On Starting the Day

I awake in a clot of blankets. It’s cold so there are two quilts and a tangle of sheets wrapped around my legs. There’s one chirpity-chirping bird out a window sill but I usually don’t notice it until I’m sitting in the kitchen, sipping the coffee. It’s perched on the adjacent window in the courtyard, it has a fat breast that puffs past the ledge and it hangs out beside an old air conditioner.

When I get up I’m grumpy from dreams. Dreams, the off-gassing of my person, the evidence of my under-thoughts. I immediately notice that this is a cloudy mood. One of the first thoughts is oh shit there’s so much to do today. How will I ever fit it all in?

I reach out and swipe my arm across the table of this fresh moment in this new day and those stupid thoughts crash onto the floor. The old silver salt and pepper shakers, tarnished but still grand, clunk down and get dented upon impact. The porcelain bowl of sugar breaks into pieces, little chips mix in with the sugar grains. Napkins are rumpled into awkward postures. Forks and spoons and knives clank down and one errant butter knife slides away from the rest of the carnage.

Carefully I step over the mess of stupid thoughts and into the kitchen to drink three tall glasses of water and boil more for coffee. The ritual of coffee involves grinding beans, and pouring it twice through the cone so that it is strong enough. I drink out of a short, thick handle-less tea cup my beloved business partners Yuuki and Kana brought me from Japan. It is pale blue with pink flowers etched in it. And to have them so close to me at the beginning of each day means something.

There is a candle to light. Perhaps just a tea light or maybe a long stick. There is a red notebook to scratch out the ideas that have risen, like froth, to the top of my mind after demolishing the stupid thoughts. I’m searching for those ideas that I can relieve myself of by writing them down. I’m looking to clear out this head. I want to get it empty. When the mind is as empty as possible, then I can look around and hope to see the world as it is, instead of just see seeming shapes through the smoke signals of my animal nature that tends to treat everything as an emergency.

I think of the man in the tunnel in the park. It was 40 degrees last night so I didn’t bring him tea and a hot water bottle late like I have on previous nights. Just food and drink earlier in the evening. I think about him waking up from under his shell of blankets, the red plaid one on top. In my mind I check in with his mother, I don’t know if she’s dead or alive, but I like to check in with her to decide what to bring him. And it seems important that I’m not so regular that he builds a dependance on me. I just show up if I’ve got something to help him survive. I am impressed how he likes the food I like – brown rice and vegetables and a swirl of spice. I figure the spice will help him stay warm. And I always bring him hot tea. A couple days ago when it was 20 degrees he said “the tea is a life saver.”

It is almost time for practice. It is almost time to recite “I thank you God…” and to innumerate all that I am grateful for (my feet! My legs! My pelvis! My belly! My heart! My lungs! My neck! My face! My skin! This room! This home! Dylan up the street. My family sprinkled over the continent. Ken with his computers and enthusiasm. Those wonderful students who came to class last night…. I can see all their faces. I’m looking at their faces and sending thanks out into the morning to them… thank you for your cheeks and eyes and presence… thank you because I showed up feeling cramped and your eagerness and the trust in your face lifted me up. You thought I was there to lift you up, but I stole the light from you first, then I just gave it back… you had it from the start. Thank you so much for bringing it….)

Then the curtains part in my mind and that scene is swept away to reveal Costa Rica spread across the stage in its endless lush green with the animals filling that forest and the black sand beach and the rugged road, that so reminded me of Jurassic Park, through streams and around tight curves, coming up from the airstrip by the ocean to the lodge. And I think of Evalena and how much joy, love, faith we are infusing into this upcoming adventure. And I am bursting because of this opportunity to try to teach better, to be more present, to be nature. I want to be an invisible filter that they can look through and see the aliveness of all-that-is in such force that we all fall to our knees.

Gratitude from my sobriety pours in. I feel so clean. So clear. I feel like God is at the helm…  no longer lodged amidst the cargo in the hold. No longer invited up on deck only from time to time when it’s convenient for my personality. Run this fucking thing. Run this fucking thing God! My forehead is on the floor.

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