There seems to be something unsettled in the air, above and beyond my own emotional turmoils. Maybe the unseasonal rain is part of it, the weather positively English in its cussedness at the moment. In the building, at a time in the middle of practice period when things usually feel pretty stable, there are comings and goings. We added a departing ceremony to the morning schedule at the last minute, as it was the only time that would work for the departing student. The fact that I was leading Dana around on her jundo was quite poignant to me, as she has been ino here in the past, but also, when I was first living in the building, she was one of the people whose generosity and kindness as a more senior practitioner really gave me the confidence that I was in the right place.
It added a little to the busyness of the morning, as we already had the Suzuki Roshi Memorial on the slate. I was thinking back to the last time we combined this with a different ceremony, and to my surprise it was exactly a year ago. Plus it was an oryoki morning, but somehow we managed to get through things on time. I had a few other things to take care of - our usual kokyo is on vacation, so I had to take attendance and find someone to be kokyo for the memorial as I was in the kaisando on food offering duty (at least that part went very smoothly today, though it somehow came upon me almost as a surprise, I was so pre-occupied with other thoughts); on the serving crew, the head server had gone away, happily finding her own substitute, one of the servers had gone away without finding a sub, another had done night-watch so had switched with someone from next week's crew who would be away next week... I was kokyo for breakfast, and then doshi for the next period of zazen; this was when I was most glad we weren't running late, as I had a chance to sit and drink coffee before someone from the Saturday sangha came and asked for help filling all the jobs as not many people had shown up today. I gave posture adjustments during zazen, feeling at least grounded enough to do that, with mixed results as usual.
Lecture started badly for me, as one of the power switches for the equipment had been turned off, so there was no sound for a few moments while I traced the source of the problem. I am still getting accustomed to the set-up, and to sitting at the back of the Buddha Hall. Paul sounded pretty quiet to me, but there was very little room to manoeuvre between audibility and feedback, and I was constantly tweaking different levels to try to find a combination that worked better. - again, mixed results. I didn't really take in much of the talk, but was glad to hear him bring in Rilke, Naomi Shihab Nye (as I said later to Laura who was running the Livestream chat next to me, in the future, you will be supplied with these links ahead of time so you can add them to the chat box as they come up), and a story he had mentioned to me yesterday when we talked, of the person who decided they didn't want to date someone, but who, it transpired, had nonetheless sent the undesired person three hundred emails...
Finally, someone Joan is working with wanted pictures of the sangha here, so I took a couple of pictures at the morning work circle in the lobby before breakfast. They are a bit scruffy, and they are not the posed shots, but they also capture something of the spirit of the moment:
blog before she leaves. I will try not to say anything too provocative.