Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Importance of Being Still

When I was a high falutin-tootin' regularly employed TV writer, I knew how to treat myself right. Twice a month I would go to this cute little Thai massage place and get rubbed down right.

(Even, if for a moment, you feel a flash of jealousy, please note, my current life of luxury allows me to treat myself to only one Starbucks drip coffee a week. It must be a Venti (Large) so that I can drink half and then run the other half through my coffee machine the next day to heat up. Yup, don't even have a microwave.)

Anyway, the gentleman who did the rubbing was the sweetest, most forgiving soul I ever met. I could go in there with three weeks of leg stubble and he would not care. When I found out he was a former Buddist monk, I realized why I saw such love and beauty radiate out of him.

When I went just a few weeks ago (Birthday gift certificate - thank you, A!), I found out that Nicomb would be leading a monthly one hour meditation and would I like to reserve a spot? WOULD I!!!

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am sometimes so hyped up on anti-depressants and coffee that I am vibrating with this false kind of energy that, though it seems to propel me forward, often leaves me depleted. There seems to be no time to sit, reflect, think about WHAT I WANT. There seems to only be time to get things done (errands, phone calls, the blah-blah-blah of life).

I've gone from Mattress-ridden Bed Head Girl to over stressed, frazzled "Must get to the bank, grocery shop, rewrite this script, oooo-coffee, honk! get the f' outta my way" Mad Woman. (Although, I cannot tell a lie, there is still a lot of regressing into the warm and cozy of the queen size bed).

So I reserved my spot to meditate.

But I did not go.

I was too scared. Too scared to be alone in my head with my own thoughts.

When my cousin first passed away and I was desperately, desperately sad, I started popping Ambien as a way to sleep. I would go to acupuncture as a way to try and get off the Ambien and the good Doctor would poke me full of needles and shut off the lights and close the door.

And I would promptly burst into tears. I did not want to be alone. I was too scared.

This Tuesday all the girls got together and celebrated the end of the Writer's Strike. One friend who is starting a job March 1, talked about wanting to go on a retreat that would include all sorts of meditation and body treatments.

I was very argumentative about the idea. First of all the price was astronomical... 3x my rent for five nights. But let's put that aside. My objection is why do we need to do these drastic things (go to far away places and spend GOBS of money) to BE ALONE & MEDITATE & FIND OURSELVES when WE ARE RIGHT HERE!

Maybe my friend, like me, knows she won't do the meditation, the being alone with her thoughts, the finding oneself, UNLESS she is pummeled with the guilt of paying the GOBS of money she'll spend.

So even though I am against the idea (we have all suffered so financially and I hate to see her spend this money), I can understand the fear of doing THE SCARY WORK you need to do, on your own, to get in touch with yourself.

But ladies, let me tell you, WE CAN EAT, PRAY, LOVE in our own living room or bedroom or my favorite, the bathtub. (Ever had a glass of wine in a bubble bath? Ever eaten some fancy cheese & crackers in bed while reading a good self help book or journaling? Live, ladies live!!!!)

My point, my friend is going to have to do it her way and I'm going to have to do it my way. (I will FORCE myself to go to the next meditation, first SUNDAY of March). It's not that I don't have the money to do it her way (I mean, OF COURSE, I DON'T!!!!) it's that, I want to push myself to do it on my own terms, in ways I can keep reapplying to my life.

And while I respect the five days away she'll do to JUMP START her spiritual practice, I think the EAT, PRAY, LOVE phenomenon has done a bit of diservice to woman in making us think that unless we can run off to some far flung place, we will never find our own inner peace. So that's what I'm rebeling against.

How do you slow down and stay in touch with yourself? How do you become quiet and listen to the answers that are inside you? Is it easy? Is it hard? Is it something that scares you, too? Inquiring minds want to know!


RadoMom said...

Thanks for putting it in perspective for me. I read Eat, Pray, Love and thought it was a great book, BUT I also thought..Crap, I can't afford inner peace!.
So as part of MY revolution, I'm going to be alone with my thoughts at least 3x a week. It doesn't sound like much, but sitting quietly with my thoughts is as scary for me as watching "Halloween" out in the woods by myself.
Thanks (as always)for the boost!

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of listening to NPR in the car, and when i get home I usually draw or paint. If I let go of that pattern, I get cranky and tense *very* fast. It's much easier just to zonk out on the couch with reruns, but it sucks your soul.

The BF and I also recently purchased a Wii - and the physical aspects of the games can be a lot of fun. :) Some healthy competition never hurt anyone!

Surfergrrl said...

