I'm Just Saying…

April 24, 2016

The Meditation Cushion Provocation

A meditation cushion inspired this post.

Not meditation.  The cushion.

If I hadn’t been provoked, I wouldn’t have made the observation. Maybe I should have called the post, The Meditation Cushion Observation.

Too late now. I’ll come back to that in a minute…

Writers observe. Everything. It’s in the job description. That’s a good thing.

Or is it?

Instead of being in the moment, we’re standing outside it, watching.

I think we do this because our heads are filled with characters running amok, like a non-stop house party where your rude guests keep you up all night, and then ignore you anyway. Writers are captives to these pesky, yet much loved boarders. We would be lost without them, so we’re always looking for material for them.

Playwright and screenwriter Phoebe Ephron, mother of my idol, Nora Ephron, had a particular writing philosophy: Everything is copy.

I believe it.

I think I had been  observing for copy long before I realized I was doing it. Take, for example, my father’s funeral. I remember it well…

There we all are, sitting in solemn silence as the rabbi gives the eulogy.

And then the beeper goes off.

The rabbi’s beeper.

Twice.

At the time, in the middle of my shock and grief, I think… does this happen at other funerals? Do other families have the memorial service for their loved one interrupted by a beeper?

The beeper belonging to their chosen clergyman.

Twice.

I bet they don’t.

Nope. Just my family.

Later, when time had passed, I didn’t look back on this event with bitterness or indignation. No, I thought, “I need to use this in a story.”

Is that good? Not sure.

Even The Rodent Materialization Excitation of 2012 has been used for fiction fodder.

Sidebar: you will never find Disney’s Ratatouille on my DVR.

Ever.

So what can I do?  It’s futile to fight it. I’m wired this way. But I do wonder…is something greater at work here?

As soon as something untoward happens, my friend Rebecca automatically points the finger at “The Universe,” (when she’s not sighing, “Jesus take the wheel”). This “Universe,” this ethereal something or other, doing something or other in our lives, is seen as a culprit, up to no good. But I do wonder, could “The Universe” be helping me by sending the odd, the unusual, and the downright shitty my way?

After all, I do need material.

Is “The Universe” putting me in these situations, forcing me to examine human nature—and providing copy?

So back to The Meditation Cushion Provocation

I’m taking a certification course as a Meditation Instructor.

I order a meditation cushion for my practice. I use a delivery address other than my home.

I’ve used this address many times. No problemo.

I get a message from Amazon. They can’t deliver my meditation cushion to my chosen address.

I contact Amazon customer service (which is awesome, by the way) and speak to the rep (who is very nice).

We have a conference call with a rep for a  Carrier Who Shall Remain Nameless (Also nice. Not helpful, but nice).

I am waiting for my meditation cushion, I say. Deliveries have been made to the given address before, I say.

I get “the speech.” Do you know about the speech? It’s the one that tells you your customer satisfaction is about to nosedive right into the toilet.

“I don’t know why the driver made deliveries to that address in the past. He should not have done that.”

Yes, Yes he should have. He should have done it now. If he did, I would have my meditation cushion.

The Amazon rep is a trooper. Seriously.  She’s in there working for a win-win solution.

Thank you Amazon sales representative. Thank you for trying to help me get my meditation cushion.

“We can deliver the package to a holding center,” says the rep for the Carrier Who Shall Remain Nameless.

Awesome. I can get my meditation cushion.

“For pickup you need to present legal identification with an address matching the address on the package.”

And we’re a no-go on the meditation cushion.

I give it one last try.

“Can I give you a different address for delivery?”

“The sender has restrictions on the package.”

Impossible. This is a meditation cushion. Meditation leads to liberation. Restrictions are the antithesis of meditation cushions. Abhorrent. Anathema. No-No’s.

“I’m not allowed to accept changes of address,” says the rep for The Carrier Who Shall Remain Nameless.

That’s a  negative on the meditation cushion.

As my temper goes to boil, I have a thought…

Hmmm, what would happen if I went batshit crazy right now because I can’t get my meditation cushion?

Would my kickass Amazon customer service representative find it odd that I study meditation and go batshit crazy because of non-delivery of my meditation cushion?

Would she conclude meditation is ineffective and a waste of time if I scream, “I WANT MY MEDITATION CUSHION, BITCH!”

I don’t do that.

But hey, I think, what if I write a story where someone DOES go batshit over non-delivery of their meditation cushion?

I may not have my meditation cushion but I have a kickass scene idea for a story.

I may not have my meditation cushion but it’s been a great day, creatively speaking!

Yay for creativity! Way to go Universe!

I cancelled the order.

Someday I’ll tell you about the doctor’s office incident.

You can remind me. Just mention “The Octogenarian Xenophobe Encounter” and that should do it.

Someday I’ll use it in a story.

Yup.

Thank you, Universe.

I think.

