Saturday, March 28, 2009


Slicing avocados for guacamole.

What's interesting is that a few hours ago, my sister had told me about an interview she heard from a woman who was assigned to cook at a restaurant connected with San Francisco Zen Center. She said what she remembered about the interview was chopping vegetables.

And for much of the winter, I studied Dogen's Tenzo Kyokun, or Instructions for the Cook. More chopping.

Peeling off the skin of a section, I notice a desire to be at the part where I am grinding pepper into the mix. As if there is worrying about forgetting, or that I'll never get there. Another slice, and a flash on a woman I am attracted to, followed by a short story about her, and I, as the movement of putting the piece in the bowl is entirely missed.

Mashing the pile with a fork: thoughts about the distance the avocados had traveled, and a bottle of water from New Zealand on my mother's table.

Splitting the garlic from the bulb, thoughts of a phone call never received, and stories telling why.

This is not a writing about punishing the self for thinking. It is a reminder to pay close attention to everything, even noticing when you are not paying attention at all.

In the Genjo Koan, Dogen said "flowers fall amid our longing and weeds spring up amid our antipathy."

Can you stay with that which you don't want to stay with, even for a little bit?

Grinding the pepper: concern that my avocado-covered hands were going to mess the container up.

Pouring in lemon juice and stirring it slowly, so as to make sure that everything will be well covered.

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