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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Teaching Children How to Smoke


People we don't like, they are our Buddhas, graciously showing us our holes, our systems. Our deficiencies. They point us toward our practice. Zen Centers are not always warm and fuzzy, don't always feel good. Truth is that way. The sun rises, it sets. No concern for how we feel about it.

There are few buddhas in my family. I'm lucky that way. I love them. More importantly, I like them. Big diff. There's things I love that fall into my circle of practice. I don't like them, but I do them. But my family -- parents, siblings, wife and kids?


We all spent a week in a Tennessee lakehouse this summer. The mornings were lazy and the days whittled down on the dock, sampling margaritas or whatever fit in the cooler. Kids practiced swimming, climbing out and jumping back in at least 10,000 times. Ear infections by the end of it all, but worth it.

Dinner, the men smoked cigars and studied the grill. Nieces and nephews watched thick clouds leak from our lips, fascinated, asking us to do it again while the word COOL dribbled out.

Evenings, there were games. Cards and treasure hunts, games of Make Me Laugh and Pictionary. Before the sun set, we took the boat out. The air cool. The water, glass.

We did that, every day. Every night.

We ended with the Talent Show. We all had our acts. The girls had been practicing all week. The boys, maybe they didn't care so much. We all did something until tears ran freely in fits of laughter. Bellies buckled. Sides splitting.

Perhaps, a little taste, there's a clip of my mother that captures the fever we all carry.

It's warm and fuzzy.

(Not sure he knew what that dance move looked like.)


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