Saturday, May 30, 2009

don't cry for me, argentina!

mijeong's surprise birthday dinner
kate 'n mijeong
left to right: me, mijeong, heeana, boshim, and haesong...grilling samgypsal (pork) and veggies for dinner, along with steamed sweet potatoes, burgers, organic chicken, and rice. a yummy feast.
birthday candles, yogurt cake and "magic" brownies (well, not really MAGIC)
mijeong and kate rippin' up the noraebang (karaoke) floor!

jungwha and elena goin' to town on the tambourines
elena, me, jungwha and heeana

Friday, May 29, 2009

a new soul

yael naim, born in paris in 1978. when she was four years old, she and her family moved to a small town near tel aviv where she spent most of her childhood. i heard her music for the first time today in a little cafe near the university. her self-titled album released in 2007 has a great vibe. here's a little taste, although this song has a bit more of a pop-sound than her other stuff.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

a trail walked a hundred thousand times

"Meditation is the training of returning to the original self.
It is not something that only happens in a temple or meditation hall.
It is the work of gazing into our inner mind without illusion,
in order to throw the mind wide open,
in order to throw wide open
the mind that has been closed in, fold upon fold, and besieged with entanglements."

-Beop Jeong Sunim (Korean monk)

a dear friend sent me this quote today. upon reading it, something inside of me lurched forward in recognition of the monk's final phrase. it's as if the cells in my body knew the meaning of those words inside and out, like the back of my hand, or a trail walked a hundred thousand times. a knowing from merely this lifetime, or countless lifetimes before, whatever the case, the groove of being besieged with entanglements is deep. i sensed a great weariness in my heart as those words rippled throughout my being, as if recognizing in resplendent clarity, if but only for a moment, that i'd reached a point of finally having worn out that path. could this be so?
pema chodron says that those who have had great pain in their lives, whether they experienced it when they were young or later in life, those people are usually the ones who get really serious about a spiritual path. these days i notice that my relationship to the particular, eclectic spiritual path i choose to engage with isn't just icing on the cake for me. it IS the cake. and since, if i had my way, i'd prefer to eat dessert first, it goes without saying that cake is the full meal deal in my book. spiritual practice has evolved into a way of life, rooted in necessity. "it is the work of gazing into our inner mind WITHOUT illusion." truth. looking honestly at oneself. no bullshit. no blinders. no fancy footwork. recognizing what is true, even in those dark corners of the mind where we are sure our secrets are safe, even from our own eyes. looking honestly again and again and honoring what is true, expressing what is true, and living in congruence. taking that still-point seat in meditation...gazing with pure honesty...ceasing to deny or turn away from the truth, even when it threatens to burn us up inside...gazing with fierce compassion at all that is....a tried and true gateway into the depths of intimacy.

throwing wide open the the vast, spacious sky...where clouds pass by, just as thoughts through the mind....they appear then disappear....appear then disappear....come and then go....come and then go. and so it is. everything moves. everything changes. life in flux. so may we let go. may we let go. may we let go.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

juice feast

to support a friend who has recently had some health issues come up, i joined her on a juice fast or "juice feast" as she likes to refer to it!! she is dedicated for 7 days as a massive cleanse. i have decided to end tonight, which will have made my juicing extravaganza 3 days in length. it feels perfect for what my body needs at this time. these last several days have been characterized by increased physical lightness, quieting of the mind, feeling unable to move at my normal (accelerated) pace, deep and peaceful sleep, a brightening of my skin, and serious, serious cleansing!

the only fasting experience i've had in my life was when i went to the canyonlands of utah back in may 2003 on a "vision quest" with a group of people through the animas valley institute. we were together as a group, hiking and camping, for a majority of the time, but went off on our own solo journeys where we fasted for four days and three nights in the desert! no, the devil didn't come to tempt me, however, i did encounter myself in a very altered state which made for incredible dreams and dayworld imaginations! i remember we were encouraged by the group guides to call in anyone we had unfinished business with during our solo fast and converse with them as if they were standing there before us. the conversations that transpired under my a-frame tarp were pretty amazing. some dead and some living came to visit me and we expressed things never before said...there was laughter, tears and healing in ways i never could have imagined. when in such an altered state, as hunger seems to induce, the ego loosens its grip after awhile and within that state of being the possibilities of experience range into territory never encountered before.

