Category Archives: New Orleans

Zen Day 3: The Dream

We survived Mardi Gras – what a day.  I decided, after doing a little research, that I was going to go ahead and have a day of revelry – and not beat myself up about it.  So, yes, I drank and walked all day and broke my liver meridian-repair diet and loved it.  I had a total blast.  BD and I dressed up as “Stiff Competition” – I’ll let your imagination fill in the details of our costumes – and marched with our neighborhood’s annual St. Anne parade, which is a loose amalgamation of insanely costumed people marching to Canal Street to meet up with Rex.  We made it to the Marigny and spent the rest of the day at friends’ houses – can you believe that we only spent $11 all day?!  We are so proud of ourselves.

Perhaps the most bizarre (and amazing) thing that happened yesterday was when a friend approached all of us in the group with angel cards and asked us each to pick one (Angel cards are little laminated cards bearing one word each – they’re supposed to give you something to think about or indicate some theme in your life).  I was the first one to pick and guess what I picked out of 75 cards?  Birth.  Seriously.  I couldn’t even hide the amazement in my face.  All of my friends thought I was shocked with disgust and joked about me taking one for the team, but BD and I were elated.  What a wonderful omen.

But, this morning it was back to business as usual; I have the day off, which is a wonderful luxury.  We had breakfast/lunch at Frady’s, which is an iconic corner store in our neighborhood; we sat outside eating mac & cheese, stuffed crabs, and shepherd’s pie while watching revelers push home bicycle floats and make the walk of shame.  Once sated, we  spent several hours in the yard weeding and training our bouganvilleas.  We both agreed that it is so much nicer to not be on-the-verge-of-death hungover after Mardi Gras (only took me, oh, 9 years to figure that out).

Today’s Zen card is an interesting one; BD read it totally differently than I did, but I see it as a call to focus on the reasons behind why I pursue relationships with friends and loved ones – is it based in fear of being alone or in a true desire to be close to these people?  Especially when pursuing the actual, and very conscious, creation of a new human, I want to be particularly aware of my motivations, assumptions, and goals; the more conscious I am, the better parent and mentor I can be (at least, one hopes):

This has been said again and again, down through the ages. All the religious people have been saying this: “We come alone into this world, we go alone.” All togetherness is illusory. The very idea of togetherness arises because we are alone, and the aloneness hurts. We want to drown our aloneness in relationship…. That’s why we become so much involved in love. Try to see the point. Ordinarily you think you have fallen in love with a woman or with a man because she is beautiful, he is beautiful. That is not the truth. The truth is just the opposite: you have fallen in love because you cannot be alone. You were going to fall. You were going to avoid yourself somehow or other. And there are people who don’t fall in love with women or men–then they fall in love with money. They start moving into money or into a power trip, they become politicians. That too is avoiding your aloneness. If you watch man, if you watch yourself deeply, you will be surprised–all your activities can be reduced to one single source. The source is that you are afraid of your aloneness. Everything else is just an excuse. The real cause is that you find yourself very alone.

Osho Take it Easy, Volume 2 Chapter 1

Some enchanted evening you’re going to meet your soulmate, the perfect person who will meet all your needs and fulfill all your dreams. Right? Wrong! This fantasy that songwriters and poets are so fond of perpetuating has its roots in memories of the womb, where we were so secure and “at one” with our mothers; it’s no wonder we have hankered to return to that place all our lives. But, to put it quite brutally, it is a childish dream. And it’s amazing we hang on to it so stubbornly in the face of reality. Nobody, whether it’s your current mate or some dreamed-of partner in the future, has any obligation to deliver your happiness on a platter–nor could they even if they wanted to. Real love comes not from trying to solve our neediness by depending on another, but by developing our own inner richness and maturity. Then we have so much love to give that we naturally draw lovers towards us.

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Recap of Day 2: BD is an awesome shot-giver.  He takes the whole thing in stride and, while it did sting a little, it left no bruising, which I was incredibly happy about.  The medicine does sting for a while, but that was the only irritation I had for the whole day.  I did notice that my bowel movements were a little less than awesome, but I don’t know if I should chalk that up to Mardi Gras or the meds yet.

Did you know that I actually have a life?  Yeah, sometimes I forget, too.

This weekend is the grand finale of Carnival season here in New Orleans, which means parades every day for hours on end.  Friends open their houses along the parade routes (note my use of the plural) for crawfish boils and bathrooms, king-cake powered kids scamper around trying to catch throws from floats, and drunken adults knock said kids out of the way trying to catch the same throws.  It’s a beautiful thing, Mardi Gras is.

Most of the parades roll Uptown down St. Charles Avenue.  When I lived Uptown, I made every single parade.  It’s just what you do if you live Uptown.  But when BD and I bought a house downtown five years ago, we stopped going so much.  It’s a real pain to find parking, commit to the entire spectacle, not drink too much, and then drive back downtown at the end of a very long day.  But, every year we still commit to the final Sunday of parades, mainly because a dear friend opens her house and everyone we know will be there.  It’s always a blast catching up with friends who we don’t get to see often enough and dipping my pinkie toe into the Mardi Gras spirit.

But, this year, not only is BD out of town, but I’m starting Lupron injections tomorrow morning, which has me in a fit of nerves and feeling rather anti-social.  The beautiful part of my partnership with BD is that he’s the social butterfly to my wall flower and we’re able to help each other find a middle ground.  He forces me into social situations and is my safety net when I’m overwhelmed; I, in turn, am his touchstone to know when it’s time to leave or wind down.

I hate to miss Mardi Gras, but I’m still in that phase of uncertainty of how to navigate social situations moving forward.  Unsurprisingly, 99% of my friends drink when together – it’s just the social norm here.  Ok, I know that the simple answer is, ‘just don’t drink and don’t worry about it!’  But, when everyone else is reveling and hootenany-ing, sitting on the sidelines drinking water just doesn’t sound like fun, you know?  I wish I had a quick solution for how to feel more comfortable, but I’m just not there yet.

Luckily, a good friend asked if I wanted to grab coffee later today, so I think I’ll just take her up on that and enjoy a quiet day.  Perhaps we’ll get a wild hair and walk down to Canal to catch a glimpse, though 🙂