Monday, August 27, 2012

Dog Days

I might not be able to declare it to be Fall just yet (by law, it cannot arrive prior to Labor Day), but nothing can stop me from dubbing the next seven days Fall Prep Week.  Yankee Candles will be scouted (new scents, you know), and hopefully purchased.  The Playlist will be updated and freshly curated.  A new Blu-ray upgrade of the fireplace arrived Friday.  New menus of soups, stews, and chillies will be researched and planned.  One change involves the Fall's signature beverage. As I was saying over the weekend, while I still intend to celebrate the arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, I can't be held hostage by their schedule anymore.  When it's time to go, it's time to go.

This year, Fall could not come at a better time.  I gotta say, August has been weird.  As my beloved Angels have gone into the proverbial toilet in August, I too have been mired in some sort of doldrums.  I can't really pinpoint it as being due to one single thing or even a combination of any two or three, I've just been down lately.  Let me tell you, there is nothing like a hangover to make you take a long look at yourself and not like a lot of what you see.  These last, clinging days of summer have been dog days indeed.

Still, I sent the summer season out in style over the weekend, visiting the Andersons in Arizona.  We took their boat on the lake (our first time) and soaked in one last blast of sun and heat, hopefully absorbing enough for a lasting glow.  Andy cued up the ipod with the Miami Vice Theme and punched the throttle.  As we skipped across the surface of the water, I swear, for just a few fleeting moments, I felt like Don Johnson.  I needed that.  Also, I went tubing.  I'm a tuber.  I tube.  Dragged behind the boat at 30 mph, literally gripping on for dear life, I screamed and hollered like I was freefalling with reckless abandon.  It felt really, really good.  It would never occur to me so be so direct in my treatment of the blues.  Normally, I would ride it out over time, using music, comfort food, and movies to keep me afloat as I eventually drifted back to shore.  As it turns out, an adrenaline-riddled ride on an innertube is much more efficient.

While I am still feeling more down than up, I can see that the harsh light is fading and the crisp sentimentality of fall is rolling in on the horizon like the marine layer that has returned to envelope my neighborhood in the evenings.

And if all else fails, as of Saturday, we've got football.  Happy Fall Prep Week everyone.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Head Space

So I've been meditating lately.  Yeah I said it, meditating.

Before you conjure up images of sitting on the floor, legs angled into an impossible pose, hands opened upward, with guttural humming, let me just say it doesn't have to be like that.  I would guess it can be for certain styles or disciplines or what have you, but it's not required.  My experience has been guided not by a Tibetan monk in the Himalayas, but, rather, by an iphone app created by a former monk.  There actually is an app for that (actually several).

I am not going to tell you how it's radically changed my life, blown my mind, and transformed me into a zen master.  Not because I fear your eye rolls, but because, let's face it, it's only been 12 days I've been doing this.  That being said, I have noticed an ever so slightly greater sense of clarity and ability to observe my emotions without being enslaved by them.  If you know me at all, at some point you've surely chuckled at my ineptitude with the latter.  I dare say I feel a touch more peaceful and less worrisome than I had been.  That was bound to pass anyway, it's just not my natural state.  I'm not so gullible as to say the meditation is the sole reason for this spark of a difference or even a certain contributor, but what does that really matter?  I am at least pleased enough with the small taste of personal change to continue exploring the meditation on the off chance it is the impetus.

Some of you may very well be thinking, "Just get it over with man, go full circle.  Move to Venice Beach, start wearing loose, flowing pants and stop using deodorant and shampoo.  Become a yoga instructor and casually reference your aura and chakras as if you're talking about the weather."  I get that.  And to be honest, I had a sample of that with this relaxation yoga living social deal I had last year.  First of all, the positions were impossible for my legs and joints, but also the spiritual side was tough to reconcile and to integrate into my daily life.  Where as this simple meditation is not about imagining my inner glowing life force pulsating out my rib cage (not so far anyway), just about a greater awareness of my mind, what's going through it, and the idea of letting whatever it is pass on through.

I am going to continue.  I'm not sure if I am ready to commit beyond the free trial period, but I will leave that tab open in my browser for a bit, metaphorically if not literally.  Hey, look what it did for Phil Jackson.

P.S.  May The Force be with you, my fellow earth children.