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🤫 Silent retreat time
Hi, my name is Jen. Welcome aboard my weekly reflection on life and its lessons that I call Letters from a learn-it-all. Among my ranging curiosities, lately, my walnut is obsessing over how to use creative constraints in poetry, comparing cultures specifically of islanders, and what it means to be spiritual.
If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:
Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from the top of the Diamond Head Hike!
I’m about to leave to go back on yet another plane to fly to Big Island, Hawaii to embark on a silent zen retreat for the next five days. I’ll be stepping into a phoneless, watchless, and wordless week, trekking across Volcano National Park 🌋 with 35 pounds on my back to live off of.
I know I’ve done this before but I’m still quite nervous. So much so that I impulsively bought a lucky bamboo plant last night. Being alone with my mind that long is intimidating. I’m excited to be back off the grid though without modern distractions and attempt to seek more inner peace.
Now, let’s dive into letter 158 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
In the spirit of last year when I went on my first Zen retreat I am resurrecting the reflective poem that came from it.
The Temptation of Thought
Oh how I loathe you. Oh how I love you. A whimsical idea Up in my mind, Like a fantastical video game world, They sweep me out of the present moment And into the cloud of history Or the future full of mystery. Sometimes that is more appealing Than the present moment And perennial uncertainty. My gratitude for words overflows. They clear up confusion About experiences in this world. Each word is a thought. Though, simultaneously, the limitations to language are vast. It infuriates me. How can I make sense of life? What does it mean to understand, If I do not have language to explain? All I really have in each moment Is this breath Inhaling then exhaling Right now. Yet, That usually does not feel like enough. There is a temptress of the swirling thoughts in my mind, Whether they are positive or negative, They are there. There’s no ignoring that fact. I choose today not to be a prisoner As tempting as these thoughts are. My thoughts are in my body. My feelings are in my mind. Are thoughts and feelings That separate after all? I act as if they are polar opposites As different verbs. As one or the other. Truth be told, I am lying to myself. I wish to live more present from now on. It’s not easy. For twenty-six years, The world has been my thoughts. Today I awaken As the thinker of those thoughts. They do not define me. I tend to the garden to guide my thoughts Nurture the ones that ground my experience Rather than a ruthless tug-of-war game. We work together. Body and mind. We are one. Afterall.
🌟Quotes to inspire
“Breathe. Take care. Stand still for a minute. What you are looking for might just be looking for you too.” - Cleo Wade
📸 Photo of the Week
I had a company retreat for the House of Pure Aloha this past week at Hawaii’s finest Zippy’s. It was a glorious time! I am so excited about what we are building together as a company to spread Pure Aloha to the world.
To the Honolulu Diamond Sangha for organizing my backpacking sesshin. There's no way I'd be able to backpack for five days without their guidance and support
I appreciate you reading this!
Never stop learning 😁
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