Category Archives: gentle

Pondering Why I Write What I Write, Then Maya Angelou Died

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Gabriel Garcia Márquez said, “All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.”

Clearly, I write lots of things about myself and things that have happened to me and my family on this blog. I used to judge myself and accuse myself of unabashed narcissism; that my writing about my life must be a token overcompensation due to my incredibly low self-esteem. But I don’t really have low self-esteem, as a chronic condition; most of the time, I’m quite OK with who I am. What’s funny is that I’ve read so much about narcissists over the years that I’d be mortified if I were one. The last thing I want is everyone agreeing with me or living the way I say.

But I have been mulling it over: Why Do I Write What I Write here, anywhere?

I started the blog as a form of love letter to my sons. As a glimpse into my head and as a testament to how I wish to live a rich, succcessful and fulfilling life, without mansions, yachts, white parties and our names in lights. I continue it because I find that life is constantly throwing curve balls. Just when you think it’s time to sit and relax, that you can exhale and zone out, up sprouts another “adventure” (that’s what we’ll call them, ok? cheers!).

So why DO I write about what I write about here? I had been thinking about it for several months. I had an idea, I was inspired several times, to march out onto the worn, grainy wooden stage of my blog, with a top hat and cane. I would push through the massive, tattered, heavy and dusty midnight blue velvet curtains, move forward in a giant hip-swingy, little kid “big step” and SIIIIIIING in my best Steve Martin, “It’s beeeeeecaauuuuuuuuusssszzzzzzze …. >inhale< …. I'm ahhh-liiiiiiiiiiivvvvvvvvve!"

Then Maya Angelou died.

Reading about her life, has made me feel like a princess in an ivory tower. Immediately: I felt small, stupid, uncertain and silent. I thought I had a story to tell. I thought I was a survivor. But I know that if she were here right now, she would put her hand on my shoulder and look into my pitiful face and say to me, "Molly, we all have a story. You don't have to feel small. You don't have to compare, because comparing and competing and trying to be first and measure up… against what? Against who? All of that is to no use. Have you not been listening dear? You write because you simply ARE. That's why. And no one knows your life but you. So you sing it." And she would lean back gently and laugh in that amazing, loving and confident way she had. And she would vanish and I would be OK. But not really. But eventually.

It's because of writerly women: Maya Angelou, Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion, Anne Lammott, Dorothy Parker and other bloggers, that I feel I can go on.

I've had people in the flesh, tell me, "Wow. What you write is sooooo revealing. Be careful of what you write… Don't you want to protect your children?"

I answer: "From what? The truth? My absolute WORST fear in life is that my kids won't know who the hell I am; that they won't know how I'd deal with something long after I'm gone and that they'd have no one to consult… Much as how I did not know who my mother was nor what she would have done…" Some moments absolutely exist when I know what Mom would do. (And that's not necessarily a good thing she'd do.) For other moments? Maaaan, she was completely unpredictable. Her capacity to indulge caprice was boundless.

So for those moments I don't share, my third, secret life? I have plenty of things I needn't nor will ever share. Boxers or briefs? Who cares?! How you overcame unbridled narcissism in your mother, only to unconsciously rehash it again and again in females you met as you matured until you FINALLY! realized the damage it had done and broke the pattern it manifested in you? I think people want to know about that.

Some stuff you just can't make up. Some things that people do –intentionally flying airliners into buildings for instance or falsely impugning a child in his own home– defy common, rational imagination. That Maya Angelou accessed the strength inside herself to share her truth which let people in on her harrowing past, is the reason people continue to write. She is the reason I will Write What I Write.

There will always be plenty of other things to write about.

For now, I simply write because I Am.

Thank you, Maya Angelou, for giving all of us, each and every single one: a voice.

Thank you.

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Dr. Dres and Door Jambs

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Luther held his hand out for the keys patiently waiting for his mother to calm down, assess the moment and come to her senses. She insisted on driving from their city house to Nantucket and after the ride he’d endured on the way from the Logan Airport, there was no way; he’d rather walk, despite the nagging pains in his legs.

Editorial note: this is seventh in a series about the relationship between Claire and Luther. Please start here: www.mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/friday-fiction-2-0-beyond-the-edge

“You can’t just come here for a weekend, mister, and tell me what to do. Everyone is trying to control me. We will get there when we get there. And we certainly won’t get there any sooner if I don’t have my Matisse scarf you bought me from the MoMA. And my sunglasses, where are my sunglasses? Have you seen them? Did you check the stove? The iron. Check the iron. Make sure it’s unplugged. Don’t look at me like that, Luther,” his mother said in a lather over nothing, shoveling through papers on her desk, picking them up and reading them, laughing, tossing them and looking through some more.

