I wish this was a real magazine, “The Art of Modern Living” …like Oprah’s “O” only with actual practical advice that you can really use such as how to hashtag your Instagram photos for maximum likeage, I fancy myself the nouveau poor-but-grew-up-without-incest-and-poverty version of Oprah. I might not be able to give you a brand new Volkwagen Beetle but at least you won’t get a pair of sequin Uggs from me either. Ok, I know you would like a pair of sequin Uggs and so would I for my elegant dog walks with Betty who may or may not be just a ferret on steroids. Who am I kidding? Oprah is the awesomest and the stuff she gives away is all the best shit, but in my magazine, I can only share with you what I’ve learned from my first world trials and tribulations (the hashtag would be #trialsandtribz). It would be way more entertaining than “O.”
I had an epiphany this week. Oprah would call it an “Aha moment” but since your with me, it was more like a WTFLOL moment. And it’s not a complete and tangible realization but more like something that has been slowly gestating and is starting to spew forth from my brain to this blog. Please, bear with me! Or if you can’t bear with me, beer with me…go crack one open, I’ll wait….It is about a spiritual journey, and I have been working through it for the past ten years ever so slowly, one step forward and then a nap, then drunken wino weekend, then a nap, then another step forward, then watching the entire three seasons of Downton Abbey, a Jays game, and another step forward…in other words, my little rudimentary “spiritual journey” is more on a par with an errand in to the corner store for some emergency Liquid Plumbr than an epic pilgrimage to the three corners of the Earth like that smug chick in “Eat, Pray, Love” JUST TO GET SOME JAVIER BARDEM BONE. I’m SO jelly.
Mine started like this:
I went to a Blue Jays Game. Lorraine had an extra ticket to see the Jays play the Indians and asked me to come along with her family. I was like, yes! I don’t know shit about baseball but who cares? A stadium full of testosterone is just what the doctor ordered and BEER ME! I can’t eat hotdogs, so I pre-ate beforehand, slapped on a Tena-pad because I am no dummy, and hopped on the streetcar to meet her. The Queen streetcar, as much as I hate that slow-moving bitch in my motor vehicle (I am still doing the Downton Abbey accent), is a really soothing ride, kind of meditative if the other passengers aren’t sniffing glue and speaking in tongues. It put me in a good mood for the game. At the Rogers Centre, we had great seats and not only did Lorraine know ALL the words to the national anthem, she also knows everything about baseball and all its subtleties. I learned a thing or two that I have since forgotten but at least I know all the words to “Seven Nation Army.” In the 9th inning, because “we” were tied, the excitement of the crowd escalated to fever pitch and a wave ensued. “Whee!!!” squealed me, jumping up ( 5 sections too soon). Nobody loves a packed stadium wave more than me. I got the rhythm of it by the next round, don’t worry.
I am not always a crowd yahoo. A few years ago, when I was a real estate agent, my brokerage manager convinced to take a 3-day Mike Ferry seminar at the Convention Centre to learn better business practises in order to achieve SUCCESS! (Success is always in capital letters in real estate publications). It took place in an auditorium of over a thousand other real estate agents with their hair and their outfits and their coffee and muffins, all talking shop amongst each other. I sat in the very back with my hair and my outfit and my coffee and muffin, all alone and paralyzed with dread and fear. When Mike Ferry came prancing onto the stage with his Gwen Stefani headset, Jumbotron backdrop, the disco lights went on and out blasted “Y’all Ready For This?” Everybody, and I mean every single person, bolted out of their seats and started dancing and clapping with the oh-so groovy beat. I was mor-ti-fied. Cannot deal with forced jubilance. I got up alright…and bolted to the bathroom. This ritual happened every morning and after every break. Fucking horrifying.
What’s the difference between me giddily hopping up performing a wave and singing The White Stripes at the top of my lungs at a baseball game or me cowering in a toilet stall to avoid a crowd of dancing realtors? One word: Mojo…or MOJO in capital letters. Sergio Santos, I would so hit that. Dude in a white shirt tucked into a pair of dress pants eating a muffin with a Blackberry in a belt holster, noooo. Not even drunk.
