Saturday, October 20, 2007

DIARY 47 - Feeling like a blocked, block of wood.

David's gone off on retreat for a fortnight, and I've missed his presence in the flat immensely. Sometimes it's simply just missing being able to set down and talk through the experiences of my day. In another way, some time on my own I thought, was an opportunity to get seriously into my writing. This was a moment ripe for an ironic twist, so I get a bad dose of writers block. A new piece I'm writing on a extract from Dogen's Genjo Koan got seriously stalled. I spent a few evenings staring at a screen, getting only a few unconfident sentences squeezed out. Being creatively constipated in this way is a bit unusual for me, help, however, was at hand.

I met up with my good friend Jayarava. I mentioned my predicament, and in the next sentence I'm talking how in moments when my faith seems to desert me, reading Dogen effortlessly reconnects me. He suggested I might think about composing some sort of Dogen sahdana practice ( a visualisation practice ). Now this didn't appeal at all, but I immediately thought 'I'd like to compose a Dogen Puja though', and that did it. In the evenings this week I've been trawling through the four volumes of Dogen'sShobogenzo for usable material. I haven't been sleeping too well, so on two occasions I got up and wrote. So, by Friday morning I'd finished the first draft of a Shobogenzo Puja. It was actually quite easy to adapt most of the sections I chose. Abandoning preciousness or being overly reverent, I've lifted a few of my favorite bits, adapting, editing and adding to the material, ruthlessly where necessary, so it will suit a more devotional context. What I do with it now I don't know, give it a dry run at home I suppose, or try it out on a Sangha night at the Buddhist Centre, near Dogen's Birthday or Deathday, perhaps.

Lacking a good nights sleep, with one person on holiday, and another ill for part of the week, there were times this week when I felt mentally and literally overstretched by my work. This has been going on for three weeks, and I've had no time to progress any planning or managerial projects. A difficult interaction with one of my team triggered a strongly pissed off state of mind to emerge, that I experienced in a physical whole body way. Extreme tension, and a grumpy unreasonable mental landscape manifested. Both body and mind were in a belligerent and petulant sulk. Life and people just were not how I wanted them at all. David was away - alas poor me. It has felt like I wasn't managing myself or the team as effectively as I'd like to. Unrealistic expectations – what I, or what I think others think I should be doing - played anxiously across my mind. I know this managing lark is going to take me some time to master, and master it I will. At the moment the job, and I, feel like a bit of an uncomfortable mismatch. I am trusting that this will pass.

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