Tag Archives: Zen and the Art of Falling in Love

Disturbia

It is impossible to fail if we extend love.  Whether or not the person accepts it is incidental.  Our ability to love is what makes the difference.” — 

Zen and the Art of Falling in Love, Brenda Shoshanna

Yep.  Those were the last words of my yesternight.  Right before the ghetto birds came out for their habitual cruising above the 101 and very soon after the single jolt of yesterday’s earthquake (which most of my kittens have slept right through), I was flipping through all of my current books for some line that would deliver me into my dreamworld.  Something good:  I needed something good!

“There’s a difference, I said, between making it and simply becoming hard,” Bukowski offered up.  Nope.

“If I’m just a passing fancy, then I want to pass fancy,” chimed-in Lorrie Moore.  Still not it.

Oh, I love me some insomnia!  Usually, it rolls in during my life’s transitions, like an unexpected weather front.  It normally takes me a couple of nights of its reoccurring to realize “Transition” is exactly the name of the ailment.  But in the mean time, all of that self-knowledge that inspires my esteem, all that skill for meditation and counting sheep; all the certainty that in the end I’ve somehow managed to be true to my goodness (or at least, managed to be true) — it all evaporates like a single snowflake on a curious child’s mitten.  The atmosphere gets dark, the head gets messy:  Heavy shit is about to go down.

Soon enough the silence of my apartment gets overcrowded by an amusement park for ghosts.  A traveling freak show pitches a tent.

“Where did all this come from?” I wonder, astonished every single time at how much a single life of a woman can encompass.

And I just can’t fucking sleep.

The only thing to do then — is do nothing.  To ride it out.

Yes, I could think of all the places I have yet to visit.  Or, I could recycle that one memory of a random San Francisco street that made me feel that I’ve finally come home.  But the ghosts and the freaks nag me to jump on a ride with them, and it is useless to protest.  Before I know it:  My heart’s racing, I’m disconnected from gravity, and I cannot figure out if it’s sweat or tears that’s rolling down my face.  I flip and I turn to get more comfortable in between all the safety belts and the chains; I yank my hair into some sort of a submission.  But that too seems to be a moot point.  So, I keep riding until exhaustion becomes my saving grace, and until the fire-red electronic numbers on the face of my alarm clock are no more than random equations of time.

Insomnia.  Alas.  It is the perfect time for regrets.

The only thing is:  I don’t do regrets.  Because when I do regrets, it means I’m suffering from shame.  And shame, my kittens, is something I just prefer to never do.

Not in any self-righteous way and never at the expense of someone else, but I choose to be good, in life.  Yes, of course:  There have been mistakes, and those came with shame; and shame, my kittens, is something I just prefer to never do — againAnd if there is anything that a choice of goodness can guarantee — it’s one’s safety from regrets.  (But then again, I wouldn’t wish regrets onto my enemies either.)  It is nice to reminisce, sure, to reflect on the so-called “lessons” of life.  But to discount an experience or a person due to my guilt or pride; or to wish for their non-happening at all — via a regret — well, what’s the goodness in that, right?

It gets tricky though, on the rides with the ghosts and the freaks.  All that tossing and yanking, and I get tempted to get off on the very first stop:  Regrets.  (The stop after that is usually Wrath, followed by Mourning.)

“Should I not have loved this last time around?” I thought as the freaks fumbled with the hinges of my safety belt.  “Was loving a mistake?”

(I know, I know, kittens!  I know better than that.  I know better than that — in the daytime!  But yesternight, all I could hear was the sniffling by ghosts and the conductor’s forewarnings of the next stops, each more daunting than the one before.  So, yes:  I considered regretting.  (In the mean time, the freaks thought it would be really cute to start nudging my ribcage with their stumpy thumbs.  Cute fuckers!))

And that’s where the digging through my manuals came in handy.  My books of reference.  My maps to self-discovery.  Bukowski — that adored freak of mine! — testified to my two choices in life as suffering or boredom.  Ms. Moore was ever so melancholic and lovely.  (“What’s that perfume she’s always wearing?” I kept holding on.)  Comrade Nabokov was not much of a consolation either; for he is all about mourning the loss of time.  Zadie Smith managed to make me chuckle with her translations of humanity, but her people stumble around their lives like drunkards in the windstorm of history.

“I need something good!” I thought.

Aha!  The Zen book!  It has been shoved underneath my hard bed — a gift from the most recent love I was considering regretting yesternight.  Out of sight — out of messy mind, right?  But it just wouldn’t fit into a commercial size envelope that holds all the other palpable evidence of this lover’s memory; and it just wouldn’t sit right on the shelf among all of my other freaks of literature.  So, in a hurried gesture, I’ve hidden it in my bedroom.

Thank goodness I recalled its existence last night:

“We cannot fail as long as we are practicing and that very act of brining an answer is success itself.”

Oh, okay.  So, all of this self-discovery — while alone or with a love — is the very point of it all.  And even this seemingly torturous night of riding with the ghosts and the freaks is a part of it; because it has challenged me to make all local stops of my feelings and lessons.

“Our ability to love is what makes the difference.”

Oh, okay then:  To love — is never a mistake, and it does not belong among regrets.  Because in love, I’m learning to be myself.  In love, I am learning to be.

