Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rain Immitates Life

I've had the feeling lately that I'm disconnected with my surroundings, the people and the environments in which I reside. From work, to home, to the streets, I am not fitting the peices together right at all.

I've found myself in the angriest of places on the road, at home and of course, at work. The cycle topples over itself again and again. A displeasure of events and no cure or reason connected to it.

The days have been warm and sunny. I've been sour for not being part of them, stuck behind a desk or in a casino that never made windows. The grass in my back yard has the texture of pure straw and I can't go barefoot because it feels like needles on the soles of my worn out feet.

So as I sit here at my desk, I hear the others buzzing about the rain on it's way and how they can't wait. Before I know it, we're watching lightening strike outside the conference window and we are standing in the dark with our noses to the glass. The rain comes and we are all happy for once.

We retreat to our desks to save all the work that we might loose. The lights flicker and I look out the window to the dark clouds and the rain gets louder and louder with each passing moment. I hear it with ever inch of myself as I wish I could have an outburst of that magnitude.

The earth was completely parched.
I am completely parched.

The rain faught and fussed for days, trying to squeeze out a sprinkle.
I have faught and fussed for days, trying to figure out an answer.

Finally, with a roar and a flash, the rain moved swiftly and forcefully downward bathing the straw-like grass, the grass so starved for water it was on it's last breath, if not dead. Now the grass is swimming, blowing bubbles, rolling and smiling.
I want that too.

20 minutes later, the sky opens back up and the sun rolls lazily back into view. It's as if the earth and sky stretched out their arms and sighed deeply, saying together,
"ahhh, thanks for that."

Relief. Can you tell I need some?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shut Your God-Shaped Hole!!

Due to the shit quality of this Paint Program image I made while at work today, I will retype what is written. It reads:
You have a void in you that you can't explain. Something is
missing, something's not fitting right, something is nagging.
And it's not God.

It's something else. Something bigger and harder to put your
finger on. It's different for everyone. No one's void can match anothers.

They say the power is in the 'doing', not the 'figuring'. The
only way to fill the hole is to fill it with the exact puzzle peice, which is
the shape of YOUR body, (which matches no one elses). Your goal, your
destination, your end point all waits to be taken care of and until it is, it
will follow you as closely as your debt and taxes.
When the void is filled, you can shut that God-Shaped hole and
live gently.

In reference to: The God-shaped Hole: Finding Ourselves to Fill the Emptiness Within
Also refrencing: me being dumb.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What A Day Off Can Do

I work two jobs. During the five day stretch of a business week I am in an accounting office burning my eyes over numbers and paperwork. Usually these hours are long, boring and hard to pass. My energy is easily sucked into the unpleasant ring my telephone makes, or the annoying figetty things my co worker does all day.

In the summer, by Thursday, my 8 hour work day stretches on to 14. After I clock out of the office drained and lifeless, I need to go to my second job where I stand for 5-6 hours, running up and down stairs and handling (more often than not) dissatisfied, unruly patrons.

Monday through Friday quickly turns into Monday through Monday through Monday. Sometimes I will get a Sunday night off... but the last two months has been brutal.

So this past weekend, I didn't sign up to work and I awarded myself a Friday night, Saturday and Sunday all to myself. This worked wonders....

Having a day off, isn't just about not going to work. The scraps of time I've had to myself here and there are spent exhausted on the couch but the benefits of taking time for yourself are incredibly beneficial. So maybe you really need that $50? Think of this... Paying (or giving up your) $50 may turn out to be the best investment of the month. Sometimes going without brings a whole lot in. How many more ways do you think I can say it?


Friday night I went to Foxwood's Bingo with two good friends. It had been a long week so two of us had quit early to go home and watch reruns of "I Love Lucy" together before our trip the next day. John was left with three bingo cards and not enough time to check them all. (Bingo is pretty intense...)

Saturday was spent in the beautiful city I love; New York. The sun was shining, it was hot and we were just happy to be there. Melinda and I stopped for lunch at the American Diner where we ordered what seemed to be lbs of food.

