Last week went really well. I went to see Jaimal Yogis give a reading from his new book The Fear Project . I discovered him by accident while looking for books about surfing and spirituality(Kook by Peter Heller, Saltwater Buddha by Yogis, and West of Jesus by Steven Kotler where the three I read). His book Saltwater Buddha detailing his practicing of Zen Buddhism and surfing totally blew me away. I have a feeling that parts of that book will be the basis for many of my blog entries. I admire his pursuit of leading a life that would let him be near the ocean and surf every day. I particularly liked the way he used surfing as an analogy for some of the teachings of Buddhism. It was weird; it was the first time I’ve read a book and really felt like the author could help me figure out what to do with my life. I felt like I had a million questions for him. I didn’t dare ask anything during the question and answer session, but asked him a question about surfing a local beach break while getting the new book signed with my favorite quote from Saltwater Buddha “Samsara is Nirvana”. Specifically I was looking for tips on getting past the fear of dropping in on head high waves(small for proficient surfers, but it’s my current ceiling) I felt dumb afterwards since it seemed like a dumb question and he was rushed, but at least I stepped out of my comfort zone.
Later in the week, I was talking with a colleague while running an experiment and he said he had suggested me as a possible person for a new research institute his friend is starting up in a warmer coastal city. Normally, before even finding out more about the job I would have come up with reasons why I would be no good for the position(issues about moving, my deep seated conviction that I am not good at anything and thus couldn’t do the job, etc). However, this time I was able to just say “yes” to whether I was interested and just go with the flow. It felt good to think that this colleague had thought of me as a good person for this institute and I was able to put aside all the usual doubts and just let it be what it was. The next day another old friend called and filled me on the latest developments on his goal of setting up a math and science after-school academy for latino students. We have worked together in the past in similar projects, so he asked if I was still interested. Who knows if either goes anywhere, but two potential career options in two days!
Then Sunday, despite it being really really cold out, me being tired, and my neighbor deciding it didn’t look worth the drive, I went out for an early morning surf. I didn’t have high expectations, but I had a surprisingly good time. The waves were fun about “chin high” as a local website described it after the fact, and at least initially it wasn’t the usual crowded zoo. I caught 3 really fun waves in the time I was out. At this beach, the waves tend to close out(that is come down all at once, rather than peel off), but I was amazed to find longer rides and for once I was able to plan my attack down the wave. I could see where the wave was going to break and steer around it. I was even able to see bowls forming and use them to bank off of. Usually I just make the drop and then hope for the best. Towards the end it got too crowded and then I got caught in the inside with another guy and we kept getting tossed around by the waves and getting in the way of people actually riding waves so I decided to quit while I was ahead. I froze changing out of the wetsuit, and I found a ding on the board that I’ll have to fix before going out in the water with it again but it was so worth it!
I noticed however that as the rest of Sunday went on, the glow of the previous week started to fade. My youngest daughter seems to have gotten a cold, and was up a lot on Sunday night. At some point I went in to try and comfort her, but she just kept crying and asking for mommy. Now, a day past the weekend, I’m back in the usual slump. My other daughter was driving me crazy by ignoring me and beginning to yell and scream when I asked her to change into her pajamas so I could read to her. I feel totally useless with both of them when they are upset. My younger daughter just keeps crying and calling for mom, and my older one just tends to escalate when I try to interact with her in those states. Then my wife has to take over and she seems annoyed with me the rest of the evening. The potential jobs now seem impossible, despite not having discussed either any more with my colleagues. On top of that I feel that my writing is crap, and I can’t believe I’m posting this for anyone to read.
(Deep breath) Since the purpose of this post is to try and focus on the happiness, I will give myself credit keeping the happiness stoked for as long as I did.
Okay, that was weird. I just went back through what I wrote a couple of minutes after initially writing it (despite the rambling I do make some effort at editing here). Reliving the experiences (especially the surfing) has made me feel noticeably better. The kids don’t seem so overwhelming. No, wait, as I’m writing this the younger one just now yelled for mommy and started coughing her croupy cough and I can tell it’s going to be a long night, so maybe they are still a bit overwhelming. At least I can entertain thoughts about the job opportunities again.