Just a break.

Talk about needing help with time management…

I’ve got half of my paper done, and just a little longer to write before I’ll have to turn something in, done or not. I did go to work today, but I won’t be going in, tomorrow, given time pressures. This is why I’m in a job that doesn’t pay so much: flexible scheduling. Well, that’s part of the reason. The other parts are idealism and a desire to help.

Right now…I’ve been working on this stuff since about 4:30 PM with the only break being dinner, and I need to think about something else. I also need to review my readings, and see if I can’t get the next four in, before submitting my paper.

I also need to gauge if I’m even awake enough to continue working on this, tonight…as well as perhaps comment on others’ posts, on the discussion forum.

EDIT: Yay! I responded to someone, which means I get extra credit! Now to get back to whatever I was doing…

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work-in-process.

Well, even if I don’t get this term paper done to my own satisfaction in a few days, I at least have a good enough start on tracking down my topic, in order to continue the work after the semester is over. If, that is, I retain access to Library resources — I may not.

Actually, I just looked it up: I will not. Time to search through my Public Library memberships.

Anyhow…I did a good amount of research today, and identified 12 articles of interest, four of which I’ve read through entirely. The other eight are no longer than 15 pages, each. I also found a few e-books which will help on the deeper side of things, though I’ll need to target my reading for the next few days. I probably won’t be able to trace citations as much as I’ll want to.

I feel kind of disharmonious for having retired to bed so early last night, and neglecting to get up at 5:30 AM this morning, which is when I seriously awoke. I had planned on getting up early — but before sunrise was not anything I expected. As it turned out, I only really became functional after about 10:30 AM, I think (I’d have to check my sleep log).

Tomorrow — that is, after the sun comes up, this next time — I should be able to devote entirely to studying and writing. Well, that, and laundry. I’ve left some notes to myself in the papers I’ve located.

I might also want to prioritize the newer articles.

While part of me wants to put notes about my paper down, here…there’s no upshot to making them public. The only reason to write them here is to either publicize my work, or to avoid writing by hand…

…the latter of which, is kind of sad. I’m sure the urge to do everything on the computer is familiar, though. I should be keeping notes on thoughts that come up in longhand, not only within my files…

It’s cold and dark. Lots to do, but not all of it, necessary.

What’s sad is that it’s so cold that the computer warming my lap is welcome. I didn’t get any work done on my paper tonight, so far, and it’s taken an intentional effort for me to write here instead of space out watching the television and waste the time that way. It would take an even larger intentional effort for me to work on art.

In comparison, reading seems fairly…well, passive. Those two books I crammed into one night a couple of weeks ago, I can barely remember, now. It makes me want to re-read them just for the sake of writing up a review, and write the reviews for the sake of my own recall.

I haven’t been on this blog as much, recently. After finishing my ePortfolio, I have basically gone into reading. It’s difficult to have content to put up here without going through the additional process of living. It’s also difficult to live after having gone through as intensive a process of study as I’ve been involved with.

And…a lot of time and energy has been concentrated on obtaining things. Mostly, texts; but also some other stuff, like winter and professional clothes, and stuff for art and writing. But I think I spoke about that in past posts.

My due date for my term paper got extended to the middle of next week (as versus what looked like tomorrow night). At this point, I’ve re-read the applicable chapter, and looked some terms up, prior to doing hardcore research. The major issue I’m having now is not knowing my exact, most productive search terms, but I should be able to find those out in the process of searching.

I just…get anxious about searching. If you knew what kind of anxiety I have to deal with on a daily basis, you would know how much I hate routinely exploring online, on my own machine. Of course, I’m running a system which I’ve tried to make safer, but still.

So…I should probably get a plan together for the next three days. I know I want to have the majority of my research done by Sunday night, and to be writing by Monday. What really threw me off was going to work this last Wednesday; I should probably have held off for two more weeks. I just thought that since I would technically only be working on one class, it would be okay to have fewer available hours to study.

But also — it is a Master’s program.

Huh. It’s also harder to write here, I think, because most of my recent writing has been academic. It has been easier to channel my creativity into academic work, however. I’ve been wondering whether “arts” are just the most recognized outlet of creativity…

Aside from all of this, I still need to help clean the house, do some laundry, and…I think that’s about it. If I get my term paper done, I should be able to work on cleaning the house by Thursday, though I should work on my laundry before then.

And water the plants. And take another shower.

I think I’ll be okay. Today and yesterday were rest days. Tomorrow is work and study. The two days after that should be wholly study, and I can try and get this thing in early if I need to (just to have it over with), though I can also edit on Tuesday, given that I need to use APA format (and writing to a format is not easy).

