It all depends…

I love my job, but it can be equal parts creatively inspiring and creatively taxing.

I spend a lot of time every day reading about, learning about, seeking to understand and appreciate art and artists so I can spend the rest of my day writing about, talking about and prosylytizing their craft and what it brings to our community.

This is a worthy endeavor, I feel and I feel lucky to be able to do it.

But, sometimes, I feel like there isn’t enough left for me at the end of the day. I feel like my yoga practice is what gets me through the day, my asana practice is what helps me wring out the day, but some days, my own artistic practice suffers, especially my personal writing.

If you’ve ever considered yourself to be a writer or aspired to be one, you probably have, like me, read all the books and blogs and advice from your betters who tell you the most important thing to do is to simply write. The most recent thing I read had some advice from someone famous, can’t remember who now, but he said it’s better to start writing, write for a while and then quit before you finish, that it’s much easier to pick up on something that’s still juicy the next day instead of plowing through the night before and exhausting your reserves.

Anyway, these well-meaning advice givers also suggest giving yourself a daily word count, one that’s not too daunting, and see what takes shape.

SO, I’ve decided that I am giving myself at least 200 words a day. And now even as I type that I have already accomplished and exceeded that by 90, now 93 words. Still, to make it even a tiny bit interesting, I’ll go on for a bit with an anecdote from my day.

I stopped at Whole Foods on the way to work this morning, as I was trying to fight off a certain amount of panic, given that I only realized after I woke up that I had left my computer at my boyfriend’s house, and in the computer bag (hopefully) was also the charger for my iPad. Deprived of both of these devices, I’m not able to accomplish this little side gig I have that is helping keep me financially afloat. That coupled with the day and week ahead meant it was time to replenish my portable spa, which of course consists simply of a vial of Lavender oil that I don’t like to ever be without. While standing in line, where I of course succumbed to the purchase of two new lip balms, I flashed on the fact that I had a prescription waiting for me for pick up. I had gotten the text from Rite Aid a couple of days ago and have learned from experience that they will re-file that stuff if you don’t go pick it up in a timely fashion and you’ll have to call and get on a whole new refill cycle.

Anyway, eager to get to work, I almost talked myself out of making one more stop, but a super-convenient parking spot with time left on the meter decided the moment. Doused myself in a bit of lavender oil and headed inside where I found myself third in line for the pharmacist, behind a jovial flu-shot purchaser and a teeny tiny little old lady, who turned back and smiled at me benevolently before taking her spot at the counter.

I knew the minute she did that, that she was going to take forever. And here’s where I know I have grown as a person (or maybe it’s the lavender oil), because I absolutely didn’t care.

A mountain of work and stressful meeting were awaiting me, but I was perfectly content right where I was, just happy to watch this moment unfold however it would. Work will still be there. It will ALWAYS be there, and even if I could have snatched back the extra 10 minutes this tiny little lady was surely about to cost me, it wouldn’t have a profound effect on the progress of what I knew to be ahead.

I watched her as she hauled her little personal shopping cart, which held just one item, an economy-sized package of Depends, up to the counter. It made me smile. I mean, that’s a shitload of Depends. The package was almost as tall as she was. I wondered how long that will last her.

The two pharmacists on hand, one of whom was administering the aforementioned flu shot over in the corner, were both perky and the girl at the counter was exceptionally patient and kind as the lady wheeled up her cart of Depends, propped her purse on the counter and sighed:

“Oh…well

The gal behind the counter listened to her for a bit as the woman described her ailment and prescription, politely and patiently interrupting to ask:

“What’s your last name? That’s how we file the prescription”

The woman told her and off she went to look. But of course, no prescription was to be found in the sea of dangling plastic baggies.

I amused myself by looking at the assortment of pill cases on the endcap next to me, tempted to walk over and peruse the cheap sunglass selection nearby, but reluctant to give up the precious ground I was earning with every passing second, and also painfully aware of the lack of line-purchasing willpower I had already exhibited at my first stop of the morning.

The pharmacist came back and pleasantly told the woman that her RX had been called into and filled at the Beverly Hills location. She glanced over at me with an apologetic smile.

