Letting Go of Fear, Class 3…or, Coping with Boston’s Sports Teams


So, after 2 weeks of finding out that I’m scared of, well, everything, I now get to do a calming practice.  This is good news.  Because sensing into my body during Pat’s games to stop my racing heart from Tom Brady’s f#$%ing interceptions, thereby preventing a heart attack ala football, will be a good thing.  I mean, what is it with the Pats this year?  Are they competing with the Red Sox for biggest roller coaster ride in history?  Not that I think the Pats will embarrass the city of Boston as badly as the Red Sox did.  I recognize that as a near impossibility.

I wish I liked watching hockey or basketball.  Well, actually, I don’t.  When my partner suggests we take an interest in the Celtics or the Bruins, I start talking about my early demise ala sports teams or her early demise ala not paying enough attention to me.

I definitely need a calming practice.

I should say that I did sense into my body to figure out how fear was expressing itself during a near interception in last Sunday’s game, and my heart beat super fast and my breathing went all shallow.  I must be having clinging to winning with sports games.  Why else would I watch?  But I must admit that my tendency toward extremes leads to…well, extreme and unpleasant bodily sensations during losing football games.

And, sports teams aside, I found that the lion statue on Huntington Avenue scared the shit out of me yesterday, partly because my partner and I had been talking about lions and I’d had a dream about lions, so, being Catholic, the statue seemed like a sign (anything that appears 3 times is a sign, not that I’m superstitious) of my early demise and when I sensed into my body my entire shoulder girdle, upper arms and upper back were tingling and tense.  That is how fear expresses itself in the jungle.  On Huntington Ave.

Once, when I was twelve and huddled in my bed late at night with abdominal pains, my father took me to the emergency room, where they did an x-ray.  They found I was very constipated, did an enema, and sent me home.  My father went around for two weeks afterward saying, “I had to pay X dollars to find out she was full of shit, which I knew anyhow.”  I still resent this, by the way.  He was way more full of shit than me, and it wasn’t a good joke and thankfully some of the people he told didn’t laugh.  I am remembering or constructing the women looking at me with sympathy.  I don’t know if they looked at me like that or not, but it’s a nice thought.

Anyhow, the point is, Buddhism is kind of like a spiritual enema.  (Am I actually saying this?)  You get the 1st x-ray.  You find out you’re afraid of way more things than you could possibly imagine.  You get the 2nd x-ray, and find out the ridiculous behaviors you have in trying to avoid said fears (including, disturbingly, a tendency to exaggerate and backtrack so you seem less powerful than you actually are…and that would be me).  Then you walk around disturbed with yourself.  Then you calm yourself down.  Finally, at some point, you investigate the fears, which has the potential purging (ha-ha) effect (I’ve done some of this, which is why I know what’s coming).

Anyhow, in Catholicism, you confess your sins, assuming you know what they are through self-analysis, and then the priest makes you say a bunch of boring prayers.  In yoga, you try to figure out what satya is, and what lies you’re missing…not the egregious lies, but the ones you tell yourself, the way you misrepresent your feelings and desires, and then you seek self-correction.  In Buddhism, you notice, sense into your body, track your behaviors and crazy thoughts, and then try to accept it all.  You do self-correct (the Noble Eightfold Path).

Here is my long-term self-correction: I do not watch Browns/Steelers games because I am from Cleveland and my partner is from Pittsburgh.  This helps us not kill each other.

I would like to only watch Pats games in which Tom Brady throws no interceptions and wins early in the first half.

I avoided most Red Sox games this year for obvious reasons.  Though we won the only one I attended, and I did enjoy, as usual, singing Sweet Caroline.  (Total tangent:  Does Neil Diamond wear a toupee?  Or is his hair just like that?)

I will now walk through my day noticing fears and using my calming practice.  There will be no analysis, especially since Buddhism has taught me that my analysis is usually fiction.

Life is full of surprises.  I have been forced by the sheer power of Buddhist self-awareness to admit I am not the most self-aware woman on the planet.  In fact, I know nearly nothing.  This, for some reason, makes me kind of happy.

I am now, at this moment, doing my calming practice, because I had a thought float in that my stupid father with his inappropriate jokes may have had a point.  I reject that thought as a fear, and I calm, calm, calm.

 

PS–Yes, of course I know that Buddhism isn’t about purging and the ridiculous enema simile is ridiculous.  I am ridiculous and I am doing my calming practice and accepting my ridiculousness and the fact that most of the time this blog is my playground on paper…without paper.

Ayurvedic Cleanse, Day 5: No Really! I Surrender!


After a decent morning yesterday, I ended up with a migraine and nausea that lasted all the way through today.  I have now admitted that my low blood sugar issues, kept at bay for approximately twenty years, are pretty serious.  Migraines, nausea, dizziness, shaking, waves and hot and cold and above all, extreme homicidal mood swings add up to serious.  My brain doesn’t work well without protein.  And fat.  In some amount or another.

So, I’m doing the purgatory today, but nothing much is happening except that I keep talking about wanting a cheese sandwich (almond cheese on gluten free bread on my diet) and my partner keeps calling and asking if I’ve purged the purgatory yet and telling me a cheese sandwich of any kind would make me unbearably sick.

