Saturday, July 25, 2009

Changes in the Wind (July 22)

Or the stars, or the new moon (with a spectacular solar eclipse in Asia this morning, as I understand it), or whatever. I have my application to Tassajara ready to mail, except for my teacher's letter of recommendation, which hopefully will be ready soon. We're starting to try to figure out how the Center will run in my absence, which will be no mean feat. Not that the whole Center revolves around me (well, some days it probably seems like that), but I do take care of a significant chunk of what happens around here.
This will be especially challenging since my "little sister" who was ordained last October has decided to take off her robes and pursue a relationship with a guy who is a member of the sangha. She will go back to being a lay disciple. She will stay around for a while, working some, I imagine, but it's uncertain how long and how much. This puts me back into the junior position as a monk, which is okay. I understand there's another person who may be pursuing postulancy in a while, but probably not until I get back from my stint at Tassajara. So all of that will leave our staff a bit thin.
And of course, several of you have heard, either on the Bowerkin list and/or on facebook, that I have a new granddaughter, born July 16 to my older son Nico in Corvallis. Rebecca Nicole Elizabeth Blum. It's their fourth, and the first girl. Gotta make a plan to get down there to see her (and the boys, of course, too).
I haven't been posting much, because it seems like there is always something to do, things going on, and I'm not sure what might be more significant than anything else. My prison work is continuing, and if anything increasing. It's going well, I would say. The Gay Tea group that I facilitate monthly is also going well. I've done some speaking to outside groups, and one dharma talk here on a Sunday morning. In general, I think I'm getting better at facilitating discussions, which is good, because I really enjoy it.
Personally, I keep thinking I'm doing better emotionally as I continue to work through my karma, and I guess that's true, but I have to say it's been a bit of a rough week since I heard about my "little sister." I suppose I was getting too attached and comfortable with the way things were, and it's time to shake it all up a bit. I was already dealing with anticipating the changes of going to Tassajara for 3 months, and this on top of it has given me a bit of a run for my money. I have the sense that if I had gone to Tassajara 2 years ago it would have been extremely challenging, and I may not have been able to complete the 3 months there. Now I suspect it will still be challenging, but I have less fear of completely losing it. More faith in the practice to sustain me.
In any case, it's still 2 months off before I go, and so I'm beginning to make mental lists of things to take, things to do, etc. I will have no access to Internet while I'm there, and so that's pretty significant. No cell phone coverage. I'll have to go back to writing actual letters, I think, and I can receive mail while I'm there, as far as I know. I'll let you know more when it's closer to the time. You can always find them on the web by putting into a search engine, and when you get to San Francisco Zen Center's home page, clicking on Tassajara. It's a pretty interesting place.


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