24 August 2010

Chew On This

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."
~Dalai Lama~

I just recently finished reading the oh so popular, "Eat, Pray, Love," and it was nothing short of DEE-LISH-US! I took my very sweet time reading the book as I found it comparable to a slice of key lime cheesecake with pecan graham cracker crust drizzled with raspberry sauce. (You're wondering about me, aren't you? haha)I have not been so moved by a book since "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz. The irony is that this book has been sitting in my "to read" pile for a little over a year. I finally decided to pick it up and see what all the hype was, not that the title alone wasn't enough to get me to shell out the 99 cents I paid for it at my favorite recycled bookstore. What I cannot understand, however, is how anyone could part with this "bible" of a book. I have highlighted the hell out of it and scribbled my usual notes in the margins. There are very few books that make it to my "life library," but this one is definitely a keeper.

If you have boobs and have ever known the heartache of struggling to unload life's backpack from your person in order to save your own ass, then you must read this book. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, who is very funny, by the way, details her travels over the course of a year in search of "Self" after a devastating divorce and subsequent heartbreaking affair, a "loss upon loss," she writes. She takes off on her "voyage of self-discovery" that will include a year of travel to Italy, India and Indonesia; spending four months in each spot. Like so many others, I, too, have experienced her type of overload; only difference is, the best I can hope for is Bon Bons, Bubble Bath and a Blow Up Doll....there's the extent of my "eat, pray, and love." *Big sigh!*

Elizabeth's journey begins in Italy where she is in pursuit of pleasure and to also learn their "language of romance," which she has yearned to master. Personally, I find it a bit annoying and a little to "Godfathery" for my taste. "That's-uh very-uh spicy-uh meat-uh ball-uh!" Nope, not working for me. French....that's what I want my lover whispering into my ear! "Je veux vous aimer ce soir et pour toujours mon cheri." Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about!! And how about Vietnamese? Now there's a birth control method for ya! I'll bet their foreplay includes two muzzles and ear plugs just for extra "protection." Okay, so where was I? Oh great! Now I can't get my French lover out of my mind's "rental space." I'll go ahead and give him another week before I start the eviction process.

So back to the book. After tons of fun and lottsa pasta in Italy, Elizabeth jets over to India where she moves into an ashram and begins her four months engrossed in learning the art of meditation, spiritual enlightenment and her "lasting experience of God." This was my favorite part of her journey. If you have ever tried to meditate, you know what I mean when I say, learning another language is probably much easier to accomplish than to calm a woman's mind. We multi-task 24/7; even when we are "trying" to sleep. I have done everything to quiet my mind and make the voices stop. I simply cannot do it...but I want to....oh so desperately. After reading the book, I have new hope as the author had the same problem. She is "burdened by what the Buddhists refer to as the "monkey mind," (thoughts swinging from vine to vine)." Immediately I had an intense craving for, not one, but a whole bunch of bananas. Coincidence? I don't think so.

With all these "swinging thoughts," one is "always digging in the past or poking into the future," writes Gilbert. The very thoughts that latch onto my brain like leaches sucking the energy out of any possibility whatsoever of enjoying current events. "Live in the "Now," are you kidding me? Who on earth is going to nurture my old wounds; keep them alive, if you will? Sounds idiotic, doesn't it? I just thought about Eleanor Roosevelt's quote, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that is why it is called the present. And even though I think that quote is so profound, invariably I will spend the 86,400 seconds I am given a day rehashing my past or questioning my future. Makes me wonder if Eleanor herself even practiced what she preached. If I was a doctor, I'd be a quack. If I was a pastor, I'd be a hypocrite. If I were a man, well, I'd just be in the garage working on my project du jour. I have yet to meet a man (not saying that they don't exist) that even acknowledges he has a past, let alone, agonizes over it. How do they do that?

In the book, Gilbert writes that she has heard it said that "prayer is the act of talking to God, while meditation is the act of listening." Me, listen? Ha! Okay.....just as soon as donkeys take up flight. Well, that's not entirely true. I listen to some things....all the things I want to hear. But I'm changing! So help me God (are you listening?), I'm changing! I talk to God all of the time, but I never hang around to hear His answers. The same way I pass someone and say, "Hi, how are you?" and yet never wait for their response. It's not that I don't care how they are, I just feel more urgency to get back to my past or worrying about the future that hasn't happened yet. *Big sigh* So if you can sit still and rest your mind for even ten minutes, you will do yourself a favor. "The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart." (as told to Gilbert by a monk.<----I just noticed that word was two letters shy of monk(ey). Perhaps monks are monkeys who have stopped "thought swinging." haha

Gilbert wraps up her journey in Indonesia on the island of Bali. While in Bali, she reunites with an old medicine man who she had met on a prior trip and befriends a Balinese healer that would change her life. Oh yeah, and then there's the "happily ever after" even after she has sworn off anything that will hurt her heart further. His "pick-up line," "We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something." Smooth, right? Good, good book!! It is all the rage in facebook land, but not without "some" very perplexing controversy. Most are loving it, but some are "boycotting" it simply because yoga, meditation, healers and GASP.....Buddhists are involved. Give me a break!!!!

