Friday, January 01, 2010

A couple weeks ago at my old lady yoga class (not billed as such, but it's community ed and definitely attracts clientele of a Certain Age), the teacher was leading us through a chakra meditation. This particular teacher, by the way, excels in the guided meditation bit of the class. I was totally surprised by this, based on her goofy, somewhat unfocused teaching style, but it was a good lesson in giving people a nice long stretch in which to make their first impression.

Anyway, so there I was, lying on the heated floor (yessss) of this rec center with the frozen lake the same pale color as the sky right outside, turning my attention to these chakras that I can barely grasp or visualize, and when we got to the heart chakra my body tweaked out. It was completely involuntary, but my breathing got fast and shallow, and I was about to cry. Something was lurching up inside me. It felt like a slap upside the head.

So naturally I haven't been back to the class since then. What, it's a busy time of year.

Around the same time, I did a fundraising concert in Wisco with a couple of friends with whom it's easy to get into discussions about personal philosophy, and Buddhism came up just as it did the last time we were all together doing a fundraising concert (or more precisely, carpooling to or from a distant fundraising concert). Please bear in mind that I wouldn't say that I have even a dilettante's understanding of Buddhism--despite having an actual Buddhist preschool in the family--so I will quickly get into Modern Jackass territory if I try to summarize anything about Buddhism. What I can say with authority is that the notion of freeing myself from desire has never, in the past, seemed interesting or practical to me. It always seemed like a cop-out, a way to relinquish responsibility or to refuse to strive for anything important.

But a little something clicked in my brain on this recent car ride, and I grokked that my own grasping or craving is what ends up disquieting me most in life. And that contrary to what I thought before, detaching myself from this grasping would be along the lines of taking radical responsibility for myself rather than renouncing responsibility altogether. And also, that it might be a relief.

As with most of my mini-epiphanies, its strength has faded a bit since I had it. I'm not saying I'm any better at freeing myself from desire than I was a couple of weeks ago, but it has certainly given me something to think about, on this day that we tend to look both backward and forward.

The resolutions this year will be miniature as usual, since I think I can attribute my success of the past two years to Aiming Low. In 2009 I didn't eat a single potato chip and I also became a habitual flosser (as in, I actually feel weird if I don't floss. This is major). Most of the time (but not every night), I cleaned the dishes in the sink before I went to bed, and I'm okay with that success level. So here's the deal for 2010:
  • I'm going to buy far fewer canned goods. We have bulk bins galore in this town and I have a perfectly good freezer in which to store overabundant cooked beans. Tomatoes will be the most difficult thing. I didn't can any in 2009, though I did freeze some; I use a lot of canned tomatoes in cooking, so:
  • Another resolution, though I won't be able to test it out for like 8 or 9 months, is to can tomatoes this year.
  • And I'm going to make yogurt, since we go through a lot of it. I'm tired of containers. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of recycling we still have to undertake even after eliminating a lot of packaging from our lives. The little bits of plastic that I see everywhere, that we cannot seem to avoid, make me sick and sad, particularly when I think about animals with their guts full of plastic bits that they mistook for food.
I still haven't decided if I'm going to eliminate another pernicious snack food this year, but I'll keep you posted on that and my Eightfold Path, should I end up following it (though I don't really know how anyone could argue with it).

Also, if you would like a 3 CD mix of volume-corrected, BPM-matched boogie down tunes, please email mavenhaven on ye olde gmail. I made a pretty damn good playlist for my sister for Christmas; it seems a shame not to disseminate it.


  1. Hi, it's a very great blog.
    I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
    Keep doing!

  2. Haha! Word, Olive!

    Yo, I would like a mix CD.

    Also, I look forward to hearing more about these thoughts and resolutions.

  3. Nice blog! Just stumbled across it using the "next blog" function, and for once Blogspot got my interests right!

    Look forward to reading in the future,