they ask to try to argue with me. I never ask people why they are carnivorous and I don't try to convert anyone. Just leave me alone, ok?
92. I love to cook, I love to read cook books and magazines.
93. I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living.
94. I am a magazine junkie.
95. People said it was hard to think of 100 things but I don't think so.
96. I often change my hair.
97. I used to love playing Barbies.
98. I am very competitive and can get nasty when I lose.
99. I am very uncoordinated.
100. I really liked making this list and will probably add more later.

100 things about me...

Really off balance today and yesterday

I have been upset and agitated and aggravated since yesterday. I hate when I get like this. I feel like all my spiritual practice has been for nothing, a waste of time. I don't want to meditate to calm down, nothing makes me feel better. I eat sugar, chocolate, junk food in large quantities and I am still not happy. I can't concentrate at work, I lazed away my time in the gym, just riding the stationary bike at level 1. I can't read a book or magazine. I feel like there is a wild demon inside me and I am just barely keeping him from doing something terrible. I have trouble sleeping. Our neighbors above were their usual loud selves and I almost went up there in my pajamas seething with rage screaming for them to stop their child from running around above my head so I could sleep! I didn't but I don't trust myself to speak to anyone when I am like this. I am alone in my bedroom away from the family so I don't bite their heads off for nothing and have to apologize later. I am angry at everything I have to do - at every situation in my life. Why should I have to work? Why should I have to diet? Why should I have to exercise? Why should I have to make dinner? At the same time, any things that used to give me pleasure don't.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Looking for answers in all the wrong places...

Always we hope someone else has the answer.
Some other place will be better,
some other time it will all turn out.

This is it.
No one else has the answer.
No other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being you have the answer;
you know who you are and you know what you want.

There is no need to run outside for better seeing.
Nor to peer from a window.

Rather abide at the center of your being;
for the more you leave it the less you learn.

Search your heart and see the way to do is to be.

Lao Tzu


I had a conversation with a dear friend that led me to think seriously about forgiveness. Why is it so hard to really forgive? Who do I need to forgive? Why don't I just do it? What is stopping me? I sent an ecard to someone I need to forgive? I don't know if I am ready to really do it but it is a start. But actually the person I really need to forgive in my life is myself.

Good site about forgiveness

Passage from Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart

"True compassion arises from a sense that the heart has a fearless capacity to embrace all things, to touch all things, to relate to all things. Chogyam Trungpa called this the spiritual warrior’s tender heart of sadness.

‘...when you awaken your heart, you find to your surprise that your heart is empty. You find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your heart? If you really look, you won’t find anything tangible or solid... If you search for the awakened heart, if you put your hand through your rib cage and feel for it, there is nothing but tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the world, you feel tremendous sadness. This sadness doesn’t come from being mistreated. You don’t feel sad because someone has insulted you nor because you feel impoverished. Rather, this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because your heart is completely open, exposed. It is the pure raw heart. Even if a mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched.... It is this tender heart of a warrior that has the power to heal the world.’

The power of the compassionate heart, of genuine compassion, to transform the pain we encounter is extraordinary."

Four vows

Living beings are numberless, I vow to save them all.
Confusions are countless, I vow to cut them all.
The Buddha's teachings are limitless, I vow to penetrate them all
The Buddha's way is highest, I vow to achieve it.

Sunday, May 16, 2004


Went to the zendo today. My teachers were away for a week long meditation retreat so it was just 4 of us. I was shoji today! I made quite a few mistakes but at least I did it. The first time is always the hardest. It was good that it was while Genshin was away so I wasn't so nervous. We didn't have sanzen or tasho either, so it was a short day. During my meditation I had the usual tightening of my throat and pressure in my head. I still don't know what it means. My koan has me puzzled. The only thing I can understand to do is just to expand myself to fill the room. I am trying that but it is SO HARD!

Chanting is still difficult for me too. We didn't do the whole book today. I still can't keep up! It is more embarrassing since I was shoji. We use the same chanting book as Mt. Baldy Zen Center.