Sunday morning (evening) coming down…

I can’t seem to focus on just one task at a time lately. I’ve got 2 or 3 books that I am in the middle of. I started organizing the office, and stopped after I did most of my desk. I started going through and organizing the basement, and stopped about an hour in.

I’ve been on a diet since January 1. We’re severely restricting carbs, and trying to eat more vegetables and fruit and much less junk. It’s working – I’ve lost a little over 4 lbs. so far. But today, I find myself hitting the wall. The lack of bread and potatoes is making me a grumpy bastard. Ok, more of a grumpy bastard than usual.

I had intended to start zazen (literally “seated meditation”) today, but my head’s not in it right now. Or, I’m just being lazy and making excuses (which is much more likely).  I’ve been reading and studying zen practice for over a year now, and everything I have read makes a lot of sense to me.  I had picked up one or two books back in 2011, but it was early in 2012 when I accidentally wandered into the “Eastern Thought” section of Books A Million that I came across two books that really jumped out at me.

The first was “Not Always So: Practicing The True Spirit Of Zen ” by Shunryu Suzuki. His other book, “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind” is widely considered one of the world’s most important books on Buddhism. I had a heck of a time finding that one in our local big box book stores, so I finally bought it on Amazon. But I digress… Not Always So was easy to read, and quite enlightening. It’s basically a series of transcripts of talks Suzki-roshi (roshi is an honorific title used for a highly venerated senior teacher in Zen Buddhism) gave at the San Francisco Zen Center, which he founded in 1962. It gave me lots to think about, and quite a few ideas about ways I could make changes to improve myself – something which I am sure many people would agree is necessary! I can’t recommend these books enough.

The other book was “Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, & the Truth about Reality” by Brad Warner. He’s a punk rock bass player and zen piest who’s originally from Wadsworth  – right down the road from where I live. His writing, and the way he described zen really made me want to begin practicing zazen. I’ve since picked up his other 3 books, and I have enjoyed and learned from them all. He explains things in a very clear manner, and (perhaps this is because I am a musician as well) makes it sound very appealing.

So I just have to stop fucking around and do it.

Rehearsals for my show start back up Monday night. We have 24 rehearsals before we finally have an audience, but I am confident in this cast. Time to hit the ground running!

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1.1.13

And welcome to 2013.

I’m hoping – and going to be working hard – for a much better year than 2012. There were things that were out of my control – we had way too many deaths in the family last year, one of which was (and still is) especially hard. We all get old and die, but you sometimes forget (or just trick yourself) and think that certain loved ones will just always be there. And then one day, when you least expect it, they aren’t. More on that later.

IN my control, however, are things like work: I need to work harder at my job. Actually, at both of them. My friend Johnny likes to say, “Work so you can live, do not live so you can work.” He’s correct. But I can give a better effort, and I really need to do so. I’m quite good at what I do, and I need to make that more clear.

I need to work on my health. I’m heavier than I have ever been in my life, and that is not a good thing. And it’s all within my power to change. Started right out of the gate today with a shopping trip to stock up on healthy foods, and an effort to prepare meals ahead of time for both work lunches and dinners when I get home. I’ve got my little touch of diabetes under control (mostly) and I intend to keep it that way. I used to come home from work and walk for 30 min, and I have gotten away from that. I bought a Wii fit so that I could get more exercise without having to go outside (in bad weather) and I haven’t touched it in months. At the end of 2011, I was toying with the idea of trying the whole “couch to 5k” thing, and that’s gone nowhere. The time for excuses is over. If I don’t get healthier, I’ll die. And I’m not ready for that yet.

I have several interpersonal relationships that are, well, train wrecks. One in particular is…well, sad to say, but in the last year and a half, I am coming to see that this person is not who I thought they were. It looks as if I may have inadvertently ended the friendship…well, I say inadvertently, but I said a few things that I knew were going to set this person off. But I meant them. I believe what I said to be true. Even funnier, when they messaged my wife to basically whine about what I said, the person basically lied to her, twisting my words and portraying it as something different than what it was. Bitched that I called them a liar, and lied about what I actually said while doing it! But you know what? I don’t fucking care anymore. I have enough friends as it is, and I really can’t in good conscience remain friends with someone who holds some of the views and opinions that this person does. So, out with the bad. I would have had to “break up” anyway. The one or two other ones are different. I just need to work harder at being a better friend. I know what I need to do, now I have to do it.

This is the year that I work on making our house a nicer place to live and relax in. Cleaning up after myself. Making the yard look a little neater. It’s not much, but it’s all ours, and I need to have more pride in that.

This is the year that I stop making excuses and really try to begin practicing zazen. I’ve been reading and studying and now the only thing stopping me is me. If I feel that I’ve honestly given it my best, and I don’t feel I have benefitted from it, then I’ll stop. But not without an honest effort first.

This could be the year that I get back into my music, after too long away. My drums sit in the basement, just waiting for me. I just need to be more careful who I choose to make music with.

This is the year that changes everything.