Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Accepted at Tassajara

I just got an e-mail saying I have been accepted for the Tassajara fall Practice Period. So now it's official. They will send me a more formal, official acceptance letter soon, with more information (which I hope also includes maybe some information about travel options), and a liability waiver due to winter flooding that evidently the Forest Service says is more likely there due to the recent fires in the area.

I've been planning, kind of, but with this sense of what-if-they-don't-accept-me unease. So now I can move into high gear (though not today, with the heat) in getting my packing and shopping lists, purchasing a few things, sewing a few things, cleaning out my room, etc.

It's not like everything else around here stops just because I'm preparing to go away for three months. I finally got the newsletter to the printer this afternoon (much later than I prefer to do it). I'm meeting with a guy tomorrow to show him how I put the newsletter contents on the web -- at least he's very web-savvy (probably more so than I am), so I shouldn't have to explain anything except our own particular deal. Tomorrow night is our annual outing at Oaks Park, and I always enjoy that. I went skating Monday night, and will do so again tomorrow night, so that's cool.

Last night I went to Oregon State Penitentiary where we did a memorial service for two parolees from the Buddhist group who have recently died. The one was in ill health, and he died of congestive heart failure, but in a good situation in a nice foster home, maybe a month and a half ago. The other was doing really well, though he was in a lot of physical pain, and evidently he self-medicated and accidentally overdosed. He had been coming regularly to meditation and services here, and though I didn't feel close to him, still he was in my world, and I had a relationship with him. It was a shock to everyone. That happened a week and a half ago. It felt like it would be a good thing to do a formal memorial service, so Getsushin (who is an ordained and transmitted priest, and the head of our prison programs) and I dressed up in our koromos and did a special service for the guys in the group. We picked a hot day to do that on the fourth floor with of course no air conditioning. I'm getting pretty good at sitting meditation in all sorts of conditions (and of course was also wearing my light-weight kimono underneath, for whatever help that could bring), and just sweated through it.

Saturday is an all-day retreat that I have two ceremonial roles for, but even so I'm looking forward to 8 hours of sitting meditation -- that's always rewarding. And next week I leave Wednesday for a 4-day women's retreat down at a farm west of Eugene. Ceremonial roles there, too, of course. And stuff to bring and keep track of. And after that we're into September, and really kick into high gear, with maybe just a touch of panic.

I've been aware of getting ready to put down my responsibilities around here, with mixed feelings of worry and relief, which amounts vary with the task. And I can't put them down too soon! Some things I still have to stay sharp for. It feels like a balancing act, a little like a short-timer, but don't want to slack off before it's time to. And at the same time I genuinely have more to do that's involved in getting ready to go. Kind of a conundrum.


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