Saturday, June 26, 2004

Watching the sun go down

Nearly sunset at the beach
Scattered families enjoying the evening
Father teaching daughter how to ride her bike
Young family collecting ocean polished stones
And many cars parked facing the water, facing the decending sun
Tonight will not be the most spectacular sunset
Too few clouds
But still people have gathered for the event
One couple has snacks, chips and soda, to munch
While viewing the sunset like a drive-in movie
There is a Asian woman with dark sunglass watching alone
And many more have gathered
I wonder how many are regulars, addicted to the color-splashed sky and sound of surf
As the sun dips below the horizon, I watch them watching
An older couple drives off before the final sliver of sun is gone
As if the sight is too sad to watch
And then it is gone
More people drive away
Others stay, talking, walking, throwing rocks into the water
I think, what an odd thing to drive here to watch the sunset with TV and movies and books
And I also think, what a great thing to gather here and watch the sunset, a ceremony to our ancestors who gathered, a ritual to reinforce our connection to sky and earth, sun and moon, air and sea

Note: Although I live on the East Coast, there are beaches on Long Island Sound where the shore faces west

Open month

I am contemplating the things I want to do in the next month while my stepson is away. In general I want to focus on my personal growth and on spending quality time with my husband. I am firm believer in planning, that if I don't do some planning the time will run away from me, spent in 'drib-drabs' (my mom's word) on nothing. Especially, knowing me, it will be given to any person who asks for it. If I have a plan, it is easier to say no.

Things I want to do:

1. Go to zen center twice a week, Wed evenings and Sunday morning
2. Meditate at home
3. Go to the gym or exercise outside or at home everyday
4. Go to movies with husband (Fahrenheit 9/11 is next on the list, probably tonight)
5. Experiment in the kitchen more
6. Eat healthy/detoxify
7. Go to my family reunion next week
8. Attend one or more Reiki workshops
9. Read a lot, go to the library/bookstore often
10. Go to the beach, swim in the ocean as often as possible
11. Finish my June's blog to do list
12. Get my hair done (appt Wed)
13. Get a massage
14. Buy some nice clothes that fit, are comfortable, and look nice
15. Do art, paint, draw, make collages, etc
16. Spend time with uplifting friends
17. Go for walks, bike rides
18. Do some re-decorating in the house (maybe--not sure I am up to it)
19. Write, think, explore dreams
20. Dance
21. Sign up for that acting class (still hesitating for some reason)

Friday, June 25, 2004


I am feeling out of sorts, stuck, and directionless. I haven't been able to concentratate on anything including posting here. At times like these I usually try to jump start myself. One way is to pick a tarot card and see if I can relate it to some aspect of my life that I need to address but have been avoiding. There is a nice website that has free tarot and other readings.

Here is my single card tarot for today.

Click for Details

The card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Ten of Wands (Oppression), when reversed: Refusing to take on burdens greater than you can carry. Noble leadership restrained from transforming into tyranny. Bearing the weight of ultimate responsibility without being crushed. Through careful conservation of their fuel, the engines of creation continue onward.

I have felt rather burdened lately. My stepson is visiting his mother so I have more free time but as soon as time opens up it is like more demands rush in to fill the space. I think refusing to take on additional burdens is a good theme for today. I will try to keep it in mind.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Lifelong learning

I have been interested in learning my whole life. I was learning officially in school for about half of my life and now I am in a career that requires learning new facts and techniques daily. This is the exciting part of the job for me and probably what keeps me in this profession. In addition to learning things for work, I learn about things to enrich my after-work life. My interests are almost unbounded - from technology to the arts; from history to the spiritual nature of existence.

The internet has really allowed me to develop this interest into a near-obsession. I can't explain to you how pleasing it is to me to have a question in mind and be able to find an answer through a quick google search. I sometimes jump up from table to search for an answer to a question that has arisen in our dinner conversation. For more indepth study I use books, journals, and magazines. My favorite places are libraries and bookstores. But perhaps what is most fulfilling about this hobby is how coincidence and interconnections manifest themselves in the process. Often when I am interested in a topic there will be something about it on NPR, then I'll see something related in one of my emails, or a friend will mention something she read. It's like fishing, or the more vegetarian pursuit of birdwatching. When I have the interest, the bytes of information come to me as I pursue them and lead me into other domains in the interconnecting landscape of science, culture and spirit.

Some resources I have found useful in my learning quest:

Autodidactic Press
Charles Hayes, the founder, has a similar perspective on learning as I do and writes essays based on his own interests and reading. His quarterly newsletter features book reviews, at least one essay and other learning resources. It is a great place to get sparks.

UTNE Magazine and Cafe
I really like this magazine not only because it is interesting and has unusual, beyond the mainstream articles but also because, somehow, it has a big influence in my life. The timing of the articles just seems to fit with the timing of events in my life. When I needed a new car, an article about hybrids convinced me to buy one. When I was struggling with questions about why I didn't feel as comfortable as I felt other people did, either in my childhood hometown or in my current environment, I read an article about straddling the boundaries between blue collar and white collar society. (I plan to make this the topic of a future entry)

I think few people would argue with the statement that NPR is a great source of interesting tidbits worth pursuing further. And not just regarding foreign affairs or politics but more mundane but also very life enriching topics like popular music. It was due to a short piece on Johnny Cash that I got several of his CD's from the library and spent many enjoyable hours listening to them. The interview with Cash combined with his music also piqued an interest in the connection between spirit and sound - how can two version of the same song give such a different emotional expression to a song? Is it just mechanics? Or does something of the person, some form of energy, get transferred from the musician to the listener via the performance?

There are many more and I am sure this topic will resurface in this blog often.

Sunday, June 20, 2004


I went to zen today. I didn't want to. I laid in bed trying to talk myself out of it. My back hurt. I was tired. But mostly I was thinking that I had spent the whole week not doing the things I decided to do last week during and after meditation. I didn't meditate during the week. I didn't sign up for the acting class. I didn't practice the shoji's job so I could do it more correctly. I didn't read the chants so I would be able to keep up with the others. I was just pulled along with the current of today's overwhelming modern life. And I felt hopeless. What is the point of going just once a week? I asked myself. Better to stay in bed and not struggle. I asked my husband if he wanted to go and thankfully he did. That gave me the motivation to get up, get dressed and go. And now I am glad I did. We got there late enough that I didn't have to be shoji. Our teacher was there so we had a wonderful dharma discussion that really touched me. I was on the verge of tears. Of course, I am touched and cry at a lot of things that don't affect other people. The talk focused on our I am self (ego) and the separation and loneliness that results from our fixating on this point of view. I really felt the deep loneliness that is inherent in this way of life. It is this loneliness, this feeling that things aren't right somehow, that drives me to make this spiritual journey - to overcome my resistance and make one small, hesistant step at a time.