Fu Schroeder encouraged us all to consider how we got here and what is the ox we are looking for. The end of 2004 and early 2005 was filled with strife and discovery that what I was doing was not for me and only when Katrina came did I have the courage to move on. Next I was trying to find my place in corporate America. A life that allowed me to live in a place like San Francisco but the forty hours a week of work in a job that did not fit was not worth fun weekends. Finally, the big step. The decision to leave said job and live at an ashram for 30 days while studying and practicing yoga (*note, more than just hatha yoga). I don't think my world ever looked quite the same. An opening occurred. A path became visible. A path in and towards a life that cultivated truth and openness to everything. I saw that there was a place where people with this common journey come together to live and learn. All I needed to know was that this place existed even if I wasn't ready to stay there.
I taught yoga and it was wonderful. Challenging, uplifting, disappointing, beautiful. Nothing matches the joy and honor of having people thank you for loving them and supporting their practice, whatever that looks like. But alas I was not satisfied. I got a master's degree and by most standards a wonderful job. I don't think I was ready for it. Really ready to do the work because I loved everyone. I came to Green Gulch to learn about love. To learn about true compassion; to cultivate the ability to love everything and see the good in everything. I came to Green Gulch to practice steadiness. Of course the road to steadiness is paved with rocks, holes, stumbles, and generally feeling off kilter. The first noble truth. Sometimes explained as "life is suffering" but I find better understanding in "life is like an off kilter wheel." The general feeling that something is off is what pushes me to practice. I have faith that practice will change me for the good. It pushes me to persevere even when my new life is hard. Even when somehow my bath towel got used to dry the bathroom floor. Even when I feel like zen is too hard.
I'm like the rose bushes I prune. It is hard to remove the parts that are alive and familiar. But gently cutting away allows the strongest parts to thrive.