Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indoor Storms

Where have I been?
That's a good question.

I use this time of slowing down end of semester and year to consider how the past 365 days have gone. Where have I visited and taught, what has worked and what hasn't? These questions are crucial and it's not that I don't consider them throughout the year, of course. It's just that New Year's approaching brings revival to mind, and review.

The last month or so has been consistent with the rest of this fall - a blur of Hakomi therapy and resultant heavy emotional processing, weddings and other significant high-caliber celebrations, way too much travel for my own good without enough weekends off, buying the Shambhala Center here in Madison, and endless richness in my weekly writing classes. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to enact something I had been considering doing for awhile - actually using the last class of the week, Wednesday night, to write a "summary" of the week's replies from students and myself. Only, of course, it comes out in writing practice form, so it isn't a list, more a channelled essay. Because the first week I did it was a very rich and somewhat heavy topic (Sacred Space) the end piece blew us all away. This last week's (looking at images of landscapes and writing from there) didn't take as much out of me, but still helped to "process" all the 35 or so stories I hear each week. Anonymously, of course.

I hope to bring these pieces to this blog. I would like to let the students have that as a resource - a combined "hive mind" of wisdom that I don't want stopping at just me. Also, all of these pieces - mine and students' - I am ongoing collecting for an eventual book. Eventual meaning "I have enough on my plate right now but that doesn't stop me from planning it."

Today Dylan and I will finish hanging our new indoor storm windows, a somewhat dated way of keeping out wind that appealed to us when his grandfather in Maine demonstrated his to us a few months ago. I like this idea of the protection from leaking coming from the inside - and as my friend Morgan joked on Facebook when I first posted that we were considering them - "indoor storms are somewhat rare." It never hurts to have a little extra insulation for when things go a bit amok inside and not just out there, where tonight we are expecting our first big blizzard of the season.

The image the indoor storm windows give me is of a classic Tibetan Buddhist analogy: If you want to be able to walk the path, don't try to cover the whole path in carpet to keep your barefeet from getting poked and prodded. Instead, cover your own feet in shoes. Take responsibility for what hurts and work with it internally. This doesn't mean no social justice, but it does mean not making everything about us. Indoor storm protection seems like a good first step for me this way. After all, we can't stop the blizzard from coming, but we can keep the homefires burning.

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