Everything in Moderation

Today, I lost my oldest and dearest friend to the Universe. No, she did not pass away, physically. But, she did, mentally. Here is what happened.

For years, she was seeing a therapist and was being treated with bi-polar medications. She had been through two failed marriages with abusive men. She had to fight everyday to get through everyday life. And, despite these challenges, she was incredibly funny and creative. We would talk on the phone for hours, until our stomachs hurt from laugher. We would visit eachother… me going to NYC….her coming to Philly.  We called eachother sisters because we were so closely tied. There were no secrets between us.

Then things started to change. At first, she would delve into self-help books. I joined her, because I was, also, suffering from on and off depression and failed relationships. Then, she decided to spend a summer in Woodstock,  renting a small bungalow by herself. She was totally isolated, listening to self help and meditation tapes. We were still close and everything seemed fine.  When she returned home, she stopped therapy and medications and  started spending hours at the local Siddha Yoga ashram. Many of these hours were devoted to intense meditations that lasted for 2-3 days.  At that point, her personality had altered significantly. She was spending all of her time in meditation and reading her guru’s lessons.  She attempted, many times, to have me join her on her “road to enlightenment” by sending me the lessons and numerous chanting tapes. I thought, sure I’ll give it a try, since I had been practicing Transcendental Meditation for  several years. After a few weeks, I noticed that my behavior was changing and not for the better. I felt, almost, brainwashed…or on the road to being brainwashed.   I stopped. She did not. Our conversations consisted of her incessently quoting her guru and attempting to save me. The talks about jobs, guys, movies etc were non exsistent, now.

Our calls became less frequent. She had nothing to say. If I didn’t share her beliefs, then we had nothing in common, according to her. During one of our last conversations, she informed me that she no longer called people.  She, had cut ties with her friends, except for one, who DID practice her 24/7 daily rituals. This made no sense to me. If a person is “enlightened” are they not more compassionate and loving?  Her indifference and condescending attitude seemed hypocritical to me.

Tonight was Thanksgivng. I had not called her for quite awhile and she had not reached out to me. So, I called.  I think our  conversation lasted for 5 minutes, tonight, rather than our usual marathon talks.  After some polite, superficial chat, I knew that she couldn’t wait to hang up.  Her last words to me were “thank you for calling….bye”

I am not, in any way, condemning a road to spirituality. I think most people, in their own way, are seeking something to help get them through this life.  But, in seeking to improve yourself, do it in moderation without losing yourself. Your authentic self is precious and unique. Hold on to it, because it is YOU. I still and always will love my friend/sister.

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Go where the path takes you

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Life throws us some curves

It’s not always an easy, straight path

You need to take some detours

Watch out for cracks

You never know what is at the end of the road

No one does

Accept where the curves take you

Adjust

Adapt

Regroup

Breathe

Keep walking

When there are no words…sometimes you just need to…………BLOG!!

Sometimes, when you’re having trouble expressing yourself, for whatever reasons, it’s time to BLOG!! So, this past year has thrown me a shitload of obstacles…most were just annoyances that I could handle. But, when the Red Sea parts and the obstacles start gushing down on you…when you start sinking to the bottom from the sheer weight of them,..when you start gasping for air….it’s time to BLOG!!

My illness is progressing. It’s having a party and I’m sadly invited. Except for a select few, I really haven’t shared most of what is going on. And, even then, I have not shared everything with those select few.  My increasing falls, the dizziness, the extreme weakness, the incessant pain and burning throughout my body, the ever increasing inability to complete sentences, the eyesight that feels like a heavy fog that refuses to lift and the neuralgia. My latest symptom has hit the face…..IN YOUR FACE. It feels like an unknown entity is literally pulling my left eye and mouth down. Dude, if I start drooling, I am out of here.!! So, I go undercover. I wear huge Jackie O sunglasses to hide the droopy eye. I wear carefully selected scarves and wrap them around and around my neck until they strategically cover my droopy mouth. Oh, I look hot…let me tell you…I stop  traffic. I now use either a cane or a walker so I don’t fall limp on the cement pavements.  Maybe, I should just throw a huge trashbag over me and be done with it… you know…..punch holes in the eye and nose area so I don’t totally walk into a tree. I’m too fucking young for this shit.

