Monday, January 14, 2008
I Want My F***ing Meditation
On our last full day in Hawaii, I got up early on a grey, wet morning to do a teacher-led walking meditation with some other people at the resort. I was a wee bit hungover and feeling the effects of not enough citalopram coursing through my veins. (Since deciding to stay in Hawaii an extra three days, I'd been rationing fractions of those pills to keep from going into full withdrawal.)A meditation class with like-minded people was just what I needed.
I stood in line at the coffee stand at the foot of our tower. I kept standing in line at the coffee stand at the foot of our tower. Ok, everything in Hawaii takes twice as long because nobody is in a hurry, and that's a good thing, because in real life we're always in a hurry as a matter of habit. Which is unnecessary most of the time.
So breathe and quit yer bitchin'. Right?
At T-minus 15 minutes, I departed the line and walked on down to the breakfast restaurant where it had taken us an hour to get served the day before. I sat at the bar. I kept sitting at the bar. If anyone had looked at me, I would have croaked, "just a cuppa coffee," but no one did, so after awhile I got up and and walked down to the very last outpost of the resort.
Things were not looking good for my well-being at that point. A drug-withrawal headache was definitely settling into my frontal lobes. My stomach felt unhappy with the number of mai tais it had been forced to digest the night before. Worst of all, I was going to be late for the class. I stood in line at this coffee stand, got served in under ten minutes, and then walked carefully along what I thought was a path to Buddha Point, cradling my hot paper cup, desperate to drink from it but knowing the coffee would singe my lips off.
At some point I looked up from the path to realize that I was not where I thought I was, and backtracked through the pools and the tropical plantings and the coconut trees to where I had begun my hand-burning journey with the cup of coffee. Tears smarted. I just needed to get to that class. I turned onto the real path to Buddha Point.
Buddha Point was one of the best things about the property. The little hill overlooked the sea and was anchored by a huge statue of a Thai version of the Buddha. It was one of the few places one could feel a sense of calm in that circus of a hotel resort. So I told myself I didn't mind waiting there for the teacher, who was also late but would surely be along any minute. I eyed a woman lingering at the edge of the grassy point who looked to be about my age. Longish hair. Glasses. A cloth bag strapped across her torso. She could be a meditator. Hell, she could be from Seattle. I smiled at her. She looked away.
I waited twenty minutes. The teacher never came.
Reader, I cried. I found an unused cabana lounge at the foot of the hill, turned its cushions upside down to the dry side, pulled the pram-like top over my head, and boo-hooed. There had been so much tension and pressure on this trip with my family. A lot of major business was happening between me and my man. My daughter had been nothing but awful. I was no longer to hold it together. I really needed a kind teacher to remind me how to find a modicum of peacefulness.
I wasn't going to get it. I cried and drank my four-dollar coffee.
After awhile I noticed a brown gecko, about the size of my thumb, wedged into a tiny crevice of the wooden frame of the lounge chair. It was completely still, and looked terrified. Or dead. It's dead, I thought, feeling sicker. The poor bastard. I'm sitting here crying over some bullshit and this precious creature has died in a fucking lounge chair.
Just to be sure, I touched the thing. It moved!
"Hah ha!" I laughed out loud.
And then I just had to laugh at myself, at my desperation. What normal person would make such a shaky pilgrimage just for the chance, for a few minutes, to go deep? Ah, well. It didn't matter. I wasn't a normal person.
I settled into the cabana cushion and gave myelf the permission to go it alone. Just for a moment. To drop into the sound of the ocean and of the maintenance guy squeegee-ing pools of rainwater off the path behind me.
I stayed in my meditation posture until I started to feel calm again. I can heal myself, I thought, getting up and looking around me.
Or maybe it was just the coffee.