So now we officially have our next abbess, Christina Lehnherr, waiting in the wings, and we have a definite date for Paul's Stepping Down (February 11th), and the Mountain Seat Ceremony (February 12th). By Zen Center standards, we are apparently running a little behind schedule, but I am glad at least that things are not happening as they did in the dream I had last year. We have our first planning meeting about it this afternoon, and from what I can tell, although I will be intimately involved, there will be a number of senior people taking care of a lot of the details.
I am very happy that Christina will be leading us. She was tanto when I lived at City Center in 2005, and it was impossible not to be moved by how she was able to ground everything in deep abiding love. That didn't stop her from really kicking my arse a couple of times, but these things are easier to deal with when you also feel held with that kind of care. If you have never heard her give a talk, I encourage you to browse through the archives for one of her lectures, and if you are unsure what she looks like - as she hasn't been around Zen Center quite so much these past few years - here is a picture from the April jukai - she is on the left of the back row: