Sunday, August 28, 2011

Work, Rest and Play

I have been noticing a paradox during my working hours, which I was tempted to call the horns of a dilemma, but that would be overstating it: some days it seems like I never get away from sitting at my desk looking at the computer, fielding e-mails and occasionally phone calls; I look at the list of projects that I keep on hand, and it feels like I never get anything done. Conversely, when I block off time, as I did on Friday, to empty out the cupboard in the ino's office which holds the City Center talks archive on cassette (so many illustrious names from the past, and how will we ever get to listen to them again?), to realign the shelves so I can store the gear we use for our audio-visual enterprises these days in the lockable cabinet that previously contained the old sound system, while it felt like a most useful accomplishment, also left me feeling like I had been neglecting my 'real' work.
I also need to remind myself constantly that part of my 'work' is just attending the activities I am supposed to be at: the morning and afternoon schedule, the dharma talks. But then, even though I offered to do the sound for the entertaining poetry reading on Friday night, I didn't consider that work, since I hadn't promised to do it beforehand, and hadn't expected to until I decided it would be the best way to spend the evening, which it probably was.
There was a less pleasant consequence to the event, though. Having removed the microphone and receiver from the Buddha Hall so that both Matthew Dickman and Matthew Zapruder could read with clip-on mics - and mostly the new sound system was excellent - and having replaced them after the event, at ten o'clock on Saturday morning, coming up from zazen, I felt I should just check that the mic was working in the Buddha Hall again, and the fact that it didn't made me sweat. Even more so when the people who were in the dining room said they could hear it. If I had had five quiet minutes to think it through I would have figured out the source of the problem, but I didn't - I needed to go and pee, which is not a simple operation when you are in an okesa (and nor is poking around in the sound system cabinet), and everyone was waiting for the talk to begin. The speaker, Eugene Bush from Santa Cruz, had already requested that we not record the talk - which is a shame as it was wonderful - so I just had to ask him if he was willing to speak unamplified, which, graciously he was. As a long-time school teacher, he had no problem being heard throughout the room, and while he was talking I worked out exactly why there was no sound reaching the speakers of the Buddha Hall (I had inadvertantly pulled out a cable along with the receiver).
We are now heading into interim week, which I would perhaps have benefited from more if it had followed directly after the intensive, but which is welcome nonetheless. I am hoping to make it to Tassajara for a few days, although I am unsure how I am actually going to be getting there, and I am expected to return with some photographs.
We marked the beginning of this relaxed week last night with a party at one of the apartments up the street, to celebrate Tanya going back to school. It was a classic Zen Center party, where everyone knows each other, and people were either talking or dancing. Of the two activities I decided I would rather be dancing - along with Renee who was leading the fray, and Blanche who was gamely joining in when the music was more to her taste. Nadia and I were sharing DJ duties, which turned out to be a lot of fun.
I may have been optimistic about the weather the other day; I rode this morning through more drenching fog than clear skies, though it was nice enough here by the time I got back that I could spend a happy hour in the hammock on the roof reading a book, something that doesn't happen nearly enough.


Renee said...

Great dance party! Thank you for your expertly chosen music.

robert barrer said...

Shundo, I hope you get some quality time for you, yourself, during interim. Enjoy your time off! See you next week.