Stompin' on the Terra

"And he said, 'Stomp upon the Terra.'" – Lord Buckley (via Hunter Thompson)

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Location: Plum Island, Massachusetts

26 February 2012

More Zen

I've waxed rhapsodic about many things in this space. Typically, those magical places and activities and sights have all been related to wilderness, the outdoors -- and usually the ocean, sailing and surfing.

But there's another part of my life that often provides more peace and joy than any other. And people are usually shocked when I say: "Hockey is the most Zen thing in my life."

It's true, especially this winter where there's been so little surf and even less wilderness time. Instead, my weekly Friday-night skates in Exeter, New Hampshire, have been an exercise in pure ecstatic expression.

I'm not a particularly good hockey player but I know what's going on during the game. And that's the ultimate source of the Zen-like state I achieve while playing: that in-the-moment existence where the mind is silent and the body just acts and reacts to what's going on around it. When I'm skating (especially with a high-quality group like the one in Exeter), that internal mental dialogue that's prevalent 24/7 in the human mind goes silent. The discussion ceases and that pure animal mind takes over. It's an all-too-brief bit of quiet that I cherish.

I first got into yoga after reading a book by Ram Dass in which he pointed out that if you were a really active person then seated meditation was going against your true nature and wouldn't be effective (at least at first). He recommended active meditations such as yoga, whirling and dance as a more appropriate entry point to seeking awakening for such people. I would offer that dancing on skates on ice, chasing a little rubber disc, has been the method by which I've gotten closest to an awakened state. The great thing is: it's a never-ending quest and I look forward to "meditating" at the hockey rink for the rest of my life.

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21 February 2012

This Post Has No Title (Or Point)

OK, so, it's been four months and a couple of weeks since I last posted here on Terrastomper. I'd like to say that's because I've been too busy actually stompin' on the terra, but alas, that wouldn't be honest. So what HAVE I been doing since I returned from Europe (since I obviously haven't been writing)? Here's a brief recap:

* Looked at a few sailboats here in the U.S. Seeing such boats before they got sold (as had some others I'd been watching) was the main reason I returned from Europe. And I even got into negotiations on one boat, which I bailed on in early December. But now with spring approaching (not that we've had any winter here in New England), I've resumed my search for a boat of my own.
* Attended the U.S. Sailboat Show and took a marine-weather course at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. I also spent three days learning how to kiteboard on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
* Took an apartment in Newburyport, Massachusetts, five minutes from my folks and my family home on Plum Island.
* Spent a couple of weeks in the U.K. in late November and early December getting a Day Skipper certification from the Royal Yachting Association. In the process, I got to sail in the Solent, perhaps the yachting center of the world.
* Been playing a lot of hockey -- skating at lunchtime in Newburyport and Friday evenings with some really good players in Exeter, N.H. -- and hitting the local CrossFit gym in an effort to get my fat ass back into shape. I've even resumed running a bit.
* Tackling my biennial flight review. I am, once again, a legal pilot. Woohoo!
* NOT surfing or skiing. This has been the year of no -- zero, zip, zilch -- winter in New England. No winter means no storms, no storms means no waves and no snow, no waves and no snow means no surfing or skiing. I was actually looking forward to experiencing East Coast skiing for the first time after a lifetime of skiing out west but…no such luck.
* NOT writing. I've actually jotted down some notes from time to time, and generated an idea or two that I think doesn't suck. But for some reason, I haven't been able to sit my ass down and start putting words and sentences together. I am ashamed, to be honest, and brutally frustrated.

And it's that shame and frustration that has me posting this title-less and pointless piece of "what I did on my summer vacation" homework. I hope that by doing so I'll prime the pump, so to speak, and get back to doing what some very kind friends have exhorted me to do. Namely: write, write and write some more...and more properly prioritize those other things listed above. The first step has been taken.