so, I just got out of a retreat cabin. eight days of no people. no phone. no computer. just me and my mind and a wood stove for heat that sometimes worked and sometimes inexplicably filled the cabin with smoke.
I did a lot of zen retreats in my 20s, but this was my first one since becoming a dad. ten 40 minute periods of meditation, with walking meditation in between, just watching the play of mind as it reaches out over and over for something to latch onto, something to keep it entertained. somehow, just paying attention isn’t enough. we need a show.
sitting for that long boiled it all down for me in a way I can’t experience in my day to day life: I’m just a human being among other human beings, doing the best I can. underneath the judgments we pile on ourselves, I think this is what we all are.
sometimes I think that, without killing myself daily with judgment — all the ways in which I don’t add up, all the ways I assumed my life would turn out that haven’t — that I won’t ever become who I dreamed of becoming, that I will somehow let myself off the hook.
I got a chance to see that all that judgment is the way I keep myself locked down, my face in the shitter, instead of accepting what is — my humanness — and going from there. from that starting point, rooted in reality, I can create something new in my life.
so here’s to taking some time off from the rat race, unplugging, and seeing what lies beneath.