Saturday evening: First night at Chautauqua. Sitting on our second floor porch, after putting Julia to bed, sipping sweet wine, listening to an orchestra play at the right-next-door amphitheater. This may not be everyone's idea of heaven, but it comes pretty close for me. I have been longing for live music, but would not have gone to this concert tonight because we are exhausted after driving all day and needing to set up our quarters. Julia needed to be in bed sometime close to a normal time, and I don't know whether I could have roused myself to walk even a few minutes to sit in a theater, but to relax on a porch after sorting out our stuff and tucking in the kid -- ah, perfection.
Friday: Spending a day with Jan at the Buddhist Shrine. Talking and listening as Julia drew and colored. I did not take a picture of her sprawled out on the floor in a corner of the very beautiful main shrine and I don't know if I could have captured what is so vivid in my mind's eye. Julia, butt up in the air, coloring in her bird book with crayons and markers forming a circle around her, amidst the whiteness and intense colors of the shrine. I cannot find a picture to post here and now really regret not taking my own. I would not have captured my vision but I could have had some record to remind me.
It was good to spend time talking to Jan. I find his rather new life at the monastery is somewhat of an echo for me. I am not at a monastery, I am not doing something completely new, but I am taking a detour from what I have known. I am dedicating a year to a retreat of some sort. My year of lying fallow. It felt like we were talking about doing some of the same things. And we both are hoping to use this year to shed some light on the years to come. Our talking invigorated my purpose and design, especially after the two funerals and the socializing afterwards. Too many times, I was asked what I was doing and what I intended to do. I don't mean that I was judged or criticized but my own resolve, my own purpose was shaken somewhat as I tried to explain myself over and over to my well-meaning family.
Julia and I did some strong sitting for Jan. I wanted him to critique and comment upon our practice, as someone who has had a meditation practice for a longer and more intense time. We did it in a room that is used as a teaching room. Jan offered one suggestions - to cross the right arm or leg over the left. He has been taught to do this as part of the tradition. Something about the life force having access to flow more easily. We shall try this.