Every day in New York is somehow tinged with bittersweet. The time of year adds to the effect. Everything feels like it's slipping into a cold coma. I continuously think, how much longer am I going to be able to do this? My job feels tenuous. My body feels fragile – my psyche more so. And though I'm allergic to much of what I see, smell, hear and feel, I do love the mornings. I love getting up at 4:49 a.m., stumbling around in the dark, throw on a hoody, close the windows that were left open piss, turn on the scones to warm in the toaster oven to find my meditation spot on the couch. I love sitting there for a 1/2-hour, doing whatever it is that I discipline myself into doing, bodily stillness though my mind is, at times, looping, obsessive, rampant – but to begin the day with structure. To even have half my mind spotlighting on spiritual passages and good thoughts gives a bar to reach for, a standard, or at least taps the breaks.
I love that my wife has been getting up and we've been meditating together. A partnership, a collective insanity, a secretive inanity - I mean who the hell else would join me to meditate 5-5:30 in the morning? Answer: our cat, Bean. This morning, Bean discovering the hanging shade adjustment string to bat at, but mostly she is just quiet and pumps on my wife's lap.
Then comes the shower. Every morning I fight with myself over whether I will get out of the shower and shave looking at my aging old mug in the mirror. The receding hairline. The burned off spots of pre-cancerous whatever from the visit to the Dermatologist yesterday. 35 minutes of sitting in a room with a paper gown for 3 minutes of being zapped with liquid nitrogen and of course Dr. XXSSA wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't slice a sample off my back and auto text me through the patient portal in 2 weeks - benign. (or not.)
The insult of aging.
We then drive into the City. It's 13 miles or so I sometimes get tense if we leave too many minutes after 6 a.m. because the traffic starts to pile up, but I've trained myself to slow down. After all it's just part of the experience really. This morning there was a teeny bit of ice on the windshield so there was no way we were leaving on time.
On the drive, which takes about a half hour, we listen to a selection from the vast amounts of classes and lectures from the Vedanta Societies of Southern California and New York. Lately we have been listening to Swami Medhananda, a younger, intellectually vibrant PHD level American Professor turned Swami who has classes on The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna and Raja Yoga - today we listened to a talk on Ma Kali because Durga Puja was recently.
After we drive in, we head to the Bluestone Cafe for what I refer to as "'stone and scone." I order a double espresso, and a magic - which is the Bluestone Lane version of a cortado – and I eat one of the blueberry scones that I warmed up in the toaster oven left over from the batch I made on Sunday - that I make every Sunday. We chat about the lecture we listened to, and pass collective judgment on political figures and millennials, extend our compassion to those that suffer, and plan our lives - some mixture of the 3, probably you could image a pie chart split 3 ways Judgment 39%/Compassion 21%/Planning 28%/Reflection up Spiritual Talks 12%. The days go better with less judgment I think maybe? I don't know. Who am I to judge.
Then we head off to the meeting - today the meeting was quite good. Maybe it's because we're temporarily on the 4th floor in the choir room, a smaller room, but it felt packed and cozy. Elizabeth chose the topic out of the meeting from As Bill Sees It - "God Will Not Desert Us" or Dessert us I imagine. I shared about how the Monday meeting started off with someone talking about how they had to have heart surgery this week and then the next person said that their brother just killed themselves, and how I felt woefully underqualified to share as most of my tragedies are between my ears. (paraphrase). I shared about my mom, and how every conversation with her is so light and breezy like cocktail party charter and then she casually drops the real question on her mind, "Have you talked to your father lately? I know he's not doing well." And so I have a new strategy. I said that every time the northerly blows, and I feel it on my cheek, Dad's here with me. And every time the southerly blows, I'm sailing Pulley Point." And I think she got it for a moment because she said, well that's how we connect with all of the ones that have passed on."
She's alone and confused and really not sure why she's at the Aegis. I wish my sister would take more of an interest - just bring her out for walks - to bring her to the park and to go to East Calhoun Street would do her good. Familiarity is good for people with these issues, but my sister is selfish and full of anxiety and look who's talking.
And then I go to work. And it was fine. Enough of Tuesday.