“Mother, the keys?”

“Why can’t you just relax?! I am trying to get everything done here and no one helps me.”

“Mother. The house looks fine; the timers are all set. I just want to open the windows on the car. It’s sitting in the sun and we have a long ride ahead of us if we don’t get going now. Google Maps is already showing back ups on the Sagamore, so we need to sort of… y’know get mov–”

“I don’t care about any traffic! I don’t care about the god damned Sagamore bridge. I want my sunglasses and my scarf. Here! Here are the keys! Open the windows, move the car, put it in the shade, drive it out of here, go to the Island, I don’t care. I can’t find my book, either. The one about Belushi… do you remember watching SNL with me when you were in high school? “The Samurai Delicatessen”?”

Luther’s mother Moira hurled the keys at him; they careened through the butler’s pantry and knocked his sunglasses off his face. They skidded across the floor and rested against the door jamb leading into the dining room.

Calmly, Luther took in a deep breath, like he was drawing on a water pipe, and bent over to retrieve his sunglasses. “Thank you for the keys. I had my hand out in case you didn’t notice. I don’t appreciate –”

“What I don’t appreciate, LUTHER, is your insistence that we get going. RIGHT NOW. We have time. If you weren’t such a nag, such a pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have had to throw the keys at you. Find the dog; he’s here somewhere. Your precious father wants him on the Island with us. Have you seen my letter from the attorneys?”

“Mother, I just walked in the door with you. Ten minutes ago. And no, I don’t remember watching “Samurai Delicatessen” with you; that was before my time. I’ll be right back; I’m going to go call Skipper. I have no idea what you’re talking about with the lawyer letters. I can’t ….”

“What can you do?” she hissed.

Luther left the kitchen of the cavernous Victorian brownstone house in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. He didn’t bother with the car, he didn’t take the keys with him. He slumped through the dining room and into the front hall where one of Skipper’s beds lay empty. Skipper, like any other sentient being in that household knew that when Moira started up, the best thing to do was to hide.

He called for Skipper as he walked around the house. It had been about a year since his last visit; piles of clutter were assembling in odd places in the house. The closet where leashes, gloves and winter items were stored was becoming modestly overtaken with magazines, old mail, and catalogs. Luther moved a few paper bags worth of mail out of the way and took out two leashes: the leather one for walks and the grosgrain one for swimming. As fantastic a dog as Skipper was, he often got distracted and disoriented when in the water and sometimes it was hard to get him to come back.

Skipper must have heard the rustling of the leashes; his nails clicking along the ceramic floor heralded his approach. His shiny black hair and glistening mauve nose instantly had a soothing effect on Luther.

“Heyyyy bud-dy, hiya Skipps! Were you hiding? Werrrre yooooou hiiiiding when mommmy went nuts agaaaaaaainnnn? Hmmmmm? Buuuuuddddyyyyy…” Luther kneaded his hands in Skipper’s ample neck fur and scruffy chest cavity. “Oof. You need a bath, buddy. You wanna go car soon?”

As soon as Skipper heard the phrase, “You wanna [anything],” he started to prance and bounce off the tiles, his nails clicking and his tail wagging and contorting his body into the shape of a C with every paw tap on the floor.

Their reunion was brief. Luther’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. It was Claire calling from work. With both curiosity and dread he considered his phone. It was after three in the afternoon; a call at this time of the day on a Friday could mean a crisis at work. Or it could mean a casual conversation with his office mate. He decided to take his chances and answer the call.

With one hand stroking Skipper’s supple and warm neck and the other swiping the phone to activate the call, he cleared his voice and said, “Yyyesssss? Luther the invincible here. What can I do you for, Clarice?”

“Oh, hey. Luther. What’s up?”

“Uhhh, nothing. You called me…. were you hoping for the voicemail?”

“MMno. No. I wasn’t,” she said. “Hi.”

“Sooooo… are you missing me? Do you need me to talk dirty to you? Are you all alone this weekend, Clarice? Can you hear the lambs?” Luther’s insistence on calling her “Clarice” at times, in reference to the Jodie Foster character in “Silence of the Lambs” agitated her; to Luther it was a compliment because he thought Jodie was hot and the mystery of her sexuality was even more of a turn-on for him; another bonus to him was that the Clarice Starling character was strong, smart and courageous.