the juice fast has not impelled such an extreme altered state, but i have sensed similar feelings as when i fasted that spring in the great canyons. i am grateful for this time to slow down and become more deeply aware of the way i move through the world. i appreciate the opportunity to clearly notice some of the ways i operate unconsciously. it feels great to give my digestive system a break from having to process solid foods. and most of all, i am experiencing a state of relaxation and restfulness that is so hard to come by these days in a world that moves at such a frantic pace.
as part of slowing down, i've watched a few really wonderful films:
10 questions for the dalai lama

the reader

stanley and iris

Monday, May 25, 2009

it's that time of year again!

chris and jihoon joined me for a bike ride over to campus where the yeungnam university spring festival was going down!chris, inhui and i hanging out at the FLI (foreign language institute) festival tent where they were grilling up burgers, hot dogs and selling bowls of homemade chilisheila holding a bowl of chili in one hand, flipping burgers with the other!
bag 'o booze delivery man and pabloi'm not usually one for a cocktail in a bag, but that warm spring night had a buzz of adventure in the air! (jen, chris and me)inhui with her bag 'o booze (tequila sunrise)craig ("santa claus") talking with shawn (i wonder what's going through shawn's mind?!)heather and barbara edmondson from edmonton (alberta)!yatrensandy holding anandasangsoon ("jenny") - one of my dear students from my first semester in the english department. she will soon be going abroad to attend old dominion university in of my students from this semester...great guy! "alex"rhea - one of my past students (she and her parents took to me to a temple last year)chili cook-off judgessandy's victory dance upon winning the chili cook-off!the main concert act of the night...surrounded by bubbles!chris, one of her chinese exchange students (jocelyn) and me
the bag o' booze cocktail guys prepping for their fire show!this was NO JOKE of a fire show!holy moses!chris, jihoon and one of jihoon's friends from culinary school

Friday, May 22, 2009

from a field of irises

this week's gumi adventure
while chae and i were doing yoga in this gazebo, four women joined us with their korean wine and full spread picnic! they were super sweet, insisting we sit down with them, offering us a multitude of food and drinks. we enjoyed some mountain berry wine and herb tea, a few slices of melon and bell pepper. then out of nowhere a psycho hornet dove at warp speed from the ceiling into my shoulder, bounced off and flew away. i jumped up and yelped. thankfully it didn't sting. the others didn't seem to think this occurrence was a big deal. my feathers, on the other hand, were completely ruffled, but i sat back down to finish the picnic until i saw the hornet come back into the gazebo. i immediately excused myself, took my yoga mat out onto the grass and finished my wine and yoga routine from there.
chae soon joined me outside of the hornet's nest and found a relaxin' spot under the treesi find myself salivating over the trees in korea. so many varieties and all so beautiful. i don't know the name of the green one here, but i LOVE it. and of course the japanese maple...
chaeso, for the last two weeks we have relaxed all afternoon between classes at this park near gumi's big mountain...both times i taught chae some breathing exercises and yoga poses...we read...napped....and walked around admiring all the blooming flowers. it's been so good to get out of the samsung factory and into nature. we both noted that we feel so different in our bodies after an afternoon spent lying on the earth.

joggin' juice

to start things off...
Pink - Who Knew
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Kanye West - Heartless
Found at bee mp3 search engine

pickin' up the pace....
Chris Brown - Forever
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Rihanna - Umbrella [Feat. Jay-Z]
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Adele - Cold Shoulder
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Gnarls Barkley - Gnarls Barkley - untitled 02
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Bedouin Soundclash - When The Night Feels My Song
Found at bee mp3 search engine

sometimes it just takes the first few notes of a particular song to give that added burst of energy and we're flyin' again!