Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


The End of a Chapter

Today feels like my first "Official" day of being unemployed. Something about not making the 8AM status call. I also noted that for some reason it doesn't feel like I'm on vacation. Maybe it was because CK was busy getting ready for work herself?

In my usual style I've filled this first week out of work with projects and appointments. I am having lunch with people 3 days this week, taking my Mom to the doctor late tomorrow afternoon (amazed that she has a 5PM appointment), Portland Ignite on Wednesday night, a cohort meeting & zazen with my Zen community on Thursday. Tuesday is my official "good-bye" lunch with my team - some folks were on vacation last week and I was really too swamped to do it with trying to wrap things up.

Saturday I felt kind of extra burnt out from staying up late with a friend from our Sangha who is going to be relocating to New York indefinitely. We went and did another walk through at the venue for Open Source Bridge in June followed by lunch with a couple of the other organizers. We ended up napping in the late afternoon which felt very disorienting. In the evening we finally watched Amongst White Clouds, which was just stunning.

Sunday I think I'd finally rested enough to suddenly be hit with the reality of my unemployment. The anxiety I'd managed to push off with the huge task list finally manifest. Big waves of uncertainty and groundlessness. My Inner Critic, Lovey, wailing, "What have you done!"

What really struck me is just how much of my sense of self has been wrapped up in the job I held, in teaching yoga. Letting go of my regular class at Dishman was bad enough, but at least I still had my job to give the impression of stability, of knowing. I think I was really quite unaware of just how much I measured my self worth, my idea of who I am, by those titles and those paychecks.

Today starts a new chapter where I practice with letting go of more of the idea of "Self" as some construct of all the memories I have, titles I've held, places I've been. Another reminder that I am not my job, not my paycheck, not comprised of the entries on my resume. All of that stuff is mind chatter, part of the noise that separates us from the Essential Self, the No-Self Self.

And it is poetry challenge time in the Zen Community of Oregon. What is now becoming an annual tradition of writing 30 poems in 30 days. To start off, prime the pump as it were, a rather smallish poem:


Scent rising up from the kitchen.
Grain steaming. Roots roasting.
Cats sleeping peacefully.

The simple gifts of home.

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