Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Time to whip my butt into shape!

Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs

Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Micky is on the phone talking over invincible air raids.  I’m sitting here on my bench in the office.

I’m starting to get to that comfortable feeling again.  You know what I’m talking about?  It’s the feeling you get when you like your job, you’re making good money and you have absolutely zero things to stress about.  I spent the majority of my life being in this feeling.  This is where I belong – yes, really.  It’s where I belong….

I talked before about me being like a coin; one side is all daffodils and daisy’s but on the other is prickly cacti.  Why do I have to choose a side?  I don’t want to choose to be happy or good anymore, I don’t want to choose to be anything.  I’m just going to Be and see what happens.  I’ll be the serrated edges of a quarter instead.  Jagged and jaded but not fooling herself or nobody.

This is where I’m most content.  This is where I feel like myself.  The problem is, I lose all my professionalism and clients become friends I never met.  But they seem to like this!  At first people act all old and adult, but then they loosen up a bit and I see how they were in high school – they act young again.

I haven’t been doing anything lately accept work.  Camping was the last time I did anything.  It was fun, I had a blast.  I smoked pot and drank myself 6 beers by the fire.  I slept like a baby.

I signed myself up for birkram yoga.  I start on Monday.  Amy went for the first time last week and said it was hard.  Very VERY hot.  I’m going to tough it out.  Doing hot yoga was part of my awakening – I saw how much our bodies are connected to our spirits, and was shown how important yoga is for keeping that connection healthy.  I don’t know how or why, but yoga especially.  And it should be easy dragging myself there every week if Amy’s counting on me to be there.

I have to start exercising for the Camino.  I’m also going to start a running program in the morning before work which means that I have to go to bed early.  No more late night video games or watching one show after the other on Netflix, and absolutely no – and I mean NO Billy O’s.

I’m going to try out the 5K Runner app on the iPhone.  While you’re listening to music, a voice cuts in to tell you when to walk or run.  It may sound silly, but for anyone who ever tried running, it’s a huge lifesaver to be told when it’s okay to slow down for a bit.  It’s a pain having to time everything yourself.

And I quit smoking again.  I love to smoke, I really do, but I don’t need it anymore.  My stress is long gone and I’m relatively happy these days.

I’m just really tired.  It might be from the leftover Chinese food I had for breakfast, or the turkey sandwich for lunch.

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Filed under All about me, journal

Menstrual Mel

Understand The Chaos

I liked being alone when I was little, but I never was. There were always people around watching over me, hovering above me, wondering what I was up to. “When I grow up”, I thought to myself, “I want to be alone and think. Just sit and think until I understand.” I was a weird kid, but I actually had this desire. I was really little too, like maybe seven? I couldn’t understand why people talked so much and why they were always angry or sad. I just wanted to understand, but I felt I had to get away from all the noise first, to be able to do it.

This yearning to be alone followed me all the way into my twenties. “Just for a little while,” I thought, “just enough time for me to clear my head and understand better.”

I had an experience when I was a kid. I may have written about it already, but my head is so foggy tonight that I can’t remember.

I was talking to my Dad. I was about 6 or 7 years old. We were talking about the universe and how it all started.

Me – “What was here before the universe?”

Pop – “Nothing was here.”

Me – “Was it just blackness?”

Pop – “There was no blackness. Blackness didn’t exist yet. There was nothing.”

That’s when I experienced my first zen moment. My mind became quiet, clear, still. It became blank and empty. It was the feeling you get when listening to an empty conch shell. Well, almost that feeling.

A split second later, I was back to reality. I had no idea what just happened – had no name or knowledge of it, but I knew I had experienced something, just no idea what. I tried to do it again. I called it “blankness,” and I could only obtain the “blankness” if I thought about the blankness before the universe started. I was able to control it. I was able to go in and out of Zen.

Are these two things normal for a kid to experience?

I had another zen moment a few weeks ago. I hadn’t had one in maybe 10 years.

