Dos and Don’ts

If you are thinking of being a human being right now, maybe don’t.

You could be Willy Wonka, maybe, or a panda. Being a cat is always safe, in the way that being a cat is never safe.

I felt together enough to do a meditation this morning, and I went through three before settling on one. I searched the word “loving kindness” first, but the meditation made me think of someone I loved deeply at first, and every time I thought of someone, I started to think about my responsibility to the person/animal I was imagining, and I was like, fuck this.

So then I searched the word “exhaustion,” and something in that one pissed me off, too.

I finally hit the jackpot with “self-loving energy,” which was about getting energy from the earth and spreading it around your exhausted, bitter body. That was good.

It’s not the best time to be a human being.

In my meditation, I realized I had a Carmen Miranda sized burden on my head, which causes me to have small, dull headaches and migraine auras. And then I am a turtle, too, with the entire Ukraine War on my back. I want to know about the war, about covid, because this can keep me safe, except it might not.

Yesterday I sat on my porch, which was recently refreshed for spring, and drank my coffee and did a crossword. My perfect cat Leia came out, I watched her carefully. I’m not sure she’s allowed outside. I picked her up, and she likes to be held, so I held her, and she purred and purred and enjoyed the vantage point of my shoulder. We have chickadees and squirrels in our still bare trees. She’s a gray tabby and she’s the best cat in the universe except for my other cat and my late cat and a few other cats. Her tummy has spots, and she lets me pet them.

I’ve been reading Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong (sort of hate-reading it, I guess, because I think I’ve done an excellent job of living a compassionate life and does the universe give a shit, no…lol!): “Confucius died in 479 BCE, regarding himself as a failure because he had never been able to persuade a ruler to adopt a more compassionate policy.” I love knowing that people so famous they are still mentioned in casual conversation 2,500 years later thought they were failures.

Armstrong argues that Confucius wasn’t the frozen-in-carbonite family loyalty and tradition guy, but thought of society as existing in concentric circles of effects.

It feels like everything I’ve practiced and learned has to flower for me now. But at the same time I need it, the fuel and the opportunities for healing are elusive. The monastery is still closed. I feel too overwhelmed to reach out to some old friends covid has kept me from. It’s been a common feeling for me, as an introvert, feeling that there isn’t enough time for me to rest and connect with people. Feeling that what must be done takes all my self control and energy.

Thinking of rebuilding, now (though we are always rebuilding), it is spring, covid is giving us a break, for the moment, and I can imagine that there will be summer. My first summer in years when I don’t have to work, and I get paid a real salary.

We are all tiny glass deer. When I read Glass Menagerie in 11th grade, I thought of the tiny glass deer I got at Muir Woods. My parents rarely bought me souvenirs, as a child, and this meant that the few I got loom large. The tiny glass deer I put in my shadow box at home. I broke off one of the legs. I don’t think it took long.

One more story: after working 7 days a week 20 hours a day to finish “Snow White,” the film was a huge hit. Walt Disney arranged for his employees to have a weekend party at a lavish resort nearby. He set up a “field day,” with events every hour, and dinner and dancing Saturday night. Employees were hopeful that Walt would also announce bonuses, based on the great financial success of “Snow White.”

Many of his employees were less excited about running sack races, and more excited about booze. They proceeded to get so hammered that they broke horses out of the stables and rode them into the lobby, took off their clothes and jumped in the pool, and generally behaved like people in 1938. One drunk animator fell out of a second story window. (Happily, he landed in some soft greenery.)

Disney was reportedly pretty tipsy at the party, but went to bed early, like a good boss. He was reportedly mortified at his employees’ behavior, and never mentioned the party again.

I’m not sure who I am in this story. The person who busted his ass to create something for others, and then had them shit on it? The person who falls out of a second story window? The employee who is crushed when my wealthy boss mentions nothing about sharing the glory and money from the history-making art we created together? The horse?

Maybe all of them.

Jose Guadalupe Posada, “A man with his tongue out jumping in the air while cards fall out of his pockets,”
ca. 1880–1910

Thank you to sources on Walt’s Field Day: Disney History Institute, Defunctland (I LOVE Defunctland)

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