Living in the Now… For Now

Here’s one of my dirty little secrets – I’ve always found it hard to live in the present.

You can imagine the challenge this presents during a global pandemic.

Who’s gonna tell him?

Certainly there are advantages to not dwelling in reality these days.   But it’s more complicated than that.  When you’re usually thinking about what will happen or what could happen you’re never fully experiencing what is happening.

Yeah, well that’s the idea.  You pretend it’s healthy to eat a pint of ice cream and/or a bag of cookies a day because to not do so will cause you to scream ‘WEAR A F-CKIN’ MASK’ at every person on your street who isn’t doing so and thus avoid your arrest by police or Homeland Security (Note: HAHAHA, they’re really Black Ops Forces!), whichever comes first.

#realtalk

Okay, point taken.

However hear me out.  There’s a lot happening right now, TOO MUCH.  But the good news is WE actually get to decide what to focus on.

It recently occurred to me there is a power in this, especially in these extreme days of social distancing/isolation/quarantine/near suicide.  See, even in that instance I get to decide what to call it.

My daily routine

I mean, I could’ve chosen the phrase, my personal alone time to do what I want without anyone interfering or telling me what to do.

Yeah, I could’ve chosen that and tomorrow I just might.  But not today.  Tomorrow, it’ll all look rosier and tomorrow I can CHOOSE to have a happier day!

See, the glass is either half full or half empty.  We figure out for ourselves how to look at it.

What glass?

Am I being snide about these choices, making fun of this new age-y approach or quite sincere and/or spiritual?  Well, it’s up to you to decide how to take in this message and what YOU will TAKE AWAY from it.

See what I mean???  Once again?

This actually all occurred to me after I received a wonderful, thoughtful and ultimately quite mindful gift from a dear friend and colleague via Amazon.

No, it wasn’t cookies or ice cream.  Though that’s probably a good thing because how do you effectively scrub those down with Clorox wipes?

Rather, it was this:

EVERYDAY PEACE CARDS – 108 Mindfulness Meditations by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Namaste

TNH is a peace activist, poet and global spiritual leader who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Dr. Martin Luther King and his teachings have been around for decades.  Here, you can look him up.

But these, his 108 everyday peace cards, all printed on sturdy, shiny paper stock, do quite well summing up his philosophies.  In fact, his instructions are to pick a card each day, think about it, and then display it for yourself in his enclosed small, white paper standee on your desk and/or nightstand so you can refer to it anytime you want on that given day.

Or not.

Again, me

Remember, you have the option.  You can decide to re-gift it or even trash it.  I mean, how relevant is this hippy dippy stuff in neo-fascist fascist 2020 America, anyway?

Yes, you might feel that way one day.  And on another, maybe the very next, one of those cards might strike you being as incredibly profound and relevant as each one of Carole King’s 12 songs on Tapestry was (Note: And continues to be) to me the first day I heard it in 1971.

(Note:  For those under 30, simply substitute for Tapestry Taylor Swift’s just dropped folk collection, Folklore, and you’ll get what I mean).

Legends

Again, you decide on whether I’m being serious or snide about this.  Consider what you want to focus on and how it will best serve your life in this given moment YOU’RE living through.

That is the real beauty of these cards and, to me, that was the true meaning of this present.

So far it’s told me things like:

— Every twenty-four hour day is a tremendous gift to us.  So we all should learn to live in a way that makes joy and happiness possible.

— If there are negative things around you, you can always find something that is healthy, refreshing, and healing, and with your mindfulness you can recognize its presence in your life….If you are facing a sunset, a marvelous spectacle, give yourself a chance to be in touch with it.  Give yourself five minutes… 

Would the 10 seconds between episodes on Netflix count? #askingforafriend

— Real silence is the cessation of talking – of both the mouth and of the mind…This is not the kind of silence that oppresses us.  It is a very elegant kind of silence…It is the silence that heals and nourishes us. 

— I believe that in America there are many people who are awakened to the fact that violence cannot remove violence.  Those people must come together and voice their concern strongly, and offer their collective wisdom to the nation.

 A joke or a map or a little of both?  Or still, none of the above?

So many possibilities. Daily.  And decisions.

Taylor Swift – “August” 

Drunk in Trump

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 12.33.41 PM

When poet-songwriter Gil Scott-Heron wrote the iconic anthem The Revolution Will Not Be Televised for his 1970 debut album it was in response to everything the small screen was NOT showing about the civil unrest of the late sixties.   It was also a not so gentle reminder to his peers to get out into the streets and to participate. Racial inequality, campus unrest over social issues – none of it could be addressed if the people who wanted change the most simply sat there and watched only small snippets of action of what broadcasters chose to show them.

Needless to say, times have changed.

In 2016, the Revolution IS being televised, tweeted, snap chatted, vimeo’d, texted and emailed – 24/7. In fact, we are getting so much revolution these days that it has created a new normal of constant change and unrest that we get to see happening everywhere at any time that we so choose.

Me, every time I turn on the TV

Me, every time I turn on the TV

Turkey in the streets, 84 plowed down by a truck-driving terrorist in Nice, the premiere of an all female Ghostbusters, world leaders on parade, celebrities undressed and regular people having sex – it’s all available. In fact, it’s often unavoidable.   All you have to do is click on one key or website you had or hadn’t intended and you will likely stumble upon any or all of the above.

That’s why it’s now time to DRINK.

Yes, drink.

It doesn’t have to be liquor. Or wine or beer.

A malted will do. Even an ice cream soda, a Mountain Dew or a Tab – yes, Tab.

