The summer of 2023 has been, for me, highly volatile and transformative. A series of brain storms sent me barreling down new paths, only for me to immediately get lost in the underbrush. On the solstice, a crystal-clear path was illuminated for me, but I fell into shadow as soon as I started to walk it. But even though (because?) them thar hills are dark and confusing, there's still gold in them.
On the other side of my solar return and a very intense Venus Cazimi, I'm picking up the pieces and sorting the rubble and making sense of the freight train that has been hitting me for the past few months. A pattern emerges:
My desire to be an Apple developer petered out in the face of the enormity of the task, but the office rearrangements necessary to facilitate a more productive environment remain.
My bold statement about splitting my online output into Solar and Lunar containers didn't yield any meaningful change in my public online activity, but I did permanently delete my twitter accounts.
My week or so of daily gym visits ground to a halt as I chose sleeping in at every juncture, but this push coincided with a massive purge of distracting influences at home.
In short, I'm seeing proactive, ego-driven efforts run out of juice and sputter out almost immediately, but there is a deliberate and forceful pruning happening concurrently that has proven itself to be much more resilient. A psychic forest fire that has spread into my physical environment. And as my professional and personal ambition collapsed around me and I was left with no easy distraction to latch onto, I started sitting again. (lol, this sounds like I'm telling a relapse story. I guess I am!)
One of the inciting incidents was another collapse: our usual Sunday morning routine, which is one that relies on me providing childcare for most of it, is becoming more flexible, and for the first time in years, I would be physically able to visit the local Zen center. I chickened out at the first opportunity because I wanted some practice to make sure I could manage 30 minutes (I can).
Something is different this time. There's no set time of day, no set duration, no pushing through to wait until the timer goes off. My meager information streams run out, and I spend a cycle or two grasping for new stimulation, and then I remember that I can sit, and sometimes I do.
I was so afraid of it, for some reason. Or part of me was, at least. After many months of dedicated practice I lost it, and was doing everything to avoid getting it back again. But it's here now, and it feels in retrospect that I was being guided to make the proper space for it. Not just time, but a gap in the psychic stream that was wide enough for me to remember.
When I approached it as a habit that I was building, the daily routine would reinforce itself, until a pattern break would come along and threaten to collapse the whole thing. I sat today after many days of being too busy to, and for the first time I felt relief and joy on my first breath. Like this is something that I want to be doing.
What a salve for an exhausted, busy mind. What a respite from the juggling of domestic and professional responsibilities. What a wonderful protest against the internalized demand to be Productive. What a powerful spell you cast in those breaths, that ricochets around and through you as you get up and go about your day.
It is really a perfect tool for someone like me who procrastinates and averts eyes from things that might take me out of the little burrow I have made for myself. It works so well because once I've convinced my monkey mind to stare at a wall, there's nothing I'm putting off more, so the piled up tasks all start to melt away. Like killing the boss before taking out the minions.
I should probably see if I actually stick with it before declaring victory like this, but fuck it. Zazen is good and you should feel good. Maybe this Sunday I'll finally get over to meet the other people in my city who are into wall staring. Seems like a good time to.