Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011, here's to being still!

I've never made a "New Year's" resolution in my life.

I've made plenty of resolutions before, I just never saw a need to attach a date to them. This year's not any different except that I happen to feel the need for a few resolutions right now!

From the beginning right to the end of 2010, we were on the move. From December 2009 until December 2010, we lived in four different apartments (five, if you go back one more day and count my parent's house!). Each time we moved was a definite upgrade, and though the place we're in now won't be suitable for long, with Fina growing fast, it's the first time we've felt at home in nearly a year and a half. It's no wonder I've been craving stillness so much lately!

Which leads to the next resolution, sitting...

Yes, having a 19 month old baby certainly dwindles the opportunity for a quiet sit, especially a daily one, but they aren't completely obsolete. It will just be a matter of taking better advantage of the opportunities when they are available.

A side effect of all this moving has been a very expensive year. With real-estate fees, moving costs, and large deposits required in Korea (which you don't get back when you leave early!), each move put me back 2 or 3 months worth of my salary... I'm really hoping money won't be as big of an issue (hopefully not an issue at all) in the next year. If I think back on all the arguments I had with my wife, they just about all began with money.

Finally, with a baby, a wife, a full-time job, and three evening students per week, it leaves very little time for coherent, well composed writing, not to mention coherent, well composed writing about Buddhism. I started this blog thinking it would be a good way to sort out and understand what I was learning about Buddhism by expressing it but two things quickly happened... First, by expressing what I thought I knew, I learned more about how much I don't know (not a bad lesson!), and second, I realized that I have very little business talking about Buddhism, especially with so much to learn and my focus having shifted to family. Again, that's not such a bad thing, because, in the end, Buddhism is about developing healthy, nurturing relationships with the universe, where better to start than with a family! I have a couple of ideas for my blog, though, that will make things easier and more honest. The difficulty with writing about Buddhism, for myself, is that realizations mostly happen in a place of the being that has no words. Gautama Buddha had a gift for expressing these. I usually find myself grasping and coming up empty, which is another reason to focus more on sitting and developing clarity. Perhaps there will be more that I can share with the world that way.


  1. Thank you for such and honest sharing, Joseph. Having a child to raise, a family to sustain and nuture, a self to care for... it's amazing, isn't it, that we don't just implode at dawn everyday! Your writing and art are all dhamma to me. They encourage and inspire. I also understand the need to simplify the process so that it works for you in terms of your practice. However the blog manifests, I know it was nourish us. Please let it nourish you. :-)

  2. Yes, what Genju said!
    Your blog (your life, seen through your blog, in fact) has been a blessing and inspiration to so many of us already Joseph. I'm sure that whatever direction you take it in, it will continue to be so. Thank you.

  3. Thank you, both of you..
    I guess I'm too hard on myself, but it's hard not to be with all those other great bloggers out there, including you guys, and Barry of course!

  4. I can't tell you in words the great joy Somewhere In Dhamma brings to me. Thank you for the diligence and wisdom your pour into it, all arising from you being the person you are.

  5. Wow, thank you!
    I have a habit of of not being expecting more from myself, I guess...
    I once complained at the tea-house that even after a year, the tea I made at home still wasn't even close to as good as their's. She told me I was being too greedy, that if I was making tea as good as them already, it would be time for them to close the shop and go home!

    Maybe I'm greedy for Dharma, as well!