Overall, I think my energy feels sapped because it’s cold and I haven’t been getting enough light. It is an idea to get out and start my day earlier, or to use the mood light in the morning. It looks like the sun is coming up at about 7:15 these days, so that’s about 9-10 possible hours of natural light.

It’s also possible that my energy feels sapped because I’m recovering from the stress of completing my ePortfolio, but I’m sure the season has something to do with it, too.

As well, I’ve noted tonight that I need to lay off drinking juices, again. For the last three weeks, I’ve been off of tea (camellia tea, I mean) and chocolate, due to heart flutter; and I think drinking sugar (and stress) has caused me to gain 2-3 pounds. Not too happy about that, but most of my clothes should still fit, as I got them recently.

I know I should still be able to drink kombucha, kefir, coconut water, and limited vegetable juices, in addition to barley tea and caffeine-free herbal tea (mint, chamomile, rooibos, elderflower, hibiscus, ginger, etc.).

That does make me feel better…

Distracting myself from the anxiety.

I have work to do, but I also need to get my mind off of school, for a bit. And yes, I am only several days into the semester, so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. But I’ve realized that I will have to develop about two or more sections of my ePortfolio every week, if I want to get done in eight weeks.

It is work, though. Not kidding.

I should probably set up some times to work on this stuff, and just make it like a job.


Aside from that…there’s a lot I could do (besides going back to bed, which is a typical temptation when my anxiety is up like this). The major thing…is laundry, but that is probably not as pressing as I feel it is. I did take a shower, which I’ve needed since yesterday (and didn’t want to do, then).

I’m not sure what to do. I just know what I don’t want to do. Which is, basically, anything that matters…and I’m not entirely sure, why.

I’ve found that reading can alleviate my anxiety when I feel like this. It doesn’t mean I really want that right now, though.

So much of what I’ve been doing and what I have to do, depends on electronics and reading and writing. It doesn’t help that there’s actual life that interferes. There has been a lot going on, not all of it planned. Most of it unplanned, let’s say; and some of it, urgent.

Like the refrigerator suddenly not working: it’s now replaced, but not having one has been a major disturbance for the last week. And the dystonia thing, which prompted an urgent doctor’s visit. And there’s Hurricane Lane affecting Hawaii, which impacts family. Then it’s rather obvious that classes just started up again (though that could have been planned for), and family visitations (which also could have been planned for). Plus sleep disturbances.

The thing is that with myself now being technically disabled, I’m not sure anymore what my capacity for work actually is. Not to mention that this is the culmination of my Master’s program, and Master’s level work is more difficult than both upper-division undergraduate, and community college, work.

On the other hand, it’s not difficult work once I actually start to do it. The major issue I’m having now is probably being psyched out. And having my instructions scattered in so many directions that it’s difficult to know what I’m doing. I did just find my printouts, though…and my notebook.

And I suppose the upshot to getting my ePortfolio work done is that I then don’t have to deal with it, anymore. Like, ever.

The major thing I don’t want to do is read back through my archives…or write to a format. It’s tiring. But, I can do it.

I think that’s long enough, for this entry. I’m not sure whether to work on my ePortfolio now, or do something that has nothing to do with reading, writing, or research.

And I think I’ll just get my hair trimmed and straightened, for now. No reason to stress myself out with a drastic hair change, on top of this…

I should also hold off on the Japanese language review. It’s too much energy to expend, that can wait for 14 weeks.

Deadline closing in:

I meant to write this entry last night, but at 3 AM I realized that it was probably better to give it a rest. Or, give myself a rest. Little did I suspect that I would sleep until 1 PM.

I have wanted to get away from dealing with the subject of my Research Guide (Zen and Art) sometime today…I just don’t know if I’ll have the time. I have a few tasks clearly laid out before me, and they need to be done by Wednesday night. I also have work on Wednesday morning and afternoon, which I don’t want to miss; also meaning that I won’t want to stay up until 3 AM again, tonight.

That’s if I want my immunity to be high enough to be around patrons.

The major challenge is integrating all the information I’ve found on Zen and Art. I have narrowed my scope down to 12 books I can review on the subject.

Right now, I kind of just want to bliss out on some knitting or sewing, or something. I also need to do some laundry, and take a shower.

Maybe I should make a schedule? Or say, hey, I can start my laundry and sew until 4 PM or something, and then I need to get back to work?

I don’t anticipate falling asleep until 1:30 AM tonight — it’s what happened the last time I stayed up until 3 AM the night before. That gives me about 10 hours to work with…

Today’s work.

