Zen Center Day 6 – A Redwooded Farewell

I decide upon waking that I need to try to meditate one more time before I leave this place. While the entire experience has been meditative in its own right, I have not consciously sat and cleared my mind very often, which in some ways was the entire point of this trip. I slip into…

Zen Center Day 5 – The Heights

Thursday marks our last full day of work, and I spend it with a variety of people. As we stand in the circle to mark the beginning of the day, I feel at home. It’s easy to fall in to the rhythms of these people. I don’t really know anyone here, even if I’ve met…

Zen Center Day 4 – Trees of Liberation and Prayer

I sleep in on Wednesday, which means I linger in bed until 6:30am. It’s easier to wake up at the zen center because everyone goes to bed between nine and ten every night. The rhythms of nature are the alarm clock, and people seem content to follow that. I clear trails again today with Carlos,…

Zen Center Day 3 – Oceans and Pubs

On Tuesday, I awake from my ten hour slumber and feel refreshed but melancholy that I let a night slip away from me. I skip the morning meditation and instead write for a bit before breakfast. My goal for the day is to see how the pre-dinner meditation at 5:15 is, and if I will…

Zen Center Retreat – Day 2, Meditation and Work

Day two of my retreat begins at 5:50 in the morning, which is one of those times I’ve only seen a few times in life. My advantage lies in the fact that 5:50am in California is actually 8:50am in Michigan, but the lack of sun makes it feel early. I don my brand new mediation…

Zen Center – Day 1, Meet and Greet

After tea, there are a few hours left before dinner and the official start to the work week. I use the time to acclimate myself to my room, change out of my travel clothes, and shove my useless, mangy socks into some deep dark hole in my suitcase. I decide to wander the grounds. What…

Zen Center Retreat – Day 1, Tea House

I drop my things in the guest house; also in the Japanese style and pushing my geek buttons pretty hard. All the rooms revolve around a central hub, two levels high, and there is an openness that doesn’t exist in Western architecture. There are paper windows open to the common area, and though I can…

Zen Center Retreat – Day 1, Arrival

The flight from Kalamazoo to Chicago only takes 30 minutes. I’ve never flown in a plane so small. Walking down the aisle to reach my seat is an effort of contortion, but the one long row of seats on my side is comfortable in its elbow-roominess. A 6:00am flight is beautiful in September. The darkness…

Armizare

I am standing in front of a full-length wall of mirrors, six pounds of dull steel in both hands, and I am repeatedly swinging the metal down and to my right. I lead with the blade and follow with my left foot, changing the stance and allowing me to then swing the blade back up…

Running and Failing

If the last thing I posted on here held weight, this would be the greatest, most thought out blog post in the history of online self-aggrandizing. I can assure you that it will not be that. Instead, in true Murakami-mimicry, I’ve decided to write about running. I haven’t been fleeing the authorities or anything, but…

Relevant Writing

I’m going to be changing the way I write in this blog. For the past couple months, I’ve been writing about almost every book, movie, and game that I consume. I’ve enjoyed this, enjoy it still, but I think it’s hurting my efforts to become a better writer. I feel obliged to write about everything,…

Eating Vegan – Two Months In

At the beginning of December, I posted a blog about how I was becoming a vegan, in no small part due to the influence of a documentary called Cowspiracy. I’d started down the path of zero animal-product consumption a week or two before that, and it has been nearly two months of eating lots of…