Beginners Mind

I love karate and I practice often. I do want to know it as a reaction instead of technique and always, when I think I have gotten it perfect and am ready to commit it to muscle memory, it gets critiqued again and I go back to the start. 
Okay, I don’t go completely back to the beginning but I have to ditch old habits that I have ingrained into my body and in that sense, it is like starting new again and again…

I am not complaining.  Every step along the way shows me something I didn’t know before and that is always a good thing. It can, however, be frustrating especially after long slow practices where I think I can go back to Shifu and there won’t be anything to be said. 

It is what it is though. I appreciate that I get the opportunity to be critiqued as I do. Above all, I want to feel confident enough to use it but I also want to be good at it. 

I don’t want to have to think. 

Nightmares 

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I never really do but lately I have been having a lot of nightmares which is unusual. 

Last night it was about being a child and captured, strapped to a chair and electrocuted while awake and then some man came into a compound where we were being held looking to kill someone (the bad guy) who was perched in a tree who then shot the man with some sort of fire weapon that melted holes through his body leaving him half charred on the ground. 

Om 

Om, a sound used in various religions, thoughts, practices most notably used during meditation or prayer. 

The short version of its meaning is abstract concepts via spiritual, consmic or just in principle of Nature encompassing the things beyond which we can ever know but know in some sense as to be the beginning or the beginning of the beginning…you get what I mean. 

Deities are often conceptulized as literal beings who have understood and have tried to pave the way forward looking inside and outside for the answers that we seek about our truest nature. 

While I personally don’t believe them to be literal beings which many do, the concept is an expression who became enlightened through themselves and careful observation of life or the Universe in which we are in every way inseprable. 

I think the concept goes wayward when deities are mistaken as actual divine gods and the focus becomes a worship of a thing and meaningless rituals or practices that result in meaningless answers    which lead to destruction and war and a life that has become sufferable and delusional in many areas of what constitutes us and the idea that we are separate from Nature, some sort of creature or being that has acquisitioned for itself another beginning another “mother or father” if you will, that leads nowhere because it’s a false idea.  

The lotus, one of my favorite symbols comes from the thought that, like a lotus that grows in the mud, so too are we able to grow in the most inhospitable conditions and the will of us to do so comes from inside; the seed of compassion, kindness, love, understanding, empathy, forgiveness, non-judgment, compassion buried under muddy conditions: hate, suffering, anger, destruction…

When we look within us to find what is still beautiful inside, we grow out from harsh conditions and begin to take root until what we are meant to (at least so I think) become begins to blossom and give birth to more lotuses until a path in the mud is made and we walk along it never forgetting where we were but never minding it because that’s is also where we grew. 

Sometimes it is hard to see past the mud but it becomes easier when we embrace that the whole of life is a duality and neither destruction or growth can be without each other but you can walk with one foot in each side. 

Feel not that all life is suffering or that all life is love but that all life up/down to wherever it began/didn’t begin, only that Om (abstract nature) for whatever the purpose or without purpose is always present and always giving even when it seems to be taking. 

When you can understand this without thinking, you’ll know you’ve found the center because the path hasn’t a beginning or an end but resides within us/universe as the whole center. 

So because our minds aren’t able to understand, visualize how far reaching the Universe is, we make up concepts that scale it down if only for the purpose of a path/understanding. 

Be grateful that we even have the opportunity to experience this thing we call Life. 

Boredom-bloom

Was feeling pretty bored today so far. It’s been quiet and I spent most of my free time practicing my karate and then took my dog for a walk. 

We haven’t been out for a walk in about a month or so because it’s been pretty cold but the air is always nice after a good rain. 

When I got home I decided to give some of the ferns and shrubs a little trim and what do I see!? 

My hyacinths are budding. I love those flowers. I almost forgot I planted them a couple years ago. 

What a Day-luge

After dropping off one of my kids to school today, the rain unleashed a deluge upon us, a sight I haven’t seen since my hiatus to Arizona some 15 years ago. 

It’s quite an incredible sight to watch the water rise so fast before your eyes.  Most of the time, when the weather alter system goes off with alerts about flash floods or other weather related warning, I don’t pay much attention but they are pretty serious considering that in five minutes an entire entry/exit to my neighborhood was impassible. 

It must have dropped, what looked like, a foot of water in five minutes! I got a little nervous when the water in my backyard was about a foot away from the patio door and then for about 10 seconds a gust of wind I haven’t seen/felt since my time living in Hawaii, rushed through taking a tree down with it and then it stopped. 

Thankfully the slope on the patio diverted water down the side of the house and out to the street otherwise I would have been spending the afternoon wiping up water.  

So much fun though.  I know. When it can be serious, I can be a bit of a tool but there’s always a little excitement and awe that I feel when Nature does her thing. 

I most definitely am thankful though. We’ve had a drought for a long enough time and the rain is a welcome sight. 

It reminded me of when I was a kid growing up in Washington where every Spring one of the main roads leading up to my home would flood and I would foolishly drive through it anyways. 

I always regretted it somewhat when the smell of mildew stunk up my car for weeks OR when I would actually flood my engine and have to get out (like an idiot) and push it out of the water and wait for it to dry up enough to start again. The good ole days. 

Okay so maybe I exaggerate a little. It was more like three feet.
There is a street there.

And my backyard neighbors fence.

Starting 2017 New

Last year was a turbulent year, one that for the most part was wasted on Facebook arguing over politics and religion and barely focused on what’s right in the world. 
Slowly, I could feel myself shifting from the person I know that I am to someone who was spouting the same “buzzwords” with vehement passion and losing myself to the world of social media helping perpetuate this idea of a world so bound for the path of destruction and adversity, barely taking moments to reconnect with what is real. 

I am real, I have my own thought and I know that many of them don’t jive well with so many people. Even though my circle is small, watching people that I admired and respected fall victim to the same patterns of anger and distress and slowly weeding out any voice of dissent, was a troubling thing. 
I recently watched a TED Talk about social media and how it effects people and how we become distracted, addicted, unable to appreciate much of the real life because we start to take what is put out on those sites, as what is true and real. 

Over the years, I have noticed and still used it because my finding physical friendships in a world that is so virtual gave me a sense of isolation and sadness because I am still human and I still need to socialize to keep my sanity. 

The irony, of course, is that even while socializing in a virtual world, I was becoming actually isolated and actually sad because all those things on there, no matter how many real connections you make to people, inevitably, those aren’t the truest of them and it doesn’t and can never replace actual physical contact.  Seeing into people eyes in the real world, noticing the details in a person quirks and listening to the alterations in their voices when speaking and most importantly, hearing what they are actually saying. 

On the internet, words are words but when we communicate, we do so with more than just words.  We say things to each other with our eyes, the inevitable mispronunciation or word scrambles, the giggles that you can tell are either sarcasm or true to life belly laughs.  

I miss those things. I feel them slipping away and as much as I want to stay connected, I think it’s best to remove myself from that world and reconnect with the things about and in life that are beautiful and are inspiring and are worthy of my full attention NOT 20 different distractions in a course of ten minutes. 

I know we can do better in life.  I know I can and I know popularity was never something I aspired too and when feeling like I shouldn’t say something because someone might not like it or agree with it or understand it, then that irony is that what I was not saying was because I wanted to remain in my small loop, to remain heard and respected instead of just being myself. 

Writing was always a passion and speaking about what I feel is true to me is something that has always helped me stay tuned to myself and others but there is no place for that there. 

The attention span of most users is about 20 seconds so anything after that is a waste of time. 

With that said…