Tag Archives: Thailand

It’s just that …

It’s just that …

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. (03/09/1943 - 09/15/1945). This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 513877.

The little things have a way of disrupting the big things even in the best of moments.

Take internet connectivity for one.

This has been my latest cause of uncontrollable, snarling, derangement. It is truly an “are you kidding me,” kind of thing, ridiculous and laughable all at the same time—and that’s me I’m talking about.

In the I-want-it and I-want-it-now category of things, having ON DEMAND superfast, Internet is the world I like to live in. (And no, I don’t step out of my rage to reflect on the days when 56KB modem connectivity was fast—I live in a megabyte and preferably gigabyte world!)

So, when over the past couple of weeks our Time Warner Cable connectivity s-l-o-w-e-d to a crawl, (as now—and yes I’m naming names), capriciously it seems and for no discernible reason that I can glean (and in spite of the full connectivity fan mocking me from its perch at the top of my computer screen), I am ready to scream.

“Why?” I lament.

“I need it NOW!” I rant.

And in my full hysterical, the world-is-out-to-get-me paranoia-infused sputtering, foaming-at-the-mouth “best,” I give an award-winning homage to everyone’s favorite Captain, James Tiberius Kirk, by yelling out “Khan…… Khan…… Khan….”

This because, I cannot see the weather, Google a Star Trek factoid, send a tweet, add a blog post, or watch this or that episode of Eureka on Netflix—my latest series addiction.

Okay—so OBVIOUSLY it’s time to hit the pause button here.

I mean I should know better.

Wat Suan MokkhHey, I even went to Buddhist “school”—ten days in silent meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh in Chaiya, Thailand.

Where is all of my “it’s just that” training?

Where is non-self?

Why am I so attached to the mosquito-bite moments in life?

As in the ring when my trainer Lennox Blackmoore’s fist connects yet again, (lightly thrown, though I should give him the right to slam me after the third time in a row when I still haven’t slipped), I cannot attach to the fact of getting hit because it only exacerbates the lack of fluidity and sight I have of what is in front of me.

I guess what I’m saying is its the essence of living in the moment.

A fist on its way to one’s left temple is about as in the moment as it gets and there are two stratagems: get hit or get out of the way. All else has no meaning.

And so it is with everything else.

It truly is “just that” and each time I get caught up in the spiral of no internet connectivity or any of the hundreds, heck, thousands of little things that can be annoying to the point of snarling, it really is getting to the silly stage.

So, is there no Internet this morning? Nope, but it’s okay. I live in Brooklyn, there’s always Starbucks.

It just is

It just is

My “dharma” teacher, a revered Theraveda Buddhist Nun back at Wat Suann Mokkh in Thailand was always fond of saying “it just is.”   The wisdom of most boxing trainers revolves around a similar refrain.  My current trainer, Lennox Blackmore is a master of such statements.     He has two flavors:  “it is what it is” and “wake-up.”

Thus, if one is training in a crowed ring – it is what it is.  Deal with it.  Get clocked sparring?  It is what it is, move on.  Get clocked again?  Wake-up!

As wisdom for the ages and frankly, as I “age,” I’m actually beginning to see where this all makes sense.  Is my kid, husband, family, cat driving me crazy?  Am I too hot, too cold, tired, hungry, over-worked, under-worked, grumpy, manic, obsessive, distracted, happy, sad, and on and on?  It just is.  Did I trip, forget where my glasses, keys, wallet, iphone are?  Wake-up.

It gets to be a world-wind after a while of “it is what it is” and “wake-up,” but somewhere in the midst of it I am beginning to actually hear the “be-here-now” at the center of the “it just is” and “wake-up” poles of being.

If I am here now, I will likely avoid the punch, or hit the speed-bag with perfect precision or never engage in the fight with my husband or daughter and actually remember where my glasses are.  I won’t be overly anything, but I will not trip on the sidewalk, get hit by a car crossing the street against the light or importantly, miss out on all of the tender moments with my family.   Somehow it’s hard to believe that I can personally go through life without the drama of  engaging riotously and waking-up, but having been “clocked” enough times by life’s travails, I’m beginning to see the wisdom of staying awake as a moment-to-moment way to be.

Up and at ’em

Up and at ‘em

The sunrise in Brooklyn is at 7:12 AM this morning.  We’ll push the clocks back in a couple of weeks, but those of us with busy morning routines will still be waking up in the dark.  From my own experience it is really hard to get up and out of a warm bed when the only light is the pink glow from the streetlights outside and even the cat is rousing slowly.

Harder still if one is hauling out of bed to hit the pavement on the way to the gym.  On those kinds of mornings, motivation can be low and one’s spirits even lower, especially if it’s cold or rainy or if the time has slipped a bit.  In my case, the morning gym has fallen by the wayside in favor of late afternoons (when I get there) – but I find that a few sun salutations help get the day started without wrecking havoc with my schedule.

My first encounter with Yoga was during a ten-day Buddhism retreat in Thailand of all places at a venerable old Temple called Wat Suan Mokkh.  Mornings there began at 4:00 A.M. with all of us beginning our first morning meditation thirty minutes later.  By 6:00 we were old hands at wrestling with our monkey minds and for those who wanted to, the option to tackle our stiff morning bodies.

Our instructor, a fellow meditation student had found a lovely spot on a slight rise and arrayed out across the grass, we put down towels and began our morning sun salutation routine as the faint ribbon of light began to peak up on the horizon.

By the time we’d finished an hour later, our sleepy bodies were quite refreshed and rejuvenated, ready for our next hour of meditation before making our way to a Spartan breakfast and the meditation schedule that picked up again later in the morning.

City dwellers do not necessarily have such an ideal environment to greet the morning with.  Usually it’s a gym, the living room or at best a park, but it doesn’t mean it’s not possible to take a few moments to give the day it’s due before bounding up and out the door to the myriad of activities that are crammed into a busy day.  Even two “rounds” of sun salutations can help clear the body and the mind and make the morning routine that much easier to cope with.  Lately my daughter and I have attempted to unfurl our bodies with at least one.  It hasn’t guaranteed us more pep in the morning, but does seem to pave the way.