Monday, October 18, 2010


I'm on the cusp of getting sick, but at least it's familiar: an out-of-balance post-nasal drip from all the sugar and bread and, lately, more alcohol. The interesting new thing is a bit of vertigo from some clogged in the ears. There's a chance I won't get full-on sick; if I could choose what to eat, I could definitely ward it off. But if I could do that, I probably wouldn't have gotten to this state.

The clock is ticking down: 10 days until Anna visits, 3 weeks more of teaching after that, and then I'm back in the U.S. 3 weeks after that.

I've been watching myself--I'm a Buddhist, it's what we do--and it suddenly struck me yesterday or today that I don't actually like the person I am here. It's hard to stay open-hearted when it doesn't seem to matter; it's hard to listen when people don't seem to listen in return, or notice that you're listening to them. And it's even harder for me to do all that when I'm basically out of energy and stumbling through the end of teaching. And while I will continue to proclaim to disbelieving audiences how miserable Anna makes me, the truth is that with her I can completely relax and really easily be, and time spent with her helps me be open and patient with everyone else.

So here, after all these months, I'm sort of a dried-up, more self-protective version of my usual self. My concentration and attention are diminished, though still recognizably mine; my physical responses, for example in aikido, are a little delayed, a little ragged. My body's energy doesn't last: I can't do much exercise except for aikido. Everything about me is working less smoothly than when I came.

Then again, I'm not sure what I expected. I wanted to stress myself with a completely different kind of challenge and experience, far outside my comfort zone, so in retrospect, it's pretty unreasonable to imagine I could live through that with the same level of grace and openness that I have when I arrange my life just the way I like it.

I will, as Anna puts it, "re-inflate" when I get back to the U.S., and open up into someone different than I was before.


  1. I know the lack of energy feeling. The last few months here I've been dragging. Of course, I might have mono....

  2. JFM (Jeremy?) please don't kiss chris, then!

    Chris, I think of you like an aloe plant in the dry season--you appear sere and in peril, with no healing to give to others until it rains again, but when it does, you'll flourish with deeper roots and stronger leaves than before, and have more cooling healing to share. (inviting various naughty rejoinders, I know, but I'm looking at your repotted aloe plant as I write. It is so happy now :). )