Each day, I swear, I can feel the myelin surrounding my nerves, melting. I think I can hear it, too. That precious myelin that protects the nerves and keeps them from screaming bloody murder. No one can see the melting myelin. No one can see the white lesions invading my brain. No one can see the screaming nerve endings. All they do see, is the fucking scarves, sunglasses and canes that decorate my persona.

Self pity??? Maybe a little. This is reality, folks. ..it’s punching me in the throat. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll punch it back. Right now, I’m just too fucking tired to lift my arms

Night of the Templar

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“Born in parts unknown with deep roots in the Rom, Dom, and especially Lom Gypsy Tribes, Paul Sampson, once better known as Menas or the “Evil King Menas”, and now notoriously known as “SAMPSON” throughout the U.S., U.K., Eastern Europe and other locations worldwide that host seedy night time ‘venues’, (he) was exposed to various cultures and accents throughout his childhood and early teenage years; an influence he would explore and call upon throughout his stage and film career, and several year stint as a con man.

And oh yeah, he’s also acted in a crap load of plays and movies (Whacked, If You Only Knew, Deuces Wild, blah blah blah) and stuff, including his latest film, NIGHT OF THE TEMPLAR, which he also wrote, directed, and produced.”— Paul Sampson

The above description of Actor/Director/Writer/Producer of Night Of The Templar was written by Paul Sampson, as his introduction to a podcast that I co-host . Needless to say, it was a mouthful and I think, I many have been set up by Sampson, who later claimed that he may or may have not written said introduction. In any event,  his description of himself prepared me for the ride of my life as his vast experiences shine through in his film. The following is a review that I wrote and it still stands true.

“I ordered Night of the Templar because I am a huge Paul Sampson and Norman Reedus fan, having seen them work together in previous films. Let me just say, I was NOT disappointed. Do not let the cover of the DVD mislead you. This is not just an  historical medieval film. It has many layers to it…revenge/murder/mystery/intrigue/erotica/campy dark humor and action

Paul Sampson wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, which is an achievement in itself. He has the uncanny ability and talent to change his persona in every role……he is a true chameleon. He, also, achieved as casting director to gather an incredible ensemble of actors…the legendary David Carradine, Norman Reedus, Billy Drago and Udo Kier. They all bring their unique talents to the screen. Carradine, in his last film appearance, gives his subtle sarcastic humor to his role as the shopkeeper. Norman Reedus, from The Walking Dead, is pure genius and does magical things with oranges, pretzels and cigarettes. Udo Kier, of Blade, portrays the sinister, voyeuristic Father Paul and Billy Drago of The Untouchables gives an hilarious campy performance as the cross dressing cook, Shauna.

The transitions between Medieval times and Modern times are effortless. The stunts are amazing and the soundtrack is superb. This is a must see film and should be seen many times. Everytime you watch, you discover something new….something you may have missed before….and before….and before. This is truly a soon to be cult classic”

Those were my words in 2012 and I am sticking to them. Night  of the Templar can be streamed via iTunes and purchased online at Walmart through the website http://www.nightofthetemplar.com

I would like to take this opportunity to present the new and improved movie poster for Night of the Templar, designed by the extremely talented Lisa Rubenstein. It has been given the stamp of approval by Sampson, and…long story short….he was blown away by Ms. Rubenstein’s interpretation of his film. So, be blown away….

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Aside

It took you this long to put things in perspective????

 

 

