maybe it is that simple.

I'm starting to get a feel for what the phrase "compulsive self-destructive behavior" means. Or maybe I've just forgotten the meaning of the word "habit", and I'm miraculously surprised to find myself doing things I thought I was avoiding.

My brain needs an off switch.

I finally made it back to the dojo tonight, after a week and a half away from there and a week away from any training at all; which is not, as Kelly says, a lot for most people, but it's a lot for the likes of us who train compulsively 3-5 or more times per week. They missed me, which is a nice feeling, and I missed them. I think my aikido is better for a week off, though: my body has relaxed and settled a little bit, now that I'm almost sort of done being sick.

I took some time to read a little bit of Dogen, the Zen reformer:

"When you wash the rice and prepare vegetables, you must do it with your own hands, and with your own eyes, making sincere effort. Do not be idle even for a moment. Do not be careful about one thing and careless about another. Do not give away your opportunity even if it is merely a drop in the ocean of merit; do not fail to place even a single particle of earth at the summit of the mountain of wholesome deeds."
That's from his Instructions to the Tenzo [head monastery cook], an incredible bit of writing describing the preparation of food as a spiritual practice, a Buddha activity. I'm amazed any time I read it, because it's so incredibly subtle, and not (to me) in an obscure sort of way. Dogen's writing is eloquent and elegant, and can create these sort of pre-verbal shapes in your mind, ideas which come before ideas, all with different flavors but all just aspects of the Big Great Idea underlying Zen. It is, as they say, a lotus that never stops opening; or Indra's Net, with the entire universe in every molecule.

It's interesting, the silly things I get in my head. Like that I might not hurt someone's feelings. I guess I knew I would, and my feelings would get hurt too. Maybe that's just an inevitable death-and-taxes sort of thing. I never know what to say, and I hate talking on the phone. In the past I managed to delay for weeks asking a girl out because I couldn't figure out what we'd do, what we'd say. I couldn't imagine it and didn't want to be faced with The Great Unknown. But that's really what it's about, isn't it? The free interplay between people, what arises spontaneously when you put them together? It's not so important that that interplay be always nice and fun as that it be honest and real.

[Good Lord, what sentence structure.]

So I don't know what to say, but I know what happens if I don't say anything, if I either brush it off or act like it never happened. It's an odd thing to discover, that I need to stop worrying about the consequences of what I say, and to have faith that things will turn out for the best as long as what I say is the truth. A scary thing, because I don't always know what the truth is in a given moment, and scarier because that doesn't matter and I need to just say what's on my mind regardless of how sure I am of its truth.

Maybe it's only scary when there's something (or someone) to lose.