On The Road To Zen

I’ve just learned that one of my passions has an Italian name.  Dolce far niente  means the joy or sweetness of doing nothing, which is what I’ve been doing a lot t of and and as it happens I’m, very, very good at it.

I have been writing though, and not just i  this blog.   I’m writing a screenplay (grab pearls and gasp).       Guess what it’s about???   A smartbass, a once high and mighty dame who injured her ankle whike  getting off  her high horse.   She also hsd nu luck ok skill sets finding love.   The ubiquitou ‘they’ say,  write what you  know.

The blog is just a lark, but I think I’m going to start curtailing my involvement.   I’ve resorted to reposting oldies but goodies updated to some degree.    My readership used to be huge.    It barely ever reaches 100 these days and I get “likes”, but I think they’re just click and runs.     Other bloggers click like in the hopes  I’ll “like” theirs in  return.    I’m assuming this because no one leaves comments anymore.     Either I’m not as witty as I once was or people can’t comment becsuse they can’t comment on what they haven’t read.

I’m not fishing  for compliments, but a limitless correspondence would  be nice.    Constructive criticism is cool, but trolls need not apply.     I’m a moil when it comes to trolls.    I’m old, kinda pissed off these days.  I’ll slice it, dice it,  julienne the damn thing and teach Ron Popiel a thing or two.     See?   Right there.    That was a reference someone 55 and over would get.      Maybe I just answered my own question about lower readerdhip and my blog is now such a comment free zone.

Or perhaps it’s because my NEED to blog has dwindled.

There was a time–eight years ago to be exact–when this blog meant a great deal to me.   I was out of work and broke (fiscally and in spirit), I had little else in my life.  It allowed me to be funny,  vent frustrations,  be creative and see all the wrongs in my life and correct them with a string of carefully placed words.   But you can’t  redecorate or add-on to your home unless you’ve built one; unless you own one.     Convoluted but it makes sense.   It all comes back to:


Not long ago, I had a standing Sunday morning date with Oprah, especially her Super Soul Sunday stuff.   I thought some of  some of it was psycho babble bunk, but some of it made sense.    I never think any member of her happy stable of life coaches and teachers (especially that short-haired African-American woman with the hard to pronounce name , especially when drunk)  reinvented any inner peace mousetraps,  but they have the ability to repackage age-old principles and sell them to a populace that knows it needs so much help….’cause Oprah told us so.

For a while now, they’ve known so many sojourners are trying to learn what they need to know to grow, to feel whole and less guilty.   All this returning to source stuff.    The light.   The child within.

Personally, Oprah and her cohorts plus books on similar subjects, make  me think I’m going on this really Wild Ride, sans Mr. Toad and I know I’m not the only passenger, yet I feel as though I’m  riding alone.    I can’t speak for any of my fellow travelers, if there are any,  but I’ve never  felt change as palpably as I do now and the signs…oh my God, the signs!!!!    I’m in such synchronicity with the Cosmos.    I’ll see a word in print and hear it uttered on TV at the exact same moment.   There’s a little flush that goes through me when that happens; like the tiniest of electrical surges.  I guess you could compare  it to the process of charging a car battery.    The charge can only happen when you make the right connection and when and that ONLY when that happens, power is restored.

It’s true.  I know this for a fact.    I used to report the news.   I felt something beyond the standard  disconnect one feels between who she  was while performing her job and the person she is off camera….while still at  work, not necessarily in the privacy of her own home.

Every day,  I was bombarded with the reality of just how fragile and errant we are as a species.  My colleagues did too.   I think that’s because we all felt, even with 50 people in the news room, like we were all walking around as if we’d been fragged;  shot by one of our own.    The unfriendliest of friendly fire.     You know, like Lt.  Neidermeyer from “Animal House”.    Wounded by someone we once loved and trusted who promised they’d never hurt us.   Jobs, parents, lovers…Roth IRA’s.    But how naive is it to think  we could ever be that Teflon coated, that impervious to pain.    Oprah and company had high hopes that we could spend a few hours with her friends each week, then instantly feel all right about life.    But that’s not how it works.   That’s never how it  happens.   We’re all walking wounded, in varying stages  of healing.  We might react differently to  our afflictions, but  they’ll heal in their own unique ways, in their own time.

