Archive for meditation

The fact that I’m scared shitless is exactly why I have to do it.

Posted in 37 with tags , , , , on August 30, 2011 by ana

Last night I had an anxiety-ridden dream or maybe I woke up in the middle of the night had a mini panic attack and fell promptly back to sleep. Either way at some point in the middle of the night, awake or not, I freaked out. It was really strange. I can’t say anything like that has ever happened to me before. Basically, I started thinking about Paris- how I only know 2.5 people there, how I don’t really speak the language, how it’s going to be winter when I get there. And that turned into- you are insane. You have completely lost it. This is all going to explode in your face and you are going to feel more lost, more alone, more distraught than ever. Are you crazy? What are you thinking?!! I don’t ever talk to myself that way. The decision is pushing buttons and stirring things up.

Some of the fear comes from the voices in my head that say you are too old to be picking up your things and moving, your time to have babies is running out, you are always chasing something, settle down. Those voices are cultural and relate to my family as an entity, how I was raised, and what is expected or hoped for for me. These voices are not so much my parents but my large, opinionated, loving, and conservative puertorican family.

There is also the voice that wishes she lived closer to her family and worries that every decision I’ve made since I left Puerto Rico has physically moved me further away from them. And the voice that wants to settle down, on her own terms, but settle down no less. That voice wonders if I’m walking towards or further away from all I want.

All those voices make the voice that made the decision to take a leap feel small. That voice was strong and clear when I made my decision but all the doubting ones have made it cower. It’s as if the woman I have become, who is confident and centered, passion-filled and inspired, excited and present is having a fist fight with the girl that often feels awkward in her skin, who feels nothing quite works out her way. The part of me that knows that she can do this, that knows she must do it, has gone to take a nap until the confident one has put the awkward one in her place. And it might take a minute because the girl has been around for a long time but the woman has only been around for a bit.

This morning I cried while I was meditating. Lately that seems to happen when I try to meditate. I say try because I struggle every single day when I sit down to do it. Today I asked myself why I was crying. What the deep sadness inside of me was about. And the response I got was the feeling of how intensely the breakup with Leo had rocked me to my core. That feeling brought on more tears but also a feeling of pride and of strength and a deepening of the knowledge that the person I have become was born out of our parting ways.

duh!

Posted in 37 with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by ana

Maybe seeing Leo last week, rolling around, and pressing up against each other wasn’t such a good idea.  In the moment it seemed okay. The next day, this past week, I’ve felt fine. But the past few days I have been so emotional. I want love in my life- it’s no secret. And while I feel that I’m over Leo I don’t know that I’m over the heartache.

I spent the weekend in Napa with pregnant Nai and then drove down to visit Willa and spent a few days hanging out with her gorgeous one year old baby.  Both my friends are happy and in love. I’m happy that they are happy but I feel lonely. It’s a funny feeling to want something that feels completely out of my reach, something that I thought I had and that I thought was coming. I feel that it is time for something new but I think I’m still in the thick of it just in a different stage.

My fling in Italy helped and didn’t help. Something I thought would be light and breezy turned into unexpected feelings and strong desire I have had a hard time letting go of. The emails back and forth were probably not the best idea either.

Were the feelings for that man strong because he was the first man that I was with after Leo? I have wondered that more than once. Or was there something really there? Does it even matter?

No.

Willa and I went to the beach. It was a beautiful, foggy beach with seals, cliffs, and redwoods, and I was all weepy. What I realized in talking with both my friends is that I’m angry. That I still somehow feel that the tables were turned on me. That I ended up so far from where I thought I would be and still there is the strong undercurrent, the knowledge that it was the best thing that happened to me.

Nothing like a six hour drive to clear your head. I drove the five freeway home with a vengeance and almost got pulled over.  The night before I left Willa said, “there is nothing you need to fix. You are perfect as you are and love will walk in when it will.” Anouk in an email said the same thing, perfect as you are. This is a revolutionary concept for me. I always feel like there is something I need to fix.

What is it then that is going on with me? What is it that keeps me from feeling completely full, from seeing the abundance I have in my life each day? I drink strong coffee in therapy and say, “there are so many ups and downs lately. I’m sad, and I’m also happy. I’m scared and excited.” I voice the fear that is creeping in about moving to Paris and all the things I have been learning about myself lately. “I think maybe I don’t need to go looking for a purpose. I think I just need to be me. Like you said, live each day fully. Do the things that fill my soul.” I voice my deep desire to connect with a man. To have a relationship that is a collaboration more than a compromise. I say, “I want a lover but sadly those never appear when I go looking for them.” I talk about how inspired I feel, and wonder why I am complaining. I am a broken record. Well, not broken, skipping.

