Throwing Spirit Rocks


My dad, ever the literary allusionist, still enjoys teasing my brother and me with references to esoteric literature, mostly of the ye olde English and suffering Irish variety, and that’s definitely being used in the Sunday New York Times crossword (at which he excels, natch). One that his been on the playlist since my childhood is to point out one’s low mood that has been hanging on for a spell as wallowing in the “slough of despond.” I bring this up  not only to improve your own crossword scores, but to give you a window into what counts as humor in my family; it has to be dark, twisted and hysterical, oh, I mean heretical. (Author’s note: I am NOT depressed! Been there, done that, I’m just in a rut, a knee-pained, boggy, godless rut.) <smiley face>

Because I am in this slough of physical bleargh, and I want not to be, I decided to get my worried, noticeably softening thighs into a meditation class so I could at least start to address the issue of my distracted and nearly manic headspace. And since running is what I would count as my meditation time, and I have not run a regular set of miles since April, I had to do something. Also, it’s on my Life List. 

I took the day off last Friday and went out to Spirit Rock Meditation Center in West Marin. Their weekly Friday Morning Yoga and Mediation class welcomes all comers, newbies and buddhas alike. We did an hour of (too) gentle (for me) yoga, then set up for a 30-45 minute “sit” or guided meditation. The theme for the day was resiliency, and focus on the breath to bring the mind back to the desired state of supple buoyancy, the place where we are able to be present and observant, not brittle or reactive. Resilience resonates with me; I often think of a tee shirt  I have (I got it right around the time when my marriage ended) that is emblazoned with the slogan, “Brilliant Rhymes with Resilient” as a mantra for strength. Little did I know how long I’d be stuck in that slough and that it was Resilience that would always carry me through!

Resilience is also the medicine this time, and life experience has taught me that this too shall pass. However, I’m not at peace with the pace of this current passing. It’s too slow, I’m way too impatient, and I’m angry that limited funds is what is actually slowing the process down further because I sure as hell know the doctors, bodyworkers and coaches that could speed this recovery and support my creativity. The good news is, it came to me in the mediation just how pissed off I really am, and that I have to figure out what to do with that anger, since I cannot f’ing go for a run and writing has become quite hard without it.

Meditate more? Probably.

Do the damn 15 minute a day writing exercises for 30 straight days? Duh.

Go on a fast? Don’t judge me.

Start fast walking? Yes.

Do a brain dump?

Dump my boyfriend? Oh wait, I need to get one first. And I’m only in the market for a great, committed ONE, not idiots I have to dump.

If I were to ask my dad for some words of wisdom, he’d not turn to Shakespeare or Joyce this time. He’d simply say, “chicken soup.” Simple. Brilliant. And makes you resilient.

(This post also appears at Go Mighty!)

I Heard There’s This Place Called Summer

Last summer's list... full disclosure: much like the blobbed word on the ball, it didn't go so well.

Last summer’s list… full disclosure: much like the blobbed word “FUN” on the ball, my summer didn’t go so well.

The Summer of 2013 is decidedly not the Greatest Summer of All Time pour moi. Oh, oops, I slipped into a bit of French there, maybe because every single human I know well (not to mention the semi-knowns I follow on Instagram) is in f’ing Paris right now. Oops, sorry, I am not cursing Paris. I know it to be a beautiful, inspiring city teeming with art and culture, and its meta-clichés of chic bike riding women whose baskets carry actual baguettes and flowers, whizzing past lovers making out at every café and park bench is actually charming and delightful and from what I remember of the one time I was there over 10 years ago for four days makes you feel that… je ne sais quois… oh, there I go again. Having that not-summer summer.

There are 467 thousand valid reasons that I am unable to take a summer vacation this year and the same list applies to why I could not take one last year. However, there are none that are stopping me from enjoying the season here at home on weekends and long, late-setting days. But there is this issue: I’m fixed in an ironic struggle that has me so exhausted I can’t relax, but the more I don’t relax the more weary I become. And even though summer is famous for it’s call to slow down, I have been deaf to it. (Except in French.)

This morning I made the executive decision to take a whole day off this coming Friday. The only way this counts though is if I go DO something summery a.k.a. touristy/cultural/fun etc. I have been so far down the stress rabbit hole that I could not even process making those types of plans, and then, by the grace of the one brain cell I have left, I remembered…

I put “Start A Mediation Practice” on my Life List.

Good thing I had that written down and posted online! And even better that I live 30 minutes away from two world renowned spiritual retreat and mediation centers! And triple word score for the fact that one is having a Morning Meditation and Yoga Class on Friday morning AND it has a sliding scale, something my budget requires! So, there it is, I will be turning off my electronics for the better part of the day, and meditating my way into summer.

A votre santé!

(The post also appears at Go Mighty!)