Thursday, February 20, 2014

No Crazier than Yesterday

I need to hang some more mental laundry out to dry.  It hit me yesterday, solidly in the face, that I've spent the past two months alternating between being in motion and running in place.  My mind has been running amok, and all the while I have wished I still was.   I'm reminded of this quote, though I don't know where it came from:  "You're not any crazier than yesterday; you just didn't notice." The nice thing is, when you notice the crazy, you can also notice the reality. In reality,  I am grateful for the tears that well up when I ride the BART through the east bay and see the poverty that surrounds me;  I can't just look away.  I am grateful for the compassion and the fury that I feel when I see people jostling for power in subtle ways because they can't find it other places in their lives.  I am grateful because I remember I'm not numb to all of this.

And now that I've noticed the simple truths in my reality again,  it's time to release myself from this crazy captivity I've allowed myself to fester in of late.  You know you're in trouble when you've been hanging out a bit too much with "the imagined me" and forget who "me" is.  This is what happens  when I spend a little too much time grasping and trying to figure out how to get what I want (in the future) and too little appreciating what I have (in the present).

I've moved through these five mental states that are definite hindrances:
1)  The wanting mind; 2) Aversion:  I can't be happy until X; 3) Restlessness and agitation (usually associated with worry about future); 4)  Sloth and torpor; 5) Doubt.
Turn these on repeat and you've got a really fun time.  My mental state has made my mind a place to avoid, one that Anne Lamott describes as:  "a bad neighborhood that I try not to go into alone."

Noticing seems to provide an antidote to the crazy, and I am sitting still with some pretty basic truths, yet again:  impermanence and change are all there is...if you hold on you will suffer...and all thoughts arise and disappear on their own.  (And my mind goes "bla bla bla, Lisa, you've already circled back to this a million times over."  And I reply, "Yes, I think that's the routine...forever." And then I think, "Well, shit.")  And I am grateful for this process, even though it makes me feel hugely un-enlightened.     It allows me to feel grateful for silence when I find it, for green, for the ocean's presence, and grateful that I know these spaces. It makes me grateful for dinner and conversation and dancing and movement. I am grateful to be someone who is not trapped by fear, though I feel it regularly, and it holds me snugly in its embrace at times.  I am grateful for daffodils blooming in February.  I am grateful for my wanderer life because it brings me closer to truth even when it takes me further from comfort.  And I am grateful for hope.

My life is a path of steps and missteps (but I can't view them that way, really), and I can't imagine a reality that didn't include them all.  I might trade a few, if pressed, but I wonder what the trade off would be.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Direct Correlations

There are all of these time-killing online quizzes going around:  "Which level of Dante's inferno are you going to?"  "Which fairy tale princess are you?"  Today, after completing the "Which Disney villain are you?" quiz (it's Friday; a momentary diversion was a good thing), we were tangentially talking about the movie Frozen, and my co-workers couldn't believe I hadn't liked it.  Deadpan, I explained that it was really disturbing to realize that you had been less insightful in real life than a princess in a Disney film.  [If you haven't seen the film, do not worry, this allusion is best encapsulated by the moment in the film when the plucky princess needs someone who loves her to save her, and the  prince, whom she thought she was going to marry, said, "Well, it's too bad there's no one who loves you here."  The audience gasped as he tried to kill her, even though we all saw it coming].  We laughed pretty hard over this one, and, in truth, the movie was lovely, and I've never had anyone actually try to kill me.  Disney villains aside, the moral of the movie was that true love, given freely, is what frees us, and what makes the world pretty damn beautiful (or, in the case of the movie, un-frozen).  And this is what makes any story line move from "tragedy" to "comedy."  And it's what makes me grateful for my own storyline.

I wrote out a series of Valentine's notes to people I love last night. By the time I was finished, I was absolutely floored by how much gratitude and love I have for so many, and how truly amazing that feeling is.  Tonight I reveled in the routine of a Friday night yoga class with a friend, and the pure joy in the connection.  I reveled in the reminder by the yoga instructor that we practice in community, and there are no levels or borders in this community.

And, I am reminded, as I revel in all of this, of Brian Andreas' story "Love Match," which reads:  "I want to be loved for who I am, she said, because being loved for who I'm not just stresses me out."  Ahhh...  yes.  Direct correlation between being loved for who we are (including by ourselves) and our ability to lean into life and love and joy.   I'm enjoying these findings.