Tag Archives: spirituality

Alan Ginsberg’s Ghost

Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening.

― Allen Ginsberg,
from On Being a Writer,

I have now been here for 5 days… I can’t say it has been a cake walk – but it has certainly been worthwhile.  I have enjoyed meeting some truly lovely people.  I have continued to push the boundaries of my comfort level.  I have walked my ass off.  I have napped without guilt.

And I think I’m really starting to get this whole “my body is a temple” thing…especially given the fact that more often than not, I have treated my body like the homes of those hoarders you see on TV. I’ll just wallow in my shit, your shit, everybody’s shit – and then desperately cling to it when people try to help me clean it all up.

Honestly, the only thing I wish I had done differently, was to have found a similar spot but without the religious overtones.  No one has been pushy with it, but I continue to feel like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I actually envy people who are so certain – certain about the meaning of life, what happens to us when we die, who God is, what kind of food he wants us to consume and not consume, which words offend him, which political candidate he wants us to vote for.  I am not a true believer in anything – other than perhaps this statement:

All I Know Is That I Don’t Know Jack.

Could I start a religion around that?  Probably not. I would need at least ten commandments, but all I’ve got is Thou Shalt Not Profess To Know That Which Ye Does Not.

I’m just someone who needed some perspective and tranquility for a few days.  I can’t fake a persona any deeper than that.  No dramatic spiritual awakening for me – but better mental and physical health is not a bad thing to leave with considering what I could have left with after other vacations (i.e. – Vegas.)

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Wasn’t he on Arrested Development?

I have kept busy. I ‘ve had two massages.  I’ve done yoga.  I was instructed on meditation (fyi – there is no right way to do it but I learned some tips that helped me stay focused).   I went shopping.  (Yes – they have a boutique here.  Believe me – I can and will find them.  I am the Shopping Sensei.)  I went on a tour of the community which, from what I can gather, is primarily baby boomer hippies of independent means.  Alan Ginsberg was actually one of three people to purchase this property along with the community’s spiritual founder – I’m pretty sure I saw his ghost lurking in the woods outside my cabin last night…but then again, maybe it was a crazy mountain man stalker.

The food has been decent, just a little heavy on the Mung Beans for my taste.  Everything is vegetarian with vegan and gluten free options as well.  Although I have never been a huge meat eater, I still find myself, both physiologically and psychologically…waiting for the entrée.  There is nothing in this place that anyone could possibly construe as toxic or bad for you.  (Believe me – I’ve searched high and low – these folks have no vices other than going on an occasional Chia bender.)

However – and you’ve probably noticed this phenomenon yourself whilst shopping at your local natural foods co-op (see  http://www.mybeautifulwickedness.net/2014/04/my-co-op-flop/ ) – people who should be so healthy and symptom-free based on their pristine diets, are almost always intolerant – please insert appropriate description here – Gluten, Meat, Dairy, GMO, MSG, YAD (yummy and delicious) – whatever it may be.  Why are they such hot house flowers?

I just dined with a woman who had to break open and sprinkle the contents of her probiotic capsule over her cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce because otherwise she would – I’m trying to understand here – be what?  Constipated?  Gassy?  Have symptoms of Dysentery?  Yet I can consecutively order in two separate fast food drive-throughs, after consuming copious amounts of alcohol, and wake up to nothing more than a slight headache and a feeling of remorse.  (This is just a hypothetical situation, mind you.  I would never actually…uhmm…do something so pathetic.)

I guess I am like a highly trained athlete – dedicated to the daily practice of Eating Well.  Meaning:  WELL…someone put this plate of food in front of me, so of course I can’t be rude.  WELL…somebody left donuts in the breakroom, so I guess I better eat one before they get stale.  WELL…I could fix myself something healthy to eat, but opening this bag of chips would be quicker and not make such a mess.

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Me, looking all Zen and shit.

But before this turns into a gripe fest, which is definitely not my intention…here is is my favorite spot, just steps away from my cabin. Yep – that’s a reflection of the sky in the lake, motherfuckers!  As an added bonus – there is a temple for meditation next to said lake.  Inside there is a life-sized statue of some holy dude, placed here so he can inspire you during your meditations.  (Personally, I think it’s to discourage horny teenagers from defiling the place, but again – we already know I’m going to Hell.)

Just wait until I get back, y’all.  You have no idea how obnoxious I will be in my new-found spiritual and dietary superiority.

Thoughts Before Entering A Commune

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my Zen to keep.

If I should somehow be led astray,

Just don’t ever let me wear hemp Aladdin pants in public.

That is all.

budda2

 

Actually, let me assure you that I willingly signed up for this, with no coercion.  Promise.  But now that payment has been made and my bag is being packed, I find myself more than a little nervous.  I’ve never done anything quite like this before.  Honestly, the closest I’ve ever come to a spiritual retreat is smoking pot at a Grateful Dead Concert.  

The accommodations will be rustic, with no reliable wifi, or television, and only outdoor shared bathrooms and shower facilities.  The Four Seasons it ain’t.  But it looks like a beautiful setting and at least I was selfish enough to book my own cabin  Although I use the term “cabin” loosely and only because that’s what they’re calling them on the website.  In actuality, they resemble more what I would describe as “Unabomber Shack Chic.”

And what do I even bring to a spiritual retreat that promises yoga classes and guided meditations every day, a spiritual counseling session, and one evening of “devotional chanting”?  I have no idea what the dress code is for a devotional chanting other than perhaps something like this…

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…but unfortunately I don’t own anything like it.  Maybe a hooded bathrobe or a smoking jacket will suffice.  I like the idea of wearing yoga pants for physical activity, and a bathrobe or a smoking jacket with or without fuzzy slippers for any of the more formal events.

All meals are communal and described as delicious vegetarian meals which include organic produce from their own garden, as well as gluten free and non-dairy options.  I will definitely give it a go, but I’m probably smuggling in some summer sausage contraband, just in case my carnivorous cravings kick in – I don’t want to be stuck wrangling a wild turkey and trying to whittle a spit to furtively cook it over an open flame out in the woods.  

So why, might you ask, am I prepping for Karmageddon now?  Well, to begin with I turned 50 this year, and I think that’s a pretty good age to push your comfort level. You may call it a mid-life crisis, I prefer to call it a mid-life awakening…or at least a mid-life take-a-closer-look at-your-options.  

I am also in professional transition and feel the need to hit the reset button of my brain to begin my journey down a more creative path.  If someone can help teach me how to live calmly in an un-calm world,  how to occasionally still the constant chatter in my brain, and how to live more mindfully – heck – I’m all in.

Frankly things haven’t been so great lately.  I’ve experienced some trying times with family and friends.  I have struggled with my own sense of self and felt far less healthy both physically and spiritually than I desire to be.  And recently I’ve seen some pretty shitty things happen to some people I love that has shaken my admittedly already rickety sense of faith.

So it can’t hurt.  And who knows?  Maybe I will even learn how to do that blasted Crane pose.  Wish me luck and I will keep you posted.