Monday, July 17, 2006

“An adventure is something you wish wasn’t happening at the time.”

Well, boy did i have an adventure the other night, I tell you what!
IT all started after i saw a choir of highshool Israeli girls sing amazing music at the culture center. I was already really tired from Jackie’s Farwell party the night before (not much sleep) and for some strange reason I decided to accept the invitation to dance in Takamatsu the next night with a couple friends. SO, after the concert, at 8:30 i met Shun and GJ at GJ’s used clothing store and we took the two hour drive to Takamatsu.
The club we arrived at was called “Nude” and tonight was “bikini night.” Lots of people, really good music. Everyone there was given flashing light stickers to put on their bodies. I had a great time up until my friends called me over to talk.
“Hey, do you want to have sex tonight?” they asked me. Shocked, but also a little interested and amused at what they had in mind, I said “sure? Where?” then shun said “wait a moment.” They left me and I was kind of struck dumb at what I was getting myself into.
They didn’t come back.
I quickly looked around the large club and, when I couldn’t find them, I just figured they ditched me to go to a love hotel with a couple girls they met. No big deal, they will be back in an hour or so.
4 AM. The sun s coming up. I’m tired and a little worried my friends will not come back. I want to rest but outside is so hot and buggy and inside is loud and smoky. 5 o’clock I finally see Shun. Yes, I think. We can go home now.
Shun said that they went to another party and saw the couple who I wanted to see, the two who bought the drawing of the cicada. I said shit why didn’t you take me and he just kind of said oh, sorry and told me that if I want to sleep I can sleep in the car and he will be out in a minute. I go out there but I cant sleep, the car is hot and the sun is up. 6 o’clock, him and GJ leave the club with a very drunk girl who I met last time in Takamatsyu. She is actually very kind and beautiful. We leave and begin searching for what i thought was her appartment. “where are we going?” I asked, eager to get home or go someplace to sleep.

“A place to sleep” said the girl in the back seat giving directions. Oh good. We enter into a love hotel neighborhood. Im excited because I haven’t been to one yet. Love hotels are cheap hotels that are actually quite nice and charge by the hour. I was surprised that it was so hard to find one with vacancies. Shun turned to me and said “hey, you might still get some action tonight!” I’m thinking he is joking, I mean, we are all so tired, and this beautiful girl in the back seat can barley walk. When we get into the parking lot, we all get out of the car. GJ and Shun exchange some words and then Shun looks to me and says “Sorry, David. You can’t come. Sleep in the car.” It turns out they were planning on having sex together with this girl all night, and the girl didn’t know me well enough so she didnt want me there. I find this hard to believe, you know, that she wouldnt want me, mr. sexy, in the mix, and I suspect that the guys are ones who decided this. Then..what? what am I talking about. I don’t even know her and she is totally drunk. And now im dissapointed that im not involved? And im tired. And I have to sleep in the hot, uncomfortable car.
SO they left me.
I didnt get much sleep. So many emotions were swimming inside me. Anger, jealousy, disbelief. I took a walk along the river, over to a convenient store, making lists in my head of all the reasons these guys are not my friends and are liers. At 11:00 they finally come out of the Love hotel, rested and happy. I mean, after they dropped the girl off they actually gave each other high fives in the car. "Man that was so great!"
“Wasn’t tonight fun?” GJ asked me. “no, it wasn’t very fun” I said. We discuses the entire situation the whole ride home.GJ asked me “why aren’t you happy we scored?”I laugh at it all now. "Dont worry, david. next time we go to takamatsu we will help you score." These guys...i told them i dont really care about scoring. they looked at me in disbelief.
The conversation and the drive cooled me down. I concluded that I learned a lot and it was a very good experience.

And It was. I mean, first of all, I got to experience all these old-school emotions. I got to watch them arrive naturally inside me. One funny moment was at the club at around 4 AM when i got bored. After 6 house of dancing ot the same beat, I sat down on a sofa and felt bored. but the boredom was something I haven’t experienced in a long time. SO, it was a fascinating feeling. I was like “hey, what’s this? I think it is boredom. Yes. Im feeling boredom right now.” So, I became fascinated with the feeling of boredom and, well, you can already imagine that this did not help the boredom survive for long. Same thing with the anger I felt in the car and during my walk to the convenient store. I decided to do a trantric anger practice where I open all my inner doors and let the anger flow in freely, filling me up, until I am a being made of pure anger. I am anger manifested, and my silent scream rattles the entire universe, and my heat creates a thousand hells.
And that was fun. I mean, the funny thing about anger is that it needs the object of anger in order to survive. And as soon as you bring your attention to the anger itself, it just kind of dissolves into itself and fades, no longer fuled by anything.
I had a good time being with, meeting, and inviting in all my old and new emotions and thoughts. It’s like I was creatively detached from them, watching them arise in the space that I am, and watching them dissolve with time, like clouds in the sunshine. It was a great party in my presence. cheezy, i know, but true.

