Monday, November 29, 2010

Meditation - The Voice Inside

Since my body has been through the "I can't believe this is happening to me" mill in the last year. I have recently decided to start meditating to get some answers.  I have always been committed to prayer, like the Lord's Prayer, the Oh My God prayer, Help Me Now prayer, and if you Get Me Out of This One God prayer (the one asking for quick divine intervention so you don't go to know, that one). I typically pray aloud in my truck so no one thinks I'm crazy. Any bipolar who has been to the psychiatric ward knows that you cannot pray aloud close to anyone and remain out of the white coat palace. So, I drive around with my pooch and pray to God. I have prayed all of those prayers and have asked God for the mortgage payment, a lesson on love, and even insight into why all of the crazy crap happens to me.

Ever have crazy crap happen to you?

This past year, I endured incomprehensible pain due to a detached retina (no narcotics...); then I crushed my ankle on December 21st, is still bruised today as I look at it. I have 12 pins in it and the top part of my ankle is bone on bone, so when I walk it feels funny. I had some female surgery that took out a Kiwi sized benign tumor; and now I am getting eye injections of Avastin in my left eye so I won't go blind in it. My right eye is completely compromised.

Alas, I digress. The post here is about meditation. So, here is what I've been doing.

1. Go Slow(ly)
2. Find Joy
3. Stay Grounded (see the previous blog)

I sit in the Archie Bunker chair and close my eyes. I concentrate on just breathing'll read all kinds of ways to breathe. Jesus. Just breathe. Stop holding your breath. I am constantly reminding myself to inhale and exhale during all parts of my day. I've forgotten that breathing is key to living. I've been holding my breath for about 44 years. Now, I'm elated to say, I can do it.

Make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your arms are not crossing your body. They are relaxed next to you with your palms up. You can even do the Hindu way and make the "okay sign" with your hands. I guess it channels energy better that way.

Next, let your mind stay on your breathing. Yes. Remember the hard part. In and out. Then center your body on that and that only. You are going to get a gazillion interruptions, like I need to call my sister. I need to lose 20 pounds. I need to get gas in the car. I wonder if my dog needs to go outside. You know. That tedious stuff that interrupts the meat of life.

Here's the meat. Once you get to your happy place. You can request a simple prayer if you like. I say either out loud or internally things like, "God/Creator/Sacred Woman/Jesus/Buddha/Oprah, will you please give me information on my next phase, my next step?"

Today, here's what I got. need to heal your body (DUH)...breathe. Your body is tired. Your arms and hands are tired from typing and writing books. You need to thank your body and be gentle with it. Thank your heart for all it does. Thank your hands for all they write and do for you...thank the body. It is your one and only TEMPLE...treat it gratefully and with respect.

I found myself rubbing my hands during my meditation. Then I went to my eyes and covered them with my hands and literally thanked them for all they have seen and witnessed; otherwise, there would be no books, no characters, not even this blog. I have them today - my eyes - witness all that you can.

So, find an old chair. A comfy one. Try breathing however feels best to you. Spill out a request or thought and see what happens on the inside. It is your INSIDE voice that will give you all the answers. This I hear.

Loud and clear.

Amen. I mean Awomen.

Love to you all...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slow. Joy. Grounded.

How many of you go about your day at lightning speeds? You know who you are. Constantly checking e-mail, facebook, twitter. Texting your friend or family member about where you are and what you are doing. Oh, let's check our bank balance for the third time today. That's a good one. Or, how about just getting up and going to work. It's a hustle to pull the thoughts together after a bad night's sleep on Lunesta or Ambien (quit eating and putting that thong on backwards at three a.m.). You're in the shower, you're figuring out clothes, you're getting the dog out in the yard, fed, and then back in before your blasting a bagel in the, that's too slow...and, cereal, who eats a slow bowl of Cheerios in the a.m. It's Gogurt or a power bar in the car where you race to work and then race to do all the crap they want you to do in a window of eight hours...then it's home to rewind and figure out why there's a bagel on the floor, the *coffee maker is half full (or empty) and there are three pair of shoes on the floor and the bed still unmade from Monday morning. I'm tired just typing about it. Go. Go. Go. It has to become Slow. Slow. Slow. Or just stop for a second.

I'm jobless. And, I find that I'm still behind on all the crap I have to do. You have your list, too. Don't you. Come on.

Yesterday, I decided I would create my own new mantra. Much like Eckhart Tolle. He says we should live our lives with "no inner resistance" and to live in a state of "grace, ease, and lightness." Does Tolle have children? Does Tolle have a blackberry? No he just eats them. Just kidding, Tolle. I love you.

