February 23, 2016

A Lie and A Scam

I’ve never lived alone.

Never in my life have I had my “own” place. As a kid, I obviously lived with my family till I was eighteen at which point I moved to San Diego and shared a room with some dude named Josh in the dorms for a semester. Then I was back in San Rafael where I shared an apartment with Anthony on Fourth street. From there we moved to 1576 with Ant, Josh and Einar​. Then a few trips down to San Diego ago in houses with Jeff​, Gabe​, and Jason​. A trip back to Novato- 760 something- with Ant and Jason where I didn’t even have a room. I had a double bed in the living room. We planned to build a paper mache dome bubble over my space, but that never materialised. That house was actually more about decay than construction.

Eventually Anthony and I moved to San Francisco and our place on Haight Street. From there to the ghetto pad on Natoma alley South of Market with Justin​, Ant and Chris​. That didn’t last too long, and I was in the studio in the Tenderloin in the sunlight studio on Jones street with Cortney​.

After that off to Mozambique in training with twenty other people and then…..actually there were a few months when I lived in Qussico that I had my own place. Sure I had no furniture, water, electricity, or friends and it rained everyday I was there, but it was my own space. Then Mairin moved in and from there we moved to NYC with Ari and the rest is history.

I am not sure I could handle being alone. I think I could romanticise the solitude- imagine a tortured artist man cave with vinyl records, full ash trays and Bukowski books. Some kind of recording space and stacks of books, but the reality of the loneliness would be soul crushing for me.
We watched How To Be Single, an average romantic comedy about being alone and single or in a relationship. It got me thinking about the places I have lived and the people who inhabited those spaces with me. It made me grateful for you all. No matter how introverted I sometimes feel, I know that I love the idea of having a full home with a family and people I can talk to and argue with and share with and eat with and fall asleep next to and love and be loved by.

Sometimes out of nowhere I think- what if everyone who I think likes me, actually hates me? What if the self I have created and believe to be my true self is actually an obnoxious asshole that people just tolerate? What if when I am not around people talk about how they are glad I am not around? What if I am not invited to things because people prefer not to have me around? What if I spend so much time alone, not out of choice, but because people choose to leave me out?

What if the likes don’t really mean like?

What if I’ve never gotten it right, just a series of almosts or way offs. Pretend smiles and false friendships. Surface loves and cordial smiles. Professionalisms but never friendships. Sometimes out of nowhere I think…and then just like that it passes.

We talked about mindfulness today during mentor class. I don’t like that the term has become so cliche and jargon-y. It feels like everyone is talking about it these days, so did we. But it was nice. I shared my experiences with mediation- talked about how hard it is for me to mediate, but I also explained how and why I appreciate it. I told them about my mom living at Tassajara and training to be a Zen priest. I felt pride sharing her story. My students looked at and listened to me thoughtfully. I turned the lights low and we did some deep breathing. We sat in silence and they looked calm and serene and peaceful and attentive for a few minutes. I book talked Peace is Everystep and one of my quieter girls checked it out and said she wants to give it a try.

I hope she finds some wisdom in it.

Students learn when we share what we know and love with them as authentically as we can. 

Everything else is a lie and scam.

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