My dojo is huge now. I left for almost two weeks and four new people had shown up; I left for another five days, and three more people showed up. Last night's class had twenty-four people; until maybe sometime in January, classes were tending more around 4-10.
This may be a cue that I need to train more, so fewer new people show up and the current crop can integrate into the family a bit.
My attempt to get more sleep last night failed. I got to bed by 11, but woke up at 12:30 (there was a small earthquake in Berkeley that may be the culprit), and then again at 3am, I think because of the wind making my windows squeak, but I had a rare moment of worrying about a Big Earthquake. I guess I'd like to be prepared and aware when my bedroom falls down on me? I don't know.
Last night one of the guys--I call him Little Jeff, because we now have four guys named Jeff, and nicknames became necessary at three--got his wrist hurt during a technique, nikkyo (meaning, I kid you not, something like second teaching), which is especially hard on the wrist. Of course it's best that no one gets hurt, but it does happen, and it's a risk we're all cognizant of, and in fact we learn how to fall properly so we can avoid hurting ourselves. It's inevitable, though, that someone gets bopped in the nose, or poked in the eye, or a shoulder gets turned too hard or something; when I tell people this they start to look concerned and say, "That doesn't sound very healthy."
I like to quote Shiohira Sensei: "We are not doing flower arranging." The listeners don't always get it, for some reason. It seems apparent to me. We're learning what to do when someone attacks you. That's the kind of thing where it's possible for people to get hurt. QED.
I have a slight worry that maybe I alienated someone. But said person is busy, and if I did alienate them, I did it by being honest and being myself, so it'd be sad, but okay. Said person is also busy, though, so I imagine it's fine. I have other things to think about which I actually have an effect on.
Like work, where today my boss somewhat casually made a commitment for some stuff to be done next week. He is smart and adequately informed, so it's not an unreasonable commitment, but still, it's a deadline I didn't have five minutes earlier. And I'm in Denver Friday through Sunday. These are the new challenges, replacing the dogged determination of continued unemployment: money to buy books and less time to read them, finding time to cook a meal or empty the dishwasher. There's something real about the Zen of everyday life, where we have to go to make a difference, to help people in their suffering (suffering which is much more than physical). The stillness we can find in a monastery has to come with us and ripple out to the people whose lives we touch...