“Don’t call me that, Luther. Look, I’m just calling because I noticed your Dr. Dres are here and I wanted you to know. I am happy to overnight them to you if you would like them. I know how you need them to aggressively promote your disinterest in those around you,” she said, her voice lilting and sad at the same time. She was standing in his cubicle, holding his headphones over an open FedEx box. “All I need is the shipping address and I can have them to you by morning.”

“Using company funds for personal gain?? Clarice, the Bureau would never stand for this. Thanks for the offer, Peaches, but I’m good. I have my ear buds. As soon as I got on the plane I put them on; there was this girl from a college volleyball team and she started talking and talking to me… it was at that moment that I wish I had my Dres, but, naw, I’m good here. I could use something else here though, if you wanted to overnight that…. ”

Claire smiled, and squinted her eyes but said nothing.

“You there? Clarice? Hello?”

“I’m here. So you put on your headphones in front of that girl? How rude of you. She was probably just your type. Athletic, obtuse and narcissi–”

“Hay! I resent that. No, she’s not my type, besides she’s gone. And she had hers on before I even could find mine; sadly. I’m like 50 years old to her as far as she’s concerned. I eventually found mine in my breast pocket. Listen, this is starting to go in a not fun direction. is there anything else you want? I’ve got to put out a Moira fire and Skipper here needs to tinkle and stretch his legs. Me too.”

“Moira fire? You’re on a cell phone, you can talk while you walk the dog…”

“Yes, I can do that, but I don’t want to expose you to my mother’s … mood … at the moment. Do you want to come to the bathroom with me?”

“No! Eww. No… I don’t. Listen, I just wanted you to know I submitted my creative for the Congratulations and Revenge mocks and pilots. Your not being here was … helpful. Have a good weekend. Bye, Luther.”

Before Luther could reply with a snarky comeback, the phone call ended. He glanced at the phone, shrugged his shoulders and said to Skipper, “Dames. This one’s a tough nut to crack.” The pair walked out the front door into the sunshine. Luther turned on his music and listened to “Drive By” by Train. An irrepressible smile came across his face when he heard

This is not a drive by,
Just a shy guy looking for a two ply
Hefty bag to hold my love
When you move me, everything is groovy,

Luther used that smile to get him through the ride over the backed-up Sagamore as the backs of his thighs stuck to the leather seats in the family land yacht.

He was driving, his hands were on the steering wheel, and his eyes were on the road. Skipper was in the back seat panting with excitement for he could smell the water and that water meant freedom and Luther and swimming. Moira didn’t argue with Luther about driving to the house; she was uncharacteristically docile and agreeable when he returned from his walk with the dog. She was asleep in the passenger seat, her head leaning against her yellow microbead travel pillow and her mouth wide open in the fading early summer sunlight and music from “Porgy and Bess” was softly playing in the background.

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(c) 2013 :: Molly Field

I wrote this in my car on my iPad (which I initially feared and hated when I got it for Christmas) on a trip to NYC for the weekend with the Things in the backseat and all manner of music from Pandora pouring from the speakers. If it stinks, that’s why. 🙂 I initially thought I wasn’t going to post at all, but I want to maintain my commitment to the my fiction friends.

Prompt: This week’s prompt (from the charming Clearly Kristal): If life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade – make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Your character was given lemons, now paint their amazing lemonade stand. Tell us the story of their darkness, their light. Write the story.

Please check out these other Friday Fiction Friends!

http://www.clearlykristal.com/?p=3862
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/friday-fiction-part-19-overdone/?wprptest2=2

When the Lights Go Out

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Our power just shut off here, the whole street. It’s so lovely and quiet; I imagine it’s how Bronte wrote, just the candles and the silence. Not even the heating or water pumps are running. No hum of the fridge, nothing. I’m posting this via my phone.

My kids can’t stop talking of course. They’re uncomfortable, but I’m in heaven. It’s truly wonderful.

Thank you.

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"Ahimsa": how do you brush your teeth?

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It’s been 24 hours of ahimsa awareness for me at the Grass Oil compound.

In yoga today, we talked about “ahimsa” which means The principle of nonviolence toward all living things.” 

Not so faaaaast… the first lesson of ahimsa, is that it must begin within.

