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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkey & Tranquility

Well, another month of my life has drifted by, and I am still here working away at keeping some of my life's more notable events from escaping the memory of time. :)

Here is a little post-Turkey roundup: Don't ever get a disagreement with your family just before Thanksgiving. (i.e. You might be spending it alone, honesty apparently equals solitude) --- Well, at least I stood firm on my position with my brother outlaw even if it cost me a fancy feast. My kids flew in and had a wonderful time, we had our own private Turkey feast, and I must say it was probably as equally boring and sublime as it was stress-free. (if that makes any sense) Definitely the most uneventful and forgettable, while at the same time being quite calming. Calmness just doesn't seem to match any memories of my overly complicated, hectic and frantic affairs of "turkey with 20", as it has been for most of my life.

Overall, the kids were great and I do miss them dearly when they depart. Sure, it is fun being fancy free and able to do just about anything I want all of the time, but I seem to find plenty of interesting ways to fill that time --- not too much of which is truly Andy time. So, I decided to work on that just recently.

I pulled out all of my Chinese calligraphy materials including my extremely rare 300 year old hand-carved Shoushan & Jade inkstone, which weighs about 20lbs and decided that it wasn't "getting any younger" sitting in its special padded felt and gold tassled Dragon case, so I fired it up and went to work. (I mean play) - The ritual behind calligraphy or Chinese brush-painting is not the goal but the process. Every single phase is important as much if not more important than the result, which any proper Zen student worth his raked sand, would confirm means nothing and results are to be forgetten and left in the past. No Mind, No Clutter, No Drama, No Worry --- nothing but clarity --- "no mind"

A quiet drop of water and a slow deliberate grind of 100 year old black pine, hand painted inkstick onto the silky smooth stone face is quite relaxing. The focus is centered on nothing else but the ink and the releasing of stress from life itself. Your thoughts, your rambling, your life is to become as pure and clear as a gentle stream - it doesn't think about where it is supposed to be or to go, it just is. That is the magic of this for me --- losing the drama of life and for a brief moment truly residing into the path of clarity, where no one's opinion, no one's thoughts, no one's voice is heard or even desired.

The strokes of the tear-drop bamboo brush glide with deliberate force across the rice paper canvas and "art is made" --- but it is the art created in the spirit that matters more than what dries on the canvas. I think we all need to find something that allows us to truly center, to find our peace, our own place for "no mind" ---

As I look forward to Christmas, I look forward to my children and the rest of my life to be unfolded. I know I need more time to figure this part of my life out and I just don't have the answers nor the desire to know the outcomes, nor the urges to look into the well of the past. I just want to be myself, be happy in the present and then enjoy what gets created on the canvas of my life.


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