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On Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

On Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

While meditating with a Buddhist Monk in New Zealand, I was watching my thoughts about the recent conversations I’d had with all these foreigners I’d met at this stop in my journey. If someone could take a picture of the thoughts floating around me as I saw them in my mind, they’d see heaps of little scenes floating fluidly around my head:

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The french guy talking about how he doesn’t like girls who have square football player shoulders, then, realizing that I do, he backed down off the topic and said, “But with bodies, all that really matters is how it feels.”

—-

The annoying little 11 year old boy, who, after insisting to his parents that he could help me dig a trench across the driveway, didn’t help. He just wanted to tell me stupid dirty jokes that only an 11 year old would find funny.

“Why don’t you find my jokes funny? Everyone else does.” he wondered.

I replied, “Everyone else is just humoring you.” Frustrated, he stormed off.

“Good,” I though, “it worked.”

—-

How the people I was staying with for a few days insisted that I carry buckets of water up the hills on their property from their stream to water the newly planted trees.

“You should really invest in a water pump and a long fireman-type hose, you wouldn’t even need to lay in pipes, just plug it in, walk it up and you’re good.” I suggested to the owner of the property, as he struggled to carry two buckets of water with his back brace on.

“No, a little hard work never hurt,” he said after pouring water over the last of at least 30 newly planted trees that needed to be watered.

“But it would save you’re back,” I said as it started to sprinkle.

—-

The man’s wife asked me to hang up the new drapes she bought.

“Do you have an iron?” I asked, “these creases won’t hang-out anytime soon. I can iron them really fast and it will look so good.”

“Oh no!” she condescendingly said, “you can’t iron this fabric, it’s polyester, a type of plastic, it will melt. The creases will hang out in a week or so.”

“Umm, I’ve ironed plastic before, you just use a low setting.” I replied looking really confused, but then remembering that she just doesn’t know I am the master of fabric, I command and fabric obeys, “But okay, I’ll put them up like this then.”

After hanging the curtains, I smiled at how shitty it looked. And thought, this is business, the customer has to have it their way.

—-

That same french guy who, when asked if he’d want to take home a New Zealand girl with him after his year-long visa ended, responded, “No, I could never make a woman choose between me and her country.”

—-

When the meditation ended, I boldly asked the monk a question. “In yoga they teach to clear the mind of thoughts and to give the mind a break from them, but you said that in Buddhism, one is supposed to embrace the thoughts as if you are one with them and think them through. How do you cope with having too many sad thoughts in succession? How do you keep pushing through the same sad thoughts that come to mind every time?

“You just keep thinking them through…all the way to their end, every time, until the the mind is satisfied with it, then it will no longer plague the mind. And you will be free of it.” He replied.

On the Magic Tyre Shop

On the Magic Tyre Shop

By the time I got to Christchurch, New Zealand, I was done living in people’s houses. Not because of the people, but because of all the food I felt obligated to eat. I don’t normally eat breakfast, yet house rules require I wake up and join everyone for breakfast and eat it too. So I was intent on staying in a hostel.

Luckily the YMCA (which allows females to stay as well) had open space for the next 5 days with a really reasonable rate. I was in an eight bed female dorm room. I was alone the first night, then the next day I returned from my exploration of the city to find an elderly lady sharing the room with me. Her name was Margret, and she was staying there because she had moved out of her apartment to take a job down south and for some reason needed to stay in the area for a few more days to wait for her place to live down there to be vacated.

She was a nice, talkative lady with heaps of stories to tell. So talkative in fact that I had difficultly telling her that I had to leave to go find dinner because I was starving. She said she had a car and if I wanted she would drive me around the next day and show me the city. I said I’d think about it over dinner and let her know.

At this point in New Zealand I become accustom to trusting strangers. After all she seemed harmless. I came back from dinner to find her sleeping and woke up the next morning to find she had gone out, but had left a note on my night stand.

“Girl, if you’d like, I’d be delighted to take you on a personal tour of Christchurch. I’ll be back around noon, you can let me know then.”

I decided to go. It was a Sunday and everything was closed anyway.

Later I found myself in her car full of all her personal items (remember she was moving down south and had all her things packed in the car, ready to go).

We stopped at the grocery store to pickup snacks, then around the area we went. First stop was the beach which had a long pier. It was cold but she insisted that we walk all the way to end. Along the was she told me about her life: ex husband, daughter, siblings, etc. She told me how when she was 12 her younger brother (who was 10) died in some sort of accident. I said “oh that is so sad,” and she replied, “yeah it was at the time.”

