Lola Bites Back: And Other Inspirational Tidbits

Location: Bissingen an der Teck, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany

Laughing all the way...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Today's Inspiration Replaced By Media Binge

Dr. Oberhauser's diagnosis was straightforward enough: "There's somebody in there." And there he was, a little blob with a head and a flashing light for a heartbeat. Who knew a person the size of a peanut could wreak such havoc?

That is, I've been unspeakably miserable for the last six weeks, dizzy and nauseated from morning until night. It's as though an alien has taken over my body. I'm nauseated on an empty stomach and nauseated on a full one. I spend most of my day in bed as my present condition has made nearly every activity impossible. And I haven't even gotten to the alarming physical developments, which I will spare you for now.

On the brighter side, however, I will say that pregnancy is better than electro-shock therapy.

. . . . .

In the throes of my wretchedness, I rediscovered books. While I was a full-time gypsy, reading was a distraction from the experience of life, so I was compelled to give it up. Suddenly, I found that reading was the only way to escape the experience of life - that is, the unrelenting nausea and headaches - and the result is that I've read more books in the last month than I have in the last four years. Here's a quick rundown of my findings:

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is an unparalleled autobiographical adventure set in the slums of Bombay. The author is a writer turned felon/escaped convict/slum doctor/mafioso and the book is entirely impossible to put down, no matter who you are. If you have ever known the joy of escaping into a really great story, this is it.

Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse is another page-turning adventure story set in medieval Germany. Narcissus is the analytical, logical thinker living the predictable life of a monk while Goldmund is the passionate adventurer living the life of player/wandering gypsy. Plenty of philosophical undercurrents to provoke thoughtful discussion, particularly if you are either a monk or a wandering gypsy.

Berlin, The Downfall 1945 by Antony Beevor is a fascinating if somewhat painfully detailed account of the dying breaths of the Third Reich. Great for people with no general historical education (a.k.a. me).

A Passage to India by E.M. Forester is the only "classic" book that disappointed me. Set in India during British occupation, the dialogue was unrealistic and the plot was boring. Guess you had to be there.

. . . . .

Then, after I'd finished every previously unread English novel in the house, the internet man came and blessed (cursed?) us and now I'm addicted to watching documentaries online. The following is a rundown of my recent forays:

Reincarnation: Dr. Ian Stevensen from the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia collects and studies the cases of children who recall and talk about their past lives in detail, usually between the ages of 2-6. Thousands of cases worldwide have been investigated with the details of past lives verified. Fun stuff!

Vitamins are a questionable source of health, if they actually break down and/or get absorbed into the body. And some vitamins become toxic when taken in large amounts, i.e. beta carotene causing increased incidence of lung cancer in smokers and Vitamin A causing osteoporosis.

Aspartame: Plenty of evidence detailing the toxic effects of this chemical additive, as well as the dodgy way it was pushed through the FDA by none other than Mr. Rumsfeld himself. Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal) is a sugar replacement found in many diet products including sodas and sugarless gum. It's linked to neurological problems and disorders such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, fibromyalgia and lupus, among others.

GMO foods are created by splicing animal or human DNA code into plant DNA to give plants specific properties. Examples: flounder blood genes spliced into tomato DNA, making them resistant to frostbite and Monsanto soyabeans modified to be resistant to Roundup (tm), the chemical pesticide sold by Monsanto. The problems here are multi-faceted: First, nobody ever studied what the effects are on consumers. Second, the GMO versions of food slowly replace the natural ones (there are no longer any non-GMO soyabeans or canola left)...In other words, unlike chemical contamination, DNA contamination is self-reproducing, making it difficult if not impossible to undo.

Vaccinations: There is no empirical evidence that vaccines have stopped the spread of disease, but plenty of evidence that better hygiene, a cleaner food supply and better living conditions have. Vaccines are loaded with all kinds of dodgy ingredients, including formaldehyde, mercury, aborted fetal tissue, animal bits, thimerosal and other chemicals I can't name. These things are injected directly into the blood stream, bypassing the body's natural defenses, often at a young age. Autism as well as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) are just two of the many adverse health consequences attributed to vaccines.

Curing Diabetes: Lastly, six diabetic Americans check into an Arizona clinic and eat nothing but raw food for 30 days. Result is all of them stop taking insulin, stop all their medications and see their diabetes reversed. I particularly liked this one because it seems to corroborate the notion that many "terminal" and/or "chronic" disease can be cured or reversed through long-term fasting, as held in ancient Ayurvedic tradition.

It's not hard to see what the common denominator is here: money. Companies make money selling stuff, whether it's aspartame, vitamins, GMO foods or chemicals or patents or vaccines or insulin. The scary thing is that our government treats Americans like helpless guinea pigs, and unless we take pains to educate ourselves, we essentially are.

. . . . .

Happily, my media binge has seen me through the worst and my nausea is finally beginning to subside. Doc says I should be nausea-free within a couple weeks, but I'm hoping for sooner than that 'cause next week I'm heading to Munich for another round of masochistic meditation. I'm not exactly prepared for it, seeing as how I've been laying around in my bed like a diseased chicken for the last month, but what the hell? Ha hah haah!

