Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Importance of Being Still

When I was a high falutin-tootin' regularly employed TV writer, I knew how to treat myself right. Twice a month I would go to this cute little Thai massage place and get rubbed down right.

(Even, if for a moment, you feel a flash of jealousy, please note, my current life of luxury allows me to treat myself to only one Starbucks drip coffee a week. It must be a Venti (Large) so that I can drink half and then run the other half through my coffee machine the next day to heat up. Yup, don't even have a microwave.)

Anyway, the gentleman who did the rubbing was the sweetest, most forgiving soul I ever met. I could go in there with three weeks of leg stubble and he would not care. When I found out he was a former Buddist monk, I realized why I saw such love and beauty radiate out of him.

When I went just a few weeks ago (Birthday gift certificate - thank you, A!), I found out that Nicomb would be leading a monthly one hour meditation and would I like to reserve a spot? WOULD I!!!

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am sometimes so hyped up on anti-depressants and coffee that I am vibrating with this false kind of energy that, though it seems to propel me forward, often leaves me depleted. There seems to be no time to sit, reflect, think about WHAT I WANT. There seems to only be time to get things done (errands, phone calls, the blah-blah-blah of life).

I've gone from Mattress-ridden Bed Head Girl to over stressed, frazzled "Must get to the bank, grocery shop, rewrite this script, oooo-coffee, honk! get the f' outta my way" Mad Woman. (Although, I cannot tell a lie, there is still a lot of regressing into the warm and cozy of the queen size bed).

So I reserved my spot to meditate.

But I did not go.

I was too scared. Too scared to be alone in my head with my own thoughts.

When my cousin first passed away and I was desperately, desperately sad, I started popping Ambien as a way to sleep. I would go to acupuncture as a way to try and get off the Ambien and the good Doctor would poke me full of needles and shut off the lights and close the door.

And I would promptly burst into tears. I did not want to be alone. I was too scared.

This Tuesday all the girls got together and celebrated the end of the Writer's Strike. One friend who is starting a job March 1, talked about wanting to go on a retreat that would include all sorts of meditation and body treatments.

I was very argumentative about the idea. First of all the price was astronomical... 3x my rent for five nights. But let's put that aside. My objection is why do we need to do these drastic things (go to far away places and spend GOBS of money) to BE ALONE & MEDITATE & FIND OURSELVES when WE ARE RIGHT HERE!

Maybe my friend, like me, knows she won't do the meditation, the being alone with her thoughts, the finding oneself, UNLESS she is pummeled with the guilt of paying the GOBS of money she'll spend.

So even though I am against the idea (we have all suffered so financially and I hate to see her spend this money), I can understand the fear of doing THE SCARY WORK you need to do, on your own, to get in touch with yourself.

But ladies, let me tell you, WE CAN EAT, PRAY, LOVE in our own living room or bedroom or my favorite, the bathtub. (Ever had a glass of wine in a bubble bath? Ever eaten some fancy cheese & crackers in bed while reading a good self help book or journaling? Live, ladies live!!!!)

My point, my friend is going to have to do it her way and I'm going to have to do it my way. (I will FORCE myself to go to the next meditation, first SUNDAY of March). It's not that I don't have the money to do it her way (I mean, OF COURSE, I DON'T!!!!) it's that, I want to push myself to do it on my own terms, in ways I can keep reapplying to my life.

And while I respect the five days away she'll do to JUMP START her spiritual practice, I think the EAT, PRAY, LOVE phenomenon has done a bit of diservice to woman in making us think that unless we can run off to some far flung place, we will never find our own inner peace. So that's what I'm rebeling against.

How do you slow down and stay in touch with yourself? How do you become quiet and listen to the answers that are inside you? Is it easy? Is it hard? Is it something that scares you, too? Inquiring minds want to know!