I guess I need to be knocked on the head with a safe box to finally open my eyes and set my priorities straight. Which reminds me of the 3 times in my life that I barely escaped bodily harm from falling objects. The first happened while waiting for a bus. I was standing against the wall of a  highrise apartment building There was a woman standing about a foot away from me. From the side, I heard her yell…OMG….are you ok?? I looked at her like a deer stuck in the headlights. “What? Of course I’m ok….but I’ll be even better when I get home and hit the sack” She said NO NO…the bottle..the bottle!!! It seems that, while I was daydreaming waiting for the 42 bus, someone had thrown a glass bottle of beer from a high floor out of their window . It had missed me by about 2 inches. There it was…my potential killer…pieces of glass on the sidewalk just glistening up at me..almost mocking me with  their shininess. The second dodging of a falling object occurred about a month later. I was on my lunchbreak, minding my own business, when I felt something wet on my face.  A few people, walking towards me, had  shocked looks on their faces. Hmm…what had they seen. I think they saw the glass baby milk bottle that was thrown out of a window and missed my head, leaving drops of warm milk on my clueless face. The third, was the most disturbing. I used to walk to work, using the back alley. ..it was just a shortcut.. ..right..almost a shortcut to my death. Many of the building’s fire escapes faced the alley and cars were parked there.  So, I’m casually walking to work when I hear a loud thud. I looked around and saw nothing. When I got to work, the sad word had spread through my workplace. “Did you hear??? So sad!!! This poor girl jumped to her death and landed on the roof of a car. The car I had just passed while “casually walking to work”

Ok, back to priorities. This year has been hard for me, emotionally and physically. It started with a bad fall. I don’t mind falling. What I do mind is that it was totally ridiculous and left me  badly bruised.  Then, there is this expensive repair project going on in our building, that is costing the owners their life savings.  I spent the past 2 months applying for and getting approved for a  home equity loan. Last week, I went to the bank, armed with all the paperwork they told me to bring, including  photo ID.   After climbing over mountains of ice ( yes, we’ve had almost 58 inches of snow this winter), I dragged myself into the bank that held my financial security.  “Oh, I’m so sorry..we can’t accept your photo ID. It has expired.” No it hasn’t, I said as I showed them the updated paperwork with the recently renewed ID that included my signature. “Oh, we still can’t accept it…the new expiration date is not ON the photo ID.” Excuse me, I said…I just came from another bank and they accepted it and I have not had a problem in other establishments. Long story short……….i bolted out of their establishment not knowing what to do. Another long story short….I’m in the process of getting approval from another bank who DID accept my ID. The problem is, that I need to make a full payment to my apartment building next week.  Oh well.

Now, for the building improvements. In the past week, a minimum of 15 workers have been in and out of my unit. Banging holes in the walls, replacing pipes, using glue that made me feel oh so mellow yellow, insulated the walls, moving the furniture that is covered in plastic …kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s place …plastic slipcovers haha. Next week, I entertain the plasterer and dry wall people.  Oh Boy.

Oh, what’s wrong with me. I forgot to mention how I burned my eyeball while rinsing out a pot… haha

This is just the half of it. What I’m trying to say is…… the things that seemed so important 2 months ago…and even as recently as last week, mean absolutely nothing. They are trivial. We get so caught up in superficial things. Maybe it’s a form of denial…not wanting to face what is really going on in our lives. We make the small things, big and the big things, small.  The infamous defense mechanism. I am exhausted and beat but not beaten. I have just taken my “to do” list and revamped it into reality. Well, hello, reality…you look pretty good to me. Even with all of your roadblocks and flaws, you are sure looking better than my fantasies.  Don’t get me wrong. Fantasies are cool, but we just have to put them in perspective.

When you reach overload status

I was optimistic about 2014. I talked to friends New Year’s Eve. I slept well. I felt as good as could be expected. All seemed right with the world. I got up….took a shower…and got dressed. Well, almost. My favorite top, that I practically live in was nowhere to be found. The top has special meaning for me. My mom bought it for me a few months before she passed away.  It was a link to her. We didn’t have the same taste, but this time she got it right. A soft dark grey, long sleeved tee shirt with delicate pale yellow flower embroidery on the front. When I couldn’t find it, I panicked. Then, I remembered. I had done laundry yesterday. I made a dash for the laundry room, opening every washer and dryer in the room. Nothing. There are hangers on the wall near the door for lost items. Nothing.  When I got back to my apartment I just  started sobbing uncontrollably. It was gone. My mom had given it to me. What made it worse was that, this week, will be the anniversary of her death. I needed to find it. Obsession replaced grief. I typed out a notice to the building, describing the shirt, in detail. Please…Please…if anyone found it…my mom gave this to me….please return it.  Within minutes, the building sent out a  mass email. I, also, put a notice on the bulletin board in the laundry room, probably lost among the help wanted/need a painter/a plumber/caregiver/ sofa/ massage/ guitar lessons. I was on a see saw of emotion and all it did was exhaust me.