I held on, kittens.  Last night, I held onto myself and I rode it out.  And honestly, it wasn’t all that bad.  It was good; and I needed something good.

Boy-Crazy

Balls out, comrades!  My man met my boys!

Our magnificent rendezvous was purely accidental yesterday, yet perfectly timed; because right around now have my friends began to wonder about the player smooth enough to keep V intrigued and ballsy enough to make a regular appearance on this “little rant blog” of mine.  (Special thanks here to my ex-fucker for belittling my writing with the above-mentioned tag.  Wait until my boys flip it and berate that arrogant twat!)  Anyway:  In all reality, it was no surprise to have all my favorite men of LA-LA-Land gather at this casual Brazilian hangout; for way too many mutual tales spring out of that joint.  Boo and I, however, are still in the midst of writing our memories, stamping them with the places we’ve explored together.  Yet in that vicinity, we’ve met for the first time, years ago.

Unpredictably, in the midst of yesterday’s casual afternoon with boo, one of my boys stormed in from behind me, swept me off my feet with his wings—and I was airborne:

“V!  What are you doing here?!”

Defying gravity on the neck of this 6-feet-plus soldier, in an embrace of overgrown children, I could not be happier.  But then, for a split second, I began to wonder about the reaction of my partner; so over the shoulder of the only man in my life I’ve called “my brother,” I looked for my man.  Quietly, he held his ground while waiting for his introduction, allowing for this love to unfold in an uncensored manner.  The introduction did follow very soon, after my petite body was released from the soul-recharging embrace.

“I’m Freddy!” my brother thrust forth his strong brown hand, his always genuinely smiling face and his grace that, as I’m convinced, springs from the lullabies he whispers to angels every night.  In return, my man—did his man-thing:  the nod, the shake, the name.  He didn’t need my help here; and suddenly, I got hit with the realization that I was being granted a rare privilege to watch grown men in action.  They were men when it came to negotiating the ways of the world; yet each of them I’ve witnessed in their Peter Pan modes—but this was not the place to get into my mama-V mode.

“Rara!  Where have you been?!” the runner-up favorite male creature of mine has arrived late (as fucking usual!) and repeated the whole V Hangs off the Neck of a God in a Homecoming Embrace routine.  For hours, this Latin boy child—my darling “Jaime” Dean—has delighted me less than a week ago (https://fromrussianwithlove.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/zen-and-the-art-of-going-down/).  Yet, as always, he acted as if distance and sad marriages have separated us for years—so child-like was his thrill to see me! so deprived and hungry was his ear!

The negotiation of a shared meal happened right out front of the Brazilian joint, with the dust of the perpetual Sunset constructions and mid-day heat of the sun getting in our eyes.  Soon, I realized that my place—was to hang back; because when in the company of these world-treading, motorcycle-riding, women-worshiping, art-creating, ground-breaking power-players-in-the-making, I was no longer taking the lead (as I do when navigating in the company of women).  Here, I was meant to lean back and watch shit be taken care of.  So, in surrender, my comrades (a speed that took me three decades to learn), I followed my tall, exotic creatures to our table, assumed my seat, tangled up my feet in my boo’s thighs, and got ready:  to watch, to study, to lap-up these new memories in creation and to re-fall in love with my loves.

Comrades!  How do I describe the utter delight in the stories of my ever-so-cool gypsy brother visiting our formerly shared city for just a few hours en route to his spontaneous trip to OZtralia?  And where in the world do I summon my Shiva for the dance of gratitude; because my brother, my witness, my spiritual equal has seen me both fallen and resurrected—yet he never judged?  And how do I paint for you my spit takes as Jaime Dean repeatedly broke everyone’s composure with his breathy delivery and authentic metaphors that only foreign-language speakers can master up (because we don’t give a damn about the rules)?  And pride with which I watched my man hold his own, funny and at ease—how do I write that, when it fails in comparison in all my former experiences?  Because truth be told, this astonishing young creature is the first to teach me about the natural pacing of relationships and the mandatory checking-in of one’s ego.  (I mean, the player gave me a book titled Zen and the Art of Falling in Love!  And I thought I knew everything.)  And how do I voice my heart’s aching in a silent prayer—for all of them—for their guardian angels to shield them from the nth losses of love or inspiration?

The event—was life-changing.  Picking up on that?

Half way through the meal, our table was crashed by yet another gypsy:  an Israeli bad-ass sporting a shaggy look of someone who doesn’t follow everyone else’s clock-determined schedule.  But by that point—V was just a pussycat, purring and arching her back in the company of the big, cool cats who have already sized each other up and reclined in a manner of having jack shit to prove.  And it made me wonder:  How do men learn to navigate the world?  Who teaches them to accept a woman’s chosen family and behold their dignity with such calm esteem?  Is the responsibility of fathers to teach their sons the healthy competition sans having to overcompensate for their lacks and lapses? I knew no answers; for despite having claimed my expertise in gender relations, yesterday was the first time I was humbled by the beauty of men.  I knew:  I’ve outgrown my grudges toward the other gender.  I have forgiven the mistakes of the unknowing few.  And I have surrendered to my curiosity toward the source of their grace; and, for the first time—became their equal.