Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Resistance, Movement

Yesterday I was all excited to tell KH about planning to attend the loving-kindness sesshin. Then she told me that to take Jukai I have to have attended two sesshin! I really felt my heart sink. It has been so difficult to get to where I feel up to even trying one, but two in the space between April and October seems overwhelming. KH said not to worry, I could always take it the next year.

It has been so difficult to make this decision, well to actually follow the steps to make it happen since I've known I've wanted to do this for a while now. In my mind I really had come to tie taking Jukai after getting my teacher certification done. The two things so equally important, blending into one another, that I wanted that commitment to be done together.

Inside I felt clamoring voices. The amount of projects I'm involved with at work. A lifetime of feeling like I'm putting off until later. So many times I was put off as a child in what I wanted to do either by directly being told something wasn't possible to moving so often.
I was trying to explain it to CK last night after zazen. She asked if it felt like I had worked so hard and was being told it wasn't enough. I agreed that some of it was that. I went home feeling hopeless, small, and like a child (not in a good way). I explained my upset to AM who noted that he'll help make sure things work out for me to do the two sesshins. I slept poorly again.
Despite all of this I felt OK today, even more positive. It occurred me to today, throughout the day but it had time to settle while I was meditating and during asana practice, that my biggest resistance to sesshin is the pain in my body. I maintain my relationship with my pain through movement.
I have found it somewhat difficult to have people understand this who don't have chronic pain. They think about their shoulder or knee aching a little and don't understand. If they're a long-time mediator they may think that just staying with the body and it will shift, often times go away. My pain shifts, but all the twists and turns of it are downhill into more pain. I move, literally pulling my body out of this spiral.
There's also some resistance to having it expose my pain. More bluntly put, I don't want to spend 6 days crying, weeping in front of people. I'm fearful that the insistence of IW and GM, my physical and psycho- therapists respectively, that I cry more, grieve what I experienced, will surface uncontrollably. I see myself crouched in the leaves in the Jizo Garden, sobbing in raw agony like I did this past summer.
Only I won't be able to try and sneak around the back of the monastery and hope no one sees me. Fleeing back to Portland without an explanation.
I explained this to CK after asana practice and she noted that even if it was as bad as I imagined it was finite. Sesshin is 6 days, and of that only 4 truly full days. You arrive ahead of dinner on Monday and leave sometime after lunch on Sunday.
MB asked me if I would co-teach the last class around yoga and the six Paramitas on Sunday. Since that will end at 7PM I believe I will again stay for sanzen. I've talked around this topic a little, but it would be worth being direct about it with HB. I already am feeling less overwhelmed this evening having recognize what the biggest contributors to the fear were. After talking to HB about it I'm sure more of my anxiety will be calmed.
CK is packing to go to California in the morning. This is the first of three trips over the next three months. I will take care of Atari and talk with her on the phone. It isn't that I won't enjoy spending tomorrow evening hanging out with AM, perhaps DW too. It is just that I deeply feel her absence when she goes. I miss our routine, her humor and her sense equally.
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