What brought on this zen moment were thoughts about energy. The fact that it can never be created or destroyed, only change form. I thought about the time before the universe began – the timeless blankness – and wondered that because energy could never be created or destroyed, than it must have always been here, but since nothing existed before the universe, energy had no form to take. If it had no form, than what was it? If it had no purpose, no place to go, what form was it in? Does matter make energy, or does energy make matter?

This type of unanswerable question is called a Koan. It can’t be figured out or understood using rational thought, but can be intuitively felt and realized. It’s something that can’t be described (though, you can try), only felt. And it induces a state of meditation. Zen Buddhists use Koan’s as a way to obtain enlightenment. It is possible to find an answer to a koan, but the answer is only true if it’s a personal realization and not a rationalized one.

With all that said, I’m pretty sure I was a Zen Buddhist in a previous life. I mean seriously! I read that the Dalai Lama has no tolerance for insincere people – and neither do I! And I intuitively sense when I meet an inauthentic human being. I’m not sure tolerance is the right word. Maybe no patience, or no time to be wasted by conversing with them.

I also get an insane amount of anxiety when I feel that I’ve hurt someone. Whether they are genuine or not, I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to hurt Christina for being how she is. You can’t make a person understand by hurting them, it’s just a cycle of anger and sadness. I would hurt her, and she hurts me back. Nothing is gained.

I’m going through a rough time. It’s not just because I want to quit my job at a time when I could really use the money (for Nepal), It doesn’t have anything to do with Christina or the man-baby. It has to do with my Mother. I still haven’t told her about Nepal and it’s tearing me up inside. I feel I’m being dishonest with her – this dishonesty is throwing me off balance. My guilt is wreaking havoc on me. I want to cry. I want to stay home just to appease her, but I know that’s the wrong thing to do. It’s the wrong thing for both of us. I’m hurting my Mother without her knowing I’m hurting her.

I’ll no doubt still lie to her about buying a resort package with a guided tour of Nepal. I have to lie. But it make me feel worse by telling her nothing at all. In this situation, I rationalize, that by me lying to her, I’m only hurting myself with guilt – but by telling her the truth, I’m relieving my guilt, and hurting her instead. Telling the truth to a person who will never understand, is hurtful. However, telling the truth to someone who would understand, is the liberating, respectable thing to do. Well, in this situation at least. Shit, I’m rambling.

But by lying to her, I’m secretly conveying the message that she’s incapable of changing herself or understanding. That she will always be a control freak and not expect much else out of her. This is a paradox. Did I just create another Koan?

I guess the best thing to do in this case is compromise. To grow by gaining small levels of understanding at a time. I’ll tell her I’m touring Nepal, but with a large group of tourists. She’ll become enlightened in increments.

I’m PMS’ing. This type of thought ALWAYS happens to me when I’m PMS’ing. I hate it. Absolutely hate it. Okay, so I was a Zen buddhist in a past life – whatever you say menstrual Mel!

I bought a book about meditation. This is the book:

This guy’s meditation technique is that there is no technique, no effort. It just simply is was it is.

I mix a little of my own technique with his no effort/no control way, and it seriously works. It works to quiet and untangle my brain.

When I meditate to find “quietness,” I feel a physical barrier. A wall. This “wall” feels like a fist that tightens the closer I come to it. It’s stifling, claustrophobic and has the same kind of pressure that you may feel from a headache, only it doesn’t hurt.

My technique to this fist in my head is to approach it lightheartedly without effort, and to visualize it tightening and then loosening. It doesn’t lose the shape of a fist when it loosens, but every time I squeeze it and release it, it’s able to relax slightly more after each pass. I tighten and loosen, tighten and it loosens some more. I do it to the rhythm of my breath. As I inhale, the fist tightens and on the exhale, loosens. And that impenetrable wall and pressure dissipates. It’s left open and free for idea’s to float in.

Of course as soon as I figured this out, I had to jump on my blog to write about it. My mind is a fist once again. I need to learn how to let go. That’s what it is with me. I have trouble letting go. It’s hard to let go of something when you don’t know what it is. I’m guessing it’s fear, or doubt maybe? I don’t know.

Am I done yet? Hmmm, I think so. Sorry for the weird post.

