cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

I'm reading Mark Kurlansky's Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea, which is lovely and I recommend it. It's amazing to see how violence can dominate our thoughts and discussion, without our even realizing it. I'm more convinced now that violence really does represent a failure of imagination. In aikido, when I or my partner gives up on the aikido technique and we end up fighting--not that I mind the practice, but it's not aikido--I usually mutter "Violence is so easy". Because it is. It's the simplest thing. Not just physical violence, but verbal violence too. It is so hard to not snap at someone who snaps at us; to not hurt someone who has hurt or tried to hurt us. This may be where my father's vision of nonviolence (which may be more like pacifism, though we haven't discussed it yet) fell apart in junior high school. I learned, I think from him, that violence is never necessary; that there's always another way. And while that's possible, no one ever seemed able to teach me how to find that other way, and I think no one taught me because no one really knew. After five years of aikido (and applying aikido principles to relationships), reading through Nonviolent Communication, Zen practice, and working steadily to learn how to conduct relationships in a useful way that resolves conflict peacefully...I'll be learning forever.

I may do a 3-week intensive at Zen Center in July. It depends on my work situation: I think I'm hoping to do some contract work for a few months, possibly for a previous employer, which would let me take the time off easily. Being a contractor could also insulate me from some of the peopleinsanity that led me to quit. I don't know what happens after that, though: if I decide to try and do three months at Tassajara, that'd be either the fall or the winter. And there's a one-year lead time on grad school applications, so I've got until September to decide about an MLIS program for 2009.

Having one of those weeks of wondering if relationships are worth the hassle. It's actually just a mood rather than a valid set of doubts, but it's unpleasant, and if I marry someone I need to make sure this is only going to happen rarely (because boy, wouldn't that suck).