I actually had a woman ask me how I could call myself a Christian and practice yoga. RUFKM?! I didn't know how to respond because I couldn't get past her IGNORANT statement! And how can YOU call yourself a Christian while you are clearly judging me?! (a practice which seems to be okay amongst a large amount of the "Christians" in my life) One comment that has weighed heavily on my heart was one written in response to someone who had just seen the movie. The comment was, "That's why I haven't bothered to read the book or see the movie. And now she's a Buddhist? Weird!" Why does ANYONE's path to "goodness" have to be labeled at all, much less as "weird?!" To my mind, her statement was weird! Who cares how you get there, so long as you get there! My friend Kim "rocked it" on her facebook page beside "Religious Views." She wrote, "I'm sure Jesus and Buddha were both on the right track." I will never forget reading that for the first time and thinking, "Wow! Just WOW!" Why is that the hardest thing for people to get?

I, myself, was never taken to church a day in my life so I had to discover religion on my own. I had no religious "identity," so to speak. I had myself baptised Catholic so that I could get a reduction on my oldest son's tuition at the Catholic school he attended.(and maybe a little pre-planning on my way to becoming Mrs. JFK, Jr. haha) Okay, so now I'm a Catholic....what's next? I was lost....completely lost amongst the rituals, the sacraments, THE CONFESSIONALS?!! I take issue with anyone other than God who decides my penance. And inasmuch as I respect every one's choice of religion, the Catholic church was not where I found "my" God.

I visited many more churches and various religions trying to find my "home." It is was much harder than finding the perfect pair of shoes, but there was no question when the day finally arrived; when I had arrived. The "Angels" truly did sing. That was eight years ago and I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around religion and all it's controversy. My religion? The building in which I attend services is non-denominational; my church is right where it always has been and always will be, in my heart. You will never hear me say this one or that one is going to hell because of anything. It is not my place. You will never hear me say that your choice of religion is not the right one. It is your choice. Kindness....that is my religion.

Eat (healthfully) and Pray for Love,
The Paper Whisperer

07 August 2010

It's Raining Men....Hallelujah!

"Ten men waiting for me at the door?
Send one of them home, I'm tired."
~Mae West~

Boy did I catch some flack for the last posting! Everyone wrote to me wanting to know why I hated men so much or who had hurt me so badly that I would start excreting venomous rantings from my fingertips. (<-----that was good, by the way. My mind is such a terrible thing to waste, don't ya think?) Anyway, I DON'T HATE MEN....I LOVE MEN...just not as much as I used to. Too old, too busy, already have someone other than myself that I have to take care of, yada, yada, yada. I wrote the story in a fit of anger because it seemed like every time I turned around someone was getting busted (in a major way) for cheating. I can't stand cheaters whether they are male or female. Get a divorce, walk away or send a singing telegram. Odds are it will only hurt half as bad and you just "might" get to keep your integrity.

I would have ranted equally as much had there been a "monsoon" of women cheaters, however, you just don't hear about that too often, now do ya? Wonder why that is? I'll tell you! We're lucky if we can muster up enough time to simply fantasize about having an affair. "Idle hands are the devil's workshop," and our hands are almost always filled with something....laundry, pots, pans, cleaning supplies, homework, well, you get the picture. I think Tiger, et al, need a little more than a lawnmower handle in their hands once a week. Hmph!

But rest assured, I still love men, I just find the older I get, the harder time I have putting up with anyone's schitt, let alone someone who expects me to wash there underwear only to take them off at someone else's house. The fact is, that since my divorce (however long ago that was...wtfc?), I've just sorta orbited around the whole partner-ship enterprise (and no, I'm not a "trekky" just in case you were wondering) trying to decide whether or not I want to fly Hans Solo or not. (it appears I'm outta control on the science fiction metaphors, and I don't even like it! Ewww). I'm not EVEN gonna say, "Beam me up, Scotty!" cuz that would just be over the top....even for me. :-P

Okay, so where was I? "Um, Scotty...you can go ahead and let me down now (EVERYONE ELSE DOES!)." Ah yes, men. I can pick the sweetest and juiciest watermelons in the bunch, but have not been so lucky when picking "soul mates." Maybe I oughta start thumping them. Or how about sniffing them. How many unhappy dogs do you see, after all? Or maybe, just maybe, I could leave well enough alone and continue to live in the perils of my mind's dilapidated Camelot....or would that be, CameNOT?

My happily ever after fantasy went down in the Atlantic with John F. Kennedy, Jr's plane. He was trying to reach me, poor baby and definitely poor visibility. After quite a few years of grieving, I met Lance (Armstrong). Of course, he was all tied up with that Sheryl girl at the time, so I gave him his space and let nature take it's course. I knew he would eventually see the light and he did. While making his way to Colorado, he stopped to impregnate some strange woman, but by this time I was done! He was no longer a "competitor" in my Tour de Fantasy (I still wear the yellow bracelet he gave "me," however.)

At least for the time being, I have decided to forget the happily ever after and just toy with the happily ever NOW! After all, it's all I've got time for! May the "force" be with me!

Live long and prosper or nanu nanu, whatever makes your ship shift!!
The Paper Whisperer