Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My regimen

Sometimes, I don't breathe. This is not necessarily related to stressful events or even being under a body of water. At any given time, I realize, to my surprise, that I'm holding my breath. Which can't be good for me.

Speaking of which, a good friend recently asked me what was my "regimen against anxiety". She sees anxiety as a perpetual presence that we have to work constantly to keep at bay. I see her point. If anxiety can be defined as "an expectation of a diffuse and uncertain danger" there really is no use pretending that's not my natural state.

Maybe if I breathed more, I'd feel better.

I wish I could tell you Yoga was a part of this regimen of mine. It sounds so coherent, spiritual and centered. The truth is, as much as I'd like to like practicing it, I don't. I feel the same way towards meditation. I'm sure it would be good for me, but every time I pretend to meditate I'm really just sitting cross-legged while running a mental inventory of the laundry I need to sort.

Besides making lists, straightening things, counting the number of items in my purse and other absolutely delicious, soothing kinds of admittedly repetitive behaviors, my regimen against anxiety (which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't) is:

- I need time to hang out in my house, alone. If I schedule too many dinners out or work late too many days in a row, I become saturated, overwhelmed, resentful, and, needless to say, grouchy. I’ve decided that if I recognize that my cell phone needs daily recharging, I owe myself the same courtesy.

- Exercise. If I don't do it, after a few days I predictably find myself up at 3:00 a.m. wondering about the viability of building an armored panic room somewhere in my house.

- Talking myself out of the danger my body seems to think it's in. (Such as "it would not make sense for all the people you love to get hurt at the same time. The chances of that happening are not very high, statistically speaking." Or "worrying about something you can't do anything about is pointless". Even something resembling a chant "it's all going to be OK. It's all going to be OK.")

- To my initial point, I've recently added remembering I need to breathe. Not in an overly ambitious attempt to calm myself. Just so I don't pass out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tus ocho cosas

Mi amigo Miguel me invito a jugar un juego.

Las reglas: cada participante escribe una lista de ocho cosas que revelen algo de sí mismo y las publica en su blog, después de lo cual selecciona a ocho personas a las que invita a hacer lo mismo.

Ahí van mis ocho “cosas”:

El lunes 17 de Julio del 2006 escribí una lista de precisamente ocho cosas (!) que me irritan de mi. La ofrezco como primera cosa, pero sigo adelante con otras siete porque hay algo de ligeramente deshonesto en reciclar una lista, aunque sea propia.

Segunda cosa: soy agnóstica. Frente a cualquier fenómeno no explicado por la ciencia, mi respuesta es “no sé si creo”. Esto no quiere decir que no creo en nada, sino que creo que cualquier cosa es posible. No saber si creo no es una puerta cerrada – es una puerta abierta; abierta, pero cautelosa.

Tercera: creo que la vida es sencilla, y sus secretos están a simple vista.

Cuarta: No dejan de fascinarme los efectos del paso del tiempo.

Quinta: Creo que en la lucha del bien contra el mal, gana siempre el bien.

Sexta: Sé donde está el centro de la Tierra. No es un lugar fijo: se mueve, como el océano y platos teutónicos; y se encuentra debajo de las plantas de los pies de mi marido.

Séptima: Hace casi diez años que dejé México, y desde entonces no he podido encontrar nada que me quite el antojo cotidiano de una paleta helada de tamarindo con Miguelito.

Octava: Creo que Miguel y yo tenemos algo pendiente, que tal vez esté contenido en esta lista, o en una o varias de sus ocho personas.

Ya veremos.

Me dice Miguel que puedo invitar a este juego a las ocho personas que yo quiera.

Para honrar la naturaleza viral de este ejercicio, invito a dos personas nuevas: A Luca, quien hará una lista de ocho cosas en no menos de ocho semanas; y a Isabel, quien espero que escriba un poema de ocho estrofas, o que por lo menos, si se rehúsa al ejercicio, piense en mi ocho veces.

Para honrar a la bella geometría circular de la naturaleza, re-invito a las siguientes personas, aunque no las conozco.

Queridos Monsieur David, Viviana, Ben, Paxton y Tessitore Di Sogno: A partir de este momento las reglas del juego han cambiado ligeramente. Están ustedes por convertirse, gracias a estas ocho cosas, en íntimos extraños (les suena?). No les pido una lista adicional de ocho cosas – les pido algún comentario de por lo menos ocho palabras sobre esta página.

Miguel - la octava persona es cierto Alias Cane que nos debe otra lista de ocho cosas en su blog.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I know what I'm doing this summer

All the shows I have admitted to watching on TV have long since reached their seasonal conclusion.

Alas, I am televisionless.

No matter. I have a lot to do (besides really miss Tim Sale’s incredible canvases and sketches seen when Isaac paints the future in the show Heroes):

- Take advantage of the fact that it gets dark late by going for a hike every evening after dinner.
- Read. I’m behind on my reading, and have a long list of books I want to get to, so I intend to catch up.
- Sometimes, I’ll grill dinner instead of cooking it inside. (Who am I kidding? I’ve never grilled.) Sometimes, I’ll persuade Luca to grill dinner. (That’s better.)
- I’ll stay on top of the magazines I still subscribe to.
- I’ll catch up on my sleep (which lately I seem to really need.)

I’ll report back on the success or failure of these activities and welcome any really good book, movie, grilling or napping suggestions. Just send them over before September.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Be specific

My in laws, whom I love, came to visit us from Italy and stayed at our house for a month. On the rushed, logistically complex, bittersweet morning of their departure, they piled their suitcases and their selves into the car and I walked out, closing the door behind me. In a sudden frantic flash, we realized that we did not have the keys, not to the car, not to the house. There we were, with barely enough time to get to the airport, and we were locked out.

If “locked out” doesn’t have a ring of finality to it, a ring of fatality to it, let me try again: Locked. Out.

After a minute of full-fledged panic we happened to find a spare car key and Luca dashed them to the airport while I remained behind trying to determine the best way to deal with the tragicomic (well, tragic now, comical some day far, far into the future) situation I found myself in (or rather, out.)

I won’t provide brain-numbing detail. I’ll just say that while I waited for a locksmith, I remained outside for almost four hours, with no means of transport, no cell phone or blackberry coverage, no food, no heat, no coat, no water and no bathroom.

In my frustrated desperation and fury I thought about the irony of feeling so trapped - trapped outdoors rather than within an enclosed space. I thought about how so very badly I had yearned to have the house back all to myself and now, in the first hours of having this privilege finally arrive, have it revoked so cruelly, mine, and yet remaining just beyond my grasp.

We should be very specific when we wish for something.