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”

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!”

Racism and the Liberal Meditator

King nonviolenceIf you believe people with arguably racist thoughts, feelings, or beliefs are irredeemable;

If you believe that conversing with them or treating them with respect is a waste of time and energy, if not immoral;

If you consider yourself liberal, in the sense of being generous, broad-minded, not bigoted;

(Or if you just like cool stories about people undergoing shocking transformations despite significant obstacles)

Take ½ hour and read this article on the heir apparent to the American white supremacy movement who got turned around by the light touch of a liberal arts college and a welcoming Jew.

Continue reading “Racism and the Liberal Meditator”

So How Was DC, Ms. Judgment?

3-women-in-dc-cropNo angst to report, readers. I was wrong about pretty much everything. There was so little to criticize and I felt so little inclination to do so. I just couldn’t get past the love: it enveloped me and I was happy and everything was good.

It was all a beautiful mess, a modernist composition: not discordant, but unpredictable and unique. We managed to miss the rally — not because we were late, but because my group somehow concluded that it was not happening where it was obviously happening. That was more than fine, really. I’d rather be walking than standing, and we consequently weren’t crushed for more than five minutes the whole seven hours we were on The Mall. (And the speeches are on YouTube.) We marched in a march that wasn’t the actual march, then caught the real thing after we thought events were wrapping up. We all teared up multiple times. There were artistic and inspiring and clever signs. I met lots of great women (most of whom were from Kentucky — should I be living in Kentucky?). The collective event was greater than the sum of its parts, but even the parts were beautiful. Here is my personal scrapbook:

Continue reading “So How Was DC, Ms. Judgment?”