Nothing to report about meditation. Let’s just say I am far from yogi status. Just wanted to share yesterday’s trip to the “marmista” in search of the right countertop. I love raw materials. I loved the dust in the air. The years and years of accumulation adding up to a family’s business, passion, knowledge. A life spent handling the most beautiful stone in the world cut from the mountains that look out over the Tuscan coastline.
DAY: Yesterday, Tuesday
MORNING MEDITATION: Effective. Still good, though I find myself in a sort of doldrums. Does that happen to you other meditators out there?
TLC: A tree. I was walking in the park and absolutely taken by the enormous trees near the castle. Many of them bear identification tags like endangeeed animals who’ve been ID’d for tracking. When I first moved to Milan and was suffering depression induced by culture shock, a Romanian healer named Elena (more about her later) told me I needed to hug a tree. I didn’t follow her advice at the time…I didn’t even know where I might find one, and I was too flabbergasted by her “expert advice” to look. But she had a point. A tree does so much for you. It shades and shelters you. It breathes life into you. It gives you something immense and trustworthy to lean on. And there they are, gentle giants, in our midst. I just needed to look.
MORNING MEDITATION: Good. Very good. Felt almost stoned.
TDC: A song that keeps playing in my head. A certain version of that song. Sharon Jones’ singing “This Land Is Your Land”. She died recently, which makes me sad, but her voice lives on giving these lyrics absolutely new, fresh, forceful meaning. Yesterday was her birthday. Listen and watch here. You’ll see what I mean.
MORNING MEDITATION: Good, though sleepy. I’m working on a series of meditations about relationships. It’s a prolonged visualization exercise that I have in no way mastered. The thing I’m supposed to visualize is elusive, and other images keep cropping up instead. Like I’ve wandered into the wrong movie theater. But I shall soldier on. BTW, the meditation DID help with the flying to the US and back. Funny how you can unwire the mechanism of fear just enough to get on with your life smoothly. Well, it’s not really funny at all. It’s great.
TDC: Spent some time with the family rabbit this morning. She’s a fiercely independent animal who does nothing better than seem totally uninterested. And yet, this morning, she was all for a little intimate nonverbal communication which she’ll only allow if she senses that you are utterly at peace. My blood pressure drops in her presence. So between the meditation and the rabbit-style R&R, I’m mellower than any girl has a right to be. How are you today?
MORNING MEDITATION: Well, “morning” is stretching it a bit. I squeezed it in just before lunch, regrettably. The benefits weren’t the same, having rushed from sleep to walking the dog and straight on into work without giving myself that wee 15-minute gift. My brain was too far into its grind by that time. Lesson learned. And yet it was instructive just to observe what that mental grind really looks/acts like.
TDC: So without inner peace, where does one turn? I suggest a coffee and a conversation with a dear friend as an alternative. Or at least that’s what I did. This time, at the Milanese institution Pasticceria Marchesi, recently bought by Miuccia Prada to save it from the usual fate of outdated institutions. Think what Jackie Kennedy did for Grand Central Station. Because the truth is, they aren’t old or out dated, these beloved places, they are iconic, and someone needs to save them.
This was my view from our corner table. Four tables in total. I love small.
MORNING MEDITATION: Well, I’ve upped it to 15 minutes. An eternity, for someone who was not really even finding time to sit still. But, then again, no, it’s not an eternity. It feels good. The guiding is dwindling away, and there are longer expanses of “being there” alone. But I need that. It helps. I don’t know how or why it works, but it does. Long after it’s over, it’s still helping. I’m thinking I’ll try it on the plane when I fly home in a couple weeks. I loathe flying.
TDC: It’s that time of year again. The Salone del Mobile in Milan. Design and furnishing shows absolutely everywhere. Positively spilling out of courtyards, passageways, palazzi, public spaces, schools. I love it, but I’ve had my head too far up the * of work to be able to enjoy it much. Out in the courtyard, though, just for good measure, flowers, plunked with lovely neglect, in the fontanella. Any Place is a good place for beauty. And Any Time is a good time to take a deep breath and say, “Well. Look at that.”
MORNING MEDITATION: Today’s went well. In fact, I did two. First, my usual 10 minutes of sitting in “silence.” And then, my first walking meditation. I walk all the time so adding a layer of awareness was a beautiful thing. Turned it into something more amusing and cinematic. Had to double up, because the weekend was an awareness wasteland and my brain craved escaping to its wide, open space.
TDC: A week or so ago, the meditation guide used the most lovely turn of phrase—again. (He’s good at that.) This time he was referring, simply, to bringing awareness into the activities of the everyday. And he said, quite poetically I found: “Neither hurry nor dither.”
I was instantly hooked on the soundness of that advice and the poetic texture of the word “dither” (zither, feather, whither). I have tended, in years past, to do both—hurrying to meet those incessant and heartless personal and professional deadlines, and dithering to give myself a break. The thought of moving purposefully forward, in working or walking, appeals to me. Without a racing mind and a racing heart, but with faith that the pace is fine for getting wherever it is I am going.
Walking this morning, feeling my feet roll into the pavement and back out of it, I felt connected to everyone else who was walking. Our rhythms merged in the chiaroscuro landscape of bright, early sun.