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Saturday, August 13, 2011

disposable planet

this morning after a session of hot yoga at prana, i laid down on my mat for 10 minutes and meditated.  i said, "okay, god, i'm listening, whatcha got for me today?"  my busy chattering mind piped in several times, "don't forget to pick up bananas," you're right, mind, but i'm trying to connect with god, can you please come back later?  "the yoga teacher just opened the door.  doesn't that breeze feel great?"  yes, mind, it does, now shhhhhhh...  "did you hear th-"  sssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!


while laying in silent stillness, i sensed a message.  the urge to simplify.  to move to our home in the mountains and live harmoniously with the earth.  this is a message that i've sensed during meditations for two years, and still it surprises me to received it.  probably b/c i'm not ready to do it.  not ready to forget the stuff.  forget the schedules.  forget the silliness.  forget the social.  just live.  and yes, life is still pretty amazing when all of those testy "s" words are swept away.  but i forget that a lot of times.

so flash back to my real life on the yoga mat, i offered gratitude for a lovely, strengthening morning of yoga and when the time was right, i rolled up my mat and shuffled out the door, seriously contemplating  leaving the 'burbs and living an earthier life in the country.

easier said than done, right?  b/c my husband has a job and i have friends and my kids have their respective routines...   is it possible to just drop this life and retreat to the mountains?  forget the things that seem to define us and try to start anew?  hmmmm... 

i continued to ponder while running a couple of errands.  first i grabbed those bananas at whole foods then trotted across the street to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.  there i ran into my dear friend JS, upon whom i immediately shared my most recent spirity initiative to move to the country, start a farm and live off the land.  she suggested i first read a book called "the bucolic plague" about a couple who ditched manhattan for a farm in upstate new york and ended up with a reality series called "fabulous beekman boys".  (i realized immediately that she was just the person i was supposed to see and thanked the universe for placing me in her path this morning.  i ordered the book and will tell you if we've got the chops for farm life in a few weeks.) 

came home and started exploring the idea of farm life (for the hundredth time) with hubby and he said (for the hundredth time), "no way."  i started telling him about my meditations and how i always feel this pull to simplify and move north.  he suggested maybe it's more important for me to remain here, b/c there are lots of opportunities for me to be conscious right in winchester.  he thinks there's got to be something i can do without having to overhaul my (our) life.  so we took the focus off of moving and transferred it to simplification.  how can we simplify?  is it about buying things or lifestyle?  habits?  time?  what?

really, it's about all that.  but for me, especially over the past few years and especially following my mediation this morning, it was about waste.  about the accumulation of waste on the earth.  about the unrelenting heaps of packaging and leftovers and shit that are festering in every home, every town, every city around the world.  chipped dishes, torn tires, plastic bags, crumpled green easter grass, broken picture frames, old shoes, outdated TVs, outgrown carseats...  the list is unending.  waste is really a bi-product of our complex, complicated, not-simple-at-all egos.  our egos say, "i want that!  i need that!  that whatchamacallit is so ME!  if i sell these i'll be rich!  those things will make me happy!"  it's a travesty, really, the things we create and buy and destroy for the sake of comfort, amusement, marketing, convenience.  we're really just creating a big mess.

example.  this morning at the pharmacy, i was surveying the shelves in the seasonal aisle, stocked with cheap rubber games, plastic seasonal toys, junk food, painted knick-knacks, lots of nonsense.  i thought about how many times i've bought this kind of crap... and i cringed.  because every single thing that i've every purchased in this aisle, i've thrown away.   it's horrific.  maddening.  and complicated.

after my pow-wow with hubby, i looked around my own house.  looked at my kitchen table covered in cereal boxes and tiny yogurt containers.  i looked in my pantry stocked with chips and cookies and pasta contained in brightly colored boxes and foil bags.  i examined the kids' toys and the tennis balls and the coloring books and the dried out markers...  all things that are fun for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but will ultimately end up in a big stinking pile of rot.

and then i bawled my eyes out.  (bless my husband for dealing with my search for inner peace.)

i cried the ugly cry because i realized that this internal struggle i'm battling is not really just about me and my personal search for enlightenment.  it's about everyone.  everything.

honestly, i'm not really psyched about being a human being these days.  i don't like the evolutionary path we're on.  this money-centric, faster-easier-bigger trip is starting to sicken me.  i think that technology is really cool but it's not nearly as cool as the mother nature.  she's paying a painful price for our human need to succeed.  i can't see any way out.  and that's what makes me want to barf.

but there's no sense in fighting against what is, at least not emotionally.  my new mantra can be applied in any situation: "it is what it is.  i am exactly where i'm supposed to be."  in other words, don't fight it, it's all part of god's divine plan.

