Monday, February 12, 2007

Written January 13, 2007

Well, I don't know whether there's really time for this, but I figured I'd give it a try. It's been a very busy week.

I have several changes I'm dealing with, as you might imagine, since ordination. First, there's the matter of the robes. Fortunately, I'm able to deal with those a little at a time, due to various circumstances. This week, I've been learning how to put on, tie, and take off the kesa (this is the outer robe that is roughly square and ties over the left shoulder). I haven't had to do any bowing because as the chant leader, I'm ringing the bells signalling everyone else to bow, and I'm sitting down while I do that. I bow sitting down, but don't have to spread out my bowing mat and deal with lifting up the kesa, etc. I think tomorrow (Sunday), I will have to deal with the whole megillah -- big robes, kesa, bowing mat, the works. That will be fun (maybe). But it's all practice. If I mess up, people will all be kind, and eventually I will get it.

Second, there's shaving. Oh, boy, there's a whole thing about shaving, and when it's the head, well ... Here, everyone swears by double-edged razors as opposed to the disposable multi-blade jobbies out there. I've tried both this week, and the verdict is still out. I think my skill with the double-edged razor lacks something, so I will again continue to practice and persist. Then there's the business about what soap, shampoo, shaving cream, lotion afterwards, etc., to use. When I went to a cutlery store to buy the double-edged razor (I tried Freddy's first, what a laugh!), the guy said that head hair tends to be tougher than facial or leg hair. In my case, there's also more of it -- that is, my hair is pretty thick and fine, and it also grows fast. I get stubbly much faster than I would like to. Right now I'm thinking I'd like to shave every other day, but I may revise that as time goes on.

Third, I'm going to move next week. That is, I will move from the Dharma House, where I've been for a year and a half, to the Sangha House, 3 blocks away. I will have my own room there. It's somewhat small, but will be adequate. However, it has no heat -- I'll need to get a heater, maybe. I will continue to spend most of my time here at the Dharma House, as this is where work and meals and services and such happen, but my stuff and where I sleep will move. The house is beautiful, and at the moment there's only one person actually living there. There's a wonderful garden and yard and deck. The house gets regularly used every other week for Dharma School, and once a month for the high school overnights. Board meetings are there every other month, and women's group meetings are there once a month. But basically, it's a residence for those who have "graduated" from the Dharma House. We also have it as extra housing for visiting teachers or sangha members who stay temporarily. My address remains the same, as all mail comes here, and I still have a mailbox here.

Fourth, new duties. My teacher has asked me to take over checking the staff e-mail and to begin scheduling his appointments and generally assisting him in various administrative ways. I'm happy about that, really, as part of what I really want to do is to take some of the stuff that he's been doing adminsitratively off his shoulders so he can concentrate on teaching and fundraising and organizational development, which only he can really do. I've managed to take the website off of him, and for the most part, also the newsletter. I regard this new "position," such as it is, as an opportunity to serve in ways that I believe I can serve well, and so that's very satisfying.

Today started for me with getting up early to shave (my first attempt with the double-edged razor). Then I showered and dressed, and made breakfast for 10 people. Then we had our regular Saturday sitting and service, followed by monthly women's group meeting (there's a men's group meeting at the same time). Then lunch, during which time we heard that one of our sangha members had what appeared to be a stroke in Eugene (while giving a workshop at the Eugene Zendo). Fortunately, there were several health care practitioners there, and they got her to the hospital right away and then carried on with the workshop. We have had regular updates all afternoon, and she's still in the hospital, and they have moved her to ICU, though mostly because they are concerned about her high blood pressure. She's watching a football game.

After lunch, we started in on our new Sangha Project work practice time, when several people were here to help with a 2-hr work period on a couple of defined projects. The one I participated in was getting out ballots for the Board election. The other was cleaning out the garage. We had enough people that both projects were a huge success, and got a lot done in a relatively short period of time. This is a new idea for us, and the brainchild of Domyo, I gather. What we are doing is having two regularly-scheduled times each week (Thursday mornings and Saturday afternoons) for people to come and work on specific projects for a specified period of time. This is the first week we've tried it, and it was a great success. On Thursday morning, we had a crew over at the Sangha House (which will be my new home after next week) doing deep cleaning. One woman went to town on the living room and dining room, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, washing woodwork and windows, etc., and it looks great. A guy scrubbed out the shower, washed the shower curtain, and generally cleaned the main floor bathroom. He also knew how to turn on the self-cleaning oven for the stove (which needed cleaning badly). I focused on the kitchen, cleaning the other two ovens (toaster and microwave) and some of the woodwork, etc. Domyo spent the time working on taking stuff out of her room, which is the same one I will move into next week.

Anyway, that was Thursday. Today, after work practice time, I did some dishes and general cleanup in the kitchen, where Gyokuko was already working on dinner, and finally was able to come up here and check e-mail. There you have it -- my day and a smattering of my week. I'm still happy, still enjoying everything I'm doing.


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