Do we like Mondays? I have a love/hate relationship with them. On the one hand there is something so fresh and newborn about a new Monday - a week that's not screwed up yet - oops that's negative, let me rephrase. A week with promise. On the other hand, if you are living fully, with lots of people and love in your life, the weekend is where it's at - full of connections, entertainment, time spent loving, time to be energetic or peaceful depending on your need. When I was in a relationship I lived for the weekend and we crammed a lot of living into those two days: we rushed to each others' arms at the end of the work week, juggled time with friends, errands, lessons, exercise, intimate time, and even just time to sit quietly and just "be" with each other. For the past few months, weekends are time in memory jail, a swath of time alone with lonely and wistful thoughts. I have come to hate weekends. That needs to change.
We hate change....I think we're wired to resist it, and yet it's the only constant in our lives, change. It always comes, it is typically unsettling and destabilizing, but it is often invigorating despite our efforts to resist it. And what once was new and exciting becomes dull and predictable when you've done it long enough. So why do we linger? Case in point. I've been singing at this bar on the South Side for the better part of a year. Every Friday, almost without exception I can be found there, faithfully singing through my repertoire to the accompaniment of my friend Bobby who is a great person and musician. He has played there for years, most of them with his partner and sidekick, Pete who plays the sax, trumpet, flute, guitar, etc. and sings like Elvis. It's a hoot. The bar is unpretentious, the drinks are cheap and the patrons are adorable - mostly little old men who love the music and who flirt shamelessly with me (OK, really anyone with a skirt). Every week I do the same thing - I arrive, kisses for all the old men, I listen rapturously to the same songs that Bobby and Pete perform week after week, applauding with exaggeration as if I'm hearing them for the first time, when in reality each week it is more predictable. I sing about 6-7 songs mostly to people who are watching the TV and I drink too much vodka and have the same conversations with the same people who accompany me week after week.
So this is dumb, right? We live in one of the greatest cities in the world - I do not live in a one horse town! Life is too short for it to be mind numbingly boring and predictable! I am going to do better. I am going to be my own concierge and offer myself a smorgasbord of varied and interesting things to do on the weekends. Plays, lectures, athletic events, philanthropic pursuits, dinner with friends I've neglected, social networking, out of town trips, cooking classes, shopping in ethnic neighborhoods, making new friends, learning a new language, exciting home projects, new hobbies, and more.
And work....it's so dull. I've done the same thing since about 1999. I have made a success of it...I have made millions, and lost millions. It's time for a reinvention. In the short run, I need a new project to sink my teeth into - something hard, lucrative and new. In the long term, I need to decide if I want to try something totally new - go back to school to study psychotherapy or maybe open my own jazz/restaurant venue like Katerina's. Really it's all possible and probable that I will do something different and energizing. Life is too short to hate what you do for a living.
As for my post yesterday, I was serious about making changes. So what, you ask, have I done? Am I walking the walk or just pontificating? I am walking the walk. These are the things I've done since writing yesterdays blog entry to further my healing: I asked my ex to be strong for both of us and to go dark on me for six months. I told him that I lack the will to cut off communication with him and that he has to have the will for both of us. I told him that, when (and I'm sure I will) I communicate with him to not communicate back with me even if I beg for a response. It's humiliating I know to have to ask someone for this kind of help. It's like I'm Elsa the lioness in Born Free - at the end they have to scare her into the wilderness and away from them with shouts and harsh words. My ex hurts too, but he is more emotionally healthy than I am at this point and he can do this for us - and he said he will. In six months I hope to be in a much better place.
I also toasted walnuts for my cottage cheese this morning. Toasted walnuts are heavenly, especially with cottage cheese and a sliced banana. Eating for me lately has become rote and joyless and many days the gut wrenching sadness really is gut wrenching meaning my gut aches and food doesn't sit well. Eating should be special and observant. How we feed ourselves is a barometer of how we feel about ourselves. Each morning when I take Joey, my dog, to the backyard my tenant Mark who lives in the apartment below sits in morning reverie at the outdoor table. In front of him is a Japanese teapot on a beautiful wooden tray that is really an asymmetrical sculpture. His perfectly sliced fruit is arranged just so. He has decorated the outdoor area with Buddhist prayer flags. At these times, he is taking good care of himself and nourishing more than his body. So I went the extra mile for myself this morning. I toasted the walnuts even though it meant dirtying a skillet. And when I ate what could have been a boring breakfast, I concentrated on the flavor and ate, fully present with the food I had lovingly prepared for myself. It's a start, right?
So my challenge today is for you to think about ways you can nurture yourself and meet your own needs. It may be something as simple as relating to a green bean. My friend Carol recently wrote to her friends:
I became friendly with a particular string bean I picked last week in my side yard vegetable garden. I noticed it among the others because it grew curly, dragging in the dirt. It adjusted its growth because the vine it was on drooped to the ground. Later in the kitchen, I recognized that very same bean in the colander when I broke off the stem and washed off the dirt. I also paid attention when I tossed it in the pan to steam, then later when it landed on my plate from the serving spoon, and when I ate it. It was a simple, but profound moment for me to feel so connected to my food - paying that much attention.