Welcome to Reflections of a Buddhist Pole Dancer!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Monkeys and Over-spending

When I was dancing with cancer in 1997, the book title, You Can't afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought, rang particularly true for me. (I never owned the book, but still the title proved invaluable.) For years prior I had berated my body with the actions of bulimia, coupled with unkind words like fat, ugly, unworthy and unlovable. Fighting leukemia, I desperately needed the body I betrayed to work with me. I couldn't afford the luxury of a negative thought. Instead I fed my body a steady diet of positive affirmations, happy music and words of wisdom. The weird thing was that I actually believed it all. Funny how a life-threatening illness has the power to kick stupidity in the butt.

Fast forward 15 years: I find it quite challenging to maintain all the lessons I learned while facing disease-- without the disease. Ironic, but true. Very true.

I recently signed up with Team in Training so I could stay present with the cause and give back. So the other evening I went for a training run. Running frees me. It's like meditation. Unfortunately, for this run, my Monkey Mind was with me. I ran (jogged) up to the UCSC track-- the gradual inclination challenged my lungs and tested my hamstrings. My intention was to run (jog) the prescribed five miles. After one mile of the incline I chose (had) to stop and walk.

Monkey Mind: Yeah, Michelle, like you'll ever be able to complete a half marathon. You're such an imposter. Bow out of Team in Training now. Spare yourself the embarrassment. Who's an honoree? You must be joking!

Shut up, Monkey.

After a short (long) recovery I was off again, determined to make it to the track.
Well, maybe I'd make it to the bus stop.
No-- just to that tree.
I chose (had) to walk again.

Monkey Mind: Seriously? You can't even make it to the track? C'mon, Loser Girl! Get out while you still can! Hahahaha!

Still, I plodded forward. One. foot. in. front. of. the. other.
Let's break down the obvious: Who is my worst enemy? I am. Who holds me back? I do. Who is sick of singing this overplayed, unoriginal song? I AM! 

In spite of my monkey mind, I finally made it to the track and was welcomed by four deer feeding on the grass. Their serenity rushed through me and I remembered the title of the book from fifteen years ago that I'd forgotten...

You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought.

MICHELLE: You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought!

Truly, I don't make enough money. I can't invest in this destruction and I can't charge on a promise of unattainable perfection. Not then, not now, not ever. Uh-uh. 

And so I ran. And I ran. And I ran a little more. And for the rest of my run I was disease-free,  monkey- free, and debt-free.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Department Debacle

Did anyone else from my generation go through that awkward phase where you were too old to shop in the junior's department but too young to peruse the women's departments that featured brands like Liz Claiborne? I hated that phase! Back then, The Limited was featuring career wear and stores like Express or departments like Nordie's T.B.D. didn't exist. Awkward! Yes, I was growing up, but didn't know where to shop.

Today I found myself between departments, so to speak, when I attended our kids' former baby-sitter's bridal shower. At 44 I certainly wasn't a natural fit with the twenty-somethings who dominated the party with their lovely, long, straightened hair and on-trend dresses. Yet I wasn't an exact match for the late 50+ crowd of relatives-to-be, either. When the soiree gathered to eat at tables in the back yard I wondered where to go. It was the department store debacle all over, only this time with people. Smartly, I pushed vanity aside (oh, to be young again!) and set my cork-wedges in the direction of the older table.

Let's not make this bigger than it was: either grouping would have been fine. Earlier, while mingling with the younger crew, I adopted the role of inquisitive newbie, asking all the right (light) questions about careers, friendships and even fashion. The young women were full of energy and they were an absolute delight to engage. The older women were, too, though I found myself in a more balanced exchange of communication. The younger gals freshly talked about new career paths and strong ideals; the mature group shared intriguing stories about their accomplishments and their wisdom. The older set had a secret ingredient that the younger set hadn't quite honed: gentle cynicism. (And for me, the girl who notoriously does not like showers of any kind-- that made my choice of table groups much more fun!)

I didn't win the clothes-pin game, nor the guess-how-many-corks game, but because of subtle cheating (!) my table won the how-much-do-you-know-about-the couple contest and I was awarded a mini-bottle of Kettle 1 Vodka (which happens to be Brian's favorite).

Truly, today wasn't about me. I was secure in that from the get-go. More importantly than fitting in or winning silly games, I was there to witness the happiness of a truly special young woman as she prepares to wed a wonderful man. But a bonus of the event was that when faced with another age reality check, I knew which way to go, and actually found something in both "departments" that fit after all. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Long time, No blog

Seriously... long time-- no blog!!! What gives? Life, marriage, separation, remarriage (same guy!), kids, work, depression, elation, etc...etc....

So I though the best way to return would be to re-do my version of the Proust Survey. No over-thinking it... here goes:

1. I am one happy girl because I am loved and I love.

2. I am courageous when I resurface and try again.

3. I am most compassionate toward animals. (So sorry, Black Pearl.)

4. When I see myself as complete I am balancing exercise, good reads and good food. Also, when I am giving, giving, giving instead of wanting.

5. I am working on acceptance and compassion. Self love is harder than it sounds.

6. Every woman needs to know she is complete, as is.

7. If I had a magic wand I'd cure diabetes, erase vanity and arrogance and give all dogs a home.

8. I’ll be best remembered for my passion in the classroom.



:) mw