Signing out for now,
an inspiration-challenged LMH

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

"It was shameless how life made fun of one; it was a joke, a cause for weeping! Either one lived and let one's senses play, drank full at the primitive mother's breast--which brought great bliss but was no protection against death; then one lived like a mushroom in the forest, colorful today and rotten tomorrow. Or else one put up a defense, imprisoned oneself for work and tried to build a monument to the fleeting passage of life--then one renounced life, was nothing but a tool; one enlisted in the service of that which endured, but one dried up in the process and lost one's freedom, scope, lust for life."
-H. Hesse

Only One Way To Find Out

In the last weeks, as I've laid in bed with the worst sickness I've had since the last one (April, bronchitis, New Delhi), I've been acutely aware of the abrupt break in my blague communications and the anxious effect it must have produced, given the radical turns my life has taken in the last months.

And now, inspired by the prose of Hermann Hesse, I'm in the mood to recapitulate.

The shock of my unforeseen and dramatic shift from Indian Gypsy to German Hausfrau, my current, rather wretched physical state and the relative isolation of a new and different culture have reawakened the philosopher within.

I have never pretended to know what I wanted in life, but I've always been clear about what I didn't. For years I employed the earnest and simple methodology known as trial and error to narrow down the playing field; Computers? No. Banking? No. Lifeguard? No. Politics? No. Journalism? No. Research? No. Capitol Hill Prostitution? Profitable, but no. Teaching English? getting warmer..

In time it became clear that it was the structure of western life (and work) itself I could not conform to, and that my search for an appropriate vocation within it was fundamentally misdirected. So I knew where I didn't belong, but I didn't know what other choices existed. It was only when I finally said goodbye to my traditional western existence (New Year's Eve, 2006) that I finally opened up to the myriad possibilities awaiting me on the global playground.

Now, I've always managed to irritate more than a few people with my tendency to dream up new ideas and desires at every turn; on Monday I'm ready to cruise Mexico in the Karmann Ghia, on Tuesday I'm going to hitchhike to Berlin and turn my hairs green, Wednesday it's milking cows in the Swiss Alps, Thursday I've decided to keep my room at the ashram permanently and on Friday I'm going to the U.A.E. to teach English in a burkha. Indeed, every day reveals a brilliant new plan.

It was my intense dissatisfaction that led me to Mother India - to Rishikesh, and finally to the Himalayas - where God revealed the Divine Plan...the one plan I couldn't dream up no matter how hard I tried. And it certainly was a shock when it finally came out..

On the 23rd of January, in the moments after I bade farewell to a cherished travel companion and watched him disappear into the street, it suddenly occurred to me that I would spend my life with him.

The knowledge came in a sudden wash of intuition and while I did not question the truth of it, I was certainly in deep shock. It took days for my mind to absorb the news and weeks to accept and embrace my new reality; I'm going to be a wife and mother after all...I'm going to live in Germany...I'm going to leave India.

After more than three years of learning to accept the uncertainty of my future, of living day to day from faith alone... in a single instant, all was revealed to me: I would spend my life in service to God by serving a man of God, a man I had never touched, never kissed, never even contemplated as a potential partner.

. . . . .

After our happy union in California, Herr Fritz and I returned to the homeland (now Deutschland) to celebrate all over again. It was another grand affair held in a local cherry orchard. We arrived on the front of a tractor to the gracious applause of scores of Germans dressed in their finest German costume. A priest and dear friend of the groom gave an impressive sermon which I was unable to understand, but when the moment of truth arrived, I was able to make my vow in German - ya, ich will - to the great appreciation of the crowd.

The party was first-rate, with a lovely three-tiered black forest cake prepared by Fritz' auntie Claudia and plenty of live music, including a real live Mexican Mariachi as well as a world famous gypsy band featuring relatives of none other than Mr. Django Reinhardt himself. Guests danced the night away while consuming inexplicable amounts of beer.

I myself, however, sipped only on mineral water. Germans, as I've mentioned before, are efficient peoples. And as is customary in any arranged marriage, my husband wasted no time in ensuring his line. Indeed, the sickness I now endure heralds approaching motherhood...little Otto will join the ranks in February - the newest and most exciting twist in the Divine Plan - and a family charged with bridging the gap between East and West is born.

And while I've no idea what may come next in this never-ending fairytale that is my life, my faith remains intact, buttressed by the strong will and purpose expressed in my husband. Experience is the greatest teacher and the experience of motherhood is my next greatest spiritual challenge.

And the adventure continues..

With affection and wishes of peace for all,
Om Narayana,

Disclaimer PS: Regarding the references to "God," should they be in any way distasteful to the reader, I urge him or her to replace the term with any deemed more suitable, i.e. The Universe, The Divine Mother, Mother Nature, Everything That Is, etc.

PS: Regrettably, formal photos do not exist for either of our weddings..but maybe you'll enjoy this..

Everything really does happen faster in California.

The ladies enjoy a classic So Cal holiday: lounging on Astro Turf (TM) and enjoying the local wildlife (Hummers (TM)) while sipping Pepsi (TM) from paper cups.

My uber-talented husband builds an eastern-style toilet to accomodate guests at our orchard Hochzeit.

Fritz & Lola make their Grand Entrance!
Definitive proof, there is at least one Mexican in South Germany.

One of the saner family photos. (R to L: Sister Sarah, Frau Lola, Herr Fritz, Mama Uschi, Oma, Uncle Claus, and Uncle Wolfgang's sister Eva)