At any rate, here it is. Slow. Joy. Grounded. That is, Go Slow(ly). Find Joy. Stay Grounded. That's my new mantra. So, I went flying to the store with my dog in tow. My sweet shepherd mix named River (she's the Someday in the books I write). Then my mantra came at the first light, symbolic for sure. Slow. Joy. Grounded. Okay, I let go of the accelerator, patted my dog on the head, and listened to my body (that's the grounded part). It said, "You're tired, Ruth. Don't let the cereal aisle at the store make you crazy." Cool, I can do that.

I went to the store to get a bunch of stuff as I found out. My grocery list had six things. I purchased seventy-two items. At the store, I stayed slow and wandered finding the items needed. At the cereal aisle (my nemesis), an old lady yelled at me to help her. She'd dropped coupons all over the floor. I bent down and picked them up. She must have been ninety-two. I wanted to immediately adopt her, drive her home, and help her with her groceries. Slow. Slow. Slow. But, lo, I just picked them up and told her to have a good day. "You, too." She said and smiled gratefully.

At my truck, the lady helped me put the ten bags in the back where River sat patiently waiting. The lady asked to pet her and I said that she was a retired therapy dog. She petted her and then giggled. I giggled at her giggling. What's so funny? I asked River to move forward and the bag lady petted her again and they had a sweet dog/human moment. Then, for some odd reason, this lady from the grocery store began to laugh hysterically at my dog - or, rather, with my dog. Incredible. I laughed, too. River is pretty hysterical and cute.
Joy. Joy. Joy.

I went home and something told me to stay grounded instead of hustling to make the Chili for dinner. I watched a bit of Oprah and saw my favorite. Barbra Streisand. She sang "The Way We Were." I cried as I lay on the couch. I love that movie. I love Oprah. Then, later, I went for a walk with my beautiful girlfriend to smell the leaves, the wind, and to feel the asphalt beneath my leather shoes. Grounded. Grounded. Well, you know the rest.

I'm off to check my e-mail, and to facebook and twitter this to my loyal following. Then I'll do some internet searches on jobs. River and the cat are at my side sleeping.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming. Slow. Joy. Grounded. My new mantra making me feel my life again.


*The best coffee in Richmond.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

California: Paradise in 8 days

If you have never been to California, all I can say is watch that commercial where Betty White is riding a golf cart at the end and BELIEVE her. It is what they say it is and more. I just came back (dragging) last weekend from an eight day whirlwind tour with my girlfriend and am just finding the energy to tap this out and fling it out to all of my eleven respective followers (thanks for reading!).

We started in San Francisco and checked out the Castro where my hero, Harvey Milk, has a Plaza named for him, a restaurant, and other memorabilia all around the district. When I went into a Different Light Bookstore, I saw my buddies Karin Kallmaker, KG MacGregor, and Kenna White showering the shelves. It's always nice to see people you know gracing the bookshelves in a place that's three thousand miles from your home. We ambled along the street looking for food and stumbled upon Harvey Milk's old camera shop where many of us saw Sean Penn do his thing (unless they used a Hollywood set). My girlfriend started snapping and as I stood by the doorway, the threshold where Harvey Milk went over many times in the 1970s, I must say I got a bit ver klempt. I love that man.

After SF, we ended up in Big Sur at the Esalen Institute where we attended a workshop with the renowned energy psychiatrist, Judith Orloff. She's got a lot to say. Read her books. Grow. Share. Help change this sick world of ours. Part of her message...and, I guess, mine. Esalen is paradise if you were wondering where paradise is. Go there. It's worth the time, effort, and money. I got a massage on the cliffs of the Pacific and thought I might float up and away. Thank God for Lithium...I stayed grounded.

Onto Lucia, then the elephant seals...OMG...these guys are hysterical. They snort, fart, spar and are cute at all camera angles.

We got to L.A. on the last leg of the trip and were greeted by my buddy, Norma, who is essential to any California trip. She and her girlfriend, Vicki, took us to two great eateries and to the observatory where you can see L.A. lit up like a "constellation in reverse" as I said with my mouth agape and hair sticking up in the wind. Ten million people, ten million stars, four lanes of traffic.

The Ellen DeGeneres show rocked. We were in the audience for the Portia show...we won the book and a camcorder that is also a projector. My hollywood directorial debut begins now...

At the beach, I picked up a rock and put it in my pocket for luck. My girlfriend found a few, too. Up on the hill of the beach, I spot Meredith Baxter-Birney.

Not bad.