But the question is, does it take an entire stadium to get my MOJO`to flow? And the answer is no, I can do it all by myself. Here’s how:
I went to a guided meditation group at the library. Sounds like a good time, right? My daughter, Evangeline, who is 19 has had anxiety attacks for a few years. She gets into a state when she starts thinking about her own mortality in relation to the rest of the unknown universe. She fears her own death, and maybe Betty’s but not so much other people’s. For a few months she has been going to group meditation in order to control her emotions and cope with anxiety. I, too, have a simmering stir fry of anxiety triggers: money, death, jobs, getting old, drying up, the future, loneliness, etc. They make pills for this sort of thing, I know, but I would rather learn to cope by myself. With a lot of people, anxiety and depression are a barf-awful couple like Brangelina but thankfully my anxiety is like moi, a lone wolf who might occasionally send out a sexy text message with a random body part attached. I can get the sadz alright but it only lasts a day. My anxiety needs to be on a short leash that’s for sure, otherwise fuck knows what disorder it might want to pick up for some good times.
The group meets on Monday and it’s free! ’Not everything you have to pay for, Mom,” Righteous Teenage Daughter knows how to buck the system. Her boyfriend, Tamas, has also been going which is not surprising, he is a fascinating neo-hippie-type and I feel like he is a whole blog post on his own. I thought it would be just three of us and the guide because bitch, please, meditation?…isn’t that seventies thing? But there were over twenty people in the room. And I’m not going to lie, the first thing I did was a scan of “who would I bone in a pinch?” It’s a game I play wherever I go and so do you, admit it. Why would you ever have to bone someone in a pinch? In case the bomb dropped and you were the only survivors and had to propagate the species, duh. There were mostly women of various ages, a couple of young dudes like Tamas, but there was this one middle age man in a suit who stood out because demographically speaking, he was the one I would HAVE to bone in a pinch. I kept my eye on him, just because he made me worried, he looked so incredibly sad. Or meh, I couldn’t tell which.
I learned a thing or two that I have been retaining because we got some handouts that I actually read and then googled. Our guide was a thirtysomething dude who had just been to INDIA on a spiritual pilgrimage, of course. He smiled a lot and had those kind of twinkly eyes that make you feel like surly, sarcastic drag-ass and that maybe you should lighten up a bit.
He told us this story of seeing an entire family: Father, kid,and mother holding a baby, all perched on a motor scooter, weaving through the traffic. Imagine all the tickets they would get if they were riding along Queen Street. We all laughed like what a bunch of crazy mofos in India, but then he explained that it was a culture of “collective fearlessness.” That is how they roll in India. In our culture, he said, we are excellent communicators, what with all our cellphone texting. Isn’t that cute? I’m serious, sometimes you have to get tired of all these cellphone shaming memes you see on the Facebook, but he puts a positive spin on it. So tap, tap, tap, away, kittens, we are part of a collective power of excellent communicators! Huzzah!
Then he guided us through a meditation exercise where we were sitting in a chair, both feet to the ground, we had to do some swirling around with our hands from our laps to the top of our heads, then tie a pretend bow, and then make a rainbow over our bodies. WTF for you ask? To bring awareness and create energy flow, don’t be so skeptical. The energy is Kundalini, which is Sanskrit fancy-pants for MOJO, hookers. And MOJO isn’t just about boner power, pervs, it’s the energy that guides the whole spirit. This energy flows through the seven chakras centres through the body, called the subtle system. Is it Science? No, but not everything has to be “science” all the live long day, I’m looking at you Neil Degrasse Tyson. By the way, this energy flowing ritual is not unlike thousands of people performing a wave at a baseball game. Yes, it is.
Once you get your energy flowing though your chakras, which is not unlike UNCLOGGING A TOILET, you can close your eyes and achieve the state meditation. And what is that? It’s like an emptiness, where you are calm and void of all emotions. Anxiety is emotional blockage and if you can calm yourself, by yourself SANS Ativan, you should be signing autographs in my opinion. Our guide says sometimes this state of meditation only lasts a moment and when you get good at it, you can go for an hour or more. It takes awhile to achieve this so I’m gonna try if it kills me. At this point, I can’t really tell if I had any actual meditative moments or I am just thinking of a very boring thought. Also, the girl beside me and I were having duelling banjoes of stomach growling. Distracting! How can you ignore outside noise? This little grasshopper has much to learn! But even just being in a group with all the positive-style energy flowing, a packed stadium or a room in a library, is a powerful MOJO stimulant. I peaked a few times to check up on the man I would have to bone in a pinch and he still seemed to have the sadz or the mehs but maybe that was his default expression. Who knows what goes on inside a person? Also worthy of note, is that during our meditation silence, one woman started to cry in big, greasy sobs and then on a dime, it turned into laughter! THAT is one messed up set of chakras I would think.
My little epiphany? Don’t be such a goddamn hermit and find comfort in the collective energy of those who inspire you to NOT hide in a bathroom stall. Don’t be afraid to ride the waves! Go, little elephant, go!