The one where I go to a cool bookstore and learn something new

Now that my 21 day meditation challenge Desire and Destiny is finished, (finally!) I am gearing up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s next meditation challenge: Making Every Moment Matter. You can sign up by clicking here. They’ll even send you a bonus gift, an e-book titled Time Management Makeover. Yes, please! This is something I definitely need. Having to keep up full time job hours while also getting a writing and acting career off the ground keeps me feeling crazy. And not in a sexy Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body kind of way. This starts Oct. 30 so sign up now!

I won’t be chronicling my meditation journey this time. I know, bummer. As riveting as it was to read my daily struggle with sitting still for 20 minutes and staying in a positive place for more than an hour at a time, there are so many other things I want to share with you!   (But please write to me about yours as I will be doing the meditations daily!)

The first thing I went out to do was AMAZING. (See I’m more positive already.) I went on an Artist Date with myself (a concept from The Artist’s Way which I also plan on writing about) downtown to The Last Bookstore. Check out their website here. I signed up for their newsletter which tells you about book readings and talks with different authors. One really caught my eye. An author named Brad Warner wrote a book called It Came From Beyond Zen! The book cover is complete with cool Sci-Fi lettering and a Buddhist monk entangled by a green slimy monster with 7 eyes. The blurb about his book mentioned he uses humor to put classic Buddhist teaching into modern language. He also used to be in a punk rock band and wrote another book called Don’t Be a Jerk. My kind of guy. I was sold. I mean clearly our life purposes are the same. Except for the part where he’s an ordained Buddhist Zen monk and I’m a waitress. And the part he was in a punk rock band and I still struggle to get from a G chord to a C chord on my guitar. And he knows who Dogen was and I had no idea. OK. Enough. We both don’t take meditation so seriously we wear Mala prayer beads to breakfast and drink boba tea while dissecting our own auras. Good enough for me.

So I get to the bookstore and settle in for the talk. It turns out that Dogen was a Japanese Buddhist monk and writer in the 1200’s. He wrote A LOT of cool stuff but only about 50 people read it. Hmmmm… I’m starting to feel like we have a lot in common. On my BEST day my blog has gotten 50 readers (though most days it’s more like 14.) It wasn’t until about 700 years later that anyone really started caring. And not until 1925 that something was published about his writing. (Please God, do not let it take 700 years for people to start reading my work. 🤞🏻) Brad Warner thinks this was because Dogen’s writings were way ahead of his time. I’m gonna go with that one, too.

I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on Dogen now. I still need to read the book (which I did buy and plan to dissect further with all 8 of you.) But what I did gather was that people had believed that mind and matter were two seperate things. You were either immersed in spirituality and meditating all the time in a life of poverty, or you were ballin out hard with lots of money, cars, bling. Dogan came up with a Middle Way where you could do BOTH. It’s OK to have nice things while also being spiritual. I’m down with this. As I read the intro of the book Brad also talks about how Dogen gives us a way to be OK with uncertainty. This I DESPERATELY need.

As I read the book I plan to go more into some of what I learn about Dogen’s philosophy and how I apply it to my daily life. I also encourage you to pick up a copy of Brad’s book.

IMG_3751

It looks like this. How could you not want it??? But for the rest of this post I want to focus on how cool I found Brad himself.

First, he’s from Wadsworth, OH. This is literally in the same county as Medina, OH where I’m from. (A fact that I awkwardly mentioned to him as he signed my book, right after I blurted out I had never read any of his other work and not known who he was til that night.) So the fact that someone from a small town went to live in Japan to write scripts but ended up a Buddhist monk and writer who can speak Japanese was awesome to me.

I also love that he has started out trying to sell scripts and novels but still followed his other interests. That interest happened to be Dogen, and when he started writing about that just for the fun of it, THAT’S the book that got published. It’s strange how this universe of ours works, isn’t it? But he went with it and eventually took over for his teacher in Japan as he got older, mostly because it would be rude not to, and ended up an ordained monk. Now he has founded Angel City Zen Center and must lead traditional services, though he admits he HATES it because this man does not take himself too seriously. He’s just giving the people what they want! Check out Angel City Zen Center Here

There were two things that inspired me about him. One, he described his writing process as sitting at his computer, writing one or two sentences, then watching an hour of cat videos. This is followed by a couple more sentences and an hour of parrot videos. (I literally laughed out loud because this is what my writing process often looks like, too. Though there are often live videos of my own cat being taken and sent to all of my friends and family.) And second, because here was a guy who wanted one thing to happen, sell a script or novel. I am also wanting to sell my pilot or get a fricking 5 line co-star. But he kept writing for the love of writing and now has 5 published books! It may not have been exactly the way he had seen his success in his head, but he just went with it and the success came. I mean, he even played two songs at the reading so he’s really getting to cram all those life loves in.

So I left feeling like I was OK. Yeah, things aren’t going EXACTLY as planned. But I live in LA and have a pretty cool life. I follow my bliss on a weekly basis and I haven’t settled for an office job that I hate. And a piece of my soul feels happy because I’m still writing and creating these posts for you 3 people to read. (See how the number keeps getting smaller? 😜) So if you have a Dream, follow it. And if it doesn’t go exactly as planned, maybe, just maybe life has an even better one in store for you.

And so it is.

One thought on “The one where I go to a cool bookstore and learn something new

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