Second post in January; 24 days between. In the old days, that would be uncommon, but these are the new days (all days are new, really) and it's pretty typical for the future as I see it. Perhaps this will mean infrequent high-quality posting (no guarantees, now).
Half an hour's practice this morning in an air-conditioned open free-weights room at the local YMCA. Second floor, basketball court below, again, lots of open space. 5 Surya A's, 5 Surya B's, Sirsasana, Padmasana. One jump through, one jump back to make the transitions there unclumsy. Sweeney said that to us in the summer of 2008: Sirsasana; Padmasana; enlightenment. So that's what I did. It worked, at least if changing one's concentration counts as "worked." Breath focus, depressive emotional energy changed, onward.
There are 3 YMCA locations in this town that I've frequented. This one is way out east of my already south-east corner house, so it's close, but not if I'm going to work, which is five miles west in the other direction.
The second is right between home and work, but it's downtown, so hard to get parking in (parking is free until 10 am in their lot, so I try to practice 8:30-10 and get out). However, their big bikes room is FREEZINGLY air-conditioned and it makes my hips lock up in arctic fear. Their downstairs free-weights room WAS warmer and open, but yesterday they were doing construction both high and low and I had to roll out a mat next to the CAUTION tape and go for it in tight space. I don't like that location; it's unreliable and cold, although it is close and well-placed.
The third is the northern Y that was up by daycare before the kid moved to the campus daycare. This space is now almost totally out of my reach unless I'm up there in the "white flight" suburbs doing shopping at Trader Joe's or something. It's too bad, because the amenities prove that the place has the money of its audience.
Today I got off the mat and a woman next to me asked if I practiced Buddhism; I said, not in any formal way. She told me about a temple (really? In Indy?) about fifteen blocks north of my house (she didn't know that) and said they do some chanting in Vietnamese and then have lunch, on Saturday mornings into the afternoon. Sounded both cool and potentially cultish. "Vietnamese" immediately had me wondering if they were Thich Nhat Hanh devotees, but there's so much cultishness in Indiana/midwestern belief that mostly what I got was alarms going off. Maybe it's fine. They use MeetUp, which Howard Dean's presidential run made famous, so I'll check them out that way and give the site a drive-past-and-see.
Midwestern belief comes in the form of these sourceless churches that are by definition non-denominational, with names like Lamb of God Ministries and Light of the Earth and promises of "non-judgment" and as ever, welcoming all comers, usually in wide and tall rectangular buildings covered with white paint. They're in my neighborhood, they're near one of the Y's, they're found all throughout the city except to a thinner degree in the arts district and of course less often up in the white flight suburbs (although they're still up there).
I used to go to a church like that in New Britain, Connecticut, when I was in college, because I was trying out my seeker urges (basically). Not to parody the site, but it really was a bit like the James Brown church service in the film The Blues Brothers. Very---but not exclusively---African-American, lots of witnessing, a dynamic sermon (always), a band with guitar and bass and drums, lots of "come on! Tell it! Uh-huh!" as the witnessing proceeded, laying on of hands, really wild stuff. Much more "alive" than the lay Catholicism I grew up with, which I experienced as just a set of disembodied "thou shalt nots" with hellfire for a punishment (equally abstract except for imaginations driven by heavy metal record album covers).
A guy who went there, regular white college guy, in fact the guy who brought me there first, was volunteering at a soup kitchen-and-shelter, and was so avidly trying to convert one of the down-on-his-luck guys there one night, that the dude stabbed him with a knife. The attack wasn't fatal but it was the last I formally heard of that guy, ever.
I was reading a lot of existentialism that year (along with interest in PIRGS and soup kitchen volunteering and this dynamic gospel soul edification, to say nothing of an ongoing Russian major in college and courses in international political dynamics and pre-calculus--what a mix), and so I was seeing all of this in a weirdly Camus/Dostoevsky light. The Dostoevsky was especially informative. Humanity, belief, tragedy, the fever dream that is reality. Dostoevsky is less clinical than the full-on modernists; only Kafka managed to put any blood in that clinical voice; well, he and Henry Miller, who induces a different fever dream, a language dream. Same with Joyce. Celine achieved it by ellipsis. Not speaking lets us feel. Soon this'll be Paul Celan. Anyway.
I was thinking not long ago that "doing seventh series" becomes an identity like any other. Valorizing suffering or bliss or whatever it is. I don't want to write from "inside" that identity box any more than I want to write from inside any other one; credentials and persona. In large part I haven't written here in three weeks and some because I was either whining about 7th series or about 1st or about something; it was all petty whining or petty whining and I got tired of my whole written life being petty whining so I quit it.
J and I had something of a fight and then something of a discussion, and the dynamic was more hearing each other than acknowledging each other, but we did both manage to speak our priorities out loud, and we both, I think, knew how that would go, but again I'll put it in Hanson's terms. She's all Team, because Couple and Self can wait, while Team is demanding. She said, "I don't want to miss my child's youth." I am, as you know, not about to totally surrender Couple and Self for Team because I believe that if Couple and Self aren't at least dusted off now and then, Team can't be done well. We didn't get as stupid as "agreeing to disagree," we just said our own pieces out loud and left it at that.
I asked J if we could have "3 minutes a day" where we just "like each other" and she agreed to this, realizing that most of our time is given to work, child care, and nagging and committed the nagged errands. So the most productive thing that came of our conversation is that I get 3 minutes a day of conversation or just non-nagging politeness (that's Couple, for now) and she gets to continue to do Team all the time except for those three minutes. That's a fair compromise, we both believe.
Yes, our child will be 20 months old in three days. Yes, I still think it's kind of hilarious when books talk about "men will find it hard to wait the six weeks after birth with no sexual activity." That's so, so funny.
I'm interested in Shambhala now; months ago I committed to a subscription of Shambhala Sun, which largely does whatever Pema Chodron is doing, with the regular high dose of advertising (which takes the ever-same ever-tired format of "got a problem with X? Try Buddhism" the same way yoga mags sub "try yoga" and beauty magazines sub "try cosmetics" and health magazines sub "try exercise"; yeah). Anyway, SS sells subscribers' names to things like the Shambhala Center in Colorado, so I got a retreat list (similar to those posted by Kripalu in Massachusetts). Trungpa again resurfaced in my life and I've decided to pay attention. First I up and buy a volume of his writings, and soon after that, Owl calls for an online reading of _Cutting Through..._ and then he reappears again? Time to take notice. So in two days I expect to win an Ebay auction and come away with a book by Trungpa, one by Hanh, and one by Bill Viola, and we'll see what all that turns into.
I put a deposit down for the Tim training in June. We'll see if money and time permit.