This November, I started falling into my grumpy state—it’s hard to tell why — but I always do at this time of year, and not many people know this. How long have I been such a grouch? I don’t know but whatever. It’s grumpy-time.
But because I’m a grownup, I refrain from saying the words that sit inside my mouth. I don’t roll my eyes at the happy music or let anyone know how I truly feel about Christmas cards. I dutifully put up the lights. And we play the music that must be played when you’re Christmassing your house.
I listened to a talk recently from Tara Brach about ‘radical compassion.’ In it, she tells the story of primate biologist George Schaller, whose renown came from gathering more intimate and compelling information about gorillas than any scientist at the time had ever gathered.
“How did he do that?” she asked. “How did he get intimate with the gorillas?” Answer: He didn’t carry a gun. And then she took us gently to the next logical step, asking, “How do we get intimate with ourselves?”
Don’t carry a gun.
In my quest for self-awareness, I’ve engaged in decades of therapy. I’ve…
What are you doing at three o-clock today?
Me, I’m with whoever shows up to my Facebook Live meditation. (Three minutes at three o’clock.)
This started out as a light-hearted experiment. I thought it might help keep me engaged with my own practice, if for only three minutes a day. The thinking was if I had to show up for you, then I would do it for sure.
It goes like this: At (or near) three o-clock (Eastern time), I hop onto Facebook Live and lead a three minute meditation. Sometimes guided. …
Today I’m taking the day off.
I’m taking the day off my chest, off my shoulders.
I’m taking the pressure off —
to do enough,
to do the right thing(s),
to do my best.
All those to dos are coming off
I am lifting them out of my heart
and setting them gently down
by the side of the road.
I will still clean the kitchen and pay bills.
I will still gas up the car and shop for food.
Make appointments, answer the phone, write, work.
But I’m done with the whole day’s weight
bearing down on my…
I am watching The Handmaid’s Tale, episode after dark episode
instead of opening my mind, instead of opening to the world
within my own world, and letting it populate my fingers
and fill my laptop with the stories I want to tell.
I look to my screens like an addict
about to lose control for
want of the thing —
I scroll and
When the show
gets too dark, and
I’m getting depressed,
it’s on to youtube clips.
Everybody Loves Raymond
bloopers from Season Five. Benedict
Cumberbatch on the Graham Norton Show
doing his incredible imitation of Chewbacca…
I’m not talking about organized larger-than-mes out there (the Peace Corps, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army), although they’re perfectly worthy places to serve.
I’m talking about the larger-than-me organism of my marriage.
For instance, when was the last time I warmed some lavender coconut oil and rubbed her feet with it just before bed, instead of watching my own TV show in a different room while she read and eventually fell asleep?
When did I last decorate her placemat with a little sprig of green in a bud vase, instead of scrounging around for myself in the kitchen like…
My wife and I loaded up the car with enough water and snacks. We put on our hiking boots and our sunglasses, checked the weather, and off we went, with the happiest puppy in the world looking out the back seat window. We drove forty-five minutes to a new park, chatting about recent family dramas, the election, the weather. When we arrived, we found a place in the shade for the car.
All three of us were ecstatic.
Only one thing. I felt that hint of nausea that tells me a migraine is on the way.
“No problem,” I thought…
Fully half the country is grieving, outraged, maybe not even willing to give up yet. It feels important to generate compassion for those millions of people who are genuinely suffering now, because they believe we’ve just put a Very Bad Man in the presidency.
Remember how mean we said Trump is? How selfish and divisive? Let’s make sure we don’t mirror that now in our moment of victory. Watch your speech. Is it mean or divisive? Are we still making jokes at ‘their’ expense? …
For a couple weeks, I’ve been making the bed by grabbing the top edge of the sheet and the blanket together (up by where the pillows are), and pulling out as many of the wrinkles as possible. I repeat this method on the other side. Because the bedspread is thick, it hides whatever little wrinkles are still there. I pat it smooth, throw the pillows in place, and the bed is made.
Which is truer than I know.
The bed is made. Eventually, I will have to sleep in it.
The method described above is okay if we’re in a…
The pandemic has taught me so much, not least of which is how rich I am. Ironically, I had to pinch pennies to find that out.
At first, staying home didn’t curb my consumerism. What I would have bought at the mall, I just bought online instead. The cognitive dissonance from my stasis at home while the world around me roiled with chaos — that seemed to jump start a kind of unconsciousness digital activity that resulted in packages arriving almost every day.
I was ashamed of myself — thinking of the resources needed to get these items to my…
Writer. Yoga teacher. Musician. Buddhist. Quilter. Animal lover. Visible grownup. Hidden child. Secret dancer when all alone. Makes good bread.