Monday, March 25, 2013

Brunch and Meditation

After last week's post on meditation (and giant pillows), I had a sudden flashback to something I had written years ago. It was buried within a larger piece called "30 Thoughts" in which I challenged myself to write for 30 days on topics for which I felt passionately--be it love or loathing, greatest hopes and fears. This list included everything from fruit trees to bed bugs, from my fear of the sun one day exploding to my unquenchable interest in cooking shows. One of the topics I wrote about was brunch, and how much I love the act of having brunch with friends. But as time has gone on, I realize that what I really liked about the piece was the conversation I documented that day, and how interesting it is to go back in time and see my thoughts on meditation, especially now that I have actually been trying meditation for myself (day13!). Don't you love to go back in time and see how your fears have evolved? While I am still leery of the snake metaphor (read will make sense), I do feel much more open to seeking out a calm place inside of myself, one that is free from self-doubt and anxiety, as Nicole so eloquently put it. And so, my thanks go out to Nicole for that conversation...and Elizabeth Gilbert for sparking our snarky commentary, and Oprah and Deepak for providing a script, and Melanie for introducing me to the 21-day challenge in the first place. Each time I close my eyes, I am sure that I am living my life a little bit better. And I am clearly sailing forward in good company, with those who also want to see all that is beautiful in the world.

Brunch - November 2009
Going out to brunch when you didn’t go out the night before is a beautiful beautiful thing. First of all, you slept well. You may have even slept for eleven hours. And oh, does that ever feel good. It's always nice if one person in your brunch group went out the night before, as she may have interesting stories to tell over brunch, and then you can enjoy not only feeling healthy and well-rested, but also up to date on all of the good gossip. But my favorite combination is brunch with just one other person who also slept for eleven hours and who also feels GREAT. It makes the coffee tastes better, and the Bloody Mary a bit spicier, and that’s all before you even start talking. And that really is the best thing about brunch: what you talk about. Brunch is the perfect time to dream, to ruminate, to cover the big stuff and feel like you actually got a satisfying answer. 

Rather than try to describe a typical brunch conversation, I will instead list the topics that Nicole and I covered today:
1)    Her Halloween party, and where all the booze could have possibly gone.
2)    Robb’s adorable trait of hording candy and any other goods for which he has great love and feels protective.
3)    Dreams: what we dreamed about recently and what we thematically dream about over and over. Nicole frequently dreams that she is getting angry at loved ones as they stay remarkably calm. She also has dreamed more than once that she was driving a car from the backseat. I dream quite often about parties where everyone I have ever known is in attendance. I dream most frequently about public transportation (subways, buses, airports) and all the ways in which transportation goes wrong. It is important to note that I rarely arrive at the place I am intending to go.
4)    Friendships that you accidentally ended and how you can possibly reopen the door to that friendship. Who is at fault? And is it worth it to be friends with these people again?
5)    At this point, Nicole stopped talking mid-sentence and saw that her ex-boyfriend was sitting at the end of the counter. He looked flummoxed, as he always looks. Nicole was very sweet and said hello, and he mumbled some words that I didn’t hear.
6)    We talked about Eat, Pray, Love, a book that she seemed to loathe and that I had been finding quite delightful. Though I always have a certain hesitation for books that are gigantically enormous New York Times bestsellers. If I were to write a book, I might be skeptical of my sincerity were it to hit the top-ten. I’d feel much more authentic in the top-200 zone. Nicole says that her primary issue with the book is that the author seems manipulative—that she seems to have spun the story to back up her bad behavior and that rather than embracing herself as an imperfect human, she turns herself somehow into a victim and is too self-congratulatory about her “crazy” life choices she is making. I say that I didn’t like it when she said she wasn’t worried about making friends in Italy because she makes friends everywhere she goes. And we both agree that as a reader you find yourself thinking “well it must be nice to be you.” I point out that I am sincerely enjoying the liveliness of her writing. Though, Nicole countered, she seems like she’s exaggerating. To which I mused, I think it would be hard to write a candid, soul-searching unbiased memoir when you have already been paid the advance. The pressure to “entertain” must be awfully compromising.
7)    I told Nicole that I am almost as scared to go to outer space as I am to enter the depths of my mind through meditation. And that I don’t see how it sounds appealing to have a snake coiled at the base of my spine which crawls through my vertebrae and explodes through the top of my head as God enters my body in the form of a beautiful blue light. I think that this sounds very scary indeed. Nicole explains to me that this is supposed to be the epitome of calmness. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a moment in your life that is not filled with self-doubt and anxiety? A moment where you are just able to see all of your inner beauty and all that is beautiful in this world? Sure, I say, but it still sounds scary. And I don’t see why it has to be a snake.
8)    I mean to ask Nicole at this point how many people I can bring to watch me try on wedding dresses the next weekend. But just at that moment, her ex's friend (and a girl Nicole was good friends with while she was dating the guy) approaches us and asks if we’d like to get a Bloody Mary after we finish brunch. Nicole agrees, then realizes her ex will be going, too. I offer my services as wingman, which she declines. And so I leave them to sort that mess out and walk home. I call Morgan on the way to double-check that I did indeed ask her to be a bridesmaid. She says yes, and we chat for a minute. It is Saturday in November, it’s bright and cold. I try to walk on the sunny side of the street, but at 2 pm, there’s not really direct sun on either side. I hang up when my hand gets too cold. I come into the house, make a pot of coffee, and write this.

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