Friday, October 23, 2009

One Last Reminder…

This Saturday (tomorrow actually) October 24th is the all day class at the up in Racine. The class is being taught by our Master Teachers Tony & Linda Somlai and will run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. This is actually a somewhat uncommon approach to how classes are done up in the , typically, a class like this would be a total of four two-hour classes done one per week for four weeks. I kind of like this format because my mother has wanted to check out some of this stuff, and having to come up from Grayslake, a day trip works much better for her.

Now, of course, the real issue for Saturdays class is brewing. Which coffee to roast and bring to class? So far the Guatemalan has a slight edge over the Indonesian, with the stuff from Panama still sitting on the shelf. Sadly, I can’t wait too much longer for results, as I need to getting it roasting within the hour to give it a minimum set-up time. At least most of the votes thus far are for my favorite coffee of the mix, though one of the Indonesians is very nice and gave me a bit of a surprise.

CoffeeBuddha Image property of Linda Somlai, used and modified with her permission.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finding Peace in a Time of Chaos and Uncertainty: Intensive Peace Workshop

Coming soon (Saturday, October 24th) to a near you () Master Teachers Tony and Linda Somlai will be holding a class based on Tony’s book, . This will be a one day class that will help us realize things that we can all do in our day-to-day lives to bring peace to people, places, and situations around us through our actions.

Master Teachers Linda and Tony Somlai will lead a one-day workshop, "Finding Peace in a Time of Chaos and Uncertainty: Intensive Peace Workshop Retreat" on Oct. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Original Root Zen Center in Racine, Wisconsin. The workshop will cost $75 and includes lunch, break treats, a copy of Tony Somlai’s book, Peace Vigil and learning materials.
The Master Teachers, who have each taught contemplative peace practices for more than 30 years, start with this simple teaching: Peace is not a big idea. Peace is like a small pebble dropped into a suffering pond; the waves will touch all beings. The Peace Retreat Workshop is intended to provide participants with concrete skills they can use in their everyday lives to help themselves and others. The key elements of the retreat are broadly based on basic Buddhist principals of non-violence, peaceful coexistence, and loving-kindness. What makes the workshop unique is that the theory and skills are based on action and active ways of responding to the problems we are facing today.
ORZC is located on the historic DeKoven Center campus on Lake Michigan in Racine. Overnight accomodations are available. Single rooms are $55 per night; double rooms are $60.
If you are interested in class, please contact Dustin Block at: or (262) 488-3419.

So stop on by if you can, it will be an excellent class, and I can vouch for the coffee that will be served!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And a Fun Time…

Well I can say that Elaine and I had a great time at Aikido on Saturday and Tuesday. Saturday was a bit on the slow side for me, as we were in class two of a beginners class, and most of the more advance people were helping the two (I think it’s just two) who have a test coming up at the end of the month. So I pretty much just played with all the new people for the class. That was probably a good thing as it let me (make that forced me) to pay attention to some of the subtle differences that exist between our schools. I get the feeling that is going to be the most difficult aspect for me, blending the two styles together so I can still feel comfortable doing the techniques while not messing up my partner by doing things a bit different.

Tuesday night was much more fun for me. I had plenty of time with the upper ranks, so it gave me a chance to work on my technique, and realize I still need to get my ukemi back up to par. I have to admit, it makes me anxious to put back on my rank and hakama, but I told my self that I would not until I was taking break falls from shihonage and kotegaeshi. Well, that and I need to order replacements. All those years in storage did not serve them well.

I did remember one very important fact, at least important to me. I managed to remember how easy it is that my poor little toe breaks. That’s right, two classes into my triumphant return to Aikido, and I have already broken a toe. Ah, well, note to self, Carlos has pointy hips so use caution when kicking him. With some luck, it will not be too bad on Saturday, and with it being a weapons day, hopefully no need for suwariwaza.

As for tonight, we have some chanting and some sitting. The walking meditation should be fun! In fact, the sitting may be fun too, I’ll know by the end of chanting if I will be needing a chair for tonight's session. Excited for Elaine this coming Monday as she will be giving her first Dharma talk. I already have the basic subject of mine the following week floating around in my head. Odds are something new will replace it by the time we get there, but still it’s nice to have a subject so early. I usually feel I have it good if I have the subject two hours before I’m to give the talk, so this is something new for me!!

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Return to Aikido

Well, after seven long years, I’m finally making my return to the mat. I wish I could have gone last night, but alas, I had a meeting to run, not that it was a bad thing, it was a pretty good meeting last night. But back to the subject at hand. As of Saturday, I will be joining up with the Kenosha Aikikai and be practicing Aikido for the first time in waaaay to long. Not only that, but my sweetie Elaine will be joining me as she starts Aikido for the first time. Poor thing, since she has been with me I have managed to get her into Aikido, Buddhism, and cats. Which reminds me, I have much fur to vacuum up off of the floor…

Elaine is quite excited to taking Aikido with me. I am excited to be getting back into it and having a girlfriend actually joining me in it. That means no nagging about me being off training several times a week. My main concern (other than endurance) is my ukemi skills. The actual techniques I have been practicing in my head all these years, so I think the body will remember the motions pretty quickly. The basic ukemi; forward, back, break-falls, I am not worried about, it’s more the advanced falls from kotegaeshi and shihonage that will take some time to get back. We will find out for sure on Saturday, expect an update sometime after class ;-)

I’ve also managed to get Elaine to sign-up to give her first Dharma Talk at Zen in about a week and a half. That’s right, on Monday, October 19th 2009 at 7:00 PM your are invited to hear her give her first talk at the . I am excited for her, it will be a good learning experience for her. Of course, she insisted that I give one on the following Monday, so I obliged and took the spot. You can also catch me there on Wednesday nights, typically on the bell at 6:30 PM with the Evening Bell Chant to begin the evenings chanting session before meditation at 7:00 PM.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be sure to put something up about Aikido this weekend, Monday at the latest (depending upon how busy this weekend turns out to be). As for now, I’m gonna roast some coffee. I think a nice Full City roast on some Guatemalan Antigua Los Volcanes. Guatemalan Antigua coffees are still my favorite, try some today!!