Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Morning, So Many Thoughts

Okay, so it's Monday morning and I have been trying to take the weekend off so that I might have something to write about on Monday. I have a lot to write about.

First of all, in my last post I think I sounded a bit smug. I've been doing less thinking and more meditating, trying to be in the moment, so I'm feeling much happier, etc. etc. As if I have the secret to life.

Then yesterday, I was reading "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron and I read about the idea that we never really have it together because that would be death. I'm not explaining it well, but it started with one of the Buddhist teachers asking his students, "What do you do when things are unbearable?" And they didn't know what to say, they are supposed to have a meditation practice, to be able to cope, but they all admitted that they fall apart, they forget about their practice, and become totally habitual in their actions.

Later in the chapter, she says most of us talk about having a good life because we think we've finally gotten it together. We feel that we're a good person, we are peaceful, we are in a good place, etc. We think that if "we just meditated enough or jogged enough or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the point of view of someone who is awake, that's death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feelings confirmed and whole, self-contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn't have any fresh air...."

"Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we're going to have an experience we can't control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we're going to find out we have cancer, a brick is going to fall out of the sky and hit us on the head. someone's going to spill tomato juice all over our white suit..."

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest."

"Rather than trying to get rid of something or buying into a dualistic sense of being attacked, we take the opportunity to see how we close down when we're squeezed. This is how we open our hearts. It is how we awaken our intelligence and connect with true buddha nature."

So anyway, I wanted to share that. I could go on, but I don't want to be too morbid this morning. It's summer, and it's a beautiful (hot) day, and I'm grateful for so many good things in my life. Zoe and I did see "Mamma Mia" (the film), which I am embarrassed to admit and it was pretty bad. But I adore Colin Firth (there will never be a better Darcy, he's played that character several times now) and everyone in the (terrible) film was having fun, so we did too. Did I say I love Colin Firth?

Steve's still in Spain, hanging around, talking and drinking until 2 am, playing his guitar. At least that was what he was doing in Jerez de la Frontera. Now he's in Utrera is going to have a big meeting on Wednesday about his photography project, photos of the gypsies that were taken in the late 60's and early 70's. He's also curious about living in Spain and is trying to get a feel for what it would be like.

I also saw the documentary "Darfur Now" and really recommend it. It explains what's been happening in the Darfur region (it would be as if our government handed out guns and knives to gangs and asked them to go out and murder and rape people and burn down their homes randomly in cities and towns all over the country.)

The film focuses on six very dedicated people. Ocampo, who's leading a criminal investigation at the International Criminal Court. He has charged three high ranking government officials with war crimes, including the President of Sudan. (These guys can't leave the country or they will be arrested.) Ocampo is certain that they will face trial eventually. The other main players in the film are: Don Cheadle, who co-authored a book called "Darfur Now" and is very involved, an aide worker on the ground, a leader at one of the large refugee camps, a woman who joined the rebels after losing her baby, and a young Californian who's started an organization and was successful in getting a law passed in California to stop indirect funding of the Janjaweed, the government funded militia.

Now the question is: how to help?

And then, in the background, are my nerves about the reading this Wednesday night. Mostly I feel pretty relaxed, but then occasionally I get anxious and can't believe I actually signed on to do this.

It's going to be great. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a reading of a short piece which will hopefully be enjoyed by the people who are there. And if Meryl Streep can sing "Dancing Queen" I can surely perform a twenty minute monologue.

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