Friday, May 9, 2014

Zen Throw Down Turns Five!

Selfie in my study, where Zen Throw Down is created
It's been almost five years since I started Zen Throw Down. I started it as a kind of experiment, but it soon came to be a journal. The interesting thing about blog-as-journal is that it has a very different dynamic than a journal I would keep privately. A blog is in an open forum on the Internet, which means that there are things which are not wise to post, too personal to post, etc.

As a result, I've found that the blog format encourages a different kind of journaling, one that is focused on events rather than navel gazing. While I have to admit there's been a fair amount of navel gazing on Zen Throw Down, I do think the blog ends up being more about living life than thinking/feeling about it. In some ways this makes it a better record of the trajectory of life, because it's always better to judge people by what they do and not what they say.

So here's a look back at the past five years:

The whirlwind of progress in gay rights was so unexpected, and allowed Jim and I to have a civil union ceremony and then get married.

Lots of athletics: I tried parasailing, deep sea fishing, kayaking, rock wall climbing, hiking, and yoga for the first time. And there was continued biking, bowling, lifting, and martial arts.

Travel: Las Vegas, Mineral Point, California, Bristol Renaissance Faire, Panama City Beach, St. John, Grand Cayman, London, Paris, and even a 'vacation to Chicago'.

Creativity: After a long period of low/no activity, there has been a resurgence. I got back into piano (for a while anyway) and flirted with art. I shared some old writing projects (The Real Egypt and The Ancient Elm cycle) but also began new ones (Haiku Thursdays and getting back into writing poetry).

Spiritually, Zen Thrown Down has lived up to its name with entries relating to a moment or two of kensho, various Zen exercises I've invented, and celebrating the writing and legacy of Bodhidharma. My sitting has become more frequent, I joined a sangha, and then there is my ongoing study of the Mumonkan.

Getting back into reading has been a very positive outcome of keeping this blog: I read (most of) Melville's novels in the order he wrote them, devoured a bunch of obscure works by early Twentieth Century novelists, and am closing in on completing Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle.

Beyond all this, there has been plenty of miscellanea (or errata, depending on how you take it): my martial arts movie obsession, music reviews of all kinds, learning to love sushi, making my first serious art purchase, robins hatching in a nest outside my study window, amped-up activism/giving, loads of op-ed pieces (some less crazy than others), and just records of time with friends.

Christmas parties...

...and - of course - Halloween!

It's been a great five years...Here's to the next five!

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