Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Everyday Offerings

Every day I walk by our little corporate galley kitchen, and oftentimes my co-workers have left some communal offering. On Fridays there might be donuts or bagels. The middle of the week might bring homemade cookies. After any holiday there is sure to be leftover candy. There is never a sign, but everyone knows that anything left on the red counter is an offering to all.

An altar to we mortal gods.

Today I walked by and it was a handful of fresh strawberries. Not on a plate or a napkin. Just scattered on the counter, like a lazy gift, and I laughed.

Life is a red countertop. We are all gods, with altars full of offerings, if only we would see.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Will I Remember This?

I often remind myself that it is the times I struggled most that I recall most fondly.

I remind myself of this so often because it seems I have struggled more than I've coasted. As a matter of fact, does any period of of our lives seem particularly easy as we experience it? Are we ever really happy in the present?

I often recall the years I was in college as the happiest years. But if I take the time to pick apart the memory, I recall that I was so broke I ate boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese because that's all I could afford. I had patio furniture in the living room. I never went out and I never went shopping. I studied a lot, even on Friday and Saturday nights. I dreamed of the day I would graduate and make more money. And have a social life.

But this crusty 37-year-old brain recalls the way the sun shone through the empty attic of my Detroit bungalow and the near-giddy feeling of, "This is mine!" I was so busy trying to get a 4.0 and keep myself fed, I really didn't have too much time to trouble with existential angst. And though I recall these years as the golden years with my ex-husband, I can't help but recall all the nights I got in my car and drove around the block because I was so angry with him I didn't want to go home, but drove home anyway because I had no place else to go.

That makes me laugh now.

I looked at seven or eight houses on Sunday, and quickly ascertained that the affordable houses weren't as nice as my apartment, and the only houses I liked were about $300 more than I pay now. Returning home to my clean, bright, sunshine-y apartment after looking at other people's rundown houses, I couldn't help but tilt my head back and laugh.

I suddenly realized that some day I will look back on the apartment days as some of the fondest memories of my life. My years of struggle as a single mother, climbing my way up the corporate ladder and eeking out a little more salary each year — oh it will be these years of which I will be most proud.

And perhaps I will remember them as the time I was the most free.

I keep getting distracted by all the things I should be dissatisfied with. I don't make enough money. My job is pretty boring and routine. I sit in a cube all day. My car is crappy. My apartment, small. I don't like my furniture. But I'm laughing as I type this.

Silly girl.

Happiness is for now, not later. Happiness won't come with a new car, a new job or even a big brand new house. When you move on, you bring your happiness with you. Or your misery.

New houses aren't furnished with emotion. In fact, nothing new includes happiness. It's sort of like batteries — happiness is sold separately. Happiness is a choice, you choose it every single moment, as it occurs. You don't get to pre-order it for the future, and you don't get to send it back in time. Happiness only exists right now, even as you read this.

Your choice.

Figure out how to be happy right now, or fire off all the reasons you can't be happy. Get angry. Tell me why I'm wrong. See how far that gets you. Go on and pack your bags with misery and expect to find something else when you unpack.

I read once that Freud said daydreams were the territory of the dissatisfied and meloncholy. Happy people don't daydream. I have a tendency to daydream away the present, wrapping the fantasies of future successes around me while I completely miss what's lovely right now.

It's cloudy out, the pavement is covered with rain. I can't comment on the sun. But the parking lot looks slick and black, and the grass is greener than it ought to be. Michigan is lush and wet, and I want to roll around in it.

I think I will.

Right now.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everything Is Perfect, Including You

I love you a little bit more today than I did yesterday. Don't know why, I just do.

Maybe it's because you looked vulnerable. Maybe it's because I kissed you all over your face. Maybe it's because the sex was phenomenal.

Maybe there's just a whole helluva lot of good in this world, and you remind me of that.

Some days are just good. Some days are full of certainty. Some moments are full of you, and I am satiated. In these moments I am certain of everything. Worry is a thing of the past. Insecurity is cast aside, and suddenly there is room for faith. Can a wary girl have faith in anything? Yes, if she allows herself to believe.

Nirvana is living in the moment. Nirvana is not worrying about the past or the future. All concerns that have nothing to do with Right Now only destroy our happiness. But like a well conditioned lab rat, I keep pushing the lever, over and over again, waiting to get my reward or punishment. I'm a salivating dog. I anticipate everything, good and bad -- and in my anticipation, I ruin the moment. Because right now, I don't need whatever might come. I don't need anything more than this.

Sometimes I'm amazed how everything is saturated with the teachings of the Buddha. The lessons of awareness, and of letting go seep into the dry soil of my life -- work, boyfriend, family, son -- all of it filling with the same clear waters of acceptance. Everything is as it should be. Right now. Perfect.

As are you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Warning.

The dead body is still there.

I know, I know. I should clean it up. What kind of a person leaves the remains of a giant centipede sqaushed onto the trim along the floor? Every time I walk down the hall I stare at it. Its legs are still splayed this way and that, frozen in their final caress.


As soon as my son notices it, I'm going to have to get the Windex and scrub it off. It's just that the very thought of touching it, even through several layers of paper towel, gives me the heebiest of jeebies.

Maybe I can leave it there as a warning to other centipedes?

In the middle ages they used to flay thieves, and nail their skins to the doors as warnings.

That's right.

I said it.

I'm going medieval on those furry fuckers.

Consider yourselves warned.