Derailed by a House

homeSeven houses, more precisely. Seven houses I didn’t get. And to extend that precision, I am not literally a train, nor have I even figuratively been thrown off the primary track of my life, having never chosen one. However, since I started actively looking for a house I have slept less, drunk more, eaten worse, shortened my meditations, and written almost nothing. House hunting in an inflated seller’s market, in a good economy, is fucking with my Qi. How embarrassing. Continue reading “Derailed by a House”

Buddhish Moments in Pop Culture, #1

perksI found The Perks of Being a Wallflower crammed into my friend’s bookshelf as I was waiting for the group to gather for hardcore boardgame play. I loved the movie, and it turns out I went to school with the writer (and director), and he’s apparently a good guy, so I borrowed the book and gobbled it down in less than 24 hours.

I don’t let myself indulge in fiction often anymore. And while I know that’s ridiculous, it still helps me to get off my own back if I can make a mini-blog out of it.

Or one moment of it, anyway.

Charlie is our limited narrator – a quiet, observant high school freshman who carries a semi-dormant, unspecified mental illness and few meaningful friendships until he meets Patrick and Emma – lively step-siblings in their final year of high school who take him under their wing. That’s all the background you need for the moment. You don’t really even need that, but why would you want to read about a moment in the life of an anonymous character?

… we all got quiet
Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.
“I feel infinite.”
And Sam and Patrick just looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was so great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way.

I should just let that stand as is, but as J.D. Salinger once wrote, “Zoe’s voice conspires to desecrate everything on earth.” (shout out to my JD homies, whutwhut!)

I read a Paul Tillich book in a Christian Doctrine class in grad school, and it’s my earliest memory of thinking of the idea of “God” as synonymous with the infinite, as an existence distinct from the mortality of everything we can experience with our senses. This brought that back again, but couched in a simple, everyday example of how a moment “truly spent” is divine in every sense of the word. Because if the only reality that actually exists is the present moment – if the future and the past are illusory – then fully living that moment makes us immortal in that moment, which is literally everything.

Lovely, isn’t it?

Baby Got Back Pain

I suffered from back pain on and off for about 18 years. My severe sciatic pain was periodic for more than a decade. It made it hard to walk at times and caused a sensation that conjured the image of being stabbed in the ass with an ice pick. I saw chiropractors throughout that time period; I tried acupuncture, exercise, massage, yoga, private Pilates lessons.  Just about everything helped temporarily, but the pain always came back with undiminished and even increasing intensity.

But that’s only half the story. Continue reading “Baby Got Back Pain”

Oh for F&@k’s Sake: Swear Words and the Blinding Fog of Self-Righteousness

When I was in my 20s, I used to criticize people who would get, what I deemed, unreasonably offended at hearing a swear word. I resented the fact that movies and TV were censored for dirty language, that a person could get fired for accidentally cussing in front of another full grown adult. This resentment came out of the ignorant belief that, as far as I could tell, there was no logical reason to be offended by swear words. It’s true that the very idea of swear words is an abstract concept that we, as a society, just kind of made up. We pretend there’s some inherent evil within these words even though they cause no apparent physical or mental harm, not even to children. And that’s how I justified my smug indignation: If there was no scientific or logical basis to take offense at swear words, then, clearly, taking offense at swear words was unscientific and illogical, and a society can’t function properly when we treat unscientific and illogical opinions with the same level of importance as opinions based in objective reality, and therefore we should not humor people who believe in stupid things. Continue reading “Oh for F&@k’s Sake: Swear Words and the Blinding Fog of Self-Righteousness”

Book Review for a 46-Year-Old Book: Be Here Now by Ram Dass

be here nowIf I had not known of the joyous awesomeness that is Ram Dass, I never would have read this book.  I’ve had a lot of luck in my life judging books by their covers and this one would not have received a fair trial. It is a perfect square, with a cover that reads the same whether you’re holding it like a literate adult, or glancing at it sideways, semi-conscious, or doing a headstand in front of it, and that is only the beginning of its material weirdness. Continue reading “Book Review for a 46-Year-Old Book: Be Here Now by Ram Dass”

On Getting Older – a Bonus Birthday Post!

100 birthdayI’m not someone who tends to freak out on my birthday. I don’t call exceptional attention to it either. But this year I’ve decided to give myself a more significant gift (dinner, fancy drinks, a movie, the pedicure I’ve been talking about for 5 years, Cadbury milk chocolate eggs, 2 days and 3 glorious nights off the anti-inflammatory diet, 3 days without working, 2 days without touching a computer) and to try and articulate some recent thoughts I’ve had on getting older.

Continue reading “On Getting Older – a Bonus Birthday Post!”