“When you feel disappointment,” she says,  “you start to doubt. You keep expecting something to happen that will somehow create this ideal life you have in your head, this magical fantasy life keeps you from seeing the fullness, the excitement that is already there.”

She is right, I keep thinking I will find an enchanted doorway, a lucky coin, a magic lamp that will put me in some paradisal version of my life where macarons are eaten every morning for breakfast, everyday feels as exciting as brand new love and is filled with great sex and fabulous outfits and incredibly fulfilling creative endeavors. I know, ridiculous.

Later she says, “you always look for the wonderment in life.”

And I interrupt and say, “I know it is my downfall.”

“I was going to say is one of the best qualities about you.”

I need to stand in my own life complete and whole, absorb whatever comes my way, and be present to all of the amazing, dark, lovely mess that life is.

She says, “I’m excited for you.”

She says, “you need to write love letters to yourself. From the one that longs to the one that longs to be desired.”

And we talk about Paris. How it has been there for a long time, the thought, the idea, and now the leap. In a previous session she said, ” you keep asking for signs when they come you have to take them.”

And so Paris, Paris, Paris in January. Is it really happening? I feel the same way I felt before I moved to LA. I dosn’t feel real yet but it is there.

I have been trying to push myself. In the summer the restaurant doesn’t get busy until the sun starts to set. Chili and I talk about where we are, where we are going. I tell her, “I had a revelation the other day. I work hard but I never push myself.”

And she says, “my drumming teacher used to tell me- if you show up to rehearsal and do the same thing you always do that’s not practicing that’s just repetition. In order to practice you need to push yourself.”

For the last seven days I have been waking up and doing the opposite of what I always do. I haven’t reached for my laptop or phone. I have written “morning pages” stream of consciousness writing at least three pages long. Then I’ve sat down to meditate aiming for ten minutes maybe getting seven. Hey, it’s still something. I have gone running and not given up. And I’ve been working on being, on living life exactly as I want my life to be. I have been trying to live perfect days. Or at least doing my part.

Today I started sorting and organizing my room. I live with a very lovely and anal (no pun intended) gay man. I know that what I call neat is for him chaos. I live in his house for free so I try to keep things, try being the key word here, somewhat organized. I have a lot of stuff. Among it are boxes upon boxes of letters and journals, almost 20 years worth. I have moved with these boxes from Midtown to Harlem to the East Village to Brooklyn to Burbank to Hollywood to Koreatown and back to Burbank. Each time the boxes get heavier. Do I really need to hold on to all of it?  Watching The Cook, the Thief, the Wife, and her Lover, one of my favorite movies, I started to go through some of it. I read old letters some written to me, some rough drafts of letters I’ve sent. I read old journals from art school, from when I was seventeen, and from a few years ago. Certain themes emerged. The therapy workshop that I did was all bout shadows and patterns and looking at your defenses, and boy were those blatantly there. They sent me for a spin. They drove me out of my house to Stevie’s, where I am the resident squatter, because I can’t really write where I live. And writing I have been. And in between I had a long heart felt  conversation with my lovely designer friend who lives next door to Stevie. A conversation in his kitchen with cigarettes, tears, and trout steamed with lemon slices. His beautiful gowns hanging near by. I walked with Stevie’s man to buy bread and felt so much love for their neighborhood as we walked past succulents and lavender and blooming myrtle. I bought a perfect peach and felt the thing that I love to feel most these days- everything is okay. Everything is fine, perfect, magnificent just as it is.

 

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 30, 2011 by ana

Ever since I moved I have been trying really hard not to be as big a planner as I used to be. My life before consisted of lists, of goals, of lots of things that had to get done and be orchestrated. All those plans left no room for writing, for napping, for really listening to what I want to eat for breakfast, and more importantly for staying present. I used to feel that if I didn’t make lists of all the things I needed to get done then they wouldn’t get done but those list always left me overwhelmed. This new way of going about my day is much more complimentary to productivity and the enjoyment of the task at hand.

