The Write Reasons

Yesterday, when Black Fried Day was over, I went to go take a bath after mostly sitting on my butt all day with the family, watching football, basketball and movies while eating leftovers. When I looked in the mirror I saw there was a giant booger in my left nostril. I was kind of shocked that no one had said anything to me, because it was HUGE. Your family is supposed to tell you when you have boogers in your nose. But upon further inspection I realized it was part of a chewed up potato chip. Grant says he swears he didn’t see it but wanted to know how I knew it was a piece of potato chip? 

“I didn’t EAT it! Gross! I knew because it still had ridges.” 

How does something like this HAPPEN? Did I snort it out from my partially filled potato chip throat when I was laughing? Did I cough into my hand and then itch my nose? WAS IT FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S MOUTH? 

There are so many questions that go unanswered for me on a daily basis. 

So there. I have made myself giggle about something silly that happened to me. It seems just that on day 30 of my quest to post on my website every day for 30 days that I should be entertained by myself. Otherwise, why do this right? 

Writing a post every day has not been easy. On day fifteen I whined to my bestie about being sick of myself already at only half way through. But I don’t think it’s me I was really sick of. I’m easily entertained by me. I think more so I was feeling bad about adding to the noise on social media.

There is SO MUCH NOISE. 

It’s a tricky thing, writing. Writers write to write but we also write to be read. And to be read in the vortex (aka the internet) without becoming an overbearing social media hound is nearly impossible. (It’s this new thing called algorithms that I am currently unwilling to figure out.)

I have been thinking a lot about what it may have been like to be a writer before any kind of advanced technology was created and there was just pen on paper and this burning desire to SAY for the sake of saying. If you wanted “likes” you wrote letters to people about your ideas and if you were compelling enough, they wrote back. Though it was and still is considered rude to not acknowledge hand written letters. 

Pen on paper is my preferred means of writing, especially when I’m working on poetry. That nobody seems to like except me. Though I’m mostly okay with that. I understand it’s probably confusing to read about potato chip boogers in my nose one day and a restless poem about ghost words the next. Who IS this person on Peaceof8? Is she even stable? 

But that brings me to the point of this “Closing Post”. I have been exploring in my mind these 30 days what it is I want out of the writing on this blog site. 

Healing? Maybe so. I know that every time I write something and then release it into the vortex, I feel lighter and freed from the nattering in my head. Things are worked out on the page and then let go. That seems like healing to me. Several years ago a friend and I were talking about my blog site. I said I was thinking about shutting it down because no one was really reading it. He reminded me that if one person reads a post and is made to feel better in some way either from laughing or crying or just a little truth sharing, then it’s worth it to keep going. So there is maybe the idea of healing another person while I heal myself. 

Immortality? Oh yes. Maybe a little bit of that. When you leave a trail of words people can still find you even when you’ve gone out of their physical sight. I bet when I’m dead my kids will actually read my posts to see what I wrote about them. Though they may be grossed out by the potato chip booger. 

Money? I used to tell myself that when I was making money writing I would then  be a successful writer. But I look at some of the blog sites where writers write for money, and I am bombarded by ads or asks. This noise to me distracts from the words. I make plenty of money with my noisy enough day job.

Fame? If I write regularly am I hoping that fame will come? I guess there will always be a bit of desire for fame. It’s hard to overcome the need to be read by as many people as possible. But if I’m truthful, I know I’m not ready for fame yet. It’s possible it will come someday but right now I’m still trying to find my voice, which is still going through the highs and lows of puberty writing. Fame would mess up the search and I’d be forced to abandon my bad poetry and short story attempts for the pressure of finding funny in everything. And some days things just aren’t funny and I want to write about that too. So I’m grateful for my small but loyal group of readers who put up with my inconsistent voice. They are my fuel and have reminded me about the importance of commenting and sharing when I have read marvelous words from other writers. This is the ultimate compliment a writer can receive and right for the write reasons. 

Do You Know Where You’re Going To?

In March I signed up for a free 21-day online meditation experience with Oprah and Deepak Chopra entitled “Shedding the Weight, Mind, Body and Spirit.”  

Don’t laugh at me.

