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Let’s Get Spiritual
Mar 19th, 2012 by Christina

Almost everyone I know in my age group seems to be struggling mightily these days. Marriages are crumbling, parents are falling ill, children are morphing into terrifying teenagers, and upper arms are less tank-top-friendly than ever before, making the upcoming summer season a most mixed blessing. If anyone out there is happy and they know it, please do clap your hands (and let your arms jiggle joyfully) right now because there is not a whole lot of applause going on in my circle these days.

It almost makes one (me) want to seek something larger to believe in, something to make it all seem worthwhile. Something, dare I say, spiritual.

I’ve always been allergic to the arrogant we’re right, you’re not aspect of organized religion, having been raised by a lapsed-Catholic mother and Jewish-turned-Unitarian father (so, yeah, Christmas tree, but no menorah). Then I married an avowed atheist (who asked for a menorah for Christmas; go figure) and together we raised our two adorable little heathens. (The tradition continues!)

And now here I am, mired in midlife malaise, suffocated by cynicism. Given my spotty religious past, my god-seeking options are somewhat limited at this point. But there’s always the Buddha: Look at him, sitting there quietly, no crosses to bear, no persecution complex. Who wouldn’t want to have what he’s having? Plus he seems like a really nice guy, a total mensch.

My soul-searching fantasy is a month-long Visionquest involving bells and the Himalayas, but since that’s not feasible, I decided to try a meditation class advertised at a groovy, anything-goes church in my neighborhood called The Church of Gethsemane. (Bar mitzvah? Communion? Gay wedding? Some hybrid of all three? Nothing throws them, I promise.)

The South Slope meditation took place on a Monday evening in the church’s basement. In lieu of the Himalayas, I was hoping for low lighting, candles, incense, floor mats and liberal use of the word om. Instead, I entered a flourescently-lit basement with 3 rows of folding metal chairs and a table with a display of inspiring texts on meditation (which I misread twice–first as medication and then as mediation. Can you tell how fried I am?) A handful of blue-corn tortilla chip dregs sat unappetizingly on a cake-sized paper plate. I checked to make sure I hadn’t accidentally walked into a 12-step meeting. Nope. We were going to meditate.

The upshot? It’s not easy to sit silently for 20 minutes on a folding chair under glaring, buzzing lights–but maybe that’s the point. I kept thinking that if only the lights were dim and we were sitting on the floor in the lotus position, then I’d be able to fully concentrate on my breath and stop obsessing about how I’m going to afford to fix the leaks in the bathroom ceiling and why I’m so lame at meditating and why I thought for a minute that I, of all people, could calm my busy, busy brain.

After the sitting part, the woman who led us gave a little talk on how we’re all so in our own heads and how we mistakenly believe that if we could just tweak our external circumstances–swap this for that, finally get our ducks in a row–everything would be OK and contentment would prevail. During the brief Q&A that followed, I was the only one who spoke up. I asked if the chairs and the bright lights were intentional, a lesson in finding peace among harsh external circumstances, perhaps? (Apparently not. Pure coincidence.)

So, while I didn’t emerge whole and fixed, as I’d hoped, I might possibly be one or two breaths less cynical, which is a start. Next up: The “Meditation for Beginners” DVD I ordered from Amazon.

(Oh and I still want to rename my blog to reflect my new focus on midlife musings, but I don’t want to rush into anything I might regret. Some possibilities: Under Construction; Midlife-a-thon; Woman in Progress. I’m open to suggestions, so suggest away.)

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Stop Me Before I Don’t Blog Again
Mar 5th, 2012 by Christina

Wow, I guess last summer is over, huh? Oops. I really did intend to resume my blog in the fall, but I guess that season slipped away from me too. Yikes. And winter has apparently been cancelled here in the Northeast this year, so now it’s been officially three seasons since I blogged.

Mea Culpa.

Frankly (get it?),  I’m touched that a few of you have been on me about it. I am flattered that some of you have missed my musings. I miss them too, but I’ve been stuck. Allow me to be my neurotic, honest self and I’ll tell you a bit about my stuckness. I’m going to use the “deceptively simple bullet format” extolled by one of my most beloved pals/readers to explain my lengthy blog hiatus:

  • I felt like it was time to put the “Splitsville” identity behind me, y’ know? The truth is, I am still coping with the emotional–and may I say, truly hideous–financial fallout of divorce. But even I am tired of my woes by now (and I don’t tire of them easily). To perpetuate the notion of being in Splitsville seems unhealthy at this point, but I wasn’t sure where else to go, so I jumped ship. I’m definitely not in Togetherville or Everythingsgreatville, either. Hence, I postponed thinking about it with my breezy have-a-nice-summer post, after which I took an excessively long vacation in Procrastinationville. (I know, overdoing the “ville” gag. Not funny anymore. Sorry.)
  • Shortly after I stopped blogging, I simply forgot how to. I forgot my password to my WordPress dashboard. I  didn’t pay my annual Statcounter fee (and I’m sure the cool bloggers probably use some very hip, cutting-edge analytics service by now anyway). Not surprisingly, once I bailed on my readers, they bailed on me back. So instead of the invigorating “you go girl” type comments from my friends, I get random creepy spam like “Anyone here emo?” or “This blog of great interest to me. Plese wire $50,000 to adress below.”
  • I might be too cynical about the way the world is today. I really like to blog, but must everyone else do it too?  It’s a blog-eat-blog world out there and I feel like I can’t keep up with all you really motivated people. (Also, why are there suddenly so many quilters out there and why do they have a need to blog more than other hobbyists?)
  • Why shouldn’t the world be buying the cow instead of getting the milk for free? Shouldn’t I be getting paid for my oh-so-quirky midlife musings? Shouldn’t someone be getting paid for something…anything?
  • Dating: Fun in a way, but exhausting too. Who has time to craft witty blog posts when you have to stay on top of shaving your legs all the time? Maybe if I go on a dating hiatus, I’ll be more creative. Call it: Men? Oh. Pause.

So that’s where things are at. If you were one of my loyal fans, thank you for urging me to resume blogging. And, um, not that I’m trying to get the milk for free, but if I were to start a new, post-Splitsville blog, what would the focus be and what would it be called?

 

(Oh, also, I am supposed to give credit for the image: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1152)

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