I’m savvy to ahimsa. In a spiritual and practical sense it means doing everything you can with love and kindness — BUT FIRST: with yourself. I love the concept. I’m crappy at it. (see?)

A kicker of ahimsa is that if you can’t practice loving self-acceptance first, then everything you do will be considered violent. That stinks. And it doesn’t seem very ahimsa-y at all.

Before yoga this morning, I continued thinking about ahimsa after the breadwinner chuckled to himself last night as I scrubbed the day’s “oils and pollutants” from my face.

I looked at him with suspicious wonder, “what?” I said. What is “suspicious wonder”? you ask: it’s a facial expression, also known as a sneer and raised eyebrow, which usually accompanies, “What’s that smell?” in most houses.

“It’s just interesting is all. How you wash your face. It’s like you’re trying to wash off your face,” he said.

>labrador retriever head tilt<: “Huh?”

“You scrub so thoroughly. So diligently. So . . . furiously.”

>labrador retriever sneer<: “Grr.”

He was right. As usual, he was right. The breadwinner has the most gentle of souls and mannerisms; he is truly the yin to my yang. He’s like a soft breeze to my hurricane. I considered his comments and thought about ahimsa. Apparently not thoroughly enough because . . .

I snapped open the top to my moisturizer and kneaded it as fast as I could into what was left of my face and thus began, my pre-sleep consideration of ahimsa. I plopped myself into bed, grabbed the covers and stuffed myself into my beaten and propped goose-down pillow. “It must begin from within…” I kept repeating in my mind.

“It must begin from within…” relax the eyebrows. Flatten my “eleven” line between my eyes.

“It must begin from within…” release the lower jaw; move it side to side. 

“It must begin from within…” suspend the tongue. Let go.

Holy crap. This ahimsa is serious stuff. Self-love is serious stuff. I drifted off to sleep, probably with my face loosened (and nearly hanging off my skull if the breadwinner is right about how I washed it) but my mind was racing and I’ll bet my fists were tight.

Aaahh.. himmm…. saaaahhh….

Zzzznnzznng.

I woke up today perky and rested. I was sorta thinking about ahimsa. My lower back was tight (in yoga, this is the sacral / second chakra: cravings, pleasures, addictions, body image: ching! after my facial scrubfest, I concluded it was body image). I decide to do a couple floor stretches and side twists to release my hamstrings.

“It must begin from within…” don’t go so deep; don’t worry about touching the toes just yet; and bend the knees.  Breathe.

After about two more minutes of consciously releasing, breathing and letting go (which I did, but which is insanely and ridiculously hard to do) it was time to wake the boys.

I think I wake the boys gently for 99.8% of the time. Sometimes we’re in more of a rush than others, so I’m less ashimsa-esque than I’d like. Today was a gentle day. But upon further examination, I realized it wasn’t: I jumped quickly out of my stretches and stepped harshly on to the floor, I moved brusquely into the bedroom and I firmly plopped myself down on my Thing 3 (8)’s bed and didn’t whisper to him. 



Now, if I were a levitating buddhist monk on a mountaintop in Tibet, I’m sure I would do all of this more mindfully, but I’m not. I’m a tight-backed American mother in a house. So I do give myself some slack there. However, once I realized I wasn’t being gentler, I dialed back and re-engaged more softly and consciously. I have really horrid memories of being hideously woken up as a child, so the fact that I  am aware of that and that I enjoy operating differently is pretty awesome. Ahimsa.

What occurred to me as the day has progressed, is that we are really shitty at practicing ahimsa. That means you too. Sorry. Go, leave the page. Unlike. Deny the truth, be sure to mindfully not judge and gently click that “X” button on your way out just to confirm your mastery of ahimsa.

Still with me? OK: How do you brush your teeth?

Do you do so gently with a patient circular motion, taking care to massage the gums and tenderly clean the enamel or do you spaz out like Tasmanian devil and scrub the crap out of them up and down and back and forth and circle this way and circle that way and don’t forget to beat the daylights out of your tongue… to the point where you have lather?

Me too. Don’t forget to spit like a sailor. (I love sailors, I love all members of the military. I support our troops.) Bang your toothbrush on the sink three times to get the water out of it and energetically wipe your mouth.

How about when you use the steps? Do you step gently and mindfully, placing your foot before you take on the next step (which, by the way, does a great job for your core and back) or do you thud your feet down, as though every step is a frigging nightmare and just getting to the top means you’ve defeated the beast? I’ve been trying to be more mindful lately, and usually when I’m 2/3 of the way, I remember to step more softly which automatically pulls in my core.

