New Year’s Eve passed, and I changed the verb tenses in my scattered notes, and then changed them again yesterday as the notes cohered. Well, they did cohere but not into anything very interesting. I seemed to want to blather for a while about how everybody was hating on 2013 in spite of Boy Scouts in Utah and Sonia Sotomayor and the ban on horses in Central Park, but then I admitted that yeah there were a lot of ugly things like the duck guy (not so much the guy himself because who cares about one pseudo-Christian hatemonger, but all his fans -- a large and influential percentage of the U.S. population -- who believe that advocating the killing of homosexuals and the enslavement of blacks is just one worldview among many and should not be condemned. So maybe the world is not slowly slowly becoming what we imagined, dreamed of, fought for.
And I mentioned drones, because obviously that’s not what I ever hoped for, and the Pope, who everyone is totally in love with just because, spurning tradition, he does not support the killing of homosexuals. He does, however, take a dim view of their being allowed to raise children. The Pope, to our disappointment, still shits in the woods. We take the good with the bad.
And I went on for a while about my mom. Not even really about my mom but about how she’s on my mind nearly all the time and when she’s not, and I suddenly realize I haven’t thought of her for a couple hours, I feel sad and guilty as if I haven’t held up my end of a bargain. But today she’s home from the hospital and feeling better than she has in a long time.
And then I mentioned that we’re in hot and heavy talks with some big-deal producers for LIZZIE and that’s very exciting but also very stressful because of all the contract negotiating and feeling like at any moment you could agree to something and inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings or ruin your life. Not really, but it feels like that sometimes.
And I thought I had a deep point to make about the vicissitudes of life and my New Year’s resolution to resume my daily meditation practice. I wanted to take a stand against the anti-resolution sentiment this time of year, I think spurred by the fact that most people don’t keep their resolutions. But since when is failure a good excuse for not trying? The practice of making resolutions, or setting intentions, for the New Year is ancient and crosses cultures and religions. It used to be that people would make promises to a god or gods or God. I think now we mostly make promises to ourselves. To exercise, eat better, smile more. Why not?
But when I read back over my draft, it was boring and didn’t even make much sense, so I didn’t post it.
Come to think of it, that’s sort of the crux of the problem I’m trying to solve, that my thoughts never settle, never clear, as my mind is pulled from this excitement to that dread.
New York is no help. There’s so little quiet or open space, everyone pushing. I remember this feeling from the last time I lived here, tense and angry much of the time, but back then I had nothing to compare it to. Now that I’ve been away from the city and back and know how unnatural and unhealthy this environment is, I’m less willing to defend it. I don’t remember the exact quote, but I heard Fran Leibowitz say that to be a New Yorker is to walk around in a constant rage, which is true, and sad, and frightening when you imagine 8 million people rushing around to an internal monologue of murder.
So I have resolved to start meditating daily again. Ten minutes a day, to start. It’s a small commitment. It has to be because when is there time? How is adding yet another activity to an already hectic schedule going to help anything? Isn’t that the source of so much of the anxiety in the first place. The times when I was religious about meditating I wasn’t living in New York or I wasn’t working a day job. But I can make 10 minutes in the morning. Wednesday didn’t count because it was a holiday, but yesterday and this morning I sat for ten minutes and was surprised when the bell rang -- I thought it had only been 4 or 5. I’m out of practice, so it wasn’t easy, but it gets easier and that’s the point, to train your mind to stop wandering and spinning and torturing you (and everyone around you for that matter -- I’ve come to completely rely on C to cushion me from my neuroses because I know that he will put up with just about anything and still love me. But that’s no reason to push it to the limit. I aggravate myself, how could I not be aggravating him?).
Good things will happen and bad things will happen and both are powerful and compelling. I can’t change that. I want a way to receive all this stuff without freaking out at every little bit of news, every question, every decision required. In meditation you practice putting aside your thoughts and returning to your basic sanity.