Beginners mind versus the mind that just wants to begin

"In Japan we have the phrase Shoshin, which means 'beginner's mind.' The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner's mind. Our 'original mind' includes everything within itself. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few."

- Shunryu Suzukin

From left to right: Dad, cousin's son, me. Circa 1999It is a good question, isn't it? How to keep from filling your mind with the everyday bullshit that people want to dump on you versus how to keep an open and fresh attitude, how to keep the beginner's mind versus what the world is trying to heap on you?

I've been thinking a lot about dad, as I haven't in a while. The more time passes and the closer I get to 40... yeah, yeah, I hear the gallery pointing out that 34 is not close to 40. Yeah, it isn't but it's damn closer than 20 or 25, isn't it.... now the gallery can Shut The Fuck Up (STFU from now on).

The picture to the left is the last one I have with my dad; it was taken in 1999 at a cousin's home. From left to right: Dad, cousin's son, me.

There are always those little things that catch you by surprise when you're flying low. They don't always make sense; like the fact that my side burns and temples are whiter and whiter every time I look in the mirror and that my dad was mostly white haired when we last saw each other.  Or the aborted trip to Spain so he could get his PhD and how upset I was about that.  Or the time when I found out he had passed away and how much I didn't cry but how guilty I felt about not crying afterwards.

When I let my guard down those little (and not so little) depressing thoughts sneak by and kick my ass hard.

Part of the reason why I want to go to Chile in December and why I'm getting everything ready for UGA and USU before September is that I want to have as much disposable income as possible before I go.  I want to make sure that I can afford the trip.

Another part of the is that I want to put the past to rest and, finally, be able to move on.  Until I spend time with family and friends and finally come to terms with my dad not being with me anymore I don't think/feel like I'm ever going to move on.... The images, both good and bad will stay with me until I'm ready to face them and say "Yes, you're a part of me but a part that I can now live with, a part that doesn't hurt to think about."

It's not forgetting who I am or where I came from but it has more to do with the fact that, while I need to acknowledge where I came from, that's not who I am any longer. I think that my time here in the US has really (re)defined who I am, what I do and where I'm looking at going professionally; it has shaped my attitudes and my work ethic way beyond what they were when I moved here. It has polished my actions and reactions to personalities from what they were when I arrived to where I can look at something and dissect it without getting angry about it and where I have really learned what life is all about.

I miss people whom I haven't seen, f2f or online until recently. I thought I had put this all behind, that I had accepted that my friends from my "growing up" years were there to talk if I really wanted to. But we lost track of each other then I moved to the US and it was as if I had never known them and then, boom! They come back into my life as if they had never left, and I wonder if they ever did.