Sometimes, it feels like I have the self-discipline of a flea. I know this is not the case most of the time, but I definitely have my moments. Over the past two weeks, I have been highly organized, efficient and disciplined as I have suddenly come out of a 3 year lethargy (the most action that has occurred was high speed hand wringing) and come roaring back to life and am rebuilding my freelance work, myself and my dedication to my writing. It has been like stepping out of a fog and discovering that although I thought I had travelled far while in it, I was paused with my foot raised in the air, about to take the next step and I didn’t. Not for three years. And then suddenly, my muscles pushed my foot down to the ground, slightly ahead of the other, my balance shifted to allow me to lift the other of the ground and I am moving forward again and the sun is shining brightly.

Anyway…back to the bit about being an occasional flea. I have also gone full tilt into making GO a part of my life. Lots of daily play. Lots of daily study. Combined with the Kaigan and Zazen that has also become daily for me, the influence of the game is becoming quite profound and noticeable in my life, my writing and my interactions with others. I also am helping to run the New England GO Academy. I arrive, I set up the boards, I play, I teach what I can, I get people playing together, I set up problems on the sticky board for people to try and solve and all this I do as a volunteer. Because it makes me a better player. It gets me out of the house and around kids and adults who are all learning how to be better and whole. It also, and this is kind of how I am paid for it, allows me to be taught GO by the sensei of the dojo who is as obsessed if not more than me. I hope one day to reach his level of obsession with it.

Enter the flea.

Each week he gives me a different task or tactic to focus on and this week, he told me that when I play on fly or die that I should absolutely not try to win. Don’t worry about attack or defense, let your pieces be taken; instead, work solely on learning how to claim territory so it can’t be taken from you. If I lose a 9×9 game by 34 points but kept 13 in territory, I will have done well. Yes, sensei. So of course, I go to play a game tonight and within three moves I am attacking, defending and essentially, living in a pup tent on the board and moving it around willy nilly because I can’t keep any territory.


Next time, discipline.

It has been a hell of a week, as I mentioned before. I was exactly one day behind in all my deadlines (not reached yet, but in the work to get there) and have raced and raced to try and catch up. I cut it down to only being about 8 hours of work behind and was looking at tomorrow, when I will lose 8 hours to doing some volunteer work and just saw myself running for my life to try and avoid angry clients.

Then it hit me.

Claim your territory. Protect it. Sustain it.

We have the lives that we create. Yes, things happen that we have no control over, but we always have control. We have the control to find something that works. And when we have what works for us, we have to protect it, nurture it, sustain it. Because when our lives work on a very fundamental level, it makes all else possible. It makes exploration possible, dreams possible and so much more. So I chose to cancel my things tomorrow so I can make sure that the territory I have reclaimed for myself is made stronger. And next week, I can go back to doing my other things, secure in the knowledge that when I am there I will be present, I will not be worrying about what has not been done.


  Open Your Own Treasure House

Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Baso asked: “What do you seek?”

“Enlightenment,” replied Daiju.

“You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?” Baso asked.

Daiju inquired: “Where is my treasure house?”

Baso answered: “What you are asking is your treasure house.”

Daiju was enlightened! Ever after he urged his friends: “Open your own treasure house and use those treasures.”

(zen koan)


c.2012 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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