No digital application has yet been invented that effectively maps out all the commitments and complexities of one’s daily life. When I think about that concept in analog terms, I envision a wall of stark white paper, etched in thin black lines what looks like the world’s most confusing and long and beautiful Gantt chart. (As if Gantt charts could ever be considered beautiful – but let’s just go with that thought for a moment.) On this wall is a picture that is a cross between a subway map and a sentence diagram and a bar graph. It makes you feel small but adventurous, brainy and sort of accomplished all at once. With it, you see the relationships between everything, the stray items, the dependencies, the risks. You are filled with awe. Some novice Etch-A-Sketch artist had at your wall and now you’re viewing a huge nest of loose wires. If I had one of these maps I might be able to make better decisions about how to spend my time or where to go next. Because it isn’t always clear- sometimes you have to choose between important and competing selves. Your Momness says one thing and your Directorness says another. Your Womanliness is making it difficult for your Objectiveness to get things done. It’s all just a big ‘ness.
Bear with me as I try to explain, but right now I’m all about living the trajectory from impossible to intimate. According to <a title=”meditation instructor” href=”http://www.uky.edu/FineArts/Music/faculty/lance_brunner/” target=”_blank”>Lance Brunner</a>, it’s about taking the things you want to do (but are less likely to do) and creating a space for them to become so familiar and rote that it becomes a seamless part of your life. In the way you might make a habit of running or knitting or knotting your tie. Since my experience at <a title=”ALIA Institute” href=”http://community.aliainstitute.org/profiles/blogs/washington-post-ranks-alia” target=”_blank”>ALIA</a> this past June, I’ve been hoping to recapture an intimacy and connectedness with community that extends beyond my family and circle of friends. Last weekend my husband and I attended a weekend course on <a title=”Shambhala Center” href=”http://www.shambhala.org/centers/columbus/” target=”_blank”>Shambhala meditation</a> – a form of secular Buddhist practice. Our experience was just as our great instructor had predicted: frustrating, boring, difficult. <em>Wow</em>, you say. <em>Sign me up!</em> Yeah, well it was a distinct challenge to set aside thoughts of work, parenting and side projects to sit cross-legged for eight hours with your eyes open staring at an orange wall. I won’t fib and say I was suddenly enlightened, or that I solved a major dilemma while sitting in silence. But there was a certain calm that came about after my monkey brain settled down. A calm I typically only experience in the three minutes I have to myself in the shower each morning before my daughter rips back the curtain and announces she’s pooped in my office.
Today on a leisurely drive home from a visit to a farm, my husband tells me that life(dot)next is lighting a fire under his ass. He’s thinking about curriculum models and business plans, storyboards, and job opportunities and all sorts of seemingly unrelated stuff. There’s passion and buzz and it’s getting hard for him to fall asleep at night. I said, me too. I said, yeah. I said, we should get our money refunded from that meditation course we took because hey our brains are more overdrive than before. There we are, child fast asleep in her seat, funky beats on Pandora, sun blazing between the visors, the windows down just the tiniest bit…and he tells me- Meg, I’m going to plan a competing event, one for men. Instead of a retreat, I’m going to call it The Advance. So, there’s that.