Friday, September 17, 2010

Mountain High Enough

The more I meditate, the more I suck at it.

I’m fine with that. I think meditating is like doing pirouettes, where you have to get worse at 'em before you get better. Try to do one more than you usually do and the first few times you’re knocked on your ass or out of orbit, flailing and flapping all chickenly. It’d be hard for a chicken to do a pirouette, though, since they’re all about head bobbing. Can you even imagine? That would just get confusing for both chicken and viewer, should the chicken be on, say, Dancing with the Stars

Argghhh! Digress? Yes! But actually that’s exactly what happens in meditation. Thoughts fly in out of nowhere, and you’re supposed to let them float by like clouds. I had one thought recently during meditation that was so enticing, calling to me like a Siren—oh, let’s up the ante and make it a dark chocolate-wielding Siren with a basket of French bulldog puppies—that I had to just freakin’ flow with it.

I don’t know if it had to do with the fact that I was sitting directly in front of the air conditioning unit, but I started thinking about major league-level peace as a gi-normous snow-covered mountain.

Oh wait, it’s not just a mountain…it’s a cat as big as one! We’re talking Himalayan-sized, fur bright & snow-white. The cat’s shoulder blades form a big valley, the line of the spine a ridge, the tail a trail to the mountain’s base… And since we’re in the Himalayas, that means hundreds of gi-normous kitties all hanging out together!

It’s sort of surprising that I would envision peace as a mountain, since I function optimally at sea level. OK, I get majorly creeped out at the thought of being landlocked. I didn’t realize this until my infamous Denver vacation in the late 1990s. Here I am at the Buffalo Bill museum in Golden on our first full day, smiling like an idiot who had no idea in 20 minutes she’d be passing out just outside the door of her hotel room:

Even though we’d also just toured the Hakushika Sake Factory, I wasn’t drunk—I didn’t even take a sip! I realize in hindsight I must have been finishing up acclimating to the higher elevation, because I was right as rain after that, line dancing and riding the mechanical bull at the Grizzly Rose and hiking like a pro…until I read the travel guide in the car en route to Colorado Springs. Elevation sickness…what the heck is that?

So, of course, over the next few hours I gradually began to cook up interesting symptoms for myself, like dizziness and shortness of breath. I did such good work that my friend and cotraveler Petra had to drive me to the emergency room in the middle of the night, where they determined the level of oxygen in my blood was higher than most Colorado natives, but gave me a bunch of it anyway. The ER doctor was so, so sweet, and told me in the kindest way to put a bag over my head and get therapy. (Dude, I’d been all over that already for years!)

Does it come down to this—that ignorance is bliss? Because I have in fact displayed my best self on a mountain top. Here, just check this out:

This photo was taken in Greece, roughly a decade before the Colorado incident. We’re on an archaeology field trip during my semester abroad in college, and I’m pretty sure we’re somewhere in the Peloponnesus. That thing in the middle is a big honkin’ loaf of bread that I did not carefully arrange as the scene suggests but FLUNG there randomly from many feet away. See how it landed so perfectly? At the time it seemed a powerful sign to me—art is random and magic and everyone has the power to create, and you can find it anywhere if you just take a chance.

I don’t know why I was throwing bread, but I am sorry, Greece, for littering. And I hope the birds ate it.

Music for when the elevation gets you down

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hey, Venus! Oh, Venus!

Astrologically speaking, my Venus is in Aries. It’s not the best placement, since Venus is all love and harmony and passivity, and Aries is all forceful and active and competitive. The nicest way I’ve seen Venus in Aries described comes courtesy of Lyn Birkbeck in Do It Yourself Astrology: “Your love nature can be condensed into one small and simple word—imp. You are impish in that you are naughty and delight in getting others to misbehave. You are impudent in your manner of boldly and shamelessly pursuing the object of your desires…In other words, you have a rather primitive approach that can be either enchanting or disenchanting…

Does making out with a random antiques dealer in his booth at the Pier Show some time back count? There may or may not have been other customers there at the time, but yes, this is an example of Venus in Aries in all its blood-galloping-to-groin glory…

I was with my fellow flea market huntress, the beautiful and Barbie-loving Rebecca, when we passed a booth displaying vintage sunglasses—R. going for big bubblegum-colored plastic 70s models, me liking a pair of 50s-ish gold-framed Ray Bans.

And yes, even more eye candy (GROAN! I know, that was soooo lame): the dealer, wearing a dark blue British Mod-era suit (with a polka-dot shirt, or am I projecting?) and looking a-whole-freakin’-lot like Dave Davies of the Kinks, circa 1967:

Heart aflutter, I went home and, in typical Venus in Aries style, started hatching a plan that involved—, I am so lame—me handing Dave-alike a business/calling card that featured a graphic of a bob-haired flapper releasing a tiny man from a gilt cage. (Err…I designed them myself.)

I went back the next Saturday, only to totally chicken out.

But don’t worry—Cupid calls, stupid follows unawares. I got back on the horse the next day, now-or-nevering in vintage brown H Bar C hip huggers and cowboy boots and honestly, I don’t know what I said or how we got there, but yes, French kissing in the corner.

There were a few assignations after that, though I’m not sure Bing approved. Well, OK, I’m positive Bing didn’t approve. He told the animal communicator to tell me: “First Name doesn’t let you be yourself. He wants to control everything, and he wants you to pay attention to him and not take care of your own life.”

Added Bing, “It’s not serving you.”

Bing was right, of course. First Name and I were not to be. He was chockful of issues—from being abducted by an alien to his inability to commit. I totally supported him on the alien front—didn’t you guys see Communion?—but blabbering about his commitment issues really did it for me.

You see, Venus in Aries folks don’t really like to think ahead too much or talk about that stuff in the beginning stages of romance. The idea of putting a name or a definition on something like a relationship is just…bad manners. Would you stand up in the middle of an incredible film and whine about how it might end? Love is best savored in the present state, and of course dreamed and schemed about in each and every in between. In reality, if you motor down that path too wholeheartedly, you’re ultimately left, well, brokenhearted at worst and unsatisfied at best.

The moral of the story? Listen to what the Bing says.

For those who need a sign
Funky Pretty, The Beach Boys for my Pisces lady friends

Two lonely people, the helpless kind?! Dave, you're killing me. One of my top 2 Kinks songs, Love Me Till The Sun Shines:

P.S. Along a similar vein, but this one took place during the gift show at the Javitts Center during the earliest days of my editorial career: I was supposed to be going around looking for juicy stuff to report on, and stopped at a booth where a completely stereotypical surfer dude was debuting his handmade boomerangs. This was so not what we were covering (think Precious Moments and duck-stamp art), but the guy was so eager and sweet, I had to stop. Before I knew what was happening, he was pulling me behind a curtain and shoving his tongue down my throat. Are you thinking I should have been scared? Trust me, it was just a kiss, albeit a sloppy one, and he was totally harmless—think adolescent, unneutered dog—and I was on my way, notebook and business cards in hand, within 30 seconds.