Saturday, June 28, 2008

L.A.'s Fine

Well, not really so fine.  We came here on Thursday for a memorial service for Steve's dad which will be today.  

Yesterday Zoe, my twenty year-old daughter, went to the beach with her cousins and she forgot to keep putting sunblock on, so she came home with a sunburn, a headache and a stomach ache.  And then Steve, drove up and back to Santa Maria (almost three hours each way) to get his guitar fixed and arrived home, squatted down to get a shot of his mother and his back went out. 

And my mother-in-law isn't doing too well either.  She always complained about her husband, but she said she missed his piano playing and I think, after seventy years of marriage, she finally really appreciated him.  She said, "He was such a talented person."  Most of her life she valued money and he wasn't a big earner, but he was a wonderful musician and loved drawing.  And when he retired from his job as a salesman at a large paper company, I think that was his life really began.  He liked his job, but he loved playing tennis, drawing, teaching art and most of all playing the piano.  He even performed at the independent living facility they lived in.  

I was walking through Beverly Hills yesterday, waiting to meet a friend for lunch and I overheard a woman on her cell phone saying, "I really liked her.  She only charged me $200 - because I paid cash.  And she's going to do below my eyes and around my mouth for only $1500."  

And then I saw a tall gorgeous woman wearing a t-shirt that read, "Feed the the world."  

I love L.A.  No time for meditation though.  That will come next week, when I am in Connecticut.  But then I won't have access to the internet.  

This trip home with the sunburn and the bad back on the red eye should be interesting.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Eye of the Storm

This morning in my meditation, an image came to my mind. I was doing my breathing and random thoughts kept flying by. Thoughts about my mother, my daughter, a phone call my husband received last night from an old friend offering his condolences about my father-in-law's death, and he then proceeded to talk only about himself for the next ten minutes.

I thought about friends who are quietly dealing with illness, and how Bill Clinton is going to start campaigning for Obama. I thought about all the fire flies I saw last night in the park and how much I love summer.

And I had this image of a tornado and sitting in the middle of it. I'm in the center, breathing, when suddenly I see a tree go by, or a car, or a house. And then it's quiet again, peaceful. I guess that's what my meditation feels like, so obviously I'm not doing it right.

Which is absolutely okay.

I just go back to the breath and then eventually another thought comes flying by: people who make me laugh. When I was a little kid I used to love reading Erma Bombeck, because she was funny. I love Chris Rock. I've even accepted the fact that though he's hard to take, Larry David occasionally makes me laugh.

Last night I saw an interview from 1996 with George Carlin on Charley Rose, a show he aired on the night Carlin died. Carlin wasn't at all funny in the interview, he was articulate and brilliant. He spoke about some of his early influences, Danny Kaye, Bob Hope movies (which my old friend Mel Frank wrote), and how much he loved words. I loved George Carlin and feel grateful that he gave me so many laughs and so much to think about.

I'm going to include his routine about the seven words you can't say on television because it's worth seeing again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cherries and Meditation

Right now I have two obsessions. One is seasonal - cherries - I can't seem to get enough of them. I've already had about 10 so far this morning and I can't wait to eat more.

The other obsession is meditation. (I love blogging too, by the way, this may be my next obsession.) I started meditating every day last February and I began with around ten minutes and now I'm up to twenty minutes. I could never understand the purpose of meditation, to tell you the truth. It seemed to me that sitting in one place without doing something, made no sense. Years ago I ran three miles every day, went to the gym at least four times a week for years. Now I walk all over city, I love hiking, riding my bike. Burning calories, that I understood. But just sitting was really a crazy idea to me. And then once I heard someone say, "Sitting in one place and paying attention to my breath is the most important part of my day."

I thought he was really crazy. But that idea stayed with me.

Years ago, when I was dealing with a rather full mother was in a hospice, my sister was hit by a car, my daughter wasn't too happy, my husband was depressed about his lack of work, I was a very dark place. A friend of mine (Jacqui - thank God for Jacqui) suggested that I read a book called "The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness" by Pema Chodron.

I was feeling hopeless and blaming myself for everyone else's misery. I was feeling angry and wanting to change everything about myself, but in the first chapter she says, "loving-kindness - maitri - toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years." I liked that.

And "The idea isn't to get rid of ego but actually to begin to take an interest in ourselves, to investigate and be inquisitive about ourselves."

"Precision is being able to see very clearly, not being afraid to see what is really there, just as a scientist is not afraid to look into the microscope."

So that was a good beginning for me to start reading more about Buddhism and then it took a long time to start meditating. It doesn't burn any calories though.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day One

How clever, day one. I promise no "day two's or day one thousand and fifty two."

Pre-meditated has to do with meditation, which I am attempting to do every day, so I can reach enlightenment and then this blog can be re-named "Post-meditated" or something like that.

So if you're interested in spiritual enlightenment see Pema Chodron, although she has no blog. But I can put her on mine! Once I learn how to do that!

I suddenly realized that just about everyone I know (who considers themselves a writer, which is just about everyone I know) has a blog.

And they are interesting blogs, so my bias against them seems to be fading and although last night I was feeling like I’ve wasted my life because I don’t have a huge bank account and I haven’t accomplished much of anything, this morning when I woke up the first thing I saw on the NY Times website, was that George Carlin died at 71. And somehow that led me to want to write more and to just put it out there. Wherever "there" is.

This past week or so has been a time to remind me that life is finite: Friday, June 13 - Tim Russert died at 58. Then my father-in-law, Eugene Kahn, died on June 14th, and then yesterday, June 21st, George Carlin, whose routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" I actually knew by heart, died.

So I just decided that I would do what I like to do, write, and say whatever I feel like saying, since I imagine that if I’m lucky, one or two people will ever read it. And I guess, in a way, I will be leaving something behind when I die.

But most of all, I think I need to laugh (at myself and others) because whenever I find myself overwhelmed by negative feelings, I remember that really life is quite ridiculous.

Proof: George W. Bush is (still) the President of the United States.

I rest my case.