Monday, February 04, 2008

Roller Skating, Gay Tea presentation, and more

Well, I intended to write an update last Monday, but was just wiped out. I'm marginally better today than I was last week, so we'll see what comes out.

Two weeks ago (January 21) I went roller skating at Oaks Park, where you may remember I broke my wrist last August. I was going to go with a friend, but she got sick and so I went by myself. It was fine. In some ways it's easier by myself, because I could just focus on making sure I was doing this skating thing, not on what anyone else might see. There were a lot of people there, mostly adult. It was part of a monthly Gay Skate, where people bring a can of food for a local food bank and get a slight discount. I did see a couple of friends from our Gay Tea group, and we got to talk about the presentation we were then planning for Equality Day, January 27. I finally got tired and went home after about 1-1/2 hours of skating. I will go back some time, probably not this evening.

Sunday, January 27, was Equality Day (the sponsoring organization, the Community of Welcoming Congregations, called it Equality Sabbath, which didn't quite work for us, so I changed it). 60 congregations around Oregon and southwest Washington participated in some way. When I first heard about it last summer, I thought it might be an excellent excuse for our Gay Tea group to do the panel presentation we'd been talking and thinking about for several months.

It came off very well. The trick was to make sure we had some dharma teaching in there, not just to have it be all about gay people, but to have it be applicable to anyone. And in fact, we've been working in the group to have our discussions relevant to dharma teaching as well as relevant to our lives as gay folks. We had a pretty good mix of people speaking, both in terms of who we are and what we talked about, and also in terms of how we presented things. One of the things we talked about was the coming out process, which is includes elements of transformation and the deconstruction of the self, a way of re-envisioning our lives so we can live more authentically in the world. This is something we talk about in Buddhism. There was a nice balance between personal sharing and sharing of information (history, psychology, etc.). There is much more that could be addressed, of course, but we made a good start, and were well received. Our abbot would like us to pull our notes together for an article in the newsletter, which I'm working on.

That Sunday was very busy, so not everyone could get to the presentation. There was Dharma School, so we had a fair number of our staff working with the kids. Many of the parents were downstairs at a Parent Group (which also went well, I understand). The presentation was recorded, and if you want to hear it, let me know and I can send you the link to download the MP3.

This last week has been busy as well. I've been a little depressed (getting tired of winter, I expect), but still keep moving forward, and it's all fine. I do know how to sit with things. We had the first Dharma Council meeting, which is a new entity in our revised organizational plan, and that went well (I'm on that one). I do think the new Mandala organizational structure is beginning to work, though it still has various bugs in it that need to be worked out. It's interesting to watch, in any case.

Yesterday was the end of our fall term, with a special ceremony. Next week we more or less begin spring term, so there's not really a break there. We stay on our regular schedule (except for a month when we ramp it up slightly starting April 12) from now until mid-May, after Denkoe retreat. Then we begin to gear down until we go on summer break in June.

I'm still sitting meditation at 6am every day, even on my day off, and I enjoy that (most of the time -- once in a while I wonder why on earth I'm doing this, but usually I realize that it does make a difference to how my day goes). This morning I took a longish walk to go buy a ticket to a concert this Saturday evening, and then went to the library. After brunch, I went across the street to do some sewing, and have a bunch of hand sewing that I will take up the street to my room. This evening I will probably alternate between sewing and reading, or possibly focus on one or the other. The choices!


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