We ventured out to the guggenheim museum to expand our art culture only to find that this museum was a disgrace to all I hold dear in the art world. I apologize to anyone who enjoys art from a kindergarden class room or someone dropping a deuce on a plate but $18 later I was seriously contemplating defacing the building with my sour vanilla milkshake... to say the very least.

Sunday friends from my second job through a large picnic. There are 110 of us but about 60 showed up. Potluck lunch, swimming pool, hot tub, endless beers, bottomless chip bags and watching a line of 50 year olds play flip cup in their milliondollar driveway just topped off the weekend.

While the Guggenheim crapped on my heart and we crapped out on Bingo, it didn't matter. All the little parts of the this weekend that went slightly awry where perfect none the less because of the sheer fact that I did them at my own discretion. I chose when to sit, stand, sleep, drink and did not have to censor myself for bosses, patrons or parents. It may sound silly, but that's worth the money I spent this weekend.

And thanks to some time off, my work day may just turn out to be productive today. :)

Ladies and Gentlemen: Please Take Time for Fun.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On Fearlessness and ADD

Imagine, you're walking along just fine and then suddenly, PLOP! Right down a manhole. If you can imagine that picture, it represents how each one of my thoughts have been lately. I get on a topic in my head, get half way to a question to present to The Teacher and PLOP... it's gone. My train of thought, my question... gone. What's going on?

When you ask American's what their problem with attention is, they'll be quick to tell you they have ADD. "Everyone has it," they'll say. But maybe we don't. Maybe what we have is plain old fashioned laziness.

The book I'm reading right now, Shambhala: the Sacred Path of the Warrior by Trungpa explores everyday life and how the mundane things don't have to excite us necessarily, but at least interest us.

Washing dishes doesn't make me want to break dance but I haven't taken the time to put a little pride into doing it. Being mindful means watching the soap bubble, the dishrag swirl and feel the cold water rinse my warm hands when I'm done and being good with that. This book also explores just your living space. It talks of even throwing your clothes on the floor is a great dishonor... to yourself.

I think about my own wandering mind and relate it back to the questions that start to form and then fade before my eyes. I spend the rest of the time trying to rediscover just what it is I'm looking to ask about. I find myself saying, "what was I just saying? where did that thought go?!"

In all the studies I've done lately, the deeper I get into enlightened living... I'm learning about things just on the cusp of my conceptual grasp and it's both incredibly intriguing and also terribly frustrating. It's like I can smell it, almost taste it and I'm just about to touch it but then it's gone and I don't even know how to tell you what it is that I saw. And no matter how hard I try to hold the concept, it drops and I fall from the ladder. Flat on my back again!

So ADD may not be everyone's problem and most likely it's not mine either, but we'll tack that word on it for now since nothing else suites my discomfort when trying to focus on an actual task. I'm too busy thinking about the teachings that I'm reading about but find myself falling short of practicing... Especially in the car. My road rage is outlandish.

The book continues on to say that as humans with an enlightened understanding, we must entreat our time here with nothing but tenderness to others and to approach, speak and carry ourselves with gentleness. This creates fearlessness and connects us to others on a deeper and more meaningful level.

But just as I'm also on the edge of grasping, in my tattered hands, what a second of tenderness may be, it is pulled out of reach and I digress. I loose direction, focus and drive.

Today I got sick.

I get sick and my body hurts and I'm propelled backwards, head first into fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of physical pain and fear that I will never be free from it's unrelenting clutches. So teach me how to not be afraid. Teach me to forget all that I know today!

It's like when Romeo pouts to Benvolio saying, "O, teach me how I should forget to think!"

He answers, "By giving liberty unto thine eyes; Examine other beauties."

And Romeo rambles on and in conclusion before he departs says to his friend, "Farewell: thou canst not teach me to forget."

But Benvolio knows better and replies, "I'll pay that doctrine, or else die in debt."

And the end result is that Benvolio holds the truth and doesn't seem bothered by it's presence. He knows Romeo can retrain his mind and he doesn't kill himself to prove it to his friend, he simply smiles knowingly and shakes his head, muttering a quiet opposition and certainty.

