This space has been extra quiet because I am in residence at Zen Mountain Monastery for two weeks. It isn't a special retreat or sesshin but just regular monastic life. I am here specifically to sew two sets of cloths for the main altar. They change them four times/year according to the season. Last September, I came here and sewed the winter and spring altar cloths. This year, I am making summer and fall. Last year, it took me exactly the two weeks to make both sets. This year, I am almost finished after one week. I don't understand why it is going so much faster. Maybe my sewing skills have improved? Maybe I am better after making the first two (this isn't quite convincing since I redesigned the pattern so it is new to me). But whatever the case, they are lining up new sewing projects for me as quickly as you can say "My Precious Bernina". I will not be idle during Week #2.
Here at the Monastery, there is no internet access during the weekly schedule, although I can take a quick look at email on the communal computer after supper if I hustle. Remarkably, I realized that I can attend to any pressing emails in about ten minutes. It begs the question of what I am doing exactly when I fritter away hours on the computer at home. Oh, I do wish that I can make some real changes in this department. There are, indeed, so many other things to do!
The exception to this no-internet rule is hosan - the off-schedule training period, as they call it here. From Sunday afternoon to early Tuesday afternoon, there is no set schedule. Sleep as late as you want! Eat whenever and whatever you want! Drive away and don't look back! Until Tuesday, of course. Last year, hosan loomed large. Would I feel left-out and unloved as the other, long-term residents tottered off to various social events? In response, I packed my time with visits and meals out, talking, talking, talking. It was a mistake, as if I even have to say that out loud. So, this year, I am being a little more cautious with my time. A little visiting, a little laundry, a long yoga practice, reading, and some knitting in the lovely fall sunshine.
It's ok if no one loves me. I feel like I am wanting for nothing.