Does this count as an excuse? I suppose it must!
I chose to fill the first half of 2012 with wedding plans and a return to school after almost 20 years. Then there was a surprise move, then a surprise honeymoon. I found literally every minute of every day filled from sometime in March until... Well, just this minute! So I disappeared from Tools. And quite frankly, I slacked off my checklist, too.
A priest at my zendo says that one of the most important parts of zazen is intention. Even if you sit there on the cushion and your mind wanders the entire time, if you INTEND to sit and follow the breath, and you keep returning to it when you realized your mind is wandering, you're not "just sitting there." Your intent still makes it zazen.
I think a lot of things in life are like that. Human beings are easily distracted. Our brains are hard-wired that way. For millions of years, we HAD to jump at every distraction, because it might be something that was about to jump out of the underbrush and eat us!
So... My intention has brought me back to Tools. I'll start over at day one. And I'll keep starting over at day one as many times as I have to.
I have learned one huge thing in the last year or so, and that's this: What I thought was my personal struggle against the world was actually my personal struggle against my own negative view of the world. The changes I need to make are right here, so it's time to focus once again on changing them.
Best wishes to all my fellow travelers!