In the middle of the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend and pulling thoughts out of dark places ..... ;-}
Up at o'dawn-30 and then a full day of yard-work on Saturday doing some serious tree trimming and general clean-up with the reward of a fine cigar with a coooollllldddd beer, followed by a cool shower and a sashimi dinner cut by the finest sushi chef this side of Edo and washed down with champagne.
Ahhh ... nothing like (l to r) baby tuna layered with lemon, fresh ocean scallop, albacore with roasted garlic on green onions & cut to look like flowers and placed on a banana leaf, then (bottom) mackeral & cilantro .... ...... all on a bed of cracked ice to keep its cool freshness. And then after we all did shots of some of the oldest tequila I've ever had with a slight smoky flavor .... an toasted to the veterans for Memorial Day ... those still with us and those passed on .....
Sunday; up at sunrise, feed the birds, cup of Southern Pecan coffee and now "simply sitting" (or sitting simply) while I surf and blog while sipping Pierre Ferrand and blog and surf the web looking for something useful to buy (like the order I just placed for a paella pan .... nothing like a good seafood paella to make a man sit-up and take notice).
The birds are outside the door to the pergola and taking a bath in the sprinklers; enjoying the water on a warm summer day. Later we'll fire up the pit and burn some flat beef and round pig (beef steaks & sausage links) and down some honey wheat beer tinged with orange blossoms. We'll simply have to follow this orgy of excess with a cigar and sum'more's (girl scout style); but I've got to decide whether to wash it down with cognac or frozen vodka .... decisions .. decisions.
Tomorrow it's another round of yard work before having lunch with the girls (my wife and daughter) and some serious "shopping" to end the weekend before re-starting the grind.
Whenever I sit and contemplate, do dojo work, drop a few lines into my book or just veg' (I think chillaxin' is the new term in use these days) I usually log-on and play tunes from Hearts of Space; a contemplative streaming music site that plays new age, contemplative music ("slow tunes for fast times") since it's background and I don't have to really pay much attention. (www.hos.com and no I don't get referral fees ... I just find it a wonderful break from the normal BS out there ... almost "music to zazen to" ..... a little gozan incense .. my black zafu and zabuton .... some Sennheisser earphones .... jack in ..... aauuuummmmmm ... om mani padme hum ... )
Right now they're streaming a program called "Chilled Euphoria" and I learned something new making today worth the effort in spades. Rave is past my childhood; it coming into being well after I left college and went to work, marriage and seriousness in my life. Always thought it looked interesting and exciting and the kind of event where I could walk around in public outside the dojo in a full black outfit (keiko, hakama, haori) with a battle fan stuck in my belt ........ and not look one bit out of place of out of time. And if I wore some black eyeliner (like a vampire movie actor) they'd probably think I either ran the place, was the buy spinning the vinyl, or just a really kool guy standing n' posing. But, it definitely looks younger than where I am in my time-line. What I didn't know was that "raver's" need a "cool-down" before leaving the rave; after burning all the candles at both ends on overdrive. Apparently in Europe, a rave has a "chill room" and to quote the web sites' description ........
"In time, the chillout space became an alternative venue within the rave itself. In England, the chill room took on a life of its own, spawning a subgenre of quieter music designed to create a kind of electronic landing zone — slow the mind, relax the muscles, and even achieve heightened awareness by manipulating brain states with more subtle rhythms and timbres."
So the Rave jacks you up, essentially making you fit into the environmental requirements of the Rave itself (but not the outside world) and the Chill Room calms you down (for re-entry and landing outside) as-it-were.
Too many times in our existence, as we sprint down the time-line like there's a rush to get there, where-ever the hell "there" is and we get so "jacked-up" (like the ravers) that we only fit the world of the Rave (or the office & the city streets) but not much else. We miss the contemplative time and the ability to hear the little voices inside that say things like "creativity" or "call that person you haven't spoken to in years" or "what did Sensei mean when he described this waza as .... " or "my wife looks nice today ..... have I told her how special she is lately" or "the dog looks lonely ... why don't I be sure to scratch her belly this evening while I'm cooking" or "damn, the roses are looking good today ... what am I doing right for a change" ........ you know, all those little things that give a life some meaning.
O'Sensei knew. If you read him and consider that he spent lot's of time farming and working his garden ...... he knew.
I have for many years now considered an "a__-hole" to be, amongst other things, someone who seems to be so busy that they rush by like I, and everyone else around them, have no value. They act like all around them are inconveniences who delay their rushed trip to greatness. My father used to say, and I still use this phrase today, "No one is that damn busy. Even the President takes phone calls from voters and God talks to us in church ....... so what the hell is his issue?"
You know maybe, just maybe, he's an actually a really nice guy. He just doesn't know his way to the Chill Room so he can slow down, take a breath, gain a different view point and come back to the real world. Workaholism can be of use but it prohibits us from being contemplative and thoughtful.
So this weekend is about done, less than a day and a half or so remaining, but there are others. Take some time to set out a day or two or maybe three and do ... absolutely ..... nothing ................... If it's more complicated than sitting in a chair, watching the birds play in the water, sipping french cognac in the middle of the afternoon just because you can, or hugging the spouse as they fix your kid an old-fashioned grill cheese sandwich with a Coke and a pile of Funyun's, then maybe you need to just say no to that next dance at the Rave and find that Chill Room. Just might make you a better man (or woman) for it.
After all, even God's not so busy that he can't take some time off and just sit ... and ponder ... and wonder how to live better, with more meaning.
Pass the cognac and the funyuns please ...........................
L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX