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Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 25 I WAKE UP THIS FIRST bitter cold day of the New Year, the streets an ice sheet, and recall my dream: small mice are march- ing across a flower-papered bedroom with an unmade mattress on the floor and my friend Sean sits curled up around his guitar in a wooden chair, weeping that his father never asked him to play, and this New Year’s no one else did either. I clutch his hand, comforting him, at the same time commanding the cats to catch the mice. No one is listening. The cats do not scare the mice. They keep coming. I lay in bed in my home in Santa Fe with the dream all over my face—the linoleum floor, the woman with bleached blonde hair in the next apartment dropping off her yellow cat, the brick tenements through the window; how very large and empty that dream apartment of mine is. The night before, at ten o’clock, I snapped my Yaktrax to the bottom of my snow boots and trudged under a full complement Another New Year Sitting still in the dark zendo and breathing with others is exactly what NATALIE GOLDBERG needs. On this last night of the year, she wonders what this human life is all about. of stars in a black sky to Upaya Zen Center across the road. There seventy of us sat for two hours, then listened at midnight to 108 bells ring out the night, a short talk by the roshi (Joan Halifax, my dear friend) and had tea and cookies in the kitchen. I ate way too many but insisted this was just what I needed. At the time I meant the cookies, but really it was sitting still in the dark zendo, breathing with others, coming together in this sober way on the last night of the year. More than deep or spiritual or any of the words one would associate with Manjushri, his sword of wisdom slicing through ignorance, his statue on the altar and candles flickering, what I felt was relief. To stop at the end of a hectic year that I was trying so hard to rein in, then surrender to, then wonder what this human life is all about. My mind wanders to the actress I met at the same New Year’s Eve sit three years ago. How much I liked her, how she looked both beautiful and tired. I’d heard a few months ago she had PHOTOBYSEIZAN,COURTESYOFUPAYAZENCENTER Gate at Upaya Zen Center. The banner says “Buddha.”