The elderly lady barely had time to get flustered before the pharmacist offered to look and see if this location had it in stock and she could try and fill it immediately.

“Oh that would be wonderful,” the tiny elder said “Ten grams. Remember, Ten Grams”

“Yes, yes” replied the pharmacist as she walked away to look.

At this, the little old lady turned to look at me and said:

“Oh no, now I am holding up this young lady”

To which I demurred and said “Oh no, you’re just fine” (If she’d thrown in “pretty” I probably would have offered to pay for her transaction).

A few minutes later, the pharmacist returned with the small bottle, pointing out how she had replaced the child-proof cap to one more easily removed.

Our little friend tested it out and proclaimed herself delighted.

Then came time to pay and such. If I overlistened correctly, she marked her birthdate at 1931, which hell yeah little gal! You go with your Depend-gathering, independent pharmacy pickup, you almost even made it to the right location, just a few miles off!

There was some confusion. She was all excited to sign the release for the prescription, grasping the little pen. The pharmacist had to explain several times that that part came after the payment part.

She gave a delightful little laugh at herself about her confusion.

The payment part was its own little dance of the lady, who paid with cash. In exact change. But couldn’t remember the amount of the change part. That took three tries to get right.

Anyway, she finished up, walked by me with a nod and a sweetly satisfied smile, pushing her cartful of Depends. I swooped in and got my own package and was on my way.

And I chuckled all the way to work about it. Being that old kind of seems like being on drugs all the time.

Like, you have a great sense of the framework of what should be happening and when and how, but the details are blurry and out of sequence. You can’t hear that well and you might be miles from where you intended to go.

And, finalizing a simple transaction can give you an amazing sense of accomplishment for the day.

Then, you get to pee in your pants.

I can dig it.

(200 words for me Day One: Tuesday Oct. 8)

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Rambling thoughts (a.k.a. I should be doing laundry)…

You are alive.

If you are reading this, you are alive.

And, as is the nature of existence, you had no say in the manner of your birth.

You were not consulted in the matter of who your parents would be, what nationality or country would be your home, what your genetic predisposition to intelligence or otherwise would be, or what your genetic predisposition to illness or otherwise would be.

And, perhaps you imagine that somewhere, sometime, someway before you came to be in this body you actually did have some say in the matter. Perhaps that’s so. But if it’s so, the rationale, the deliberation has not been granted to you to recall, to incorporate into your consciousness, so what real role can that potential predestinational imagining play with regard to your awareness of self, your concious decision-making process?

And so, you simply are, as you are.

And one day, it is more than likely, you will also have no say in the manner of your death.

For most of us, I think it will come sooner than our preparedness for it.

But hopefully  just in time for our acceptance of it.

And you will die.

And so will I.

And so, in between, what do we do?

Between these two moments of birth and death is life. Is being alive.

We have needs to fulfill if we want to remain alive. We must eat, we must breathe so we must must occupy ourselves with trades that allow us to remain fed and healthy.

We have desires to fulfill as beings with an evolved cerebral cortex and so we pursue dreams of intelligence, of inspiration…we seek to create and experience art and ideas and material things, which add texture and color and context to this impermanent state of aliveness.

We are, I believe souls, in bodies, rather than bodies that have souls. We are made up of spiritual stuff as much as we are physiological stuff. And that spiritual stuff is made of love.

And so we love.

We live. We dream. We love.

In short,

We are.

I am.

And we try. We try to make sense of our state, our place in this world, how the world that surrounds affects us and how we inhabit it and how we make those three things happen for as long as we possibly can.

Where you were born, the state of the world, your luck perhaps, like mine, in being born in a free country, in a time period where women’s rights had evolved, has little to do with your own choice. I often wonder about those who are born, who live and who die elsewhere. Those who face struggles and pain and disasters I will never encounter.

Who I cannot ever fully understand and yet who I cannot fully live without.
Who I can never forget.

They try.

We try.

Is there purpose to it all? If you think so, there is.

Does that mean anything? If you think so, it does.

I try.