October 28, 2004
massage, or butchery?
Once a butcher was cutting up an ox for the King. As he felt with his hand, leaned in with his shoulder, stepped in and bent a knee to it, the carcass fell apart with a peculiar sound as he played his cleaver.
The King, expressing admiration, said to the butcher, "Good! It seems that this is the consummation of technique."
The butcher put down his cleaver and replied, "What I like is the Way, which is more advanced than technique. But I will present something of technique."
"When I first began to cut up oxen, all I saw was an ox.Even after three years I had not seen a whole ox. NOw I meet it with spirit rather than look at it with my eyes."
"When sensory knowledge stops, then the spirit is ready to act. Going by the natural pattern, I seperate the joints, following the main apertures, according to the nature of its formation. I have never even cut into a large mass of gristle, much less a large bone."
"A good butcher changes cleavers every year because of damage, a mediocre butcher changes cleavers every month because of breakage. I've had this cleaver for nineteen years now, and it has cut up thousands of oxen:yet it's blade is as though newly come from the whetstone."
"The joints have spaces in between, whereas the edge of the cleaver blade has no thickness. When that which has no thickness is put into that which has space, there is ample room for moving the blade. This is why the edge of my cleaver is still as sharp as if it had newly come from the whetstone."
"Even so, whenever I come to a knot, I see the difficulty of doing it. I am careful to remain alert, with my gaze steady. Moving slowly, I exert very slight force, and the knot has come apart, like earth crumbling into the ground. Then I stand there with my cleaver, looking all around and pausing over the satisfaction in this. Then, I clean the cleaver and put it away."
The King said: "Excellent! Having heard the words of a butcher, I have found the way to nurture life."
Excerpt from my massage class manual, put together by my teachers Svadesh Johnson and Narayana Chmielewski. They got the quote from The Essential Tao, the sayings of Chuang Tzu, translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.
As they intended, it's an excellent metaphor for the intuitive state of awareness a good massage therapist enters when working on a client.
I am so psyched and grateful to be in this class, learning from these teachers! May my head, hands and heart soak up their good instruction and pour out the benefit upon all whom I touch.
So mote it be.
October 27, 2004
look, oh look out your window
It's a lunar eclipse of the FULL moon!
I'm at work, so I had to walk down the street a bit to see it, but it's sooo purty!
Having a good busy night at work, which is a big improvement on last weeks slow shifts. I just gave an hour and a half massage to a lovely young woman with very tight legs.
I love long massages, 'cause I can really take my time and linger on all the places that need it.
Otay, back to work!
October 22, 2004
I had a brilliant day.
Odd thing to say about a typical Seattle fall drizzlefest like today perhaps, but it was just ... Nice.
Got up early to bus out to my first deep tissue massage class, but I didn't really want to bus... SO I dillied and dallied until it was too late to catch the durn bus-amazing how indecisiveness can accomplish what we wanted anyway but couldn't decide to be decisive about.
Anyhoo, I made it to class without getting dragged off to badgirldrivingwithonlyalearnerspermitjail or whatever, phew!
Class rocked. It is awesome having two teachers, teaching two students. I am psyched! Not only will my massage improve immensely from their awesome instruction, but I'm gonna learn chi gong(so long I've been wanting to!) and I'm going to get some serious bodywork!!!
We're talking structural reintegration, baby! That's just what this twisty ol' girlbod needs.
So, I drived myself home and was dancing to the badass Badi Assad cd I got from the library, all around the massage table in my living room, startling the very startlable kitty who was tryin' to sleep thereon. Called half a dozen girlfriends to share my happiness and invite them to Kalidance with me on Cap hill this Sunday, shakin' it, shakin' it, oh yeah, oh yeah...
Kitties lookin' at me like I'm a mad thing.
I sobered up enough to sortnpay all my freakin' bills(thank god that's the last of the bills from the ol' house-s'gonna be kinda fun not bein' the house billpayer anymore, just shelling out the dough to Rebecca) and to vote(absentee ballot), a bit of a chore as always raking through the legalese to try and figure out who's scamming who, but it felt good to put my two cents in for Kerry.
Made chicken soup to hold my lurking sore throat at bay... Mmmm... Chicken soup.
Then, hoorah! Silverclay at last!
So, so, so cool.
This is the shit, man.
I mean, what could be cooler than soft, gray clay that fires(in like an hour!) into pure friggin' SILVER! I made two pendants-yes both of them have boobies-and some beads. Cool, cool, cool, so very cool.
Lotsa artsy, funny women. Loved the teacher, Brooke who makes funky, cute jewelry and has chickens in Fremont.
It was lovely, until Brooke gotta call from her sis who'd just crashed Brookes car on the way to pick her up. Sis OK, car totalled. Poor Brooke.
Luckily, the class was over, it was getting late, too. We rallied around her, packed up her kiln and stuff in a car fulla women and I gave her a hug goodbye.
Then I set off homewards up the steep, dark, winding, shiny, wet road. It started to pour, I laughed and zipped my jacket up to my face, pulling the hood strings tight. 'Bout halfway up, however, I was huffin' and puffin' and WAY too hot! So I tossed my hood off and let the rain spatter on my face and bathe the brandspankin' new silvergoddess on my neck.
