Hello dear friends and loved ones,
We are finished with a quarter of the magical massage school. It is difficult to believe. Soon we will be heading downhill toward graduation.
Here is our typical schedule (now that we have settled into a regular routine):
7 am – Chi Kung & Walking / Nature Chi Kung
9 am – Breakfast break (where we now have Oral exams going on for the next 5 – 6 weeks as well – 2 ppl a day)
10 am – Lecture on Physiology or Traditional Chinese Medicine
12:30 pm – Lunch break (more oral exams if it is our turn)
2 pm – Lecture on the current modality we are learning – at present, that is Shiatsu (Japanese meridian massage)
3 pm – practice Shiatsu on each other (students)
5 pm – Practicum clients come in and we do an extensive intake, assessment, read their pulses, look at their complaints and formulate a treatment plan, then we execute said tx plan
7 pm – we are finished as far as group exercises go, but we generally have another 2 hours of assignments and we have to study for the oral exams
As you can see, our days are LONG. We even have class days one Saturday / month. So our 2-day weekends are very very precious.
This week was Losar – Tibetan New Year. And considering there are not less than 7 Dharma centers in town (or in the massive subdivision where this school is located), there were a lot of events going on.
Several of us went to a Losar party on Friday – there was dancing and good food. It was nice just to get out of the school for a night. To meet new people.
Small world – I met a retreatant (who only comes out of retreat once a month for a group event or once / year for Losar celebration) who knew my main teacher and who spoke very highly of him. He encouraged me to practice hard and to put the Dharma teachings into personal experience. That was very pleasant.
Not being able to go to a Losar celebration on Thursday, I wore a nice Tibetan tunic to class. That was fun. I did however eat at a restaurant owned by a Bhutanese family that evening – and met some more great people.
This is an interesting and dynamic community. There is a group of people working on a film about Chi Kung where they are using Kirlian photography to show how people can change their auric field by doing various Chi Kung practices.
There is another guy here who attaches a machine to plants such that when he plays music to the plants – they play different music back to him. He has put on plant music concerts and my new friend who lives nearby has also played shows with him. I have a plant music CD I need to listen to. Apparently it is very relaxing to listen to and he recommended I not listen when I drive!
Yesterday I went to a different Buddhist center – Vajra Vidya. This is a large Karma Kagyu center with a beautiful shrine room – large ceilings, massive Buddha statue, dozens of Thangkas, and enough room to fit 70 or 80 people. Plus they have 2 resident Khenpos and rooms for retreatants. So I got to practice speaking Tibetan – thank goodness he speaks a dialect that I know easily. See pictures below.
Then I hiked up to the Dream Road – a separate road whose only destination is a large stupa. I hiked over to the stupa, did some meditation, gazed at the incredible views across the valley and hiked back to my car – about 3 miles total.
I took a short cut back to the school. I’m hoping I didn’t do any damage to my car, but basically let’s just say I found myself driving my Corolla up a creek bed! Fortunately I was praying very hard – so I somehow didn’t bottom out.
Today I went again and offered Khenpo a bodywork session for next week. He was grateful and he recommended I do the Medicine Buddha practice if I am going to be doing bodywork / massage with others. Good advice I think!
Oh – and I discovered that around four miles from the school, I can get enough reception so I can use a pre-paid PIN number to make cell phone calls. First time I chatted with my parents in 3 weeks…
Thanks for reading my travelogues!