But heal, they will.

Even armed with this relatively new understanding of the uniqueness of pain, I still reach out to embrace my inner Laurie more effectively by reading about roads less traveled and efforts to find Zen and harmony.

Author, Elizabeth Gilbert did it by leaving her life and ultimately, her body and based on the book and movie,  “Eat, Pray, Love”, she might have lost a bit of her mind, too.  I’ve only seen the movie and it was in my opinion, a bit of a train wreck.


This isn’t to say that the film didn’t have its moments.

CONFESSION:  I am an incurable romantic.   Close friends know this.   Colleagues find this notion hard to believe.  My hard-shell exoskeleton is far more deceptive than  my emotional sinew.   You see, in spite of so many self-generated arrears of love and faith, I still believe the sanctity of commitment and relationships.      And it was the romantic in me that forced me to watch this movie.   It was the journalist still in me that only allowed me to watch it in ten-15 minutes sessions..   Carefully timed sessions.   To have watched the whole thing,  from the lion’s roar in the beginning to the display of the production company’s logo before that final fade to black at the end of the credits, would have had me Googling  how to properly perform hair-kari.

But there was one scene–when the Julia Roberts’ character was learning her own path to bacchanalian hedonism in Rome ,and some friends or traveling companions or perhaps a tour guide took her to some ancient, structure and she marveled at its simply beauty and rugged, architectural staying power that’s defied the centuries.

“A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came, they trashed it a long with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it.     

Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”

I agree with this, and I’ll take it one step further:  transformation is vital, but so is resurrection.  A classic analogy of both these things  are the Watts Towers, in Los Angeles.

Built over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954 by an Italian immigrant, the towers are ostensibly made of trash.    They’re constructed from the real stuff—steel pipes and iron rods, wrapped with wire mesh and coated with mortar, but they’re decorated  with found objects–discarded  bed frames, bottles, ceramic tiles, scrap metal and sea shells.  Sabato Rodia built the towers with no special equipment or blueprints.  he worked alone, too,  with a few hand tools and little else.    Neighborhood children brought him  pieces of broken glass and pottery.

I love how this now recognized historical landmark has such a random genesis.    And lo these many years later, it’s perceived as ugly to some, visually stunning to others but unarguably made from things taken from garbage cans or discarded wherever some rude, careless shmuck decided to leave what he no longer wanted…or needed.    It was trash turned into substance that was valued once again.

What Oprah has spent years trying to tell us is simple;    like an old  Coke bottle, we humans are redeemable.  But Unlike the imprinted vintage glass bottle (redeemable for 10 cents.  Void in Michigan, Iowa and parts of Colorado), we get to  establish our worth, if we want it.

But make no mistake:   WE get that choice; no one else.

Sure, if you’re all evolved and  rational like Oprah but I’m not, so leave a comment or Poochie  gets it.


Pic is from the classic, the hilarious National Lampoon Magazine.


Cheeseface was the name of the dog who featured on the now famous “Death” Issue of the National Lampoon magazine, released in January 1973.    I remember it well.  I bought the issue..as I did every month…. and read it front to back.

The cover, photographed by Ronald G. Harris, which showed Cheeseface with a gun pointed to his head, and the caption read, “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog”. The cover was voted #7 in the Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Tragically, inexplicably, unimahinabky,  in early 1976, an unidentified person or persons tracked down Cheeseface to the farm where he lived and killed him.    How and why he or she did this remain unknown.    I can only blame complete evil and total shit biscuitry.

And now, you may opine your ass off...

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