BUT.  this doesn't mean that i need to forge forward in a way that is consistent with the present, especially when the present is yucky.  if i can live this new moment consciously, and every moment after that, i am helping to redirect the evolutionary path for the entire human race (that drop that creates a ripple).  and there's a big, fat, happy shiny movement of folks doing the same thing.  this is inspiring, right?  

if we don't change, if we stay on this ego-centric, money-zombie path, i wonder...  in a thousand years when our skyscrapers are swallowed up by oceans and our nuclear power plants are buried under mountains, a new version of humans will pad the earth and find the remains of our civilization.  what will they think?  will they learn from our mistakes?  will they share stories about the "age of technology" and say, "geez, those people were a bunch of short-sighted creatures. can you believe they tore down the rain forests so they could make tires?  they built hand-held computers and self-cleaning ovens and louis vuitton suitcases and big hunks of metal that could fly through the air, but they couldn't figure out how to live in harmony with the earth.  dumb fucks."

in every book i've read, there is a mention of an upcoming shift.  this shift is necessary in order for the earth to regain its balance.  unlike our broken furniture, dirty diapers and antiquated VCRs, the earth cannot be used up and thrown in a heap.  in fact, the situation is very much the opposite.  the earth is a living, breathing, intelligent organism.  and when we humans have pushed her too far, she'll spit us out.  and that's that.

the good news is, we're in a place where we can fix it.  but if we are not conscious, we cannot change.

wouldn't it be nice if the story could be different?  if we took what we needed and gave what we could, if we respected the animals and the plants, if we supported our neighbors instead of competing with them, if we worshiped god instead of movie stars, if we revered the earth more than the dollar?  

the currency here on earth is money.  we can use our money to communicate.  use our money to improve the world.  make earth-friendly choices when we make purchases.  invest in companies that think consciously about packaging and marketing.

and then use our voices.  if we see something that can be improved, speak up!  example.  this is such a small thing, but i was playing tennis last spring and noticed there was no recycling bin at the court.  i asked vinny, the man who manages the courts, if he could set up a couple of bins and guess what?  there are two recycling bins now!  it's just a small change but when hundreds or, better yet, thousands of people use their voices and their wallets to make small improvements, you get a big fat shiny happy change.

writing today's blog has been very cathartic for me, as it usually is.  it's funny, i usually start off with one particular feeling or intent.  i squeeze my eyes shut and let my fingers fly across the keyboard for 30 minutes.  by the end of the entry, i feel completely different from the way i did when i logged in.  i wonder if you experience the same, be it through reading my stories or through your writing your own?

anyway.  while typing the last paragraph, i had a full-circle moment.  hubby spent the morning assuring me i had work to do here at home and that moving to new hampshire was not the answer.  while i have confidence in my little voice and know that moving to new hampshire is a long-term arrangement i should be considering, i smiled when i recognized that the packer courts in winchetser may not have recycling bins right now if i lived in the country.  again, something so small.  but i guess i do have work to do here.  and in this moment, i'm at peace with that.

peace, love, gratitude,

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

spirity crib notes on "the power of NOW: a guide to enlightenment"

can you tell by the post-its that i like this book?  ;-)

restless, unsatisfied, impatient, oversensitive. scrutinizing, assuming...

these are not emotions that a person actively working towards enlightenment wants to feel, but, alas... this is how it is.  i'm especially pissed about it b/c i just finished reading The Power of NOW (for the second time), a book by famed enlightenment guru eckhart tolle dedicated to the search for inner peace.  it took me several weeks to get through it for a several reasons:

1.  i have three loud kids and this book requires quiet contemplation after each profound excerpt.

