Last night, while trying to get to sleep I saw that CK lay facing me and she had pulled her hands up tight to her chest. At that moment I'd been feeling a bit of fear and was rubbing my hands with anxious energy. Seeing her face tucked down towards her hands I thought that we looked like two frightened children hiding under the blankets together. I had a moment of feeling things shift, going a little sideways. Some buried echo of being frightened with another little girl under a blanket so many years ago. I was aware of wanting to touch her, feeling how the desire to comfort my own self would try to rationalize as comforting her tension over the flight in the morning.
It took a while, some mindful breathing and I was eventually able to drift off to sleep. In the morning I was tired and sore, but very happy when she told me she actually slept well if too little. I lay in bed aware of her moving around, finishing off her packing, then we were into the car and at the airport.
At noon I ran into a very challenging day at work. More big changes. They affect me personally and make my boss, who is my friend too, miserable. I spent 3 hours solid on the phone. At 2PM I heated up some re-fried & corn tortillas and quickly ate them while on mute. My flood dream seems like some kind of strange premonition now.
AM put together dinner for us and we quickly ate out on the deck before going to the Dharma Center for Zazen. I finished first and sat back in my chair on the deck, pulling my feet in close. "Missing her already?", AM asked me.
I thought about it. I'd been thinking about it all day. Yes, I miss her. But it isn't just her companionship and feeling cut off from that since she's in California. We've been apart for a few days at a time. Although even being apart for more than a day or two in town and I miss her.
I finally answered AM. I told him it wasn't that I was missing her. I was feeling the anticipatory anxiety for her time with her family tomorrow. What I am missing is the ability to be there and rub her feet, put music on for her, take care of her in whatever way offers her comfort and ease. I can't do that from Portland. All I can do is think about her tension around family visits.
During zazen I first just sat, just felt my breath in my body. Starting with fuller breaths, really filling and emptying my lungs. In the second sitting period I returned to metta practice. I offered it for my co-worker who was given upsetting news today of a change in manager; that she will be joining a different team. I offered it to my boss who has had a long year of changes, reductions in her team. Finally I settled in on CK. Making metta a container for my own worry, feeling lost without the ability to offer physical comfort, and gathering up her worried, tense expression I chanted metta practice for her in my mind.
Afterwards I chanted my second time. I was much louder, more confident Kojun said. She thought a very stressful work day led to a more easy chanting service. My teacher told me I needed to enjoy my voice more. He also said I will make an excellent Ino.
No hearing the voices of the past tonight when I chanted. I gave my teacher a quizzical look at his telling me to enjoy my voice more. I remember studying voice at college felt like such a daring thing. Done so far away from home no one would hear me and tell me that I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. Two thousand-plus miles I found that I had a strong, good voice but I never grew comfortable in it and I only enjoyed it when I was surrounded by the rest of the choir. Even then I felt a little nervous, as if at any time someone would tell I was an imposter and disgrace me.
Thursdays make for such late nights. At least tomorrow is Friday and there isn't much beyond gardening planned.
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