OKAY!  She might occasionally know what she’s talking about!  I surrender!  Beam me up Dorothy!  I mean Scotty!

Plus, I am so sick of being reduced to the world of bodily functions.

Probably, in the world of ayurveda, I should be examining these problems with some degree of mindfulness but I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT!  It’s bad enough drinking prune juice (I couldn’t face the castor oil) and feeling crappy.  (Ha-ha, get it.)

I should also mention that I went to therapy yesterday and apologized to the woman for asking her about her interpretative dancer wardrobe.  It was unnecessary.  She is a human being even if she is a therapist who acts like a therapist and wants to talk to me like I’m a patient.  I plan to fire her at the first available opportunity.  Of course, we all know how my plans go.  Up in smoke, half the time.  I am clearly not in control.

However, on a positive note, I started writing a new book today, one I’ve wanted to write since 2010.  Here’s the title:

The Ex-Catholic, Sort of Unitarian, Anti-Therapy, Pseudo-Buddhist, At –Least-a-Little Bi-sexual , Kind of Feminist, Pro-Male, WHAT?

It’s a memoir, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.

I’m a little written-out, so I’m going to crap out (ha-ha).

This cleanse really needs to end.  Now.

Ayurvedic Pre-Cleanse Day 6: I Have Come to This


Once, a little more than a week ago, I wrote about Buddhism, and non-violence and the nature of the universe.  Now I write about bodily functions and will, no doubt, continue to do so for the next 8 days during the cleanse and then the post-cleanse, or integration period.

Oh, how low we fall.

So let me say, by way of an update, that in some ways I am a very lucky person.  I ran with the bulls in Pamplona and didn’t die, for example.  I also jumped out of an airplane, tubed down the Gila River in flood season, went free-climbing in the Alps, leapt from the top of some monkey bars into a tree five feet away at midnight (yes, I’d been drinking), hitchhiked around Europe, Japan and parts of the United States, back-packed and hiked by myself everywhere and didn’t die.  Instead, I was adopted, over and over again, by people who seemed to find me entertaining.  The nuns at my high school who took me in to live with them (and then listened to me preach atheism), the women in Spain who invited me to stay at their houses when I missed trains, etc, the family in Ireland who took me in for Christmas–I have been loved, all over the world, by strangers.  Move over, Tennessee Williams and Blanche DuBois for the queer world traveler, also dependent on the kindness of strangers (and so far no Stanley calling in the men with the white coats).

However, even given these very meaningful experiences about the benevolence of the human race (look, I am stating benevolence exists before going to bodily functions!), I must now register a complaint about the pre-cleanse experience.  Yesterday, when I finally stopped trying to do everything perfectly and ate egg whites as well as two smoothies (both with avocado and protein powder), I didn’t have headaches, mood swings or light-headedness.  Of course, today is the last day of the pre-cleanse, so of course on top of facing a whole new more rigorous phase of the diet including drinking oil tomorrow morning, I had to get my f$%^ing period.  With worse than usual cramps.

So basically, I would still like to kill someone.  Benevolence be gone.

My partner has taken to reading this blog and then texting or emailing to ask if it’s safe to come home.  OF COURSE IT’S NOT SAFE!  I AM A HYPO-GLYCEMIC MANIAC!  WHO IS NOW DMC!  (During Menstrual Cycle)

Unfortunately, the daily meditation forces me to recognize that trying to be perfect before rebelling and finding my own way is a pattern (see my blogs about yoga teacher training and attempting to live through four hours of flow without complaint…I failed miserably).  Meditation forces me to recognize that I didn’t put superwoman to bed when I learned to make fun of myself, to have humility (1 or 2 minutes of every day when I consider I may not be smarter than absolutely everyone), and to say metta.  Superwoman is alive and well and kicking my butt.

I have two words to say on that subject.  German mother.

Let it not be said that this pre-cleanse, homicidality and extreme menstrual cramps have taught me nothing.  I took a pain reliever right away, two minutes after the cramps hit.  It’s called Ecotrin, and it doesn’t work quite as well as ibuprofen, but still.  I am not trying to be perfect.  I just want to stop whining out loud about my gonads falling out and get to work for the day.

One can hope.

Everything moving down and out on this cleanse, in more ways than one.

On to basmati rice, yellow mung beans (dal) and curry-like spices.  I’m allowed to add in protein powder stuff to keep from killing people.  I’m also allowed to quit, but I’m eager to get to the day on which you drink a lot of Castor oil and purge.  That just sounds like fun.  Or at least it was fun when my partner was doing the cleanse alone and she’d yell, “Out of my way,” and run for the bathroom.  Of course on this, her third time through, she’s having no side effects whatsoever.  She’s like, “I’m not focusing on the cleanse much this time.”

I’m like, “I noticed.”  (Imagine my homicidal glare.)

Then I think sweetness and light and go stare at the Cacao Bliss.  Yesterday she moved it to the back of the cabinet.  She is worried, very, very worried.

As well she should be.