I am 53 today and I have 300K in the bank and it is the End of Time. I am 53 and freshly separated from my husband of almost 20 years. Married to each other's traumas on November 6, 1993, we are one year short of the Big Two O. The life I had is over. Actually, this is true for all of us, every day, but especially on this particular day. Today, a new great friend Quique sends me a birthday gift of a phrase (he is a word artist): ELEGANCE IS FREEDOM.
Psychology + Zen = Philosophy and methods to relieve suffering and reveal happiness.
Psychology: We project onto others what we reject in ourselves. Some call it a Shadow. Healing comes from making the unconscious conscious, taking responsibility for our projections, integrating what is split off as our own thing.
Zen: There is no separate self. When we can be at one with every aspect, then we belong everywhere and we reject no one.
We heal the world by becoming intimate with our whole selves.
Entries in Aging (11)
Part 1: The Cure
Have you ever had an electric toe? It's quite an experience, unlike any other pain. You step on it funny and suddenly a shocking, excruciating pain shoots through the toe into the whole body and the brain contracts in the instant. It goes away and you think, ok, that was that, and then it happens again. After several repetitions you become like one of those freaked-out lab mice terrified of the next shock, seeming to have no control. Except that then you notice that getting tense makes it happen more!
Like other life koans, this was impossible to grasp. How could I possibly relax into something that made my body involuntarily seize up?
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:40PM by Elena TaJo
One morning on the way to Ballet class, I hear the news that Black Americans are moving away from northern urban areas toward the South and into the suburbs. This interests me for what it will mean for diversity, so I remember it.
As we chitchat before class, Justina, a young Black woman just returned from a family visit to Tennessee, comments: "The South never changes." I argue briefly and then ponder her comment for the remainder of class. (You can blame all my mistakes on that!) When class is over I ask her what she meant. A graduate student in Social Psychology, she is frustrated by entrenched patterns: expectations shape behavior, behavior reinforces expectations, and the cycle perpetuates itself. Indeed, I agree. Except here she is, an exception.
The first time I heard the question was shortly after I told my rheumatologist about the pain in my knees after tap-dancing for some length of time. I recall that I was rehearsing for a little showcase. I recall that I was proud. I recall that he said: These are not normal knees…of course you are going to have inflammation if you tap-dance. And a little while later he asked if I have trouble wiping myself. It's important, obviously. Tap dancing? Not so much.
I dozed until midnight, then adrenalin and heat fired up my body for the race, the chase, the battle in the jungle. Only I'm not in the jungle; I'm in bed trying to sleep. I'm having a major argument with my body: What is wrong with you?! Can't you feel the fatigue? Why are you flooding me with all this energy? Body: Hey, it's not my problem; you're the one with all the worries and ISSUES that keep me up. Mind: You have a lot of nerve calling me out on ISSUES when these things wouldn't even bother me if I weren't flooded with adrenalin and cortisol and whatever else you're doing to me.
Most functional people would have grabbed a cab straight to a psychiatrist for Ambien.
Sure I thought the release was happening as I turned 40. I don't care what people think, said I, boldly striding into the decade. So I unleashed my creativity upon the world. And then, after making the autobiographical Martyred Moms, I proceeded to suck up praise and criticism like a baby starving for milk. Don't care? my ass! Narcissism roared its head and I, helplessly it seemed, inflated and deflated according to the circumstances. It wore me out. Like a stone on a beach being polished by smashing up against the rocks. Smash! ahhh… Smash! ahhh…
50 is Smash. 40 was playing around. At 50, my life shows on my face. At the movies, they ask me: Senior or regular? I can laugh but I tell you it feels like a punch. I'm in another category.
Not that I was ever beautiful, but I certainly knew how to be eye-catching. Now They don't look at me that way. If They look at me or talk to me at all, it's often because They need something from Mother--or even Granny. geez!
Updated on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:50AM by Elena TaJo
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:50PM by Elena TaJo
It doesn't show, they started to say after the surgeries. This should have been a cure for shame, and maybe it was, but it also produced a new problem. A deep and integral aspect of my personhood became invisible and unknowable. Juvenile arthritis is a peculiar and defining experience. As a toddler, you get braces and casts instead of the exhilaration of walking. As a kid, you get the special role in the ballet recital. Then, as your wrists are progressively deforming, Phys Ed with its impossible pushups and volleyball falls by the wayside. You are left with the other rejected kids in Choir and then in Drama Club, where, to vanquish your depression, you pledge yourself a career and vengeance. The twist (pardon the pun) in the story is that, along the way, you fall in love with dance--the one thing that everyone agrees is totally out of the question.
Ripe1: Mommy Doll Gets Old, an amalgam of documentary and performance art, skewers ideas about aging. What do you think of when you think of Old? Does it mean it’s time to give up? Does it mean we lose our minds? Does it mean it’s time for plastic surgery? Or does it mean wisdom? Mommy Doll Gets Old evoked tears and fascinating conversation at the Garnerville Arts Festival, the Trail Dance Film Festival, the Rivertown Shorts Festival, GIAA (3rd prize), and Digifestival.net 2007.
Total running time: 11:14 minutes
You just don't get it, said her eyes into my silence. My beautiful dark-skinned friend from a South American country had just told me of her troubles getting a Visa, indicated how hard she worked in a restaurant to support her dancing. I felt for her, so the distrust was painful. Was it distrust, or was I projecting my own?
Like most of my young dancer friends, she asks me nothing about my life, as if it is already established, not in question. If they did ask, they might hear
Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 5:41PM by Elena TaJo
The joke is on me. My plan (what is it about plans?) was to open OGReHome on April Fools Day. Instead, the server had to process the change. Well, you know what the shrinks (and artists and philosophers and wise women and men) say about process.