2.  i have three active kids and it's summer time.  i crawl into bed at night and am drooling on my pillow before you can say, "i surrender."

3.  i have three demanding kids and it's hard to focus on zen when i can smell a poopy diaper, have to drive someone to camp or am playing life guarding at the beach.

but somehow i secreted away enough times to read it thoroughly and intently and would like to overshare my bit of perspective.  if you've read it and would like to share perspective, too, please do!!!

here we go.  eckhart tolle's "guide to spiritual enlightenment."  first time i read the book i thought it was a snooze.  i wasn't in a place to think about life meaningfully or spiritually.  but now i am in that place so i gave it another chance.  this time i was thrilled by the book and, at times, totally frustrated.

so in the beginning, tolle noticed a stream of non-stop banter in his head.  a chain of ideas and analysis and nonsense that rattled through his mind constantly.  one day he was like, who the fuck am i talking to? okay, my words not his, but you get the picture.  he realized that there was another inhabitant of his body - the soul - and it was separate from that unconscious and annoying chatterbox - the ego.

the ego is a drama queen.  the ego holds court over your body and reminds you every minute that you are a complicated human being with emotions and stresses and social status.  the ego loves to be in control.  do, do, do!  think, think, think!  feel, feel, feel!  the soul, on the other hand, just wants to be - in love, in peace, in the moment.  one of the tricks to enlightenment is deciphering the difference between the two and getting your mind to shut the hell up long enough to hang tight with your soul.  once achieved, you must stroke that beautiful union until the soul's stillness becomes your new normal.  your ego will still be there, piping in and demanding attention, but your connection to your inner light will be strong enough to keep that bad boy in his place.

the pain body is the other riff-raff lurking under your skin.  your pain body is a big physical ball of emotions that sits in your gut.  tolle wants you to know that it's there and he wants you to "watch it."  treat it as a separate entity.  example, say someone is cruel to you.  your emotional reaction is anger and disbelief but there is also a physical reaction.  your heart pumps harder and a tight ball forms in your throat.  maybe your eyes start to well up with tears.  this is the pain body (that bastard).  when this happens, tolle tells us to separate ourselves from it and just watch it.  be conscious of the physical, emotional effect that this offensive behavior has on your body then let it go.  because that feeling isn't you.  it's just latching onto you b/c you're not paying close enough attention, b/c you are unconscious.  so acknowledge it and dismiss it.  make this a habit.  in time, dismissal will become the go-to reaction and strife will roll of your back the way a water rolls off a duck's.

during his description of how to manage the pain body, tolle strolls a bit through the forbidden forest:  PMS.  he actually calls it "menses," which made me choke on my pink lemonade.  menses?  who says that?  whenever a man talks about PMS or periods, i roll my eyes and tolle was no exception.  but to my surprise, he had something pretty decent to say.  during a woman's menstrual cycle, he says, there is "an opportunity for the most powerful spiritual practice, and a rapid transmutation of all past pain becomes possible."  he suggests that we hormonal bitches watch over the painful and emotional waves rather than be pulled down and drown by them.  a fast track through evolution via the feminine aisle.  well, shit.  i gotta try this.

so back to present.  here i am, well, in a position to put his theory to the test.  my first problem appears to be that when i'm a raving lunatic i don't realize i'm just hormonal.  i spend 2 weeks of every month in hormonal flux.  it's very easy to forget who i am when half my adult life, i've been a disguised as a freak.  (ladies, am i right?  or am i right?)  so at first, i think my attempt at watching my pain body is a bust b/c even when i was looking for it, i didn't know it was there.  does this make sense??? 

but here i still am, like i said, in this place where i am restless, unsatisfied, impatient, oversensitive. scrutinizing, assuming.  is this me?  or is it not?  according to tolle, it is not.  well hal-the-fucking-lujiah!  i guess i'll just tell aunt flo i've got my eye on her and i don't like what i see.  time to kick that old bitch to the curb and get me some stillness...  right after i pick up my kids from camp.  did i mention i have three kids?  ;-)     

peace, love and gratitude,

this book is a treasure trove of inspiration so i'll blog about it more tomorrow.  don't worry, though, no more menses speak.  and i'll try to curb the cursing.  oh, how i love the cursing.  ;-)