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Filed under All about me, random thoughts, Self help

Day three of Korea

It’s 9:18 am and I’m laying in bed counting down to when I can have my next dose of NyQuil.  They say you should only have one dose every six hours, but for me I need it every five. I’m impatiently waiting for the six-hour mark to roll around because I want to avoid further liver damage. 

This stuff is fabulous!  It puts me out for a good five hours of deep sleep – no more waking up thinking I’m riding on a train or a plane.

If I didn’t call out of work today, I would be half way done with my first massage.  I feel so horrible for going to work yesterday.  HORRIBLE!  I feel horrible because now my clients are going to get whatever I have – and whatever I have is bad, really bad.

I never get sick.  Whenever I hear people complaining about their ailments, I scoff and think to myself  “Stop being a baby and suck it up,”  now I’m the baby.  I am thee biggest baby out there.

I have a half hour before my scheduled NyQuil dose, so I have time to write about day three of Korea.

Kristina, Sarah and I wake up bright and early for our journey to the buddhist temple.  

It was a long walk to the temple, so we had to put on hiking attire.  I chose to wear my new shirt that I purchased for $3 on a street in Korea that reads: 

                                                           Paris in the world,

                                      There’s really only one Paris in the world.

We started our journey by hiking up this long, steep Korean street.  Anything uphill does not get along well with me, but I was hungry and Sarah said there was a cute restaurant in the shape of a mushroom when we arrive at the top.  Mushroom house was my incentive.

On our way there, we passed by a lot of strange little restaurants.  There are so many obscure places to eat in Korea. 

This is one of the restaurants, but you eat outside in campy-looking tents.

Anyway, we arrive at the mushroom house and order the pork.  It was the best tasting pork dish that I ever had in my life!  It was delicious.  Fortunately I remembered to take a picture of it half way through.

This was considered an upscale place to eat in Korea.  They served us western-style by giving us soup and salad to start, and then the main course.  I felt rich and privileged for eating there, even though the whole meal only cost $13.  They served us a glass of hot water when we first arrived.  I thought maybe hot water was a Korean thing, but they were the only restaurant to do that.

Five more minutes until my Nyquil – yay.

Okay, so we hike a little bit more up the hill after we eat.  We walk past some angry turtle monuments.

And some writing etched in rocks.

Sarah poses.

Kristina poses.

And we arrive at the temple.

It is time for my NyQuil.  Here we go, down the hatch.  Ahhh, much better.

We go inside one of the temples and see people praying.  When you see it done in the movies, it’s different.  When you see it done in person, it’s very strange.  People sit or Kneel on pillows in front of a statue of buddha and stand up, then bow down, stand up and bow down.  I didn’t want to leave until I counted how many times this is done, but it became too strange for us to be there after maybe three or four minutes so we left.

They say Buddhism isn’t a religion, it’s spirituality.  But the way those people were praying – some sitting and studying scriptures, some sitting with prayer beads and others going up and down, up and down on their hands and knee’s makes it feel like a religion to me.

In my opinion, I think religion is any type of worship – person, place or thing.  I love my camera – that can be a religion.  But what my camera does for me, that’s spiritual.  Can spiritual growth only happen out of loving something?

I think the NyQuil is kicking in.

It was old inside the temple except for an oddly placed clock hanging up on the wall.  It looked like a cheap plastic clock you can buy at walmart for $5.  I kept staring at it and then staring at the people praying, and then I would look at the buddha statue – something just felt off.

Trail to the monastery.

Doorway shot.

A real life monk!

After checking out the temple’s, we go on a long, arduous trek up the mountain. 

This was no easy task, but I give myself props for doing it.  The hike seemed like five hours almost all uphill.  It was insane, but glorious.  I must have had some divine intervention beside me pumping my body full of electrolytes because I was totally up for the challenge.

Kristina, Sarah and I all laugh hysterically when we see this pic of Sarah with her hair poofed out.

I taken so many awesome pic’s, but I’m going to put them on Flickr rather than post them all here.  I’ll only post the bare essential photo’s here.

