Kyudo

A Better Day: These Puzzles Are OK

Today was much better than yesterday. (For a bit of griping check my last post.)

I woke up and had to rush to work, but had everything together. The initial feeling wasn’t so good, not so bad either, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to doing my second job teaching English to hotel employees. Last week was left bitter in my mouth; the taste of unmotivated students following a fledgling teacher. But for some reason, they were great today, and lifted me up to this happy state. We had a great class.

I checked the bank and a week before payday, I have more money than usual. Some how I’ve managed to spend less than usual this month, which has been a rarity for the past few. Instead of forcing my hand into savings, I can enjoy myself a bit more with the cushion.

I felt optimistic about budo today. I had a great energy to study Japanese on the train.

I had excellent lessons planned for today. The kids were a little crazier than usual (crying, complaining, puking), and that’s OK: That’s what is supposed to happen.

As an artist, there is great responsibility. Half of the coin, which some deem “real art”, is just expressing your feeling through the medium. But that alone will not … be ideal. The other half needs to translate that feeling effectively for an outside party. That requires great patience and precision. It’s not just pure expression. I listened to an interview with an artist I look up to, and he explained looking at a blank canvas as a riddle: a problem to solve. I initially squinched my nose at this; I’m not exactly fond of the first things that came to my mind: riddles, problems, math. I assumed that problems have correct and incorrect answers, but this is not necessarily true. One must simply answer the best they can. That requires effort, not just the kind that makes you blast through a wall, but the intelligent kind that asks you to think before you act … write … paint … move. You must express your feelings honestly, but within the framework of our particular labrynth: The world. There are places to cascade upon without inhibition, and there are others to pick apart with a small needle. Other times, we ought to refrain from anything at all.

I remember talking with my advisor at the high school I used to work at. He is an English teacher who said he used to shy away from adversity. Now he considers it the best possible scenario. This was after helping me set up my own bank account, sign contracts with the landlord, translating random pieces of mail I received, and answering any of my seemingly worthless questions about whatever. Far from the epic quest we demand, yet right at the center of the spinning earth (or Dharma Wheel if you will, *for the Dogen geeks).

As an artist, I am responsible. As a teacher, I am responsible.

At both of these stations, the world says to Zacky Chan, “ONEGAISHIMASU!” And I am compelled to action.

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