We stopped by her old apartment to get the mail. She wanted me to wait in the car because if I went in her old roommate would talk me ear off and we’d never get out of the place. From there we went to the neighboring mountains along a road that she had never driven on before. There were great views of the city and she was so excited about pointing out where everything was from there and how the landscape all fit together. We stopped at some old Tudor house, which was build only in that style about 50 years ago. It was now a restaurant, but she insisted that I at least peak inside the door to see the decorations.

She filled me in on all her views about life and how it works together and shifts into new forms. How there is always going to be something to look forward to and life often just mends itself.

By dusk we were driving down the mountain. Near the bottom, one of her car tires sounded like it was going flat because there was a reoccurring flapping sound. I told her to pull into a parking lot so I could check it.

I was kind of excited because I was finally going to get to use my tire changing skills, but after checking the tire I realized it wasn’t flat at all. I had her reverse and pull forward just as an extra check to find where that noise was coming from, and nothing seemed wrong. So we figured we’d cautiously drive our way back to the YMCA. As we pulled out of the lot she noticed that it was Tyre Shop parking lot and she exclaimed, “The tyre shop fixed my tyre!” I laughed because, well, it was true, the noise was gone and everything was fine.

In celebration, she bought me an ice cream cone from MacDonald’s and we continued on our way.

On Caving

On Caving

In New Zealand I suddenly found myself wearing a wetsuit, standing outside the mouth of a cave surrounded by bright green rolling hills, being given a rather short tutorial on how to abseil down a waterfall in the dark. It was one of those moments where I did realize that I was present for everything leading up to this moment, yet I still wondered how I managed to get there.

Next I knew I was in a cave, with the guide’s headlamp flashing in my eyes as he roped my harness for my first decent.

“How far down is the bottom?” I asked.

“This is a short one, only about 10 meters,” he responded.

Down I went, rather slow at first, because I thought I should take my time and enjoy this. Then once I got the hang of it, “Shwoosh.” I landed with a giggle rather suddenly to the worry of the guide at the bottom.

We made our way through tight passages, following an underwater river which caused us to have to dive completely underwater to stay on it trail.

It was the first time I had seen glow worms, though the guides said that there were other caves which had heaps more of them, which I did end up seeing eventually in my journey.

For the next waterfall I volunteered to go first, headlamp off. I didn’t go so fast this time because there were no lights to see where the bottom was and the freezing water was strongly pouring down on me the entire time. In the pitch black I ended up swinging somewhat awkwardly and touched down in a sitting position, in a two foot pool. From there I had to un-rope myself, signal with the rope that I was unhooked (the water fall was so loud that even yelling couldn’t get the message through) and feel my way around the cavern that I had lowered myself into tog et myself away from where the next person would land. The idea was to keep my headlamp off so that everyone could experience the process in the dark. So from there I waited, and waited for the next person. I oddly enjoyed sitting in a dark cavern full of water alone. The wet suit kept me warm enough, though there was definitely holes in the boots, but at that point there are much bigger issues at hand, like, where is the exit?

Finally the rest of the group made it down and we could continue on our way. For an hour and a half we repeated this process of roping down waterfalls, I going first each time because I’m like that.

Then there was a point were we had to start going up and it was then that I hit a wall. Literally it was at least a 14 foot wall we had to climb. I didn’t go first this time. I tried and tried but I couldn’t get my footing, the wetsuit wouldn’t let my legs stretch up far enough for the next optimal spot to push up from, frustrated tears were building my eyes just as my belt got stuck on a ridge, rendering me helpless and forcing me to step down and start all over again from a different section. So there I was analyzing this wall, with the realization that there was no other way to go but up and I had to do it. Everyone was waiting at the top, so up I went, with a little boost from the guide below me, exhausted, I managed to get my upper body over the top, just as my belt got stuck AGAIN, AGAIN. I was shaking and stuck. With a little pull from inside the small opening I had to get through, I finally made it out of the water fall.

The guides gave us some sugary candy of some sort and of electrolyte drink to boost our energies. Reinvigorated, we proceeded to make our way out of the cave. Next I remember being born into a sunny green sheep pasture. I sat down once I was out of the way of those behind me and watched each of them slowly drag themselves out. And I couldn’t help but laugh at how it would look for a random passer by to suddenly see a bunch of people in black suits and helmets emerge out of the ground like aliens.

