December 5, 2011

zen Intimacy Reflections

Happy Monday to All!

Today I’m at day four of HLC 2. It’s been really fun for me since this a great group of healthy, inquisitive students – and its a large class of 45.

Since I’m pressed for time this morning, I’ve invited another student and friend of mine to post his reflections about his experience during my PPS zen In The Garden workshop. I’ll be posting Evan’s reflections over the next two to three weeks.


Love and chi,

Paul Chek


My name is Evan Jerkunica and I am a student and friend of Paul’s.

I have a number of web based businesses and am really excited our business activities can change people’s lives — for the better!

My experience at zen In The Garden has helped me gain deep insights into how I was taking on too many entrepreneurial projects and how to bring intimacy into my relationships, and that by stacking rocks in Paul’s garden really helps me to recharge my batteries!

So today I will take you through part 1 of 3 of my experience in the zen garden with Paul and friends.

It’s not every day I get to hang out with Paul Chek, at his home no less. This to me is one of the biggest draws for coming to ZIG.

I get to see the man in action in his environment, with just a few other cool/sensitive people around.

This being my third time attending ZIG, I had hung out with Paul CHEK at his house a few times and I actually had bigger reasons for wanting to attend the event, September 9, 2011.

I came to ZIG on Friday with the intention of learning more about intimacy. This is an issue I have been struggling with for a long time, and really is a significant blockage on my path to healthy relationships.

I had been looking forward to this day for weeks. I had a booth at the CHEK Conference the week prior, and I was feeling physically and mentally exhausted.

After picking up breakfast/lunch from whole foods, Lukas (another student) and I raced up to Vista, to go to Paul’s house. I then sprinted from my car to Paul Chek’s house to see his amazing yard!

It was a stunning morning and that first walk through the zen rock garden felt like I was walking in between statues of towering titans who have long since left the earth.


I was greeted by Vidya (I LOVE VIDYA!!) as we got to the door and was stoked to see another Paul Leenderste and his wife Melissa.

I met Paul in the first ZIG I attended and really value his friendship and his life path intersecting mine.



Then I was stoked again to see Donal (not Donald) Carr. Donal is the Chek Affiliate down in Australia and has been doing a TON to spread the Chekies down under.

We then grouped up in Paul’s living room and he shared that we would be going on a hiking meditation and then go stack rocks in the rock garden!! Fun!

So we walked through the zen rock garden, went up hill a few blocks to the trail head. Paul informed us that we would be going on a 45 minute hiking loop, with no talking.

Paul asked us to ask Great Spirit any question we wanted, and then to pay attention to yes or no answers with the changing wind (eg. a wind dead spot, or increase in velocity), or any other signs in nature.

He also told us to keep our tongue on the roof of our mouth, just behind our teeth (I assume for optimum Qi flow), and to pay special attention to the moisture in our mouth, and to hike at a slower pace if our mouths became dry.


After all, this wasn’t a workout hike – it was a meditation hike for parasympathetic stimulation and contemplation.

So off we went, with the biggest question I had in my mind for the spirit with no name – what does intimacy look like in nature?

And how can I use that example of intimacy in my own life?



So with Paul leading the way, we began hiking in silence.

I began asking great spirit for help understanding intimacy in nature. I walked in my Vibram 5 fingers and really enjoyed the acupressure of the pointy stones on the sore spots on my feet.

I observed the hues of green and the late summer southern California hill-scape. I tried to contemplate intimacy, and really only found anxiety and mental chatter.

But I kept walking at our gentle pace, and kept observing the moisture in my mouth and the wildlife around me, paying attention to each step on the dirt and rock path.

I contemplated vibrant bushes rooted deep in the ground and swaying in the wind, dying grasses lining the trail, and stones jutting out of the dirt.

I watched the birds of prey soar high above and thought about coyotes tearing their rabbits to shreds, in harmony and intimacy?

Stories from my former Aikido Sensei poured though my mind.

As we neared the crest of the loop, I noticed that I had been following very closely on the heels of Lukas in front of me.

I saw myself putting non-verbal pressure on him, probably forcing him out of his own rhythm, something that I judged as the opposite of intimacy, hmm…

It was humbling to contemplate that I have done just that throughout many of my relationships, romantic and otherwise.

While this was a useful tactic that has protected me and gotten me what I wanted in the past, greater intimacy will come with letting people have their own pace in my WE relationships.

At the top of the loop the group took a rest, I had a pee, and picked some wild anise seeds. They taste like black licorice, and I have nibbled on this plant ever since my father and mother first showed me them growing near our home when I was a small kid.

Almost immediately after we started on the downward part of the loop it hit me – Acceptance is a part of intimacy!

Acceptance acceptance acceptance – Over and over I kept hearing the word in my head. Great spirit gave me a gift, the next piece of my journey into intimacy ^_^

I didn’t really know what kind of acceptance, so I figured it was all of them – acceptance of myself, my lover, my friends, my strangers, my love, my life – just as the bushes, grass, bugs, herbivores, birds of prey did.

They all accepted and adapted to the seasons, the rainfall, the changing air, their neighbors; they did their best to thrive in harmony with their circumstances.

I continued to enjoy more anise seeds while paying attention to the trail (it has since turned steep and rockier!), and reflect on this piece of intimacy.

I thought about the other Paul L and Melissa’s relationship, and how it felt like *I* would like to have a relationship like that.

Then as we neared the end of the trail, I felt the urge to slow down, fall back, and walk more slowly apart from everyone.

Then a bit of a fog and some little streaks came over my vision, and I felt like I was seeing and feeling the interaction of all the living beings in that canyon.

I don’t know what that was, but it was interesting to feel/see whatever it was.

At the end of the trail I shared that I felt quite heavy and a bit sleepy, the same way I feel when I am discussing some heavy emotional things with JP Sears.

Either Paul or Vidya suggested to me that it wasn’t that I was tired, it was more that I was so jacked up and in a state of GOGOGO that a more parasympathetic (but closer to natural body baseline) state allowed me to feel a bit sleepier relative to the pace I’d been keeping.

Maybe this is my body’s cue when I get close to something that I’ve been too busy to take a look at?

All in all, the zen meditation hike in the hills with the intention to learn from nature about intimacy/acceptance, really helped me to begin to see what elements I could cultivate consciously in all my relationships – especially when I slow down enough to be present . . .

Thanks Paul Chek!!

Stay tuned for part 2, where we tread in the garden and start stacking rocks in Paul Chek’s zen Garden!