Defeated

I am grateful for the 90 minutes when I am busy trying harmonize breath, movement and focus, but it would be a pretty fat lie to tell you that it carries over to the other hours of my day and my evening these days. It is not the holiday hallucination that affects me since that has bypassed me for almost 3 decades. I even was kind enough to realize that it was very okay to thread the moonday into thanksgiving, then do one of the David Swenson alternatives on Friday while marinating in 3 different kinds of grape varietals and the head thumping that combination produces if you happen not know about that. What has me feeling despondent and disheartened is that I acknowledge being ticked off, no-truly angry at finding out the shooter in Colorado Springs terrorizing Planned Parenthood, and the shooter who terrorized the Church in the Carolinas get to sit in the back of the squad car. and that the  teenage Daquans, Travons, Michaels, and Tamirs who most urban middle school teachers or other members of their community could easily communicate with, are shot point blank without an ounce of compassion. I am actually angry that cops actually feel compassion sometimes, how fucked up is that? My brain is so tired of blaming the GOP, the NRA, the Media, The KKK, FOXNews and whoever else is an apologist for our barbaric culture. It does not do any good and it all starts feeling as inevitable as  hazardous weather. So sorry that I cannot get Alfonso Cuaron’s film Children of Men out of my mind whenever I think of our collective near future.

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Definitions

Starting tomorrow Monday, I will be very busy melting, kneading, and sauteing food using the 4 lbs of butter I have in my refrigerator. I might have time to snort, fume and hopefully smile  at what I read on social media in the next 3 days but do not foresee writing anything this coming week. During these last few days I have had a chance to reflect on how we use the term gratitude when we really mean relief. and the term compassion when we really mean pity. gratitude is more like wow! this or that is way more wonderful than I realized, and I already thought it was pretty great. Relief is more like phew! dodged that bullet, or thank god or goodness that this or that is not happening to me. A lot of what we list as gratitude is really relief when we realize that we have avoided suffering. Particularly the suffering we se others experience. Similarly we think compassion and pity are related when they so are not. Pity means I am glad I am not you or experiencing your discomfort. Compassion is realizing I am you and we both are affected by what happens to you. Pity attracts fear and dread, you help so the suffering of others stops bothering you. Compassion attracts courage and optimism, you help because it feels personal, intimate and uplifting. Gratitude is celebratory, Relief is merely a break from constant worry. May we all experience gratitude for our capacity for compassion. xoxoxoxoxoxo

The Foodie Part

With very little effort on my part and I cannot explain why this time, I have been a happy consistent vegetarian since last July. I know I wanted to be ready and accepting of a change in food preferences for India, but I have wanted to be  ready and accepting to being thin and healthy for my entire life and it somehow never took off. So I really do not know what switch went on or where it is located. Here is one of my favorite dinners. I have yet to try the real #7 sub, but I’ll say having left over sauce is great and you get dessert from one unused part of the ingredients. This is a link to the recipe. If you do not have an Asian supermarket for fried shallots. fried onions from a can are almost as good. I have been able to find canned Lychees pretty much everywhere but I live in the NYC metro area.

For the Lychee “granita” just pour the syrup from the can of lychees into a plastic or glass container with a lid and throw it in the freezer. After one hour or two, rake or stir with a fork. Do that 2 or 3 more times until it looks like shaved ice.  I had some rose petal preserves and gilded the lily with that, but it does not need it. If it had been a Friday I would have poured a bit of sake on top.

#PRAYFORTHECOMPLAINERS

This is a repost from my FaceBook page reflecting my feelings about what was going on on the site by mid afternoon:

Oh.My. God. (in a Flushing Queens/ Bronx accent) there is enough compassion and sympathy inside and outside of facebook for all the nations that suffer violence and horror. It is not a limited resource. It is okay to feel superior if you are better informed and better travelled and more cosmopolitan than your average news consumer but don’t begrudge us loving a town that most of the planet thinks is one of it’s jewels.

