I’m flying on a big iron bird through the sky. Below me is Lake Michigan. I’ll be in New York City in an hour and a half.
I’m on my way for a series of talks and public appearances (see the list below). In fact, there’s one more public appearance on Monday that’s not even listed yet because I don’t have all the details. Plus there are some interview things and some dinners and brunches and stuff, and a couple long, long rides in crowded cars. It’s going to be a heck of a weekend for me.
A few years ago I vowed never to do this sort of thing again. I’d just finished a tour of the East Coast where I’d booked myself to do two or more talks a day on a few days. Then there was the trip to Finland where it felt like I was on stage non-stop for a week.
Last year my tax guy goofed up big time. When he worked it all out and said I’d gotten a refund I was all like, “I didn’t have anything taken out, how can I get a refund?” He muttered something about Obamacare credits. I asked if he was sure. He said yes. So I said OK. What do I know from taxes?
Turns out I did know. Because in March I got a letter from the IRS saying I owed them a big wad of money plus interest. The income sources they said I didn’t report were my main ones, like book royalties and the donations I receive from this blog. There’s no way I would fail to report that. I looked over the notes I’d brought with me to my tax guy a year before. They were all on there.
So I called up my tax guy’s boss. He looked over my return and my notes. They didn’t match up. The IRS was right. My tax guy had messed up. Bad. His boss told me to send the IRS a check and he very kindly sent me a check for the interest I owed.
This all took a couple weeks to sort out. By that time, I had to do my taxes for this year. So I did. As I expected, I owed the IRS another check. This time for even more than I’d just sent them. Luckily I had it, so I sent it (and there’s where my advance for Don’t Be a Jerk went). Plus a check to the State of California for this year and one more for last year.
Then I chipped a tooth and had to go get that fixed. Because I don’t have dental insurance I had to pay the full amount. Oh, and I forgot the new glasses prescription. Also not insured.
So I just spent a giant sized portion of the money I made in the past 12 months in the span of a single week.
Oh! And this morning Lyft took a lot longer to show up than I expected, then we got stuck in traffic, so I missed my scheduled flight. Then TSA took forever because they’re all freaked out about all the people going from LA to the East Coast for Passover so I missed my re-scheduled flight too and had to re-re-schedule. That also cost me.
Don’t Be a Jerk is selling well. So that’s good news. But it’s still not gonna be the next Harry Potter. Hopefully you folks in New York will buy some books this weekend.
Sometimes people ask me to ordain them. Sometimes they ask me how to get started writing and publishing books. When I advise them against it they always think I’m being funny. I’m not. This isn’t a career I can recommend.
I don’t have a manager or personal assistant. I book these gigs, book my planes, then figure out how to get from point A to point Z all by myself, then I travel alone. You best believe it’s stressful. But it’s the way this job is. I accept that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Overall, I like this job better than any other I’ve had so far, so I do what I gotta do.
I’m not a nice, even-keeled sweetheart by nature. That’s not me. I’m bitter, resentful, angry, socially awkward and not easy to get to know. When I stress out, I stress all the way out. For me, Zen practice hasn’t been a way to go from well-adjusted guy to All Knowing and All Seeing Master, full of beauty and bliss and rainbows. It’s been a way to keep from going completely off the deep end.
Without the grounding Zen practice has given me, I would not be able to do this at all. I am keenly aware of that. When I sit down on my little cushion in my little apartment each morning and night I know that as boring and silly as sitting there looking at my closet door for half an hour might seem — even to me! — it’s what makes the rest of my life even possible.
Yeah, I’ve had some moments of pretty amazing insight. Not that I am amazing. But what I’ve seen has been astounding.
But that’s not why I get on the cushion each day.
I get on the cushion each day to survive it.
* * *
Check out my podcast with Pirooz Kalayeh, ONCE AGAIN ZEN!
* * *
I’ve got a new book out now! Stay up to date on my live appearances and more by signing up for our mailing list on the contact page!
My publishers are running a contest on Goodreads to give away 2 copies of my new book!
April 22, 2016 New York, New York Interdependence Project
April 23, 2016 Long Island, New York Molloy College “Spring Awakening 2016”
April 24, 2016 Rochester, New York Rochester Zen Center
April 28-May 1, 2016 Atlanta Georgia 4-Day Retreat at Red Clay Sangha
June 2, 2016 Los Angeles, CA The Last Bookstore 7:00pm
September 10-11, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland 2-Day Retreat
September 14, 2016 Belfast, Northern Ireland Zazen and Discussion
September 16-17, 2016 Dublin, Ireland 3-Day Retreat
September 22-25, 2016 Hebden Bridge, England, 4-Day Retreat
September 27, 2016 – Wimbledon, London, England – Talk and Q&A
September 29-October 2, 2016 Helsinki, Finland, 4-Day Retreat
October 3, 2016 Turku, Finland, Talk at the University
October 4-5, Stockholm, Sweden, Talk and 1-Day-Retreat
October 7, 2016 Berlin, Germany Zenlab
October 14, 2016 Munich, Germany, Lecture
October 15-16, 2016 Munich, Germany, 2-Day Retreat
October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat
MORE EUROPEAN DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!
Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Beginners only!
Every Saturday at 10:00 am (NEW TIME!) there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Beginners only!
* * *