What’s the rush? Where’s the fire?

In our yoga place, when you arrive on time, you get to set up where you like. I like to grab the back corner because I’m so ahimsa-esque to myself. Not. I like to grab the back corner so no one else follows my lead as my practice can be intense.

Today in yoga, I set up where I could, still in the back row. We have a wonderful group in that class. One person “C,” arrived later and didn’t set up where she normally does. A lively and funny banter ensued between C and person “B” who ended up taking C’s traditional spot. Person “A” noticed and the conversation went thus:

A: “C! You’re over here today! Hello!”

C: “Yes, Hello! Everyone’s moved around today. B (pointing at B) told me I was in the wrong spot over here.”

B: “No, I said ‘different spot,’ not ‘wrong spot.’ “

Me and D, E & F: “No, B said ‘different’ spot.”

Me again: “C, you might’ve heard ‘wrong spot.'”

And that was that. Normally, I would have let it go between B and C, but because this became a pentagonal discussion, it was important to end it.
Sidebar: That “C” heard “wrong spot” was an inner dialogue she had with herself and it flew completely in the face of ahimsa. That she had judged her repositioning as “wrong” and then falsely projected that judgment on to “B,” when everyone else witnessed the contrary, was representative of a VERY OLD emotional wound of C’s and I gotta give props to “B” for not taking the bait. 
I like C enough, but I keep my distance because C is what I consider a bully sheep: someone who has and projects self-hate issues and unconsciously manipulates situations to make herself the victim of people who happen to be breathing around her. Compliments from bully sheep are usually dipped in a healthy dose of self-deprecation so you’ll be lulled into complimenting them back. Here’s an example: 
“I could never wear an outfit like that; she looks so good in it, with her cute little body… I’m an albatross.” (With her 5′ 10″ frame, wavy auburn hair, alabaster skin and lovely weight.) A victim/sucker would say, “Oh! Of course you would!” and the bully sheep would hope the sucker would say she couldn’t wear an outfit like that either. Don’t fall for it. Just say, “Oh” and move on. (Staying neutral leaves them with their stuff that they tried to put on you.) 



The Good News Is: No One’s Thinking About
You 
As Much as You Fear They Are. 

The Bad News Is: No One Is Thinking About
You As Much As You Wish They Were.


Another non-ahimsa practice I’m noticing is that we tend to wallow in sadness or we subject ourselves to experiences that we know will disturb us. Facebook is like that for some people (me). I have read and personally experienced jealousies erupting because of Facebook: I view other peoples’ fabulous lives, vacations, and private jokes; I become offended that I wasn’t invited to an event (that I probably couldn’t have gone to or might’ve not enjoyed anyway). I realize that many people put only their best picture of themselves up or post the better information of their lives online. I read recently where this phenomenon was referred to as “best-face facebook” statuses. (The fact that the post I linked to just above bums me out because it’s less than a year old; clearly there is something familiar  about feeling rejected.)

As for the better-than-thou portrayals, I can feel sorry for myself or “hide” their content, but that doesn’t take away the feeling of inadequacy or the fact that they’re having fun. That I feel less-than because I haven’t bought a new BMW galactic star cruiser or gone to Jupiter again or can boast that my 8-year-old daughter aced her medical boards IS TOTALLY UP TO ME. The fact is, there will always be someone richer, more popular, taller, smarter, prettier, funnier, smarter, healthier, fancier, Zen-ier, nicer, softer, more graceful and eloquent if We Make Them That Way. COUNT ON IT.

What we do with that information determines our success with ahimsa. Do we beat ourselves up because of the fact that someone’s always gonna seem cooler than we are? Or do we move on, be grateful for what we have and practice ahimsa and let it go? How much of this is ego and vanity? We are giving away our value when we do this because trust me: no one else thinks about you as critically as you think about you. 

Facebook, texting and e-mail presents another quandary for me: sometimes I say things that are interpreted a different (I could have said “wrong” but chose neutral “different”) way as e-communication is quirky. Or sometimes I interpret things differently than they are intended. I also need to remember that I’m not responsible for someone else’s filter. Nonetheless, I hate the feeling I have in my stomach, wondering if I’ve screwed up and chewing my nails. Is this what we want from social media? Waiting for the “like”, hoping for the friend request acceptance, constantly checking the phone, the e-mail, the wall?