Today was spent exchanging research materials at the library, and studying for the Database Mock Final…which is not difficult. I am very glad. In a few days, my Art + Zen Research Guide will be due. Though I wanted to study for that, I found it more important to focus on the Database class, because Database Management is basically the hardest course I’ve got going this semester. And the Mock Final was due tonight.

Luckily for me…I took a lot of notes. I have an A4 notebook for class with 40 sheets of paper which is basically full from the first page, to about 40% of the last page. I was actually kind of flabbergasted that I filled it up almost exactly (I was scared of having to double-back and write on the backs of the pages).

But I think I’ll be using these notebooks, again: they’re much better for what I need them for, than buying American-sized notebooks (which can go 60-80% unused, and have worse paper, if you’re using pen). This is not to mention that the American-sized notebooks generally cost about 5x as much (I’m getting my stuff from a Japanese dollar store). There are the 8″x10″ things for ~$1, but I hate the texture and absorbency of those, so…

Also luckily, the nonfiction books I’ve been looking in for my Research Guide seem fairly well-organized, so it isn’t difficult to locate needed chapters or sections.

I have gotten to the point where I believe that when some of my sources refer to “Void,” they’re referencing sunyata, or Emptiness, the realization of which is key to understanding “Buddha Nature.” How I’m going to explain this is yet to be determined (and I suspect Zen would probably approach this from the angle of not trying to explain it), but I know that I need to toss sources which refer to Zen being based in nihilism. I read at least three different sources today in the Reference section, which dispute the nihilist claim.

Actually, as a matter of fact, the first book I picked up on Ch’an Buddhism has a first chapter which is about sunyata.

So…there is something in this that is causing me to feel the spirits are with me. 🙂 And…yeah, there is a bit of stuff in there about, “wait, I thought things were without soul/self (anatman)?” But that’s only partially correct; things are without self-arising self-identity, but phenomenal self, exists. (It is also implied that clinging to a phenomenal self gives rise to duhkha, or “suffering” [which is a poor translation].)

And I’ve read that psychic phenomena and the ability to undertake sorcery do arise on the path, and just to ignore them and keep on doing what you’re doing.

Well.

I guess it’s like being reborn in a more fortunate position than many can cause one to crash back into lower Realms, because it’s too easy to get lax in one’s conduct and mind…

I’m not certain at this point how I’m going to put this all together, but I should probably start diagramming on something. I have several different sections I could use, though it might be more useful to combine some of these:

  • Japanese Zen (Bodhidharma, on)
  • Ch’an Buddhism
  • Taoism
  • Emptiness/Void
  • Satori
  • Zen and Brush Painting
  • Zen and cha-no-yu
  • Philosophy
  • Wabi and Sabi as aesthetic principles
  • More aesthetic principles
  • Introduction of Zen to the West
  • Distortions (nationalistic, linguistic, etc.)

I would be more readily accessing the template I’ve been provided, but I’m unsure as to how to delete things once I’ve created them…

Study is going well.

Yes, I am up at 1 AM. I lay down sometime around 8 PM, apparently woke at 9 PM, and slept through until about 12:45 AM. I had planned to get back up to study, but I even slept through DragonBall Super, which isn’t quite like me.

I’ve been doing some hard work on the Zen + Art Research Guide. I am scheduled to go back to the library tomorrow to see if I can find further information on the concept of Void (or shunyata/sunyata), as approached by the Ch’an school (which preceded Zen).

It also wouldn’t hurt to find some books on Taoism, as the latter has had such a heavy influence on Zen.

I know enough to know that books referencing Zen’s, “nihilism,” are likely off-point (Void/Emptiness/Shunyata is not the same thing as, “nothing,” or, “the Abyss”), but I need to confirm. At this point I’m not certain if Void is equivalent to interdependent arising [Indian origin], or to Yin [Chinese origin].

And I still haven’t begun to assemble this (I will need to break things down into conceptual chunks), but I have until Wednesday to do so. In the meantime, what I have to do is the Mock Final for Database Management: which I’m trying to convince myself, isn’t a big thing (as no one will see it, and it’s just a study aid). I don’t expect it to be easy, though…and I dislike seeing myself perform poorly. Even on a study aid!

Aside from that, work is fine. Although I keep having random sneezes, and I’m not sure if it’s allergies, or if it’s an illness I’m fighting off.

I know that after this semester is over, I’m likely going to want to check out some books on quilting. But after this. Maybe when I return my Zen books.

🙂