After Yokoji

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

The time has come for me to lift my head out of the water and gasp for air.

I have been all over the place, and no where.

Never have I choked on words quite like I do now, feeling the glare of seemingly everyone, waiting for me to say something so they can complain about what I said or how I said it. Things are how they are; they are never how you thought they would be.

I am still here; I am still doing this; it may be in little incomprehensible grunts, like air escaping your lungs that happens to brush your vocal chords, but it is still what it is.

You may not have noticed, but I have been missing; absent. So much has happened but nothing happens. I have been struggling with self, strangling self, while searching for purpose in the infinite clusterfuck of endless life. Words have lost their meaning. Photos have lost their significance. All that's left is breathing.

In the meantime I stuttered out this website.

On July 10th I attended my first sesshin at Yokoji, having only "sat" twice at Sunday services that my girl took me to. Yokoji was founded in the early 80's by Maezumi Roshi, whose children I went to school with, but I didn't realize it until about 6 months ago. Yokoji was created to be a mountain training center to accompany ZCLA, the Soto center in LA. I was conscious of this place by the time I was in high school, it being just down the mountain from my little mountain town, but I was always terrified to poke around there because I felt like an imposter. This girl that found me basically forced me to check it out in February, the 22nd (that's important), and in July, shortly after officially moving back to my little mountain town, I attended this "beginner's mind" sesshin... a little too conveniently perfect... in exchange for work. I would go on to spend three days a week working with Tenshin Roshi and Jokai for the following couple months. By "working" I mean digging ditches, pouring cement, roofing, staining decks, weed-wacking, and recently remodelling a bottom corner of the Zendo. Any time I mention being interested in "officially" training to attain monkdom, I am met with wonderfully Zen answers, like "right here" to "where do I start." My interest in everything has left me somewhat disappointed by everything, but I keep showing up and keep working, because I said I would, and that's who I am. Most of the summer the center was closed due to potential flash floods from fire damage a couple years ago, so there was nobody there but the few who lived there. I'm not going to lie, it felt pretty amazing to be included in such an intimate group, being a total outsider. Recently I got a job in an amazing kitchen, so I've only been able to help out at the center on my day off, and the training period at the center has begun, so a lot of people are showing up that I don't know. I had found comfort in this place, but I'm starting to feel like the stuck wheel. I still feel like an imposter, but, strangely enough, this is where I always wanted to be. I feel like I need to take this with me. As my luck would have it, this job that I love, and got to help support this family that is learning to love me, makes it nearly impossible to train like I want to. I'm not harboring any resentments, I'm just doing what I need to do today.

I feel like all of this information is irrelevant.

I feel irrelevant....... Zen relevant.

The beginner's mind sesshin opened my eyes to a lot, not just that I was capable of sitting still for an hour and endure the pain of sitting for an hour four times a day. In this last week I attended two days of a seven day sesshin, where I would go on to make a "doom and gloom" comment in dokusan that I don't think Tenshin or Jokai will let me live down very soon. I have made a fool of myself a lot. This last sesshin showed me that I have finally become comfortable enough on the cushion to fall asleep... so..... that sucks.

This summer has sped by. I've accomplished a lot, but I've shot no one. This has been the year of the cancellation, until I finally just stopped making plans with models. Honestly, I've been busy cramming my life into someone else's, learning to deal with a 1.5 year old again, and now devoting most of my time to a kitchen.

We sometimes find things to shoot when we are out and about, but it's not really what she wants to do.

This has been a rough year.

This has been a beautiful year.

This has been everything and nothing.

This has been I don't know what.

I don't know.

Right now I'm just trying to keep my head above water.

Tomorrow, I'll deal with tomorrow.

Now what?

Write a book?


Keep shooting?


Everything is empty.

I don't know if I like that or not.

I don't know if I like.

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