Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I spent a lot of time this weekend with a family friend who has lived an interesting life, has endured some very trying times, yet has emerged triumphant and supremely balanced. I am an old soul at heart, so it's not unusual for me to hang out with my parents' friends. Often, I have more fun and more meaningful relationships with them than with people my own age. I suppose it's because they have more to teach me, but I don't know. Maybe I am just blessed with great family friends?

This weekend with this friend, we spoke of our mutual experiences with therapy; I explained my clinical depression to him and the fact that I have accepted my need to be on some form of SSRI antidepressant for the rest of my life. (A matter that I am fine with, btw.)
Somehow a discussion of therapy diverged into his practice of meditation, which he does daily, wherever in the world he may be. Most often, he is out on his magnificently serene, sprawling, waterfront patio with an unobstructed view of his boat, the turquoise waters and other people's estates.

"Do you have any kind of mantra you chant or anything like that?" I asked, thinking of that episode of Curb Your Enthusiam where Richard Lewis lets Larry use his mantra, "Jai-ya," that turns out to mean "fuck me."

"No," he said, "I just sit out there, look at the water, go to 'that place' and think, basically, 'Look at all this I have; it can't get any better. All I have is today. I don't know if there will be a tomorrow and that's essentially what I focus on; living in the moment instead of thinking or worrying about the future."

That really resonated with me, as I am such a control-freak, type-A planner who, if I don't have a plan for "the future," completely freaks out. Like now.

"You know," I mused, "I think I'm going to try to do that. I get so wound up in thinking about the future that I forget to live in the moment."

You should, he said, because most people get so wrapped up in their day-to-day BS that they can't appreciate the now.

"Well, if I lived where you lived, I'd be out on that patio all day, just staring at the water and living in the moment, that's for sure."

"That's the funny thing," he said. "Whenever I'm out there, I look at everyone else's homes around me and nobody is ever out on their decks; nobody is appreciating these amazing things they have."

So then I quizzed him on whether he was coached on how to properly meditate, breathe, etc., and he said no, that he just went to 'that place,' cleared his head and told himself something along the lines of, "Look at what you have; you have life; you have this great home; family; friends and you have today. That's all you need. Just focus on today."

I suppose it all falls into that "one day at a time" philosophy, with a more positive twist. I often say that to my therapist, when I am really down, that I am just taking things "one day at a time." But yesterday it ocurred to me that I could turn that around into a positive. Like as they say in Rent, "No day but today."

So today, just now actually, I did it. I meditated for the first time in my entire life. I found my "place," and though I have been to many, many beautiful, spiritual places, this is the one that came to me: Lord Byron's Grotto, a scenic overlook on a cliff in Portovenere on Italy's Ligurian coast (Cinque Terre region). Lord Byron often wrote there and went there for inspiration. Apparently this site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It's next to the Church of San Pietro, and the beauty and awesome energy of this scenic overlook is indescribable. (These pictures don't do it justice, but, hey, I've got shit to do.)
I think this will be my "place" and my mantra—if I feel the need for one—shall be "no day but today." So make the most of it, girlie.