HUMOR: Happiness Is A Warm Gub!
Maybe some of you are wondering why I published pictures of my X-rays on the blog. I had an incredible meditation the other night where I envisioned my spine and everything I've been through these past several months. It was the first time that it occurred to me--Wow! I had my neck reconstructed! It truly was an important part in my recovery to realize the scope and breadth of what I've been through; I tend to be hard on myself when I feel run down.
My neuro-surgeon always praises me for keeping my spirits so high. That got me to thinking: Hhmm...being run down--how do I ('me' personally) get myself back "UP"? I began to just sit and think about the things in my life that bring me joy and keep my spirits up. I thought I would share some of them with you:
I'VE GOT TO HAVE HUMOR!
When I feel run down, I tend to call Cousin Chrissy. She's one of the funniest people I have ever met. We just riff off of each other. We've always contended that we should have a talk show, but decided that no one would find us entertaining besides ourselves. We recently (well, a year ago) discovered that we both LOVE the movie Take The Money And Run, by Woody Allen. Have you seen it? We love the part where 'Virgil' robs a bank but spells the word GUN wrong on the note he hands to the teller:
"That looks like 'gub'--it doesn't look like 'gun.'"--Bank Teller reading Virgil's holdup note.
I love the part where he's playing the cello in a marching band and every couple of notes he has to stand up, pick up his chair and cello, and move forward several steps in order to keep up with the rest of the band! I would highly recommend this movie--might be a little slow at times--but some of the gags are just too hysterical to miss!
CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MY MUSIC!
I can't live without music. I got my first drum set at age 5 (which my brothers trashed, as brothers will do), and my first guitar at age 7. As you already know, my favorite modern musician is Frank Zappa. I also listen to a slew of devotional music, mainly performed by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. (Right now, I'm listening to Jeff Buckley--who was a student of Nusrat's, by the way.)
I have a select few artists that I've been in the mood to listen to lately (I've spent the last 3 1/2 years listening to mostly devotional Indian--bindi not feather, Zombie Slayer!!--music). I love listening to Chet Baker. His voice just soothes me, as well as his melodic trumpet. Unfortunately, I haven't been in the mood to listen to my other jazz faves: Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.
The Crystal Method
I was in the hospital for three days before I had my fusion, and, believe it or not, the only thing I listened to was Community Service by The Crystal Method. What an incredible duo these guys are. The most amazing beats and hooks in the world. Thank God I can still listen to them. Did you ever have a favorite album that you listened to during a trying time and then couldn't listen to that album anymore because it reminded you too much of the pain? Not so with The Crystal Method--I love all of their albums. Unfortunately, I listened to Jai Uttal's KIRTAN album during my three days in the hospital after the surgery, and can't bear to listen to it now. But, I recommend that CD for anyone who wants to soar! (To the heavens, that is!) KIRTAN, as well as a chanting CD with Gurumayi, helped me weather the pain and fear of being in the Neurology ICU (without a phone!) for those three days. Thank you Jai!
BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS
I love to learn, therefore, I love to read. I'm currently reading many books. Before turning my light off at night, I tend to reach for TALKS WITH RAMANA MAHARSHI. This book details the simplicity of God-realization through a series of questions and answers with this revered saint. I wake up in the morning and read the daily passage from RESONATE WITH STILLNESS from the words of Swami Muktananda and Swami Chidvilasananda.
Paramahansa Yoganandaji: the first Eastern Guru invited to the White House! (Around the 1920's)
Did you ever read a book where every single passage just sets your heart afire? No matter what religious or spiritual background you hold dear, I believe every human being should read AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI, by the sweet, loving, and gentle Paramahansa Yogananda. I can't even put into words the amount of love that his books generate. (Not only is he a great Hindu saint, he's also a great Christian Scholar.) I also read a lot of Eastern Philosophy: Hinduism, Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism; as well as Christian, Buddhist, and Taoist texts.
I just finished reading FREAKONOMICS, which was a fun read. If you enjoyed Malcom Gladwell's BLINK, you'll like Freakonomics (although I must admit that I thought Blink was far superior). I just bought Maureen Dowd's ARE MEN NECESSARY?; When Sexes Collide. Don't get all bent out of shape guys, the title is a play on James Thurber's funny diatribe: IS SEX NECESSARY? Dowd is an Op-Ed writer for the Time's and I thought it would be an interesting read. I tend to go for the non-fictional over fictional. With one exception:
Leo Tolstoy, circa 1849
I'm still working my way through Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE, which I LOVE! I started it last January and was giving myself a year to finish it (reading it intermittently, of course). I'm on page 1,000, with 400 to go. Don't think I'm gonna reach my goal. But hey, life happens.
MEDITATION, REFLECTION, PRAYERS
The basis of my true happiness comes from my meditation pratice and my trust and faith in my Self, God within and without. Nothing I have listed above would mean anything without my faith. A great Indian saint, Bhagawan Nityananda says that 'The Heart is the hub of all places; go there and roam." Meditation is a terrific way to anchor yourself in the Heart.
I am also a very grateful person: grateful for my family, my friends, my teachers, and the fact that I've been blessed with such a spiritual life, and a thirst for the Truth.
Thank you for being a part of my journey.
Love and Blessings,
Photos for this post were downloaded from: