Last day of 2006. In many ways it's just another day. I got up, took a walk, sat zazen and then did a bunch of bowing practice -- that's not typical. That is, the number of bows I did isn't typical. I sometimes do 18 bows by myself in the morning. Today I did double that -- 36. It being a day for many bows. There will be many more tonight, both at the Fusatsu ceremony, and afterwards to the Founders Shrine. My legs are slightly rubbery, which often means that they will be sore tomorrow.
It's cold and clear this morning, and dry -- no frost on my car this morning as there was yesterday. Temps are in the 20s. I noticed on my walk this morning that I wanted both gloves and hat, and almost got out the ear-warmer that I sometimes wear under the hat when it's really cold. I sat zazen in the big zendo, where the temperature is set to 58 degrees, and the heat came on while I sat. I wrapped a blanket around myself, even though I'm bundled up with sweater and wool samue jacket plus other cotton layers. Still, in the morning it's common for me to get cold.
Sitting meditation felt good today. I went into it a little unsettled. It seems that sitting still for 45 minutes or more, focusing on the present moment, on the breath, letting go of past and future, watching thoughts and feelings rise and fall, does allow the mind to calm down. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I see that it does. There's just a different quality that I can access now that I couldn't see before sitting.
Not sure what I'm going to do next. I've had breakfast, checked my e-mail, and now I suppose I need to check my list of things to do. There are several things on the list, and obviously I won't get to all of them. I like having choices, though. I don't know that anything is more pressing than other things.
It's been a nice week "off." The Center has been closed, so there have been no scheduled meditations or services, and most of the time we've had the phones turned off (though we've checked messages regularly). Still, there's always work to do, and we've kept the post office busy this week with various fundraising letters. We're getting a good response to our end-of-year fundraising letter, and are continuing forward with a major push, having hired a professional to help us move to the next level. We still have to eat, and so I've sometimes cooked, sometimes helped with cooking, and always helped with cleanup.
I've done some sewing, and the kesa is almost finished. I've deliberately left a little bit to do so that people can add stitches tonight. It's a long tradition to have sangha members add stitches to the monk's robe as a way of representing their participation in and support of an ordination. While I was at it, I also did a little mending of my lay meditation robe, because I will still wear it sometimes. There are many more sewing projects, and I could spend all day just working on them, if I could stand to do so.
But likely I will do some other things. There are flyers I want to finish and copy. Yesterday I copied and folded 120 programs for this evening's service. I did some housekeeping across the street where we will have upwards of that many people doing a potluck dinner and other things on into the evening. I want to set up some sort of system for cleanup that doesn't have me standing at the sink for 2 hours, as happened last year. There's always a level of chaos, but I think some advance planning can help things go more smoothly.
Tomorrow morning we will have a brunch for residents and a few other people, including those who come down from the monastery to participate in the service this evening. I think last year we had something like 12 people, and this year promises to be at least that many. In the afternoon, I'm going to Molalla to spend a little time with a friend I haven't seen in quite a while. On Tuesday, we start back up with the regular schedule.
Sometimes I want to share things that are happening, but am too busy. Then when I get time to write, like today, nothing much is going on. So you get a snippet of an ordinary day. I try to remember some of those things that came into my mind to share, but the mind gets regularly emptied, so whatever those things were no longer seem important. It's all transient, I suppose. What really matters is the quality of light on the tree outside, the feel of the keyboard on my fingers, thinking of family and friends, and anticipation of a special evening coming up. And underneath all of that, an abiding peace and faith. And, yes, joy and gratitude.