Then, I received some gifts. My soul sister, Tosha, always is the voice of reason. She is a sweet soul who always finds the good in people. She can be a snarky hot mess, but she believes in her heart that people are good. She reminded me that the shirt was a material item, but the memory of my mother was forever. I was stubborn and, I know, drove her nuts today. But, with her help,, I was able to find my center and calm down. She tweeted me lovely videos. She stayed with me, via FaceBook messenger, she had my back all day, even when she had a full plate. And for that, I will always adore her.

Then, I received another gift. I’ve been told that I am psychic and have had several experiences. One of them involves my  dad. He was a heavy smoker and passed away, too soon, from cancer caused by smoking. I was daddy’s little girl. Every now and then, I experience the scent of cigarette smoke in my room. Tonight, the scent was overpowering and it stayed with me for about an hour. I began to meditate and ask questions. The answers came. Maybe, not from my dad, but maybe from myself.  My dad, like Tosha, stayed with me until I felt like myself, again. I love you daddy.

Another gift arrived, in the form of an email from a friend. This person lives in total chaos 24/7 but pops up when you least expect it. Many of our emails are like lifetime movies, but lately they have been short. Today, it was back to normal…if they can ever be normal. Without my friend knowing, they made me smile and centered me, yet again.

Of course, I had to be a drama queen and post about the shirt on facebook. But, the loving comments that were left were gifts that I wasn’t expecting.

It’s been 12 hours since the “shirt” incident. The gifts I received today have given me back my sanity……for now… and, I have a feeling that me and my grey shirt will be reunited soon.  If not, I am grateful and learned more lessons today. It’s all good, 2014.

Holiday Reflections

Every Christmas I do alot of reflecting of what once was and of what will be. I have such wonderful memories, but  some emotional ones as well.  Both my parents were old school. I think I mentioned in a previous blog, that they were much older when they adopted me. So, they were set in their ways. My mom was pretty religious and refused to have any holiday ornaments in the house, except the menorah. My dad was an agnostic…I guess because he grew up in an orphanage. All I know is that I desperately wanted a Christmas tree and lots and lots of lights.  The week after Christmas, my dad would take me for a walk in the neighborhood and we would collect the branches and tinsel from the trees that were on the street waiting for the trash collectors. I would rush home and decorate my room…hanging  tinsel on the lamp shade, my window and any place I could find. I never heard them argue, but I knew that my  mom was saying… “what did I tell you, hon…no Christmas ornaments allowed in this house”. My dad, probably just shrugged and smiled because he had made his little girl very happy.  I, also, remember my dad coming home, after shopping  at the local store, with 2 Christmas stockings and candy canes….I was in heaven.

I was a shy girl who hated school. I would feign illness if I knew there would be a spelling  bee or a pop quiz. So, I always looked forward to Christmas break.  My dad would drive us to New York City for 3 days. We always stayed in the same hotel in the theatre district. It was a little run down and was British owned. I remember there was a huge portrait of Queen Elizabeth in the lobby. I would go up to the portrait and courtesy …the makings of a drama queen. My dad would buy a single ticket for himself to see intellectual plays by Ionesco while my mom and I opted for balcony seats to musicals. I was enthralled and, as soon as we got home, would run out an purchase the albums to the shows we had seen. I would play them over and over…I can’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago, but I can remember the lyrics to every West Side Story and Gypsy song. “If you wanna bump it, bump it with a trumpet” If you wanna make it, twinkle while you shake it”.  And, everytime we left NYC, I would look out the rear window and cry as the Empire State Building disappeared from my sight. 

Such good memories….so many fantastic trips with my parents. But, like I said, my parents were much older and I have lost both of them. So, the holidays are bittersweet. I laugh on the outside, but I have this melancholy that is deep deep inside. You can see it in my  eyes, and if you listen carefully, you can hear it in my voice.

So, what about the future? I tend to live in the moment, but, of course I have a wish list.  But, for right now, I’m just going to wish upon a star and see what happens. It’s all you can do, really. Things happen for a reason…lessons are always being learned…we fall but we get up again…there is always a solution to everything. You just have to listen and you’ll hear the answers.   

 

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