Monday, February 1, 2010


I didn't go to work today. Didn't sleep well- the fiance is sick and I was a bit riled up.

The obsession with the military didn't go away. So I researched and I researched and I sent my e-mails and I'm supposed to take a test this Friday to see what I can do.

And then there was the banging on the door, the car honking outside, the unidentified people on my porch yelling back at me as I yell at them, wondering just who the hell they are and if they're connected to the man who approached my fiance earlier that night.

I called in. My head's spinning. What the hell am I doing?

Living in this city, seeing so much need, I really wanted all of Avalokitesvara's arms. I wanted whatever tool or weapon to work my frustration out.

Reading the news for the first time ever. Just started by asking questions: What is the mission in Afghanistan? I couldn't find any military objectives but plenty of political ones, which must be so frustrating for our service men and women.

I'm feeling torn between what looks like needs doing and what I feel like doing. It looks like our public schools need teachers, so I do that, and have been doing it for three years now, reaping reward and accomplishment. And it looked like the military needed help, too. I really thought that. But help with what?

And so my question extends to the rest of my life: But help with what?

It's dangerous to get philosophical. A lot of my Zen training has been about getting away from the intellectual pursuit of what's right, what's wrong, and just doing. My arena of doing is the New Orleans Public Schools.

I wanted to quit from day one. I wanted to quit on day 365. I wanted to quit half way through last year and almost did. But this year I've really felt successful. Same kids, same school, but some how I'm effective this year. I'm moving along just the way my principal wants me to, but I'm starting to ask, for what?

I hate questioning the mission because I still need to finish it, no matter what. But I think this is the mission at my school- get these kids passing a state test, no matter what it takes, no matter how simple and binary we must become, no matter how much of your life (mine and my students) is sacrificed.

Can't be that simple. We do alot within our parameters. But I'm feeling that I've ignored my heart for the sake of sticking it out. And that this mission might not be the one for me.

My mind returns to Zen and to writing.

You have to be the change you want to see, not the change that is easiest to calculate.

You know, we want to make people proud. But then I ask, who's life am I living today?

This must sound like drippy existential crisis. I think it is, too. But I've had these before. Riding them out is best...actions should occur after the settling. That's something different about me I can recognize.

I used to buy plane tickets the morning of.

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