I DON’T THINK SO. 

Is this what social media wants from us? 

YOU BET YOUR BIPPY.  

Such self-doubt keeps us checking in, staying online and wrapped up in our false selves (see below) and totally dependent on approval from many people we don’t even know (especially if you have a Facebook fan page). This dependence started to get pretty hairy for me about 2 months ago.

As such, I’ve purposefully elected to interact more  face-to-face or on my landline phone with my actual voice. I’ve also removed my Facebook app from my phone’s pages and I have made it so that I have to login and logout each time I go on Facebook on my computer.

Might this strategy affect my lifelong dreams of being a fantastic writer? No. Because I can be a fantastic writer no matter where I am. I can also be a shitty writer no matter where I am. Having to have people know about me / my writing (the obssession with fame, extrinsic acceptance) is what feeds the ego and the ego is what ruins ahimsa. (Because if your ego is involved at all, you’re gonna compete and you’re gonna push yourself harder than you might ordinarily.)

Why do I share this stuff then? Because I think it’s important; people get too wrapped up these days in things that don’t matter and miss the things that do matter. I also think it entertains and people can relate to it. The point is I can write it, as in have the freedom and ability to write it. So I do.  Why do you read it? Because you can. 🙂 And I’m grateful. 

What about wallowing in sadness? That’s not ahimsa. Even if you do it with softness. I know there are legitimate mental disorders that clearly present challenges to shaking off the blues and the people with those disorders are in my prayers. We have depression and anxiety in my own family of origin, so I’m no stranger to it. At times, I get the blues. The thing is, after a while, I realize it’s self-perpetuating for me and it’s hardly ahimsa-esque. If I think sad thoughts, I will stay sad. If I remember and dredge up sad memories, I will become sad and eventually angry: angry at myself for stirring it up or wasting energy on things that can’t be helped or for other reasons. 

If I think happy thoughts, I will become happy. 



Here’s a FASCINATING related opinion on the web about why some of us choose negative states (non-ahimsa) without realizing we choose them that I couldn’t say any better. I found it at the “Life of Learning Foundation“:

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“We value negative states because of the strong sense of self we get from them. This may be very difficult for us to see, but the light of Truth will show us the freeing facts. No one wants to believe that he or she values things like self-pity, anger, and depression. We would insist we don’t, and as evidence we point to the fact that we fight against them, but the struggle gives us a false sense of life and importance. It focuses attention on us and makes us feel like the center of a great deal of activity. The more we struggle, the more valuable these states become, because the more interesting and exciting they make us feel. We never feel ourselves so strongly as when we are furious, or hurt, or depressed. Of course, this self is a created self, a false self. But it feels real, and that’s why we cling to it. The power in the state is that by giving it our life, it feeds back to us a false sense of life and power. And as a result, we miss out on the Real Life we could experience if we were not filling ourselves with the false.”

Sometimes for me, music or thinking of my silly dog or a scene in a movie or simply taking a walk can subdue the blues. A change of scenery does wonders: it gets you moving, makes you look around (so you don’t get hit by cars or attacked by geese) and snaps you out of it.

I am actively avoiding reading sad stuff; I’m a news junkie, so that’s hard to do. I also try to avoid stirring up my own or another person’s sad again and again. Instead of being sad, we can take walks in our minds or around our blocks. But again: I’m not insensitive to the needs of others. People with medical depression or other disorders have a different experience and that matters. But walking always helps. 🙂 

What about how and what we eat? Do we sit or stand? Do we give ourselves a napkin and drink without a straw? Do we chew and taste our food? Is the food nourishing or wasted calories? It’s not easy. I’m not a vegan. I’m a steak-loving American mother. I avoid fast-food like the plague, but there’s clearly a conflict with practicing ahimsa when I eat meat. I remain aware of that and I privately thank the animal for the life it gave. I am human, flawed and selfish. 

One more thing: The irony is not lost on me that we are killing ourselves to live longer. That’s painfully true. I am all for health preservation, but there is a point where we can do damage. We drive ourselves harder athletically than we should; we run longer than our bones can take; we don’t rest; we push push push and then get disappointed (but probably not surprised) that we’ve blown a ligament or torn a tendon. Our desire to live longer must not be fulfilled at the risk of ahimsa; there is no point to living longer if you bust up your body.

If ahimsa is new to you, try it when you brush your teeth. See what happens, watch it reach other parts of your life. 

Thank you.