Memorial Day 2006

A glorious weekend all around. I took last Friday off, so my weekend started with a workshop by Cheri Huber, an American Zen teacher. Her fundamental message is that we’re conditioned to self-hate, and in order to end suffering we need to deal with that. It was a fun workshop – she had some exercises to provide grist for some give-and-take discussion.

You’ve read about my mirror-cutting mishap in my last entry – tomorrow I’ll try to get the mirror cut down to proper size at the glass shop. I haven’t done a whole lot more in shop this weekend – I glued up some more double-thick wood stock for the table tonight. And I set up my pen turning station and turned a couple of bloodwood pens to get my chops back. I’m going to be building up an inventory for a craft sale in December.

The “lessons learned” (or lessons reinforced) came while hiking in Henry Cowell Park today. What started out as a planned day hike turned into a bit of a Bataan Death March as we literally hiked in circles and ran out of water. But it was a great time! We were both able to laugh at the situation and say “oh well, I guess we’re getting a better workout than we’d planned.” And I think I’ve made a new friend, always a plus!

Sense of humor is SO important! Particularly when you’re in a situation where getting angry or upset is not going to help you out of it one tiny bit. Why waste the energy venting? It only makes you feel crappy and sorry for yourself. In the end you’re still walking in circles.

I had a similar experience after Cheri’s workshop. I drove home to the East Bay only to find I didn’t have my house keys. They could be in 1 of 3 places – in my office at work, on the floor of the restaurant where we’d had dinner, or on the floor of the Zen center. All of those places involved driving back over the bridge, and it was already after 11. I started thinking through choices – I could bust a window in my living room and break into my own house. I could call an all-night locksmith to open the door for big $$$. I could drive back and look in my office (the only 1 of the 3 places I’d have access to that time of night). In the end I decided that 1) breaking a window was just going to ruin my weekend, and 2) given that I’d probably be able to find my keys the following morning, I didn’t want to pay for a locksmith. I called a friend and asked if I could crash on her couch, and good friend that she is, she started clearing a space for me. But I was going to track down the only option I had some control over, and that’s to go check my office. An angel was looking out for me – I got to my office, and there were my keys hanging out of my door, just where I’d left them. I called my friend and said “false alarm,” but was nonetheless grateful to have friends who would take a call near midnight asking for a place to sleep.

Had I not found my keys that night, I still think it was the right call to not just bust into my own house. I might have slept in my own bed, but the next day I’d either have to replace a window or I’d regret having spent probably $100 to have my door opened for me. But what I most recall, looking back, is that after an initial “oh, poop!” I just got into problem-solving mode, methodically checking off all my options for finding keys (leaving messages at the establishments, going to my office, etc.) I thought about – very briefly – the “what if I never find them” question, since I had some keys that’d be hard to replace or duplicate. But I realized that going down that path was only going to make me crazy – I’d have plenty of time to wallow in the self-pity of reconstructing my key ring after I’d resigned to them being truly lost.

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, just recognize the opportunities I had to make myself feel a lot worse and spend a lot of emotional energy on worry and anxiety. Maybe Cheri’s workshop did something after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I have no idea how I got to this place where I can deal with a crisis without getting really upset, but I’m glad I’m here.

Getting slightly lost while hiking was pretty minor in comparison, but it was great to not have to worry about my hiking buddy getting upset, either. It was clear we were both thinking “oh well!” She did have the good sense to let me take over navigation at the end, however. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And my lesson learned there – again – is to trust my gut. I thought we were not quite going in the right direction at times, but I deferred to her authority (it was my first time in the park), and my general easy-going nature kicked in a little too hard. But again, the stakes were low, and I got to spend more time with someone I like.

OK, good night for now! Glad to have a 4-day week coming up!

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