Not planning is not entirely unguided. It is sort of like being completely focused on something while keeping a soft awareness of what is in your periphery. I know what needs to get done but I try not to worry about it until it is time to do it. I just hop from task to task. So much more gets done if I’m not thinking of what I will make for dinner at lunch. There is a fruitful freedom in my days that I have never experienced before. Day to day minutia feels less engulfing and there is a lightness and joy from being more in my body and in my life.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 21, 2011 by ana

Ever since I went off the pill a few months back my periods have been mood-swing city. I’m crabby. I’m restless. I’m annoyed. The restlessness I can’t quite pin on my period. I feel boxed in. The last few days have been filled with impatience. Although typing this in my warm bed as it rains outside I feel present and grateful and luxurious, for the most part, lately, it’s been hard to be present and in the moment. I catch myself daydreaming about vacations in Tulum, Istanbul and Paris, about walking from my fantasy apartment in NY to the farmer’s market, about walking out of dance class feeling lithe and toned, about dressing up and wearing sexy knickers and being in love. Instead I’m bloated and running incredibly late for brunch with my old friend, Rex, who I’ve known since art school.

I know part of the restlessness is that I haven’t written for a week. That I’ve let go of new habits I’ve been establishing for myself. I haven’t been meditating and that throws off my focus. Even if I can’t really do it yet the simple act of stopping and being present really trickles down to the rest of my day.

This whole process of finding my voice, of becoming a woman, of stepping into my life now and not when I’m five pounds lighter or have booked a job that thrills me or have fallen in love again, is really about listening to my needs and not expecting any less. My friend Chili said to me the other day, “What you put up with is what you get”. And that is really about finding your own worth and speaking fearlessly from your heart. A few months ago I cut out a sentence from an interview with Natalie Portman and taped it next to my bed. The sentiment really resonated with me. “I believe in kindness toward people, but I also try to voice what I want and not be shy about standing up for myself.” If that is not taking care of yourself I don’t know what is.

It’s really, really hard to be present, to constantly tune in to how you feel and walk through your day really taking care of yourself. I can barely do it. When I look back I find that there have been people throughout my life that were really present that I have looked up to and without really knowing I have tried to emulate them. There is something so still and purposeful about them that I found so attractive and powerful. But I never really knew where that centerdness came from. Until recently I thought it was more about doing but now I realize is more about being in the moment. Last week I went to see my therapist. It had been awhile since I saw her one on one. When we talked about this she said it was “the letting go of the moment that isn’t here yet.” How great is that? How hard is that? I guess you just keep doing it until it becomes a habit.

Part of the restlessness is feeling like things aren’t happening fast enough. Things speed up, things come to a barely imperceptible stir. This is unnerving. A few months back my cousin said to me, “you have to experience every aspect of grief or it will come back to get you.” So maybe this is some sort of post “divorce” gestation period. This week working at the restaurant felt like I had been condemned to a doctor’s waiting room with three month old copies of People magazines and Popular Science. But maybe all that needs to be happening now is just this- the writing, the struggling to learn how to meditate, the dance classes, the longing, the safety and cocoon of my cousin’s flowery, pink apartment.

things to hold on to, things to let go

Posted in koreatown with tags , on February 17, 2011 by ana

Little by little I’m starting to create a meditation practice. Because it is something so new to me I have been exploring it in different ways. Yesterday, I went to a class at a dance studio that I love. Every Wednesday they have an hour long practice in which they explore different meditations. One of the meditations we did was for concentration and it has really stayed with me. We focused on a candle without attaching any story for eleven minutes. It always amazes me how long I think it’s going to feel and how quickly times passes.

There is this man in NY who I’m really attracted to. He is completely unavailable and 3,000 miles away. But he pops into my head out of nowhere and makes me swoon. It is really easy for me to attach a story to this attraction because I have known him for over twenty years. I catch myself giving meaning to this new found gravitational pull but I should just take it in like the candle.

The koreatown apartment is like that too. It haunts me. I try to wrap my head around it. I walk through its rooms like a ghost. I create a story- I see the dishes in the sink, the bottle of rum on the table, the wilted birthday orchid, the cupboards filled with rice, spices, and vinegars I’ve bought, everything just sitting there quietly telling a story full of dinner parties and birthdays and friends over for drinks, of days and nights filled with writing and laughing and kissing and fighting. But oregano is just oregano even if I bought it and left it there. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a jar on a shelf.

Later that night I had a brief email exchange with an old friend who was my lover for a short period of time. We always had the craziest chemistry and I adored him. Still do. I don’t think we would have ever been day to day compatible but I always think of him. I haven’t talked to him in years but I know that he is married, and in a photograph I saw he looks happy, radiant and in love.

At the end of my email I wrote- I think of you always-because I do. And he wrote back and said- I think of you so often too. That just blew my mind away. How much we had touched each others lives. No story. Though there was one. No story just the feeling that life could be so strangely beautiful and at once eternal and ephemeral.