When we reached the top, it was pretty cool.

After we reached the top, there was even more trail to hike on.

But we were still happy.

Oh I’m so tired, but I want to finish out this day. 

When we made it to the end of the trail, we taken a crazy bus ride all the way down the mountain.  It was like being on a rollercoaster –  I loved it.  It was even more spectacular while listening to Rockapella on my Ipod.

Later that day, we went to a Korean barbecue (at least I think that’s what it was) and sat on the floor for our meal.  Shoe’s come off at the door.

I like the way the food looks before its cooked.

My friends are adorable!

Most places in Korea serve water in strange plastic containers they leave out on the table’s.  It’s strange because all restaurants do this – in the same non-elegant plastic containers.

And you drink your water out of a metal drinking glass.

Okay, more bed for me.  I’m beat.

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My church Experience

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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I don’t understand why healthy, emotionally sane people attend church every week.  I went tonight to try and understand. 

I went with Holly and her younger brother who are both saints and church-goers themselves.

We file into a pew, and instead of listening to the sermon, I was fixated to a pre-teen boy sitting directly in front of me.  He would blow his nose in a tissue and then examine the tissue.  He would do this repeatedly with the same tissue.  It was mesmerizing.  And since I was sitting directly behind him, I was privy to see the contents of the tissue.

The choir was excellent, I’ll give them that.  I got to belt out a few Christmas carols.  It wasn’t before long that I was holding back tears.  I was touched.  Singing alongside my fellow Cheshire kinsfolk in a lively little church in my hometown touches me.  How can I not cry?  Everyone belting out christmas hymns, matching my enthusiasm, sharing the same love of the song – it’s really heartfelt, what more can I say?

I learned to control these tears by keeping my face as emotionally sterile as possible.  It works.

Okay, so I understand that church is heartfelt and warming – essential to people going through crisis, but to go every week?  It reminds me of AA, a constant reminder to stay on track. 

I feel like I’m missing the essential components needed to attend church religiously, but I don’t know what those components are.  Am I not saintly enough?

I can’t seem to commit myself to anything anyway, so why would church be any different?

I use to play World of Warcraft, but couldn’t fully commit to my guild and raiding for 6 hours a night.  I can’t even be a proper geek. 

Maybe I have attention deficit disorder.  That’s why I couldn’t pay attention to the sermon, and why I can’t sit still and raid for 7 hours.  That’s it!  I have ADD!  I can get myself medicated and then go to church and finally understand it.

………….

I’m going to watch Ong-Bak the Thai warrior now.  My brother recommended it to me.  He know’s I like Kung Fu flicks. 

I’m in a weird mood.

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My weird day

I have a severely depressed client who comes to see me once a month.  Today she was telling me how lonely she is and has nothing in her life that makes her happy.

I have a hard time listening to people and keeping my mouth shut.  I like to offer words of encouragement other than, “hang in there bucko,” or “things will get better.”  How would I know if things will get better?  And who the hell is bucko?

Client – I am just so unhappy.  I don’t know what to do.

Me – The Dalai Lama believes that happiness comes when you’re in the pursuit of obtainable goals.

I sounded like a self-help book.

Client – I think it’s so important to be around smart caring people.

Me – Socrates believed that kindness and knowledge go hand-in-hand.

As the hour wore on, I started running out of fortune cookie advice.

Me – Have you ever thought about getting a pet?

Me – Maybe you should try feng shui.

By the time the massage was over, I told her to move back to Poland, read Harry Potter and join Match.com.

I walked to Starbucks in the wind and rain to log into my blog, but the power was out.  Lights were eerily flickering on and off.  There was no music and only the sound of rain beating against the glass.

I ran back to work and massaged my next client – my adorable cop.  Then massaged a woman who I never met before (she was also depressed).  We lost power at the end of the massage.  It was pitch black in the massage room and I had a faint image of my client turning into a zombie and attacking me.

I’m in a weird mood.  I can’t focus on anything.  I feel like I’ve been drugged.  I’m going to watch 4 episodes of Spartacus and go to bed.

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