Monthly Archives: September 2012

on meditation and other somewhat but not completely related tangents

Since I finished my PhD, I’ve had such a flood of creativity. I read. I practice yoga. I run. I have crazy ideas for small business startups. I have plans to start piano lessons. I have money now to make plans with. Work has been easy and really enjoyable. It’s a wonderful time for me, and I wish I could share it. After so many years of “storing up for the winter,” I can finally enjoy life. I can spend my time and energy doing what I really want to do and it feels absolutely amazing. Socially, I am in new territory as well. Just between you and me, I am incredibly picky about the people I choose to spend time with because I so enjoy being alone. That’s because solitude, introspection, and close-knit is my specialty. Although I have a life’s work to do in terms of meditation, contemplation, and enlightenment, things like meditation have always been a relatively easy and natural state for me.

I heard this today on a radio program: There was a guru who taught meditation to his students. Whenever a student said something along the lines of, “What’s the big deal? I don’t get it.” The guru would take the students to meditate with corpses. Evidently, meditating next to slowly rotting corpses was a surefire way to teach people to meditate. As morbid as that sounds, I actually think it would work brilliantly.

Not surprisingly, meditation has been on my mind. I’ve been hearing stories from people I know and friends of friends who go to monasteries and temples annually (or more) to “recharge their batteries.” People seem to do this sort of thing on a regular basis. It’s a relatively new concept for me, but it sounds really hard and also amazing. For the first time ever, it is also the kind of luxury that I could afford emotionally, psychically, and financially.

So many people spend their lives doing something they hate (or at least dislike) so that they can have healthcare and not have to live in fear of a medical disaster causing bankruptcy and seriously screwing up the rest of their lives forever. I think universal healthcare is going to free people up so much that the world (or at least the US) will change a little bit for the better. I mean, people will still have to work for money. And while that’s not always 100% the greatest thing ever for the soul, without the added burden of doing something for health insurance, I think people will be more likely to pursue their interests in really life-affirming ways that will, yes, make the world a better place. Won’t that be nice?

it may very well have been otherwise

I finally finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a book that has been important to Z for some time now.  Grad school and other excuses led to me not reading it until recently. He began reading it to me in bed. Then, he left and I finished reading the rest of it on my own. In the first part of the book, I just knew that Tomas was going to be the only truly developed character, and I scoffed that Tereza and Sabina (the women) would be the typical flat, neurotic female characters. Don’t we have enough representations of those in literature? By the time I put down the book, I’d changed my mind. In the last half, Tereza was as well developed as Tomas was in the beginning, if not better. The book has become important to me. The conflict of commitment, of committing to spending one’s life with another or in a certain way, resonates with me. Tomas tells himself, Es muss sein (it must be!) when it comes to his love for Tereza. Immediately, he develops a committed “poetic memory” about his love for Tereza. To him, it feels meant to be. Although he is driven to great lengths to maintain sexual affairs with countless other women, he is always emotionally loyal to Tereza. For Tomas, when it comes to Tereza: Es muss sein. Occasionally, when their relationships causes one or both of them pain, he thinks, Es könnte auch anders sein (it may very well have been otherwise).

I am often conflicted with trying to shape my future into something worthy of fate, of Es muss sein. I love the idea of fate, especially in love. “The Origin of Love” is one of my favorite love songs, after all, but committing to fate is not something I’ve been able to do. In the end, I am not the trembling, jealous, and co-dependent Tereza. In fact, I have a hard time placing her love for Tomas. I don’t relate. And yet, I did relate to some aspects of Tereza and could see myself in her loyalty, her intense passion, and the security she creates for her and Tomas. I could also see myself in Sabina—the free spirit, artistic type. She’s independent and self-assured. I mean, she’s flawed too—don’t get me wrong—but I see myself in her in that commitment to one man is not something that has come naturally to me. I have a wandering eye (that does not control me), and I love to spend hours on end alone, writing, thinking, reading—doing the things that are difficult to do in the presence of someone else.

Since reading this book, I’ve wondered if I want to be these two different women to two different people. At least for a time. The relationship between Tomas and Tereza lasts. Sabina’s relationships do not. I think I would like the freedom that Sabina has in her relationships, the independence. I think I would also like the deep bond that Tereza and Tomas have, even though it comes at the cost of each of them wondering how they’ve held each other back. I can stand being accountable for my own life, but the successes and failures of someone else’s life? No thank you. I see myself in all of these characters—Tereza’s fear, Tomas’s lack of control, and Sabina’s constant running. While I like to imagine experimenting with these different parts of myself, and the possibility seems somewhat exciting, in the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder if it’s all being forced upon me anyway.

Hot damn!

I cannot get enough of this Cold War Kids cd. Yes, I’m about a year late to the game, but I blame graduate school. Also, this is what happens when Z plays music for me on his guitar and around the house and we’re doing something else and I don’t really register it completely and then when he’s gone and I have lots of time to myself and I rediscover an album and it is all him all over again and I think that’s what’s happening with this album.

falling in love and other adventures

I’ve spent a lot of time reading through my old blog posts and can scarcely believe that I didn’t mention falling in love with “Boyfriend” as I’ve called him in these posts. Also, I make almost no mention of the summer trip I took to France and Finland in ’07. As for the travel, I think that’s because I recorded it all in great detail in a handwritten journal. As for the falling in love, well, maybe it’s because that was real love and I didn’t have any words for it yet.

lightness and weight

I’ve found myself alone again. After a weekend of emotional upheaval, I am getting back to my go-to solo routine. Did that sound sexual? Truly, it’s been a very romantic weekend. I’ve turned my attention to finishing the book we started together. Then I watched Midnight in Paris, which was so completely lovely and escapist (but also a commentary on escapism too, I suppose). Also, and quite unintentionally, I’ve been eating the kinds of erotic foods one might read about in a tantric sex guide. I’ve practiced yoga every day. I’ve been embraced by friends and in-law-style family when I thought I wanted to be alone. Part of the time has felt out of my control, but also fun and whirlwind. For the other part, I’ve quietly kept my head in the clouds, thinking about love and lightness and weight. Longing for some tenderness. Longing to be tender with someone. My life has had a kind of precision and intensity and magic, like each interaction, each new person, is seeing me and talking to me in some sort of other dimension. It’s feels like the plot and progression of a movie. Maybe it will last.