In by giving liberty to our eyes we can examine options, beauty, truth and if we are lucky, find something that means everything to us; a something so strong you feel as though you could die for it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Beautiful Night in the Neighborhood

The fourth of July came and went, I missed out on a good fireworks show. I had a beer and Evan called from a rooftop in NYC to tell me it was kind of raining, he was kind of drunk and illegal fireworks from his neighbors were flying past his head. He completely cheered me up.

While Evan described the fireworks and the city, both of which I was missing, better things were brewing in my brain. Billy Joel sang his tenth concert the next night and I didn't think I'd make it to work but I did. And today I rode my bike into town with my mom, came home to play badmitton with the 11 year old neighbor. And when the sun went down, 6 of us residents from the condos walked down to the beach to let off some stop and shop fireworks.

The kids laughed and the adults kept looking around for cops to show up. I lit the wicks and ran away. The air and the water were warm and even though they weren't the big fireworks in the sky, it was okay.

These are the times where you are supposed to look not at what you're missing but what is in front of you. Simple things like air temperature, that your neighbors like you, that two kids are smiling and that a walk in the night with some new friends is worth a lot.

It was a good day because instead of reading the rest of my book, I went outside and entertained some bored kids. I thought about ways to change my money situation. I recharged my energy by not only using it to exercise but to also lay on the couch. I found another way to get over another obstacle by changing my thinking.

"The old way wasn't workin' so it's on us, to do what we gotta do, to survive."

More money=NYC.
Happy Neighbors=Happy environment
Challenging your current situation=Change for the better.

So get better.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Max Shares the Meaning of Life

After reading this article, I had a few questions about it's philosophy. The article is about being present, (oviously - as the entire blog is). It instructs us to stop living in the past and not to worry so much about the future. We have today.

I discussed this at dinner with a friend and we both came up with the same question, "why shouldn't we worry about the future?" and "how can we not?" I didn't feel so dumb wondering this, since she wasn't sure of the answer too.

I had commented on the article that afternoon with my question and after dinner, I came home to the answer. Upon finishing the last sentence of the response, my brother Max walked in the door.

I turned to him and said, "I'm reading this stuff and everytime I bring up the subject, it's something you either already do or have an opinion about. So tell me this... do you live in the moment? Like, do you just do what you have to do today and then the future works out for you?"

He dropped on his bed opposite the computer and said, "like, the past is history, the future is a mystery kind of thing?"

"Yeah, what do you think of it?" I asked.

"Well the past is done so that's that and you can't predict the future so you just do what you gotta do today," he answered. He sat up and looked at me, "life is about purpose. If you have a purpose, then you get it done. Everyone has a personal purpose that they make for themselves."

"Okay," I said. "What about that kid that killed himself that you knew?"

"He was a waste of life," he answered. "But! He achieved his purpose. That kid came into the world and his goal was to be miserable and to die. He dropped the ball and boom - when it hit the ground his personal purpose was fullfilled and his life was finished because he fullfilled it."

His point wasn't really negative or possitive, just facts of how he saw it. He explained that this life is about survival of the fittest. If you couldn't contribute to society or have quality of life then you were wasting your time on this planet. The scary part of this was that his reasoning made sense to me.

Yes, I realize my brother is incedibly pessimistic but his views are based on how he functions in society. He may be a jerk at times but he is a prime example of purpose and living in the day. He goes to work and goes to school. He'll graduate and become an electrician. But he's not thinking about his apprenticeship today. Today he's on vacation for a week and going to work - that's it. He knows he will finish and he'll be in the flow.

"Athiests will tell you we are just on earth to procreate to keep the human species alive," he said, hanging off the bed with his face to the floor.

"What's the point of living then if it's just to make babies and die?" I asked.

"Well, I didn't say I agreed with them. There is no answer to why we are here but since we are, the best bet is because we were given the most advanced brains so that we can give ourselves purpose. It's all subjective vs. objective reality Carolyn," he said nodding to himself, proud that he had the answer to that. I just looked at him.

He may be an ass, but he's not a dumb one.