Monday, January 18, 2010

zen and the art of being a man

When I make the effort to emerge from my apathetic shell it feels like I'm always trying to get to the next destination as fast as possible. Here, wherever here is, is never quite good enough. The grass is always greener, if you're into that type of thing, over the rainbow and straight on till morning. This is a most dissatisfying way to eek out an existence.

A man of great extremes, when I commit myself to something I do so doggedly. There's blood, sweat, tooth gnashing, a syphilitic scimitar weilding elf and a generous helping of machoistic posturing. How else are you supposed to get things done?

Zen and it's proponents propose another way, a middle way if you will. I'm no expert, so forgive me if I begin to spin my own interpretation. As far as effort goes, finding just the right touch is an art. Pushing hard doesn't always work. I see myself in a deft gentle negotiation with the universe, an intricate dance where we both take turns at the lead. That would be the ideal, but ideals are made to be broken.

I'm thinking this while at my first official boxing training session. You know that aching burning feeling you get in your loins when something is really hard and your lungs are about to explode? OK, you probably don't know, it's not normal. Well, I'm trying to escape the pain by philosophizing. Amidst my brushes with enlightenment comes the thought "just get through this, it'll be over soon." Why am I wishing my life away? Sure it hurts, life is suffering, be in the moment. There's nothing new under the sun. It (and by it I mean how to be) is not new, it works so why not try it? I want to experience my own life.

I'm done. My sweat line is down to my toes. I've left a tiny puddle at each station of the circuit, marking my new territory much to the chagrin of the cleaning staff. Now it's OK to think about stuff. What if I tried and failed instead of forgoing the trying and failing anyway? This could work if I do it the right way. I retire from league, I've always been a one man wolf pack type guy. Boxing's cool and it's just me against the world in the ring. This is my day now: I work, I train, I cool off at the beach, I come home and write. At the beach the ocean is daunting and powerful and f*cking scary. The waves crash against me and I don't move. I'm here.

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