 

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December 13, 2012

The “Annus Horribilis”

Filed under: Daily Life — jillamyrosenblatt @ 10:13 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

It was the rat that did it. As the repugnant rodent scurried out from under the stove, I knew a year that had started off poorly and progressed steadily downhill, had given up the ghost. My response was that of any normal, reasonable person: I began to scream like a banshee.

There are certain years that should be written off, stricken from the record, banished to the no-man’s land of irretrievable memory. In those years, when someone comments to me in December, “I can’t believe this year is almost over,” I respond in a heartbeat: “Good riddance.” Such was my 2012.

I admit to a yin-yang view of life’s difficulties. Even as trouble parks itself at my door, I am mindful that somewhere on someone else’s doorstep sits an even bigger pile of crap. I’ve even adopted quaint platitudes to downplay the bumps in my road such as “Not a problem,” “I can deal with this,” and my personal favorite, “It’s not a kidney.”

My “don’t worry, be happy” stance is further complicated by sound bites from my Judeo-Christian upbringing, liberally sprinkled with Buddhist and Taoist tidbits. With all this in mind, my 2012 breaks down roughly like this:

Late January – Early February: Breakup with boyfriend I thought was “the one.” (Studying for Master’s Degree.)
Judeo-Christian Wisdom: Fear not, God has a plan for your life. This wasn’t the right road. You don’t want to be on the wrong road? Do you? Well, do you? Hunh?
Buddhist Wisdom: Desire leads to suffering. Suffering clouds vision and judgment. Practice non-desire and learn how to “see” clearly. (NOTE: consuming copious amount of Häagen Dazs post-breakup does NOT improve mental and emotional “sight.” I’m just saying.)
Taoist Wisdom: Relax, be still. Let life flow, like water trickling over rocks in the stream.
Jewish Mother’s Wisdom: There are plenty of other “pebbles” in the stream.

 
Mid February – Early May: Persistent, painful right ear infection requires multiple courses of antibiotics. (Still studying for Master’s Degree. )
Judeo-Christian Wisdom: Either A) Into each life comes suffering, B) God never gives anyone more than they can handle, or C) God is testing you, to help you grow. Choose growth maxim of your choice, whatever works for you.
Buddhist Wisdom: The word Dukkha means suffering. Everyone experiences dukkha. As dukkha begins, it must also eventually end. However, there is another word, karma. Karma is the concept of cosmic payback. If you do something bad, then bad things will come back to you. Houston, do we have a problem?
Taoist Wisdom: Your body is out of balance with nature. Your life is not in harmony. Relax into the flow of life until you return to balance.
Jewish Mother’s Wisdom: You want balance? Eat chicken soup, put your books away, and get more than four hours of sleep a night.

 

Late May – Mid October: Mother falls at the gym and breaks a wrist. Ear infection returns, blooms into a throat infection. More courses of antibiotics. (Still studying for Master’s Degree. )
Judeo Christian Wisdom: Some are chosen to go through times of trial but everything happens for a reason. Don’t be upset if everyone shuns you like a leper. They’re afraid your “kiss of disaster” aura is going to rub off.
Buddhist Wisdom: Think carefully. Did you insult anyone? Push an old lady off the curb? Kick a dog? Make a baby cry? Something? Anything?
Taoist Wisdom: Do not struggle against the tide of each day. Let your actions flow. Immerse yourself in each task naturally, without thought. This is known as “doing by non-doing”.
Jewish Mother’s Wisdom: You want to do something? Bring me an extra pillow to prop up my arm. This freakin’ cast weighs a ton.

 
November: Rodent visitors in the kitchen. (Finishing Master’s Thesis. Less than one month to defense presentation.)
Judeo-Christian Wisdom: I’m out. I’ve got nothing.
Buddhist Wisdom: Your karma is shot to shit. Burn sage. Try a cleanse. Hire a Feng Shui consultant. At this point, anything is an improvement.
Taoist Wisdom: Find a new stream. Better yet, get yourself a boat and ride the stream out of town. You need a change of zip code, my friend.
Jewish Mother’s Wisdom: Thank God this year is almost over. And will you stop reading all that crap? Shit happens.

 
So the rodents came. I became hysterical and abandoned the kitchen. However, I lost those ten extra pounds. You see? It’s that yin and yang again. I’m still afraid to go into the kitchen but it wasn’t a kidney. I’ve never mastered the balance between “there are people who have it worse,” and “everything is relative.”

 
I do worry that my off-kilter Karma won’t right itself. In the meantime, I’m going to fool the fates. This New Year’s Eve I will be in bed with the lights out by ten o’clock. There will be no toasts, no predictions, and absolutely no resolutions. I’m going off the grid. I’m going dark. The last time I made the mistake of saying “I think it’s going to be a great year,” I had an $800 car repair bill and a cracked molar before Groundhog Day.

I’m just saying.

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