So the bookstore has my news. I announced I will be leaving by June 1 to them last week, and then I went off to a mostly fun conference in order to get some space from the store. Everyone is generally supportive of the "Miriam-goes-to-grad-school-and-teaches-too" idea, though my plans aren't exactly "hardcore activist". Dealing with me leaving, logistically, and in terms of community, will be more complex, but we have a few months to do it. I am confident I can transfer most of what I know in a transparent way (which is needed, anyway) to the system here so as not to leave the rest of staff and volunteer collective in lurch.
And I feel relieved to have made official announcement. It's been quite the process. Honestly, I felt pretty shitty the couple of days after announcing: very doubtful of self and path, etc, then I went to teach, and, big surprise, I felt much better. Sticking to the moment.
And here is the plan: I am applying to Naropa's Contemplative Education Master's Program. I am required as an applicant to have an active teaching practice. I was nervous to ask them if me teaching independently "counted" and they replied that yes, oh yes, it sounds just right. (I am, after all, teaching contemplative writing, so private or not, it makes sense it would count). Applications are due end of January. Then, I sit around and wait, prep to leave my job, teach a bunch more, as much as I can. If Naropa takes me, I will plan to travel before going to Boulder for a month in the summer (I am due there for one month out of each summer, but otherwise the course is a long-distance one), then for a month in the fall. I want to go to India and see Prayas (with a sojourn to Tibet), as well as Australia to see good friends in Perth. On a likely separate journey, Tobias has just fixed up a new warehouse flat in East End, London, and so I think I am due to go back that way over the pond in order to check up on the Euro contingency and allies. So that will be another trip sometime this next year. If Naropa doesn't take me, same idea, only I might make all the travel at once, over summer, when teaching is in a lull, and come back and teach and do whatever else I can. Honestly, I am quite confident about Naropa. I think it is a good match. But one must always have contingency plans...
I am in the water between islands. This last weekend I was at a cooperative business conference, and I flailed in my attachment to responsiblity, anger, aggression about control. I took stuff out on myself and other people. It is interesting to watch the release when I let go and swim free. When my mother died, 9 years ago this January, I couldn't stand to swim free. Now, I practice each week, with some conflict or other, letting go and giving in. Then, when the big stuff happens, swimming doesn't feel like drowning, except for those first few minutes; arms in the air, legs rigid from expectation, breath tight and hard. Then I breathe, take some water in and kick it back out, move my arms and swim. Water. I'm an earth sign. This is a new thing, to chose to drop the islands and float on the sea. But it feels natural. After all, I am 90% water, right?
Thursday, November 03, 2005
(Photo from Castro in San Francisco)
There is a characteristic of the Midwest, which before dealing with recent difficulties, had always disturbed me. The fields. The open-ness. The lack of mountains or even high hills. Sometimes I felt comforted that I could see so many miles ahead and back, sometimes that felt like the wrong kind of distraction. Yet it is true. Mountains intimidate me.
But today, I appreciate the spaciousness in the Midwest. The lack of head clogging, visually. The ability for hard things to face to float for a bit before me, not be crammed in by strangers or even by skyscrapers. When I was in the Bay Area recently, I took a lot of photos of space (not surprisingly, a major element in Miksang conceptual work), and really appreciated what space I could find there. Here, it is everywhere. And for now, it is a strange comfort - being that space, with all of it's motility, is not comfortable at all in some ways, it is a sailboat on the sea, always in motion. Yet, once one rests into movement, there is a comfort. Not comfort in the sense of lulling. Just, spaciousness.