I'm watching American Hardcore. I was just at the tail end of that scene. I think I was 12 years old when I got turned on to Black Flag and The Misfits. A little later a new scene came in to the Chicago suburbs. But Watching this I started to get a case of the "if only." I start to think if I had only latched on more to the straight edge scene, If only I had been more musically talented, if only I had stayed away from beer, If only I had exorcised more, not been so nihilistic, angry. If only I understood what is going on around me at the time.

It matters but it dose not matter. I am not being cryptic here it is just how it is.
It matters because things would not be how they are now, I would not be how I am now if i had not lived the life I have lived, made the choices I have made. But it has little reflection on my daily life today. Sure I have a mixed up collection of tattoos, and an eclectic music collection. And I am certain the line of causation put me smack dab into Zazen.

It dose not matter because the only thing I can do is take action in the present moment. I can't go back and address the "if only." It won't get the house cleaned or do my job for me. It won't put gas in the car or feed the family. It won't do Zazen for me or get the wife all the worldly things she wants. Or blow the perfect note on the Shakuhachi or paint the perfect fish.

But nostalgia is not something to Ignore all together either. I know there are lessons to be learned all throughout the past if I can find them. But at the same time not get involved in them with the "if only" and live and act right now. I smile when I see a 12 year old wearing a Black Flag t-shirt.

I left a whole bunch of stuff out of this post.

Be wall and happy!

Late entry:

Cleaning the house today with the wife and kids, My wife scolded the 4.5year old "Hannah, How many times do I have to tell you help Iko(2.5)!" Hannah, my new Zen master's spontaneous response? "I Don't Know!"


gniz said...

Were you wishing you could have pursued a career as a musician?

Just curious...

I'm glad you are where you are too.



SlowZen said...

I almost posted some revisionist self history here.
I don't know if I could explain it. I guess I wanted to do something with my friends besides beat people up and drink. this was like 22 years ago and during puberty so I don't think it is so clear to talk about for me. But I never thought of being a career musician. I had a cheep guitar that I could not play at all. Practice, was way too much work! Looking at it now... If only, if only, if only!!! Just kidding.


Gregor said...

Great Post, and Hannah sounds like the perfect Zen master!

I get caught up in the "if only-ies" myself. But you make a valid point --- all of the "mistaken" turns have led me down towards the path of Buddhist practice, I would not trade that in for anything.

Oh well, back to rockin' the mandolin.

Gregor said...

Well . . . back to stummin' the three chords I know how to play on it at least.

muddy elephant said...

Sometimes I think way too much about the future through the foggy lenses of "if"....

So much better to look at the present, past, and future without the "if" glasses. A tough habit to break though.

But at least it is good to be aware of the habit, even if it persists...

Carol said...

Love it! And absolutely LOVE Hannah's comment! Had no idea she was so wise!

Hey--I actually added to my own blog tonight!

Enjoyed talking with you last night.

We are the sum of all we have ever been up until this moment. We make our own history in every breath we breathe.

I love you for who you are and who you are becoming. Keep following your own wisdom!

SlowZen said...

The immortal Icon Hank Hill once said... Yep.


Mom, Thanks for looking! I hope your blog blossoms!


SlowZen said...


As always thank you for your comments, I look forward to seeing you play the mandolin on your blog.


edgey said...

I reminisce sometimes, and think the same things... but then I think about how I'm not in such a bad place in life, and don't want to change a thing.

SlowZen said...


Thanks, that is true too.


Thanks for looking!