Got up at the usual time and did my 12-minute zazen. I’m slowly getting used to the longer period. Then again, there was a time I would do 20 to 25 minutes. My sangha does zazenkais composed of 30-minute sitting periods with 15-minute kinhin (walking zen) periods in between. 12 minutes on my own ain’t much, really. But then again, I’ve found that doing something consistently matters more long term. Not that I have anything against longer sitting periods – or longer periods of anything, for that matter. It’s just that I’m not a Zen monk living in a monastery – and even they do other stuff besides sit zazen for long periods.
I brought my guitar downstairs with the intent to work on the song fragment I came up with yesterday. But I finished preparing breakfast relatively later, though still on schedule (about 6:20) and thought that I’d better use the piano instead as I was pressed for time. I always loosen the strings on my guitar after every time I play it, which means that I have to spend a few minutes tuning it every time I take it out. In contrast, when I want to play the piano, I just take off the cloth covering, plug in, and I’m good to go (it’s a keyboard synthesizer actually, but I rarely ever use any other sound besides piano so I often just refer to it as a piano). So I spent some time tinkering on the piano/keyboard. I didn’t come up with additional lyrics, but I was able to play around with the general feeling and treatment of the song. Like what tempo and rhythm would sound nice, that sort of thing. Just before a quarter to 6, my wife came down with our daughter. Which meant that I’d have to stop and segue into my morning warm up.
Which I did. I won’t elaborate on the details since it’s pretty much the same warm up I’ve been using on a daily basis. I subscribe to the GMB philosophy where in the warm up is as much a diagnostic tool as it is a method of preparing the body for physical exertion. Simply put, by going into my warm up every day I can pretty much listen to my body and mind. I can feel where I’m stiff, or when I just need to ease off or maybe even stop (here’s a hint for the readers who are not regular exercisers: if you’re gasping for breath on your warm up, you’re probably doing too much. A warm up is supposed to wake you up, not exhaust you – that’s what the main workout is for), or if I’m having trouble focusing.
Up in the mountain, I worked on basic Aikido and Kali techniques. I couldn’t resist breaking out of the planned Kali drills and doing carenza (solo free play for the Kali practitioner) a couple of times. One of the gardeners was doing his daily grounds maintenance. I’m pretty sure he was watching me out of the corner of my eye. I’m also pretty sure word will get around. That’s okay, I’m used to it by now. I still feel a bit self-conscious about training where others can see me, but I’m getting more and more used to it. I didn’t go through all the drills though. I think I’ll spread them out more between Tuesday and Thursday because I’m feeling the effects of yesterday’s conditioning work and I think doing everything according to plan will only hamper my recovery. That’s the tricky part about planning a physical training schedule: you have to factor in recovery time, and that’s going to be different for everyone.
One final note: I’m planning to blog daily just for this week – just because it’s the first – and after that I think I’ll follow a weekly or even bi-weekly schedule.