by Stephanie Nash


(Steph's Take on a Shinzen Young retreat, July 2001)


For those of you old-timers who think it's neat

That I write these poems after every retreat –

I'm sorry to say I just didn't have time

To take Shinzen's concepts & make them all rhyme.


See, it's just that I haven't gotten very much sleep

And that "Recycle Fatigue into Energy" didn't seep

Very deeply into my awareness –or should I say penetrate

Like the Fork into the potato – or what was it—wait—

The Bee on the Flower—buzzing all around

For that nectar—or whatever—but you know I have found

That the strategies for working with pain are ok:

Focus on the pain—or the reaction—or just focus away.


So to stay awake, I've done labels & 'noting' (I had to miss the yaza), alas

But I heard it was good, zen lurches & all & that the bunnysatva was first class.


It's been inspiring to hear people really working on their stuff.

One man couldn't find his feelings, the women all feel too much.

Hell, we're all groping here—for some kind of clue

But see, it's not something you understand—it's something you get used to.


And there are so many techniques to employ as we flail

(To help keep the sardine from feeling like a whale.)


We start with BIT & BIT combos --or label Person, Object, Place, None.

And find Internal Talk--and sonify  that that son-of-a-gun.


Sonify is also good for our negative tapes it seems.

(That's when you repeat each syllable & pause in between.

And finding Pleasant & Unpleasant underlying incessant tunes is key

As is discrimination & distinction & having equanimity)


When in doubt, as Goenke said, "Start again,

With a calm & clear mind, Start again."


A highlight for me was watching Shinzen get buzzed after breathing

like the Sunlun tradition   (BREATHE)

Hell that's pretty good, I think I got some BI-FLUX there, or was that some kind of....Fission?


Or as Teresa of Avila & Master Dogen said

To study yourself is to study the Way

Did you hear the one about the Roshi & the Rabbi

What's the sound of one hand clapping, (slap) oy-vay!


In my "on-line" I said that I felt so emotionally raw

To which Shinzen replied –Rest in  the Universal law

Of Expansion & Contraction----yes, that's where the ordering lies,

The Re-parenting, & creating a Super-Adult who's wise.


See, we're just an activity, like foam, --and the quest

Is to forget yourself  & to merge & Digest.


Kind of like giving birth—wait—didn't someone do that?

Oh yeah, that was Pam – it's a boy!

(And congratulations to her & to Rick

as we welcome their Jason with joy.)


And a big Thank You to Choshin—who really does know

How to organize & orchestrate a retreat like a pro.


And, of course, to the Big Guy—who generates all this good stuff

(That 99 pages of Core Practice out there is no fluff.)

His excitement over language & math is a hoot,

But his practical theories bear amazing fruit.


And for our wedding anniversary, Shinzen took the time & came

And did a special ceremony for us -- even gave me a dharma name.


(In movement classes it was fun to have everyone knock on their head,

But the Group Process is the best—worth getting out of bed.

That's where I learn how to measure my progress & that the self is a verb not a noun,

And get led in a meditation experience where sensations & insights abound.)


But I want a complete experience of Pleasure--

A Union of Bliss & Void--

I want to be so Spiritually mature so that I'll never be annoyed

When I get ousted out of heaven & land on my butt in hell

(And I'll have a reusable round-trip ticket to travel back & forth as well.)


I'll work off 500,000 years of karma

Simply by buttoning my shirt!

And when my Ego Erupts—I'll watch at my sense gates

& hopefully no one will get hurt.


But I'm still sleep deprived & probably making no sense

and thus I can't write a poem today

But I'm sure after sleep I'll see the wave not the particle & then I'll be able to say:


How we're connected to all & on the right path-- & it really doesn't feel all that odd

Cause, after all, as the Blues Brothers said, "We're on a mission from God"


2001 Stephanie Nash – All Rights Reserved