When I’m Ninety Six

As the milk for my morning’s cappuccino was frothing, I tore off yesterday’s page from our daily Zen calendar. Today’s quote was brief: “Practice thirty more years”. Last night I went to the first session of a beginners’ class that Michael was teaching. He called me up before the group to demonstrate a technique, then…

So Glad I Stayed

“Dude! That is so smooth!” My uke, Tim, makes this declaration while teetering on his toes, one arm so twisted his spine bevels. He looks like a factory-faulty scarecrow. Then, I complete the technique and the scarecrow buckles, ending up belly-down on the mat. Tim laughs the whole way down. We take turns practicing the…

Remaining Mind

Zanshin translates as “remaining mind.” It does not mean the mind remains on the past or a few moments ago, or that thing you did well or poorly. It remains here and now. Zanshin also translates as “the mind with no remainder.” Divide any number by one and the remainder is zero. If you are…

Know Your Limitations

Face down. Prostrate on my belly. With my head turned to one side, one cheek smooshed and spread like a pancake on the griddle. That’s where I was when I confronted a demon. The nage who had just whirled me down to the mat was now trying to master an immobilizing (but not deliberately painful)…

Ai’s Wide Shut

“It’s like we’re psychic,” Holly marvels. “How did you know what I was thinking?” I ask. We repeat the experiment. She shuts her eyes. I grab her wrist and we pause there a moment. Then I focus on her shoulder—specifically the bunched fabric of her gi top. I think about grabbing it with my free…