I signed up because:

  1. Duh. It was free.
  2. The last year and a half of my career has been very stressful but I can’t afford nor do I have time for therapy. This deal was only 20 minutes a day and I could do it in my nightie before sunrise.
  3. As a result of the stress, I have eaten the entire city of Spokane trying to sooth my bottomless pit of anxiety and do not want to move to a new city just to feed my stress baby. My PEOPLE live here.  And while I am pretty comfortable with my body, this shit has gotta end at some point.   
  4. Because I really don’t want to buy bigger pants. Clothing shopping stresses me out.

So. Since I have been doing some regular chubby yoga and learning a little about how to heal my messed up Chakras and have yet to be struck down by lightning by whomever punishes people for breaking the Catholic rules, I figured I’d be safe to listen to what Deepak had to say about why my ass has gotten so big. He IS, after all a doctor, in addition to being a new age, alternative medicine, metaphysics, spiritual healing gazillionaire.

Besides. I’m a Catholic CONVERT. We have different rules. But that is waaaay off topic and for a different blog post.

I have always loved Oprah, despite the fact that we have opposite views on a lot of things. I really think she has been good for the world and has helped so many people with her gifts of giving, sharing and opening our eyes to new ideas. She certainly changed my life when she did a show years ago on how a good bra really DOES make a difference in how you look. I had never before paid attention to the fact that one of my bras gave me “double boob syndrome” which is just “AAAAGH!!!!!!” once you are no longer blind and SEE. Now, yes, that’s maybe one of her more shallow topics. But that particular episode of “Oprah”  caused me to begin paying attention to myself.

Which is powerful.

I’m not saying being all obsessed about my physical appearance is powerful. Nor is it my jam.

For instance, I came across this funny post on Facebook called “How High Maintenance are You?” where you gave yourself points for things like:

  • Wears High Heels
  • Wears Makeup Daily
  • Nails are painted
  • Brows are waxed
  • Wears a lot of jewelry
  • Shaves Everyday
  • Gets Massages Regularly
  • ETC ETC

If you got 20 or more you were high maintenance;  50 and you’re SUPER high maintenance; 100 you’re pretty much a supermodel/queen of a small country.

I scored a “2” out of a possible 119 points. Which is quite frankly a little embarrassing. I would have gotten a ZERO if my two point opportunity had said “Colors hair more than three times a year”.  I suppose I should put out a little better effort for the people in my life who have to look at me.

But I probably won’t.

Whatever.

What I think IS powerful is when you  pay attention enough to KNOW yourself and can still be comfortable hanging out, whether you wear high heels and jewelry or are someone who doesn’t really MIND five-day old stubble on your legs.

Because everywhere you GO, there you ARE. So why not make the relationship as enjoyable as possible? 

It was with this thought in mind, plus the fact that I was starting to develop TMJ from all the chewing, that I started my 21 day morning adventure in my nightie with Oprah and Deepak. I tuned in religiously. Every single day for 21 days,  I lit my candle, put on my headphones (so as not to wake up the home front at 5 am) and sat on the comfy meditation pillow that my bestie gave me a couple of months ago.

In each session, Oprah goes on first for a couple of minutes. I have to admit that in the beginning, it was hard not think about my double boob conversion experience when I heard her voice. Or how I should change my sheets at least weekly and throw away my pillows after a year on account of the terrible yuckiness that happens to pillows from our dreadful heads. (Another life changing episode of “Oprah” and one I wish I was still blind to). But I knew she was the perfect person to have empathy for my steadily growing girth and help me to either heal it or accept it. She had her own background music, kind of upbeat and perky, while she spoke about her own experiences about meditating and shedding the weight that we let harm our spirit. She would usually end with a bible verse or line from a favorite poem leaving me almost every time thinking “Yes, that.” Then she would introduce Deepak and the background music would get more serious and mystical.

Enter Deepak with his mesmerizing Indian accent, which gave me the giggles for the first few days. (Being serious is a struggle of mine.) He would start with a centering thought. One example:  “I let negativity and darkness dissolve in my light” and we would repeat it a few times together. Then he would speak of the burdens that we let weigh us down and how we can release these burdens, which are of the ego, when we go to our true self, which is pure love and light. He didn’t focus much on my (or anyone’s) excessive back fat. Which was comforting.

THEN he would say the mantra which, according to Wikipedia is “a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, a word or phonemes, or a group of words”  which in this case were in Sanskrit, that help to “induce an altered state of consciousness”.

‘Aham Prema’ was one mantra, which means “I am love.” He would repeat it several times. speak a little more, then say the mantra a few more  times to help launch the meditation portion, which started at the sound of a soft chime and continued for about twelve minutes, the mystical music playing softly.