Gurl, it's gonna be a long week

Gurl, it’s gonna be a long week

That was what my Mom and her friends drank back in the sixties when they wanted to escape from reality and lose weight at the same time. Sure, it was infinitely unhealthy in large doses – just like booze – but also like booze it somehow made you feel better and tasted good on ice. Not to mention, it had the added plus of coming in a pink can. How gay (meaning happy) is that???

I’m going to need a SH*T TON OF TAB this week to get through The Republican National Convention. Or as you all will soon be calling it – MEET THE TRUMPS! Though it’s tempting to now refer to the Donald as Mrs. Pence, in honor of the off-brand safe choice he made this past week when he selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his professional spouse and running mate, let’s resist the urge. Since Pence, just like the governor’s botched attempt to legalize discrimination against LGBT people with his heinous religious freedom law last year, will quickly fade into the background.

Because in the coming days it will be: ALL TRUMPS, ALL THE TIME.

Time to fire up the grill! #gagme

Time to fire up the grill! #gagme

This is opposed to Donald Trump, most of the time.

An abridged speaking list (courtesy of the NY Times) on the revolutionary Big Four Networks’ TV this week, all of whom will be broadcasting the Republican National Convention live in prime-time, reads:

Monday Night: Melania Trump (the romantic spouse)

Tuesday Night: Donald Trump, Jr. (aka Patrick Bateman 2.0a) and Tiffany Trump (aka Marla Maples’ daughter though named after Tiffany & Co.), Instagram star and model.

Watch out Kylie! #getitgurl

Watch out Kylie! #getitgurl

Wednesday Night: Eric Trump (aka Patrick Bateman 2.0b and renowned big game hunter)

Thursday Night: Ivanka Trump (the favorite progeny though not necessarily mine, even if she is married to a too smart for his own good Jewish boy). And finally, DT himself, which could give you the DTs if you weren’t already so used to him.

It almost makes you long for the halcyon days of Ivana, doesn’t it? Though not quite.

Clearly, it is impossible to run away from them since you take your life in your hands these days travelling out of the country on a plane, not to mention your patience. So here are some games, suggestions and strategies on how to cope – or to at least get through it.

Monday Night: As a prelude, go to this link and watch Maya Rudolph tell you about Melania Trump’s Edible Diamonds. This is to be done prior to her speaking so whatever words she does manage to say, will wash down more easily.

Extra crispy

Extra crispy

And if that doesn’t work, you might try a White Russian. Of course she isn’t Russian. She is from Slovenia. The drink is in deference to her husband’s admiration for Putin.

Tuesday Night: Prior to any family member you’re gonna get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s talk so you might want to start the evening with a bowl of turtle soup. But don’t have too much because, as my Dad always tells me, ‘soup fills you up.’ Though you don’t want to hear Donald, Jr. on an empty stomach. Instead, perhaps this clip of Oscar winner Christian Bale in American Psycho?

Drink of choice? What else, scotch neat. Down it in five gulps – one for each of DTjr’s children – yes, HE has five kids – five. More. future. Trumps. On second thought – try five scotch neats. Every time he says – well, anything.

Which should prepare you for Tiffany.   Just stare at her twitter photo below and note that aside from being a model and social media star she is a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Then have a soy mocha latte – half caf – in her honor. You need to sober up but you also need to sleep tonight. You’re only half-way through this…schedule.

Wednesday Night: Newt Gingrich opens up the prime time slot and will no doubt tout his support of Trump(s) to speak for the silent majority of real America. Both Ted Cruz and Gov. Pence, each of whom will follow, will no doubt echo this thought. To keep yourself alert, make a list of all six wives that combined Newt and Donald have wed and answer for yourself this question under each name – What were/ARE they thinking? Meaning the wives, not the two older men – whose combined ages are now a sprightly 143.

Of course, nothing can truly prepare you for a speech by Eric Trump. He’s 6’5” tall and a big game hunter who likes to pose for pictures with dead animals he’s shot, sometimes along with his brother.

I JUST CANT

I JUST CANT

Perhaps a…Bloody Mary to wash him down? (Note: Virgin, if you’re not old enough to drink or have sworn off alcohol, though that’s inadvisable at this point). Every time the name Trump is mentioned all night. That should get you nice and lubricated, or at least give you enough of a sugar high to not care about anything else except yourself for the rest of the evening. Which, in some way, is keeping with the true theme of the night, isn’t it?

Thursday Night: The Finale. Time to break out the champagne when Ivanka comes on. Seriously. She’s the ideal. The beautiful daughter her father desires would she not be his beautiful daughter. The heiress, the smart female corporate tigress, the new Mom. Heck, she’s even friends with Chelsea Clinton! Or is she? Perhaps, they merely know each other and are cordial. Though it is not entirely inconceivable that at some point in the future their children will have a play/nanny date.

Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew EWWWWWWWW

Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew EWWWWWWWW

Still, it does seem like Cristal (that’s champagne at its best) is in order. Or maybe even Korbel if that’s all you can afford. That seems likely given how good the economy is for the average person. Which is what the message of the week will be, anyway. Cristal for everyone by 2020!!! We Are All Trumps!

This will take you right into Donald, Sr. In order to soften the blow of him either reading from the teleprompter or talking off the cuff – because each is equally painful –prepare a picture of Mariska Hargitay beforehand and kiss it every time he says Law and Order.   Or bellows it. Then chug back some more Cristal, put on Madonna singing Like A Prayer whenever Hillary Clinton is derided for being weak and stupid and pray that there is, indeed a God. And that SHE is listening to you. And not Mrs. Pence.