Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 12 -- My head is spinning ...

... and term hasn't even started yet, officially at least. Since my last update (about the farm retreat), I've done several things that have been interesting, but haven't had a lot of time to report on them. Let's see if I can remember what they are.

Last weekend I was jisha (teacher's assistant, who carries the incense in ceremonies) for my first weekend retreat -- which involved my first time as jisha for full morning service and also for sanzen (formal interview with a teacher). The sanzen was challenging, especially since many of the people at the retreat were relatively new members who hadn't ever done it before. So lots of kind of pointing directions, making sure people got where they needed to go, etc. I would occasionally sit down, but usually had to get back up. I would stand, and then after a while when nothing happened, would sit back down, and of course then something would happen and I had to get up. I've heard jishas complain about sanzen during retreats for years, and now I have an idea of what they mean. But it was also kind of fun.

There were three of us in training positions during this retreat, and we had a nice chat afterwards celebrating all of our many mistakes. I have to say I'm getting better at making mistakes, easier about it. Just noticing that I did that wrong, and do it right next time, or ask questions if I'm not sure how it was supposed to go.

Today I met with my teacher and one of the things we talked about was the newsletter. The editor is stepping down, and I'm being named "managing editor" (my teacher is the "publisher" or "executive editor" or something like that). I've been doing a lot of work on the newsletter for quite some time (including putting it up on the website after it's complete), but have been holding back in favor of encouraging others to get involved. Last month I just kind of took over some things to get them done (since the previous editor was doing very little at that point), and it was a lot easier. It's almost time to gear up for the next newsletter, after I get back from vacation, and I'm not all that sure what we have, but hopefully things will begin to be clearer.

Oh, and this coming Saturday [tomorrow!!] is our talent/no talent show, and I'm going to be in it, in spite of my best efforts to stay quiet and not be noticed. My teacher asked me and another fella to help him sing some of the old chestnuts from an act he has done with various people over the years called "Karmic Relief." In fact, I think that may have been one of the first events I came to DRZC for way back when, a concert, before I became a member. It's kind of fun, but involves my playing guitar and singing, which is a little stressful, since my guitar playing isn't exactly what I'd call proficient. Fortunately, the other fella is good on the guitar, so I am pretty much backup. Still, one of the songs has a fairly challenging chord structure, so we'll see.

My teacher informs me that it's now Friday (yikes! somehow I was thinking it was still Thursday) and we're supposed to rehearse in a half-hour, and I was going to set up the sound system. So I'd better go do that. If anyone in the Portland area wants to come by tomorrow night about 7pm at SE 25th and Madison, admission is by donation, and it should be a hoot. We have a group putting on a play based on "Lonesome Dove" (I think they may be calling it something like "Solitary Pigeon"). And other stuff. Maybe I'll get a chance to let you all know how it goes.


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