This was a reaction to a relative’s tweet ridiculing those of us who had changed our profile picture to express solidarity with France. May I also remind some of you young things that when I was a teenager Beirut was called ( and maybe it still is ) “The Paris of The Middle East”. Not because they look the same, but because their vibe and love of culture, and the good life, are so similar. Lebanon has had a civil war for as long as I’ve been alive. Colombia has had a civil war that it refuses to call a war since my parents  and I have been alive. Both places very familiar with curfews and the suspension of civil liberties day in and day out. France? a little bit out of practice on those two. Not since 1944. So, there might be a little global fatigue with places ravaged with non stop war. It is not that we have become  uncaring Eurocentric monsters. Our world is hurting everywhere. It is okay to be upset when a part that was sort of okay is now injured as well.

Academia and Credibility

There are two articles doing the rounds in social media for the past few days. This one granting respectability to the ancient origins of Vinyasa, and this other one admitting that the Yoga Korunta might in fact have existed and it was not a made up thing. Funny how calming the corroboration of a so called expert is to our doubts about pedigree and authenticity. Like we did not know the power we access when we finally match the vinyasa to the breath, or how the yoga chikitsa changed our lives into before and after we had a practice.

Things That Cause Emotions

We lost Ray’s mom a year ago already. We live in an age where you can call your mother in law a dearest friend. We’ve changed many stories that  our culture has told for too long about us women.

These are some things that make my chest tight and make me smile simultaneously:

-chopped fuji apples, dried cranberries and tuna fish smothered in mayo for lunch.

-finding “the good stuff” at TJMAXX or Home Goods. Never happened without her.

-eating the olive from our spouse’s martini when out to dinner.

-The New York Post

-leopard print  flats.

-driving gloves

– remembering brownies only come out perfect baked in pyrex.

-rummaging through sale days at the Darien Shop for the ugliest madras summer shorts for Ray and my father in law Kevin.

-passing Calico Corners

-giggling at garden and kitchen tours in Greenwich and New Canaan.

-my lilac trees, my peonies and my rose bushes, all gifts from her.

-oscar night

-sunsets at the beach house in August

-our love for Sister Parrish and chintz.

Feeling someone’s absence can cause painful happiness.

Aaand I’m Back

Here’s a tip. Do not make dramatic pronouncements when you are jet lagged, about to get the flu, lost your passport and boarding passes at the Delhi airport, and have been crying daily for just about any reason for the past 14 days. I suspect that my friend Laura performed an obscure waspy ritual to put some sense into me, plus I got a really sweet comment from Lizzyyy who made me realize that maybe I left the impression that my “locking heads” with two non-like minded people had made me pick up my toys and leave. I will say that after a few days of reflection, I may have to admit that I am not as funny as I think I am and when I ask someone if they are someone else that I am dying to meet,  and they do not sound thrilled to be mistaken for that person even when I say that they both must be charming, and our subsequent encounters are shall we say “tainted” by my attempt at levity. The racist thing was fucked up no matter what, but thanks to that nonsense I ended up having the privilege of meeting the most fantastic young woman who is now my friend. I am going to not bring up my yoga practice because during every lecture I heard solid arguments for keeping your spiritual endeavors private in order to not go around in circles and get distracted by detours and rubbernecking. Like I said, this pilgrimage cleansed a lot of debris with tears. My jaw trembled every time I experienced kindness, generosity, or saw cheerful dispositions in what I perceived as a life of hardship. It trembled when I felt beauty. In India you do not just see beauty, you feel it. Strongly. You feel it all strongly. I could not even take a teasing. One day our physically and mentally exhausted leader asked me to pass the word that a meeting had been moved ahead. When we all gathered he said, your’e all here! I said, yes we are all very obedient.  and because he is exhausted, he then answered, I just said “you’re here” boy, your mother must have been something else!! and my chin started quivering because my mom now has dementia and refuses to bathe among other things, so now she really is something. My roommate Michelle said to me “you’ve lost weight sister” a day or two before I left. And I did. I left the weight of some accumulated grief and sorrow up there. Hari Om Tat Sat