Not Being Able to Trust My Own Judgement

Not Being Able to Trust My Own Judgement

There was a time when my lapses in judgment caused me no great harm or worry so I didn’t attribute the cause of my action to lapses in judgment, things just happened as they happened. I usually enjoyed the outcomes of my judgment lapses with the attitude of “I cannot believe that just happened…wow!” Now I feel as though I have too much to lose by acting too strongly on impulse. The funny thing is that I’ve got less to lose than I did before, yet I feel as if it is more. This could be the result of my world being much more narrower now than it has been in the past, so greater weight is given to fewer aspects of life. Do I have a greater sense of responsibility?…. well, no not really, it is just that my choices tend to be only mine to make.

My worry about my judgment calls is causing me to narrow my world to extremely safe bets… if even you can call them bets. I recently realized that bad judgment calls come out of no where; going into them they appear to be perfectly reasonable things to do. Only when something bad happens is the judgment call considered bad. That is the trick, I don’t know how the situation is going to turn out, I can only base my projections on what I have experienced in the past, if I make a projection at all. So for the sake of accomplishing my goals I realize that I need to restrict myself from situations where I have experienced a negative effect of a judgment call. To clarify, I am speaking of extreme situations here from my more wild side. Don’t get me wrong, I intend to continue having heaps of fun, but I am just drawing a temporary line to keep myself on the right track.

Sailing is just so cool.

People Who Base Their Opinion of You on What Their Friends Say

People Who Base Their Opinion of You on What Their Friends Say

Most of my friends, I’d say, have cool friends… who I find fun to hang out with and get to know. But a few times in the past I’ve been stuck having to hang out with someone who I don’t particularly enjoy just so I can hang out with my cool friend. When put in that situation all sorts of thoughts run through my head. this included the thought that maybe my friend has horrible taste in people, then I realize that they have chosen me as a friend, so…. what does that say about me if they have horrible taste in friends? Then I realize that some people are just social whores who have a very basic definition of what a friend actually is and therefore have heaps of acquaintances whom they refer to as friends. Since I normally can’t function coherently in diluted relationships I rule out that explanation as well, because, I wouldn’t be there if I felt the relationship was diluted.

The worst though, is when one of those friend of friends points out things about me that they don’t like. All of a sudden my friend sees me through the prospective of their friend who obviously isn’t compatible with me otherwise I wouldn’t dread hanging out with that person. “yeah, you know what.?.?. You’re right, she is like that” my friend says to their friend. The conversation probably continues on as they build together their agreement about me- which serves as a private bond between them from which they are able to read each other’s silent facial expressions, in my presence, confirming their private conclusions about me.

At that point I realize that my friend whore is either not capable of monitoring their own influences or they are willing to find any reason under the sun to relate to their friend more, even that the expense of me. I have seen it both ways. The end result is usually my distance, which I don’t mind at that point because I will do anything not to have to hang out with that friend of my former friend, what a relief!

Another shitty thing is when a friend can only think I am as cool as his friends say I am. You will see this when you meet new friends whose friends have already heard A LOT about you, and I mean A LOT. Like these people can tell you about yourself for 5 drunken minutes. So there you are on your pedestal, freaked out because you’re only that cool to that one person because he fills a specific friend role for you and you tend to treat that archetypal role much different than people you just met at a party. So inevitably, you get a lectured later on what everyone at the party thought of you and/or what you should work on for next time as if you are socially challenged.

So it was my mistake I shouldn’t have subjected myself to these parties because I didn’t go to the party to hang out with THEM, I was there because YOU invited ME and I like hanging out with YOU. So cut me some slack for passing out early because the friend whores at your parties are boring.

Constantly Creating New Things to Look Forward to…

Constantly Creating New Things to Look Forward to…

I’ve been shooting magic arrows at falling stars for weeks now, and no matter how many stars I hit in this brainstorm, I have yet to actually climb up and bring my, so-called, great ideas down to earth where they may actually prove useful.

For a time in my life where so much possibility exists I am really having a hard time pushing myself to get started onto something next. I have plenty of ideas, heaps of them to keep me looking forward, but just no real drive to act on them. I never thought I’d say it, but going to bed at 4 am and sleeping till noon or 1 pm really does nothing to motivate me into action.

Lately, by the time I get out of bed and piddle around with the idea of taking action, the sun is setting, leaving me to a world of endless night which encompasses a world of endless dreaming. So, whenever I end up going back home (I’m in Phoenix for a few days) I’m going to kick my own arse into shape and do more than eat, sleep, and go to yoga. I’m going to make myself a list of things to get done each day and actually cross off everything on the list, simply for the sake of completing something: the list.