Clams and Oxen

The Cop and I are not doing any Christmas/holiday decorations, and My Gift is old enough to get non-object Christmas presents (a snowboarding holiday), so all I really have to deal with is the office Secret Santa and the office parties. Thursday is the all staff luncheon and Friday is the department party. And the senior designer on my team is in town for the quarterly planning meeting. Which means I took her out for drinks and dinner last night. Luckily, we’re actually friends, otherwise it’d be one of those weird business events where you have to make a whole dinner’s worth of small talk with someone you really don’t know at all. Can you tell I’m an introvert?

So it was a kick-off to my week of holiday business drinking. It’s fun, on the one hand, but it also messes with my yoga. I don’t sleep well after drinking, and it makes me sluggish and mildly depressed in the morning. Plus, I end up eating really weird things: last night I had fried clams. (How did that happen? I ask myself now. Those musta been some strong pomegranate margaritas!) We were at a restaurant owned and operated by Bostonians, and I think I had a flashback to my childhood. I don’t often get a strong craving for particular foods, but I totally wanted fried clams. Enough so that I didn’t even question myself, “Seriously?? Fried clams??!?!” That would be my usual question-to-self re: fried food, and re: strange food that I would likely regret the next morning right around Marichyasana C and D.

Regardless, I got up and practiced this morning. The clams were mildly regrettable, but truth be told, I’ve managed to make myself feel worse with Mexican food. Apparently my Bostonian roots are still with me and I can eat fried clams and still feel heartbroken about the Sox, even though they WON the World Series, finally. Some things just stay with you forever, I guess. Haha! That’s probably my deepest karma. Clams and baseball melancholy.

I’m reading a new book, How To Raise An Ox. Ox-herding images are popular in zen. The ox represents one’s true nature/one’s practice. So I love to think of the dazzling ox in this quote as one’s practice/mind:

All I did was raise an ox. When he wandered from the path into the grass, I pulled him back; when he ran amok in someone’s garden, I chastised him with a whip. Now he has been tame for some time. Unfortunately, he used to pay too much attention to what people said; now, however, he has become a pure white domesticated ox. He is always right in front of me wherever I am, dazzling white all day long, and even if I try to drive him away, he will not go.

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