I have recently had many other opportunities to watch these emotions come and go. Stress involving my family's upcoming wedding. The sadness of watching friends leave (last night I said goodbye to Jackie, who was my first and best friend in niihama.)I think of gandhi's saying "there are no goodbyes for us."
But the other night in Takamatsu… What an adventure. I won’t forget that night for a while. Oh, and after we finally got back to niihama, I had Shun drop me off at the station and I took a train to Doi to pick up Jackie’s present, got home, gave it to her, and then finally laid (or is it lied)down for a quick nap before meeting Jesse for dinner to say goodbye to him too. While eating okonomiyaki, two cockroaches walked along the wall, and he told me this Mark Twain quote.

“An adventure is something you wish wasn’t happening at the time." Fuck im going to miss that guy a lot.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I' been crashed

My computer crashed yesterday. I’ve been collecting music and pictures and working on the thing for years. but then again, I've been working on this body for 23 years now and its going to crash some day soon as well. its all preparation. I’m glad the universe crashed my computer to give me good practice for when it will crash my mind and body. Also, preparation for when my family members and friends will die. And yet, I am also sad that it happened now, before I could finish the goodbye movie I was making Jackie. Damn you, universe! you pick the most.... perfect times to teach us.
“Letting go, I have everything”
(also, its not as sad as he bombings in Mumbai, for example.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

looking home

So ill be home soon, in less than two weeks. And many JETs are returning to their home countries for good in two weeks. Last weekend I went to Matsuyama to say goodbye to some of those friends. Everyone looked so beautiful, was so nice and glowing with value and personality and warmth. It was sad.

When I get home I want to see so many people, but at the same time I want to spend a lot of time with just a few people. I’m afraid I will fall in love all over again and then leave all over again. But that's life isn’t it? Falling in love and leaving. People coming and going, stars being born and then dying.

I will get a taste of the life I left, a tiny petitfore of that love, and then I will race away from it again. Sounds stressful.

I want to eat at pochi’s and I want to go to the Rime center.
And to you all,
I want to see you so much. I want to kiss you and hold your hands. I want to listen to your stories for hours and then make food with you and then eat it while looking at your face. I want to walk with you and not talk at all. I want to make music with you. I want to teach you some of the childrens’ games I've learned.

I forgot to tell you this story. During the painting show, every morning the owner, a lovely, tiny old man with white hair and a permanent smile, would sprinkle salt outside the front door and call out some sort of prayer. This is common for old caf├ęs and coffee shops in Japan. It’s to attract customers while also keeping angry spirits out. He also used to go out into the garden and clap periodically throughout the day. This was to scare away angry spirits and/or attract the birds (I heard both explanations).

So, back to the story…One day, while I was sitting in the quiet gallery, I decided to take a break from my post and go for a walk by the rice fields. Looking into the water I saw the strangest looking creatures, hundreds of them all scurrying about. They were the size of tadpoles but looked more like aliens. When I got back to the gallery some of the older people (2 old men including the owner and 4 older ladies) asked where I went. “We were worried about you.”
I told them about finding the creatures and I drew them a picture in my notebook. Before I knew it the two old men were running back inside, hands dripping, holding some of the creatures! One of the ladies quickly got a bowl from teh kitchen and the men dumped in their catch. Some of the other customers then came over to have a look. We all gazed dreamily into the bowl. “What are the called?” one of the ladies asked. A voice called out in Japanese “Well, those are Horseshoe shrimp.” (Translated as samurai helmet shrimp, kabutoebi). The owner got a toothpick and flipped one over. It looked so much like its cousin, the horseshoe crab of the sea, with its armor shell and 60 or so legs constantly moving and rippling. One of the old men then came back inside again and dumped in a tiny green one. “This is a baby,” he said. It looked like a piece of algae with two black beads for eyes, happily swimming around. Suddenly, before all our eyes, one of the creatures swam over to the baby and ate it.
“Impermanence,” the man on my left muttered.
“He’s gonna have green poop soon,” said the old lady on my right.

Here are some pics from my latest trip to Matsuyama and dogo onsen, as well as a shot of the secret garden in my town and some clouds covering the mountains. also is my apartment building with clouds. and here are some haiku.

inside the window
clouds kiss the mountain curtain
then the dragonfly

clouds crawl over hills
slide across rivers and then
fall into my mouth

could you please tell me
why the playing of the clouds
always calms my mind?

above the city
cloud angles slow dance and kiss
mountains and my mind

there was never death
clouds rain into themselves
sun shines a blanket

vast spacious sky mind
inside of you, the mountains,
clouds, and athlete’s foot

even though he’s small
the cockroach contains all worlds,
suns, universes

the five sunflowers
on my porch next to the trash
might open today

Friday, July 07, 2006

“Are you a human being having a spiritual experience, or a spiritual being having a human experience?”