Learning a new sport (volleyball) keeps me focused on the moment...right then and there. I can't even think of the other things going on in my life because I trying to keep my guide finger up in the air and trying not to shot put the ball at the same time. I also just like to sit by the ocean (and hey, it's free!) and it always makes me feel so blessed to be living by one of the worlds greatest natural resources.

thesleepycat said...

Writing can be really scary but theraputic for me. To truly write when I don't feel so perfectly perfect is terrifying, to just free write and not care and get to the bottom of things. but it's also sooo rewarding when I make myself do it.

loved the entry, ALL of your entries, so stop deleting them, girl!! :)

ruby said...

yoga seems to do the trick for me. every once in awhile they offer a meditation seminar at the gym down the street from me, and i've gone, painful as it sometimes can be, and just let myself get lost in it. are you in LA? it's called swerve and it's the most amazing celebration of female energy. highly recommend. (siri sat nam does it 1x per month on sundays)

hope&laughter said...

I havn'et been alone with my thoughts until recently,cuz everytime I am I cry bunches no fun. The only time I'm ever alone is when I drive. It's slightly scary to be driving and crying to the point can't see the road, stop sign, red light. But trying to mature and get a move on with life, cuz I"m working at tortise speed here maturity wize. SO took a yoga class to hlep with the constant stress I have. It helped let me work thru my thoughts and now I look forward to driving alone with my thoughts. yes I still cry but not alwasy now. It's improvement.

Eri said...

I found your blog a couple of months ago, and bookmarked it with the intention of coming back when I had more time. I did this morning, and read all of your 2008 posts. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. I know it must take a lot of courage to open yourself up the way you've done. You're the rope I needed to pull myself out of myself this morning. Thank you, and keep it up!!!! (Big hug, cuz you ROCK!!!!)


I found you by way of Dooce and LOVE IT!!

I usually sit on here and write. I write until my fingers can't take the assault on the keyboard.

I drink coffee and overthink, and perhaps for me it's the online time that helps me mediate.

Having three boys, being stuck at home, (by choice) and starting to think I need to go BACK on some type of antid's,..I couldn't agree with you more on the spending thing. Although 5 days away in a spa sounds delightful, the issues of home will be there when she returns, if she has any are wise to adapt yourself in positive form in your usual surroundings.

I'll be back for more, and I hope you don't mind, but I'll be adding you to my A LIST BLOGGERS!!

Did I just say Congrats? I meant, "Sucks for you!"

Anonymous said...

Well I am a firm believer that sometimes you just need to turn your thoughts off, because if you don't then they will consume you. One of the best ways to do that is make sure that you have one of of those super gay, jump and dance around the living room songs (CD, Ipod, radio whatever) and play is loud!! I use the Ipod so it can me super loud and you can completely tune everything else out. Literally dance around the house like you don't have a care in the world. It will always cheer me up. I can't help but smile.

cl-pooh1972 said...

The last time I had a massage was 2002. I don't have the money for it now... but I found that scrapbooking lets me lose myself in something other than having more bills than money, needing to find a new job, helping my mom get her sister back home, etc.

I am like surfergirl in that I hot-foot it to the ocean with a stack of books and just watch the ocean move. It's very soothing.

adventure grrl said...

Radomom - awesome goal! And actually, it sounds like a lot! So good for you. How's it going?

Melly - I hear the Wii is the new crack! My friend swears she got carpel tunnel from it the first week! But I'm down for painting, that sounds great.

Surergrrl, I used to go to the beach every weekend. So relaxing, me, a cup of coffee and the journal - got to get back to that.

thesleepycat, ooo, you busted me girl! Yes, I sometimes delete entries. I guess, I really want to keep the focus on getting out of depression without being all depressing. But sometimes, a few days have gone by with nothing to write so I post something ridiculous and wonder later - does it really belong here? Will someone new not get the mission of the blog? Maybe I need to just relax a bit, huh?

hope&laughter, I so get your comment. But my new thing is, IT'S SO GOOD TO CRY. It's the only way to release the bad stuff. If we keep the ick in us, it festers and grows. Get a journal, it will change your life. Seriously, like a Mead Black & White $2.00 Composition notebook.

Eri, your comment is soooo why I do this and it pushes me on, thank you.

CrustyBeef, may I say, your handle makes me crack up with laughter, it's so awesome. I MUST KNOW THE STORY behind that!!! Online is awesome, a great way to connect with people and not feel self-conscious. I totally tell you guys things I would never tell my friends or family.

cl-pooh, the scrapbooking thing is right on. I once met a writer who said the best creative ideas come to him when he is building model airplanes. I think it's something to do with engaging one side of your brain so the other side can come to you more freely. Or maybe I just made that up.


Broken Barn Industries said...

You know, I stopped making any art a long time ago because if I just let my hand go, out will come some truth that I've been trying like hell to avoid! Scary stuff indeed.