Lola Bites Back: And Other Inspirational Tidbits

Location: Bissingen an der Teck, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany

Laughing all the way...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Small Existential Crisis

Words are not coming. I can’t read. I am sleepless and restless. My mind is confounded and my body is frozen by inaction. The will that was before strong and clear has drifted softly away. Complicit acceptance looms, my inévitable fate as I sink slowly into the quicksand of resignation. It is a question of time, only.

There are two powerful, ideologically opposed elements tugging the opposite ends of the rope stretched over the pool of mud that is my mind.

My mind is trapped in gridlock, struggling to process the facts and information at hand; the growing need for work, the ‘’need’’ to settle down and the environment pressuring me to do so. It seems to be the greatest riddle of my life. Undescribable. Inevitable.

And yet, my spirit is plagued by the persistent, increasingly urgent need to soar..

with love always,

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The single flashing silver hair on the top of my head
proclaims both The Glory and The Wear of Aging

I've been off the radar for the last three weeks, but never should there be any concern because I'm definitely, without any doubt, on God's Radar. That is, however you prefer to characterize it, God, Mother Nature (Mother Ganga, The Moon, The Sun, The Mountains...), and all my many Guardian Angels and Supersouls have been busy cooking up fun new ways to teach me important stuff.

Unfortunately, I've been stricken with writer's block for about ten days now. While in theory I love to write, sometimes the words just don't come. I start and stop writing in fits until I've amassed a hodgepodge of crap that overwhelms me, like right now. In fact, I'm so tired of this block that I'm hoping to end the misery today, preferably in the next hour.

It doesn't help that I'm already suffering the next round of PMS. I know it's not standard for women to speak openly about pre-menstrual schizophrenia (PMS), but I don't care. I stopped taking the birth control pill several years ago and only now has my body finally managed to return to its natural cycle. Mama forgot to mention it, but turns out my natural cycle is a borderline normal 21-days. That means fully two-thirds of my life is spent battling the insanity brought on by raging horomones. It's like this: one week of pre-menstrual schizophrenia, one week bleeding like a stuck pig, one week off; repeat forty years.

At the moment it's overcast and raining as I lounge on the terrasse, lingering over my pumpkin-spiced coffee with vanilla soymilk and wondering how I might take stock of the last weeks for the growing constellation of friends, family, and other concerned parties - a.k.a. my dear readers - who may be checking in. But where to start?

Don't Strongly Dislike Anything as It Will Certainly Come To You

The mantra of my past life - Comfort in all Circumstances - has been brutally deposed. As I wrap up the end of my second full year of gypsyhood, and just as I start to think it's maybe not so much fun anymore, God and my supersouls have seen fit to crank it up a bit. I suspect they are giggling now as I realize that not only am I more of a gypsy than ever, but it's looking like I may be one for another year or more..

Since I arrived here in June I have mostly managed to live in a place by myself with at least regular access to a telephone. But now I have achieved a new level of limbo, spending weekdays in the suburbs and weekends in the city, living everywhere and nowhere at the same time. As a full-time guest and visitor, I'm never quite sure where I might do my next load of laundry. And it definitely means the end of my hours upon hours of telephone calls to California every day. As Swamiji would say, moving around from place to place is a great way to train ourselves to let go of the ego, as it requires us to constantly adapt to the needs of our hosts.

I am reminded of the life of a Sadhu, a wandering monk in the Hindu tradition. That is, a Sadhu commits to a life on the move by changing places at least every third day. The purpose of this lifestyle is to prevent the Sadhu from developing attachments in life, specifically and most importantly the attachment to comfort.

Okay so I don't move every three days (Thank you, God), but I do start to understand that whether or not I have the opportunity to settle down, I have to be content with everything and anything. I must drop my notions of what it means to settle down and learn to be comfortable with what I get. If God plans another year of gypsy life for me, then so be it. Comfort in all circumstances has become contentment in all circumstances.

May the Fourth Decade Commence

The disappearance of my beloved ring last Christmas signaled the end of an era. It was the ring my mother gave to me after I graduated from University, a wide band of white gold that I wore continuously for seven years. In an instant, my precious ring was callously and mercilessly swallowed up by the Arabian Sea. To realize it was gone forever made my heart sink and contract for some days. Like losing a pinkie finger with one hack of the machete; in one swift, searing pain, at least the worst is over. Like the way we killed the chicken last summer, only in that case it was four hacks.

While our bodies grow old and lose power over time, our minds and soul have unlimited potential. Just as a wine can evolve and improve over time - building depth and nuance and complexity - so can the soul and mind. Whether we emerge in the end as a fine wine to be celebrated or a spoilt one to be tossed out and forgotten is for us to decide each and every day.

As they often do, my musings lead me back to the basics, in this case to the virtue of Patience. With the practice of Patience, all things will be revealed and all things revealed will be right. Personally, I struggle with the implementation of this thing called patience.

Good Enough is Better

Uncle Frank and I spent nearly two full weeks painting a beautiful condominium overlooking the Lac du Bord in Dorval, a cute, small redneck burb just south of Montreal. The majority of that time I was either crouched on the floor painting floorboards or balanced on the top of a ladder to reach crown mouldings. It seems I may have some painting skill, but conventional painter's wisdom says anyone can paint well if they take their sweet time. And the fact of the matter is that I must continuously fight the urge for perfection in favor of speed.

Because it's true that when the paint is dry, you can't see the itty bitty lines anymore, especially when you're not crouched on the floor with your face six inches away. But it is a battle. It's pain to limit myself to four or five finishing brushstrokes instead of fifteen. I just really, really like it when the itty bitty paint grooves are horizontal and continuous.

So then, after nearly two full weeks of this particular activity - including cramped hands, popping hips and kneecaps, five memorable days of raging PMS and one seriously funky ankle - I finally came to admit, accept and agree that perfection is not always best. To improve as a painter, I must learn to accept some imperfection. Uncle Frank is right to stress the importance of balancing quality and speed, because sometimes, good enough is better.

Good enough is better. I guess I will need time to absorb this one because it literally boggles my mind, but that's the lesson I'm taking away from this experience anyway.


My inclination is to spend another three or four hours musing for you, and for me, but I must make my way now to the French Consulate and find out if there is any way for me to get papers over there. I don't love the French any more than you do, but apparently it's in the cards, and one beautiful thing about aging is that I no longer have to question my path. It just gets revealed. I'm in God's daycare now.

With greatest love and affection,