Monday, May 25, 2009

Zen Center, Sweet Zen Center

Though I worked on some Lab business yesterday, we ended up settling in a little more deeply at the Zen Center. I had a few rooms to paint before we could really begin to unpack, so all of our belongings were stored in another room on our floor. With the Lab schedule what it is and our focus on Aya, it's been a very slow process. I am constantly amazed at my own level of patience these days. Decades of ritual, yoga and meditation are paying off as we navigate these new waters. Please don't get me wrong, I've lost it just as many times as the next new dad. I'm just pleased with the somewhat intuitive coping tools that I've picked up upon my path.

I finished painting last weekend, so we took advantage of our "day off" and actually moved into our new home proper. Though our "stuff" has increased with Aya we still don't have much, so it's not your typical move. We had afternoon guests so it only took us a relaxed morning to settle in to the point where it looked somewhat presentable.

We have three rooms here to work with and due to our minimalism it's a great deal more space than we need. As Aya grows and begins to move about I think that will change quickly. We need to figure out the window treatments, get a few more plants and let our living here a bit iron out any kinks, but we're more settled in than we have been since we left the Lab and it feels good.

I'm pretty happy with the layout and arrangement so far. I studied Feng Shui some time ago, and while I'm in no way advanced, I understand the flow of energy in space. Speaking of energy, both the Zen Center and The Lab are two of the most energetically clean (neutral might be the best term) places that I have ever been in. Of course, at the Lab our puja, yoga, and the intention of our work assist in keeping that balance. In a similar manner, yet with a more experienced focus, the Monks here at the Zen Center create that balance through their extremely disciplined work.

Based on my recent activity, it appears that being more grounded assists me in finding the time to post to Detroit As A Portal with more than the mandatory Lab updates. It is my intention to return to a more personal feel with Evolve Detroit, the Lab's newsletter, and frequent blogging moves me in that direction. I think the aspect of Evolve Detroit I miss the most is the gratitude section. We strive to express the sincere depth of our gratitude when people join us for classes or help us out with the Lab. We'll be bringing back the Gratitude section first as we have so many people to publicly recognize for their support. Thank you all, we have been so blessed by your attention!

While I'm on about settling, I have to say that I'm impressed with Hamtramck. Of course, we are living in our own personal vision of grace at the Zen Center, so it could be said that we're a little "in the world but not of it." We've taken a few short walks with Aya and yesterday got to visit the meditation garden across the street for the first time, so we're really just beginning to tune into the city around us.

Growing up in and around Detroit, I'm familiar with most nooks and crannies of the city and burbs, but I never spent too much time in Hamtramck. Somehow my old bands would get gigs at Lilys or Paychecks or there was a period of time when our crew frequented Smalls. Really, my familiarity with Hamtramck was through bar/club culture, so my gaze never really turned off the main drag or saw the city in the light of day. After being here 3 weeks, it appears to be an amazing place.

Many here know about my love of church bells. One of my favorite things to do at the Lab was to sit and write on Sunday mornings while the bells from the four local churches rang out towards the heavens. The Zen Center is near a mosque so here we have beautiful calls to prayer throughout the day. It is incredible to hear them coming in through the window, both Angela and I pause, smile and tune into them throughout the day. I love that Aya has been hearing them as well. Since his birth, I've been encouraging his awareness of the location of the sun, particularly at Sunrise, Noon, Sunset and if we're up Midnight. I'm a firm believer that awareness of Lunar and Solar cycles fosters a deeper connection to the earth and each other.

The adhān, are just one of the multitude of cultural manifestations in Hamtramck. There is, of course, the founding Polish and Eastern European population, amid the more recent additions of Indian, Pakistani, and other Middle Eastern cultures. I enjoy being able to walk through the streets in my lungi (a traditional skirt worn by men in India) and fitting in as much as a white guy can. :) Of course, the services in Hamtramck are extensive compared to what we have been used to in Eastern Market. There's a post office at the end of the block, a great deal of retail even though we don't shop unless mandatory, and there are a few Indian and Middle Eastern places who have been very accommodating with our Veganism. It's a cursory impression to be sure, but Hamtramck has a certain charm that I know we'll enjoy while we are here.

Our next stop? Well, we're looking for a small home with some land around Mt Elliot, so a little east of the Market. More motion towards developing strong roots. That seems to be the call of the day for many of us. We are going to enjoy our time at the Zen Center until we find the perfect spot though. Even more patience is required it would seem!

In Health Joy and Liberation,

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