This art show has been a very religious or spiritual experience because it has been full of human stuff. I have watched attachment arise inside me in regards to letting go of paintings, as well as clinging to positive feedback. I've seen expectation arise in regards to expecting certain people to come and being disappointed when they don't. I saw anger arise inside me at the party over the sound level, I watched it express itself through subtle actions and words, (very different from when I was a child) and I watched my awareness of the anger or the reactions to the noise change and happen as if they were on autopilot, and I watched my awareness of the anger grow and becomes sharp, and I watched an embracing current of soft opening presence touch the feeling of anger and let it be inside its awareness or being, let it be there and then pass. A part of me let the anger be born and even birthed it, accepted it and loved it as an integral part of itself. The midwife of my anger and the womb and the heat are the love, are the presence, are the body.

Ask yourself this question: “Are you a human being having a spiritual experience, or a spiritual being having a human experience?”

Anyway, also, I have sold a few of the paintings and drawings and it is an interesting experience loosing them forever. I am so clingy. I have boxes of saved letters and pictures of people. I have so many books. I hold onto things. And people. And paintings. Letting a painting go is a big moment in my relationship with my grasping, because the painting is like a friend of mine, a friend that I have spent many hours being with and listening to, and in a moment, I will never see them again. A very good opportunity to practice non-attachment. My friend Eli teachers me this virtue of non-attachment everyday. Specifically, one of the pieces I put in the show was a picture of a drawing I sent him that had been changed by rainwater. He sent it back to me transformed. I loved it, and I framed it in an expensive frame with the intention of never letting it go but instead giving it to my future son and having it stay in the family forever. Until one of my friends here wanted to buy it. At first I said “Sorry, its not for sale.” But then I thought about Eli. I thought, “Hey, Eli gave it up. He could have kept this frikn awesome piece of art for himself, but he gave it up and sent it to me. He could detach. And if he can do it, so can I.” My friend was so happy I decided to sell it to him. maybe the picture speaks to him, whispers some secret, some sacred song that he wants to listen to again and again and now he can. Thank you Eli, again, for helping me be more free.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

a little about the show

Last night at the bathhouse I was surprised to see another westerner. He looked pretty grumpy, a man of about 50. To lowered myself into the bath and looked over at him.

“Can you speak English?” He immediately asked me in an almost angry tone.
Yes, a little. I joke. Where are you from? I ask. “Northern Japan.” He says. “No, I mean, where originally?” He looks at me and says, as if frustrated with the question, “I was born in Japan, lived here all my life.”

He then explained that he was with a few others evangelists who travel around Japan preaching the world of god to all the demon and idol worshipers in the country. He asked me my religious background and I said Methodist and he let out a sigh of relief. I then told him that I practice Tibetan Buddhism. He looked at me in disbelief. “That makes no sense, how can you be Christian and Buddhist? “
I told him that the Buddha never talked about God so there is no contradiction.

I told him that I thought the Dalai Lama is exhibiting Christ love in his unwavering compassion toward the Chinese government. “Talk about loving your enemy.”
“But the Dalai Lama worships demons and idols and tells lies. He and his religion is just another tool of the devil.”
I said I didn't know anything about that.
I told him that I met the Dalai Lama and he said to follow Jesus. The man said he couldn't believe it. I said neither could I, but after I heard the Dalai Lama say that I knew that he spoke the truth. I said that if he turned me on to Jesus and the bible, how could he be a tool of the devil? I probably sounded like an asshole. But I was being honest and I wanted to keep the conversation away from hatred and persecution. While naked.

Interestingly, another one of his crew was a 22-year-old Japanese boy who seemed equally unhappy. After the bath they showed me their van which had huge speaker on the roof out of which the blast their message. He gave me some literature full of scary pictures of Jesus casting screaming people into a lake of fire to burn to death. My friend Katsu standing next to me couldn't understand what they were talking about.
Maybe that was a boring story.

The painting show ended yesterday. I pulled a tom sawyer and organized a clean up party. With friends and students helping it took no time at all to take everything off the walls, load them into a couple cars, and take them back to my apartment. A couple I met in Takamatsu the other weekend (a two hour drive away) came to the show and bought the cicada drawing. The lady who was going to buy the dying man’s face instead got the rabbit painting.

I have so much I can say about the past two weeks. I went toe the gallery every day after school. Interestingly, some older ladies would put their hands up to the paintings to feel the energy.

Many people came to the show, especially on the last day I went to the gallery every day after school and all day on the weekends. This got tiring, having to be present and talkative whenever anyone came in.

I had a party on the first Saturday and many people came from all over Ehime and I was very happy. Except that my neighbor complained about the noise. There were about 20 of us making noise and laughing. Two of my friend did all the dishes. And there were a lot of dishes. That was a great gift.

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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