One morning during the meditation portion, despite me trying to focus on repeating the mantra and breathing, I couldnt stop thinking that the background music sounded like a song from my younger years “Do You Know Where You’re Going To”.  

So things went a little cattywampus inside my head for a bit.  Only a few of you reading will understand most of this:

  • Do I like the things that life is showing me?
  • Oh I really do!
  • Who sang that song?
  • Dionne Warwick
  • No. She sang “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”
  • Wo wo wowo wowowowo
  • I haven’t been to San Jose in years. Since I was a kid with my dad.
  • It was Diana Ross.
  • She was so pretty.
  • Did Deepak plagiarize her song? Would he DO that?
  • Interesting: all three are D names and I think they are all in their 70’s now. I wonder if this is significant.
  • I’m so sad Donna Summer died. How long ago was that? She’d be 70ish too…
  • I miss Diamond Lake and Donna Summer playing on the 8-track in the ski boat…
  • “I Feel Love.” That was one of her songs.
  • I am love.
  • Aham Prema.
  • Breathe H

Now. What I have learned from my past experiences meditating is that I have a monkey mind. And what I KNOW is that this is perfectly okay. Thoughts and emotions flow in and out of our minds at whatever pace our current state of being is in. They are not good or bad, they are simply THERE.  And then they are not there. And then they are there again. I like to pretend that my thoughts and emotions during meditation are feathers floating around me. When they get in the way of what I need to see, I just gently blow on them (Breathe H) until they float softly out of my current line of vision.

And here’s the thing: if we have the power to do this, then the things we believe to be burdens can become blessings. It really and truly is up to us to let our light dissolve whatever is blocking our ability to sit with ourselves in total loving acceptance, which in my case usually comes with giggles, monkey thoughts and at least for now, some jiggly fat.

It’s amazing how light a person can become in such a short period of time just by breathing on a few feathers. And while I might not know where I am going to, I know it will be amazing getting there. If I let it.

Twenty one days sitting mostly quiet with myself (and the Oprah/Deepak team)  helped me to know this more clearly. I’d recommend it to anyone. Even to people who scored 119 on the high maintenance test and are clearly getting regular massages. I’m not jealous of you at all.

Namaste brats.  Ha!

 

 

 

 

Rabid Hyenas are Chasing Me

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I did something that I have never been able to do before: I meditated for thirty whole minutes. I sat on a chair in my office, feet planted, hands in my lap, back straight, eyes closed and just focused on my breathing. Good air in, bad air out; repeat. There is something quite nifty about breathing. It turns out that it’s important. For living and such. I know that I have pretty much been breathing all of my life but after focusing on it for thirty minutes and actually noticing my belly move as air sucked in, then feeling the warm air run back out through my nose, I can’t help but wonder if I have been holding my breath more often than just during temper tantrums or when trying to get rid of the hiccups.

My doctor suggested meditation to me. I had gone in to see her because I hurt my back and literally could not stand up straight. “I think I have M.S. or possibly Polio” I told her as I hobbled onto the exam table “and I absolutely do not have time for either one. I need some kind of emergency pill ASAP. I have an out of town convention next week and I have to play GOLF one of those days and golf is hard enough for me when my back DOESN’T hurt and I have fourteen heavy boxes of samples that I need to load into my car and my house is filthy and the laundry has piled up, and my work lap top crashed two days ago and I have three hundred and forty two emails to return but I can’t even sit at my desk without pain, not that I CAN RETURN THEM ANYWAY because as I mentioned my LAPTOP HAS CRASHED and corporate hasn’t fixed it yet and my iPad and iPhone have been acting funny ever since that stupid ISO update, I suggest that you DO NOT DO THAT UPDATE IF YOU HAVE an iDevice, though I think somehow our internet provider is to blame for some of this and I mostly am annoyed with everyone, even my children and husband who mostly don’t deserve my annoyance, but the people who work at the internet company, THEY DO, just saying, and these mid-forties hormones are KILLING ME and NO ONE SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND THAT MY LIFE IS CLOSING IN ON ME LIKE A STAMPEDE OF MAD-COW-DISEASED COWS except I don’t think that cows with mad cow disease are capable of stampeding, they would be more floppy and drooly, plus that just sounds funny when you say it outloud, so let’s call it a PACK OF RABID HYENAS and I think ANYONE would have panic attacks, even the calmest coolest of people, if they had a pack of rabid hyenas chasing them. Don’t YOU think? DO YOU SEE? I AM GOING CRAZY and NOW, as if crazy isn’t bad enough, I have POLIO! I used to be such a GOOD person and I KNOW I should be grateful for my life and that I should be writing my gratitudes down every day like ‘they’ say I should, but I say F gratitudes! I’m TIRED and my back hurts and I don’t FEEL grateful right now.”

