Sunday, February 5, 2012

So it's really happening and I didn't feel it until this morning's departing monk/student ceremony. After almost breaking into giggles during my turn as a new kokyo and a flub of bowing bells I held back tears while prostrating next to my husband in the Mid City Zendo. The four of us residents and one of the core members stood in a circle with tears in our eyes sharing our memories of how we got where we are; forever grateful to the special place Mid City Zen has been for each of us. For me it was a gateway from being a curious bystander to still curious Zen buddhist with only a mild fear that I am not hard core enough.

We leave New Orleans in three days. I am fully aware that it has not fully hit me that in three days I will be gone from the place I called home for most of the last eleven years. I am also aware that from my experience, it will hit me in maybe a month as I cry and wonder if I made a mistake or that I'll feel like an angsty teenager and no one understands how I feel. When people ask what I am moving to California for, I tell them I am moving to a Buddhist monastery and farm. You can imagine the range of reactions I get. I have several stock answers that generally sound socially acceptable and even elicit jealousy. But sometimes I am not so sure myself. What does a layperson do at a monastery? Am I a layperson?

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