We are all barefoot. A group of barefoot people sitting in a Zendo contemplating the whatever?
This got me thinking about how many things in my life I do better when I am barefoot. I write better when I am barefoot. I play guitar better when I am barefoot. I trail run (almost) barefoot, in Vibram 5 Finger shoes. Yoga barefoot, lots and lots of things I do in my barefoot. I play with my daughter in the backyard barefoot.
There is no special reason why I prefer barefoot life, I just do.
After the Sunday service at the Zendo I could not stop thinking about all the barefoot Buddhas we are trying to be. There is comfort in barefoot but also there can be pain if you do not watch your step. Barefoot brings about awareness to your body and attention to the soil you walk upon. I like this idea. Mindfulness by foot.
Currently reading “Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei” by John Stevens. It is the story, if that is the right word, of a group of Buddhist monks who push the limits of human endurance in service for attaining enlightenment. In 7 years they will have run 1,000 marathons on a vegan diet. This is taking “The Four Noble Truths on suffering” to a crazy place of ultra endurance athletes seeking a spiritual high. By the way, they run in straw sandals that fall apart daily, they run nearly barefoot.
What I am learning in this book?
That we need to know our place in this world. To understand the soil that we walk on, to experience the importance of each season. To see the effects of what damage we may do to our surroundings. To take notice to the people around us as we are moving by so quickly.
Barefoot spirituality. I remember reading a Ken Wilber book where he wrote “Finding your spirit is as easy as noticing your feet” .
I like that....
(Unleashing your creativity)
(Healthy living via a creative process)
(10 commandments of creativity)
Tomorrow night I will be giving my first talk on creativity. Public speaking on creativity has been a longtime goal of mine and it will be nice to check it off the bucket list. Hopefully if I do my job well it will be the first of many.
This talk has taken on different themes throughout this past year. To give you the short back story of how this “talk” came to be, last year after teaching a photo 101 workshop the conversation veered to my beliefs about the importance of creativity in daily life. This conversation was held after the workshop ended with a small group of people. After the conversation ended I was asked if I could give this same talk next year at the “Health Fair”.
One year later, I will be giving this talk. There will be four running themes: (see above).
Originally the talk was going to be on “faith and creativity”, but at the last minute I was asked to change the title to simply “Creative Photography”. The title change did bother me a little, but truthfully not much. Faith will be a guiding theme blended throughout the talk. And no, it will not be evangelical at all.
Lastly, I will end the talk with a Q&A session. I am guessing I will get a lot of techie questions, that's ok: I will tell you what the best camera to buy. (But you probably won’t like my answer.)
Where: Upper St. Clair Community Building
Free: Open to all
Prior to this meal, I completed my first formal zazen meditation at Plum Blossom Zendo. I have been attracted to Zen for well over a decade, but never made the jump to start a formal practice.
Zentimental: that is the perfect word to describe my feelings. I have read books, lots of them on Zen. I have practiced home meditation for ten years but never had I made the journey to expand this passion.
I have roots in Christianity and a strong connection to the works of Zen practitioners. At this period of my life it's time to grow both lineages in a blending journey. Let's see what happens.
Sunday morning I park my car on a normal street right down the road from Carnegie Mellon University. This does not look like a Zendo to me. I walk up a couple of steps and knock on the front door of a townhouse. There is nothing Zen about this experience. Where is the Buddha statue? Where are the prayer flags? Where is the Zen garden? This is just a townhouse in a row of other townhouses.
The door is answered by a woman with a smile and a please come in. People greet me politely, I shake hands and exchange niceties. Next I am taken to the third floor of the house , this is the Zendo. An empty room with a Buddha statue and eight meditation cushions on the floor. Ok, this is starting to look Zen to me. I am given a Zen 101 intro class of what to expect and how to act in the Zendo. Bow to the Buddha first then bow to the group then bow to your mat then sit. I was given a list of the chants and prayers and then I walk through the proper technique of walking meditation.
Bell rings three times, all becomes silent. The group from downstairs walks quietly to the zendo. We sit for 25 minutes of zazen followed up with 15 minutes of walking meditation, then one last period of 25 minutes of zazen.
The first zazen session went great, all those books and home practice was paying off. "I am a meditator", I think to myself. Bring on the ten day retreats. Three bells ring again ending the first period of zazen. Next, the group stands up and starts walking clockwise. At this point I am not meditating, I am just trying not to walk into the person in front of me. My mind is full of noise and I think the guy two people in front of me looks like George Carlin, I try not to giggle, please God do not let me giggle now. (good to have roots in Christianity for such an emergency) My prayers were answered. More bells ring out, more bows and we sit for the last 25 minutes of zazen. This is not going well; my back has a sharp pain in between my shoulder blades, the right side of my face is itchy all I want is that damn bell to ring. Ok, so a ten day retreat is out, for now.
The bells ring, I did it. We rise and the practice leader give out orders for morning chores. I have to help clean the zendo. I knew this part was going to happen, all those books prepared me for this. I clean all the mats in silence while another man vacuums the floor. This is nice I think to myself. The movement feels good and silence makes the work mindful. OK this is good, I am feeling something. My heart beats slow, my mind is focused at the job at hand, I will come back to this zendo. The bells ring three times and we go down to the breakfast table.
I feel Zentimental.......
If You Like Elizabeth Craig Intimates, May I Ask That You “LIKE” Me? | Shameless Request for Some Facebook Love
Well I have to say I gave in to something I said I never would: requesting people to “Like” me. As a business owner I get TONS of requests to “Like” other people’s businesses and it can get a bit overwhelming. However, I was recently convinced that my Intimates photography could be pushed further if I opened a Facebook business page. So…*sigh*…I finally gave in. I’m not complaining! I’m incredibly blessed that people seem to like my work (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!) so it did make sense to make this small leap.
So, as much as I hate to ask, and as much as I feel like a 7 year old on the playground asking you to be my friend (actually that’s kinda cute…..will you “Like” me? I promise I’m a good friend, loyal, fun and have a terrific sense of humor (if I do say so myself)
Thanks for all the support!
Current Music: Psychedelic Furs, Greatest Hits
Mood: Ready to go....
Sounds: Quite morning hum of Mother Nature
Temperature: 87 degrees
Thoughts: Birthed a new project-idea last night. I need this. As of late I have been purchasing new equipment to speed up post production work. You can not purchase your way to a new idea-project. Now I need to set aside the time and hope the weather becomes my creative partner.