I felt so fine. So full of life and the rain looked heavenly softly falling in shining masses about the streetlights, on my hair, cheeks, eyes... Love just pouring out of me like rain itself, like some holy, glowing, unrepentant force. Everything just gleamed, streaming and splashing. Even the asphalt seemed to be radiant, awake...
Cresting the hill and happily plunging down the other side with long long strides, I sang Tara mantras 'til I noticed PCC was open and hit it for groceries. Impulsively bought myself some brown rice sushi to nosh on the way home... Didn't notice it was the SPICEY kind 'til I was already scarfing it down. Holy hoohah!
Oh well, I offered some to a nice gal from Toronto and we walked together most of the rest of the way. I got to show off my pendant, she got some sushi and helped carry my groceries. It was a sweet way to end a sweet day.
Now here am I, bloggin' away.
I better hit the hay, I've gotta work tomorrow morning, relaxing all those crazy folks who work normal jobs.
But I think I'll have a wee midnight snackerel first... Hmmm... Garlic, olive oil, bread...
October 21, 2004
Classes start tomorrow.
Deep tissue massage in the morning and silverclay in the evening-yay! I've been looking forward to making silver jewelry for ages... Wonder what it'll be like? I'll tell ya all about it soon.
Next week is photoshop.
October 20, 2004
What could possibly be wrong with breast cancer awareness month?
Take a look at who is sponsering it! This is a letter from a brave woman that I know:
A year later, my world is still colored by an awareness of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month focuses solely on detection and treatment.
The motto of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is "Early Detection is Your
What I would like to see is a breast cancer awareness campaign that
So here are the two things I consider most important to be aware of.
October 16, 2004
is exploding all over my bedroom wall.
She's so almost done I'm shivering with glorious anticipation.
It's funny, there's always a point in the process where I feel like it's totally fucked, it's never going to turn out, the original grand inspiration is gone to ashes and dust and frustrationgly grainy canvas specks-just too much of a struggle to attain... and then somehow, by magic almost, it all comes together bit by mysterious bit until I'm practically orgasming with delight at my own creation.
She's soooooooo purty, in that electrical storm terrorizes the city kinda way.
Yeah, yeah, someday soon I will actually have a digital camera and be able to show off my goddesses in all their fiery splendor.
half a dozen gutwounds...
...entire armies slaughtered by flying sword-wielding assassins, people demolished by a veritable rain of arrows....and only one, shimmering, translucent drop of blood in the entire movie.
Hero was so very pretty though. The battle of the two gorgeous, scarlet-gowned swordswomen in a grove of ancient trees, brilliant yellow leaves swirling-magnificient. If only we could all die so beautifully, poignantly, heroically.
It was my first night out 'n about with my new housemate, Rebecca-she is hellaciously good company. We went to the Palace, as she calls The Pacific Place Cinema downtown. It's a good name considering the overwhelming grandiousity of the edifice. It's sort of surreal riding the threee thousand or so escalators up and up and up through all the hoity-toity stores where you'd probably need a hundred bucks to purchase a hairpin. But there is a pretty cool brewpub up in the clouds there, so we we tossed back a few before the movie started.
It was lovely. But what the heck happened to Sky?
October 10, 2004
'scuse me, but your food is ringing...
Spent the weekend with the kidlets. I'm babysitting for Ben whilst he gets some sorta computery training in Atlanta.
Dinner was very amusing yesterday, the kids sausages, and even the peas and beans kept ringing to ask if we wanted any anchovy pizza.
It was fun, but finally, enough was enough and a call from MY sausage put an end to it. My sausage told the kids to EAT THEIR FOOD!!!
Oh, and Sam lost his first tooth! And when I say lost, I mean lost-it disappeared when he was eating his lamburger the other night.
Hope the toothfairy isn't too squeamish.
Had a good weekend. Took 'em to the boulder, where they played James and Jessica and the Boulder, 'natch. Went librarying and bagelling at the Grateful Bread... I love my new 'hood!
I dug and planted the garlic bed-yay for next summer's garlic harvest! GOt a wee rosemary bush and some parsley and thyme for the herb garden.
Couldn't resist buying some baby veggies too, though now I've gotta dig some real sod to plant 'em.
I'm almost done with my lightening dakini painting, just putting in the lightning-it's fun. It's cool when the kids are here, they really feed my artists ego-all the exclamations of awe and surprise.
The spamdemons are multiplying like crazy around here-it sucks, I just got like, eighty-five new spams from the drugmongers.
May they eat spam in purgatory for eleven centuries! Well, OK, maybe that's a bit harsh-ten centuries should be fine.
October 06, 2004
my client complimented me tonight, said I had nice strong hands.
of the three massages I gave on tonights shift, he was certainly the most interesting. an older fellow from Las Vegas...Started telling me about all the massages he gets at the hotel where he works. Ho hum, I thought and set to work. As I worked on his stiff shoulders, he began to tell me about his wife, of twenty-five years, who just died of cancer and how he'd nursed her through it. Oh man, I thought, how do you survive that? Certainly made my little heartbreak seem pretty small in comparison.