At my pause for a breath, my doctor, she is actually a nurse practitioner, and a healer, gave a sing song giggle (on account of the F-Bomb) smiled and then gently hugged me and soothingly said “You are not crazy. You simply have a lot going on in your life and your back pain is not helping you any. Have you ever thought maybe that you don’t have to do it all, all the time?” And then she talked about how stress can lower immunity and leave you more susceptible to injury, which can be your body’s way of saying “Slow the hell down for a minute or two!’. She said we would first figure out how to help my physical pain and then work on some tactics for taming the rabid hyenas. Meditation was one of the tactics she suggested.

I have always believed the best place to be is right in the moment, in the now, where we are best connected to ourselves and our God, but I have never been very good at being there. There’s always so damn much to DO that it’s easy to just plow through the now, ignoring its potential. But my unexpected vomit of hysterical honesty on the exam table made me realize it was time to try and settle down some, for the sake of humanity, or at least for the sake of the people in the path of my panic attacks, including my very own self.

I got through my convention week with the help of muscle relaxers and just chipping and putting on the golf course (it was a scramble). Each night, after the evening’s festivities, I did some reading on meditation and started with just trying to make sure I was actually breathing which was questionable by the third evening. Tired, hungry and over-socialized, the panic hit me so hard it felt like I could not exhale. My lovely girlfriend asked “do I need to bring you some carbs and a puppy?” and my husband softly said “why don’t you take a hot bath and calm yourself and then decide what you want to do tonight” and I suddenly realized I could opt out of socializing that night, that the world would not end if I took a bath and went to bed instead of going to the grand finale party. It had never occurred to me that I didn’t always have to push through my exhaustion and do what I thought was expected of me by others. After my bath, I focused on breathing, in and out, until I fell asleep, at 7:45 pm.

And no one really cared.

And the world kept spinning.

And I woke up rested and ready to start listening to my mind and body.

Enter Saturday, my usual day of getting all the shit done around the house that didn’t get done all week and I could feel myself clenching up and watched my family members all walk by me hesitantly. It was a yucky feeling to realize they were all preparing for the regular Saturday H Tornado. So I decided that I would give meditation a real chance before I did anything else. I sat down in the chair with an open mind and no expectations except to just focus on my breath. I set the timer so I would not glance at the clock every thirty seconds.

Someone knocked at the door once but I ignored whomever it was, staying still instead of screeching “I’M TRYING TO MEDITATE YOU JERKFACE!’. At least they knocked right?

A few of the children were loudly carrying on upstairs, making obnoxious thumping noises and clearly not doing their chores. But this did not disturb me, too much.

My mind chattered with all kinds of thoughts: would I be able to resist that bag of Doritos (I didn’t if you must know) and why on earth was I selling carpet for a living when I was clearly meant to be a meditation Guru (this was euphoria from all the breathing). A few thoughts put a sick feeling in my stomach, thoughts that started with “have to”, “should have” or “wish I wouldn’t have” and I simply noticed what those thoughts did to my body and it was okay. They are my thoughts and they don’t need to go away. I just need to learn to not be harmed by them. I breathed in and acknowledged them and breathed out. I didn’t expect to instantly quiet 47 years of monkey mind in the first real sit down with myself.

But when the timer went off, I was shocked how fast the thirty minutes had gone and that I had been still the entire time. I felt as though I had gone for a run AND taken a power nap at the same time.

When I returned to the chaos that is my life, things somehow seemed less chaotic and more humorous. The house didn’t seem as dirty. My second born asked if I would proof a paper for him and I felt interested instead of annoyed by “one more thing I had to do”. (The paper was spectacular by the way. He is a very good writer.)  Even my back felt a little better. I was able to pinpoint a few things around the house that I wanted to do, and did them without frenzy and let the rest go for another day.  And for the first time in a long while it felt like a few of the hyenas had been given rabies shots and fat steaks.

So there is THAT. For NOW:)