But he seemed to be doing OK, he's travelling, getting massage and visiting the kids(they didn't have any of their own) that he and his wife helped put through college. One of them is an artist, he'd just gone to see her show...
Then he went on to tell me about his hippy days on Haight-Ashbury in the sixties and all the LSD they did with their professor, trying to find out what it's all about.
People are pretty strange, and strong.
Gives me a bit more faith in the human race, hearing stories of love and strength.
Plus, he tipped me a twenty! Whoohoo!
That's what I have to say about the electrical situation here. It sucks.
Just got the scoop from an electrician friend of Catherines(she's my pottery partner-she throws, I carve).
The whole house runs on a pathetic 100 amp FUSEbox and it's all frshniggety-wired and it's gonna cost $2000 to get a real breaker box put in in order to be able to run my kiln without sucking all the power outta this house.
Hope the landlady is feeling generous!
October 03, 2004
Started yesterday(yeah, it was a busy saturday-when the kids away, the mama will play).
I call it 'Girl with Carhardts', 'cause that's all I'm wearing.
Zan's cure for the common cold
Start by taking a large, swirled glass goblet of vodka/Redbull at your neighbors party(did I mention my neighbors are the coolest, sweetest couple of newlywed musicians in the world?). Then kick it into high gear with your girlfriend and her boys-go dancing till you wear the boys out, ditch them and wander the city with a beautiful jewish hottie who isn't afraid to call an asshole an asshole(at the top of her very loud, very jewish lungs in the middle of the sidewalk with everyone staring)when he tries to get away with an anonymous assgrab.
You go girl!
We ended up at Contour afterhours, shaking our booties up on the sidestage, with the vibration of the speakers thrumming through our feet and bodies and booming in our ears. It was too fun, until our coats(with car key) pulled a disappearing act!
Yikes! That would really have sucked, but for the fearless Jessica, who took it to the management when the dick of a DJ dude thought he was too cool to 'fess that he'd just dumped them carelessly on the floor in the back to make room for his equipment.
Girl can really cause a riot when she's stymied by dumbasses. I like that. A lot.
Anyway, we decided it was thumbs down on the Contour scene and shared a hotdog at a streetstand before heading back to the car. A satisfying end to a grand girls nite out.
I fell into bed about 3:30 am and my sore throat's gone this morning, so I think the cure most beneficial. I highly recommend it next time you're under the weather-do go out and shake your booo-tay!
Yay, my babies are looking happy!
I just barefooted it out to the new garden in the cool, wet grass.
My herbs are looking perkier. I dug out the weedfilled box and planted them yesterday in the hot, hot, hot-is it really october?sunshine and they were looking kinda heat-exhausted.
There are very few things I like better than spending an afternoon in the dirt, putting plants in to grow, nourishing the things that will nourish me.
Dr Usui, the founder of Reiki and one of my personal heroes, said that every person should have a garden and I think he was right. It brings you onto an intimate level with the earth, our source and you just can't beat that.
Now, I just have to get some parsley, and dig me a garlic bed.
October 02, 2004
General Zan, fearless defender...
of humans everywhere from the deadly, though seemingly innocuous scourge of-drumroll please-POTS AND PANS!
Yes, my dear innocents, I have taken it upon myself to protect you all, singlehandedly defying the secret, silent, metallic tyranny that lurks in every kitchen.
Just this week alone, with valor of the most subtle hue(Whilst pretending to blog forgetful of the boiling on the burner) I took out two of the most treacherous enemies known to the free world-a saucepan and a stewpan!
No, no, hold the applause, for who knows what lurks in the recesses-I've heard rumors of a wok, perhaps even a turkey roaster. The war is not yet won, my friends.
It's hard work keeping a country safe.
yesterday I finaly, finally got the last of my stuff from the garage at the old house. It was hell made easier by my mama, Peggy and her van and an enthusiastic hired helper from Hawaii.
The only thing left there is my kiln plug in, but I need an electrician to help me unhook that so it's gonna have to wait till I find one.
I even transplanted my favorite garden denisons-herbs and some strawberries and Sam's darling little fig tree. Now I just have to dig up the bed here so's I have somewhere to put 'em! More work, but at least this is for my NEW garden!
Gotta get a garlic bed in too, it's almost garlic planting time...
Jeez, I just got up, took a shower, braided my hair and I still feel so tired my eyes're shutting of themselves.
I've got to get my energy, health, heart and weight back somehow. All the butter in the world doesn't seem to be helping too much. Ah well, patience, I suppose... The madmoonmenstrualwantonhoremonalsurging in my bloodstream right now isn't helping much. Channel it, Zan, channel all that wild, creative power and love into your goddamn art, where it ought to be going!
Sure sign of a mad artist: Talking to yourself, and on my blog too! But hey I guess blogs were originally journals, and if I can't talk to myself in my journal where can I?
They say time heals all wounds.
I hope they know what they're talking about.