Literally Leah

sharing is caring, so I obviously care a lot.

Organized Meditation… sure why not? May 26, 2009

Filed under: Identity,Spirituality — The Under-Analyst @ 10:48 pm
Tags: ,

Living in my new home here in Santa Monica has numerous perks.  My favorite so far is the front porch and yard!  Yes, YARD.  To everyone back home, this means very little, but I warn you; do not take your large backyards for granted!  The next time you curse outloud because it’s time to mow the lawn just remember that some people who live in overpopulated and polluted areas of this country are dying to have some grass to cut.  But back to perks…

I share my beautiful hardwood floor crafstman home with Lola del Fresno (perk). Who?  Only an amazing artist from Madrid who keeps my Spanglish in check and fills my I miss Spain void.  Besides taking me to amazing gallery openings and introducing me to new worldly friends she has also offered me opportunities to participate in things I would have previously ran from such as the topic for today, meditation.

Lola attends a Siddha yoga spiritual center regularly to participate in some good old fashioned chanting and meditation. I wouldn’t ever dare to scoff at spiritual gatherings (my karma is dodgy enough as it is) but I do admit to being somewhat apprehensive.  I had already learned long ago that organized religion of sorts was not for me, sorry church of latter day saints, but nevertheless I have always believed in freer relaxed forms of spirituality.  It was only a few days before discussing mediation with Lola that I had heard a program on NPR on my way home from work that was a report on the difference in brains from those who meditate and those who didn’t.  They scanned brains (brain xrays?) of monks, casual meditators and regular unspiritual joes like myself.  The results were crazy!  These meditators had developed a completely different part of their brains!  Granted, I assumed I wasn’t necessarily using all of my brain, but now I was a little bit jealous.  I wanted an enlarged left frontal lobe too!

Sooooo Lola tells me that the chanting and meditation derives from Hindu tradition and that I was welcome to come with on a Tuesday and give it a try.  I was super excited and said, “Si”!  I announced to my co-workers that Tuesday that they should expect a better person to come in on Wednesday.  I called my Nana who had lived a short while in an Ashram and announced proudly that I was going to sit cross legged in a Siddha center. 

We arrived that evening a little late and as I entered the center I could already hear singing from the temple area.  The “center” was beautiful with Indian (?) decorations and incense smells. We took off our shoes and put them in a cubby.  We entered the temple, I followed Lola’s lead and grabbed some pillows and headed down to the front.  There was a speaker who described her first time following the old yogi guru Babbaa(sp?).  A choir of chanters sat cross legged in front of microphones and a band (cello, flute, bongos and guitar) sat to the right.  A large photo of guruMai was hanging from the center ceiling. Lola had already explained the guru story of how after Babba died then Mai became the next guru and teacher.  

We started chanting/singing and since it was the same phrase over and over again I caught on quickly.  Om Namah Shivaya…  I sat cross legged and repeated the chant, the lights were dimmed and I closed my eyes.  I kept chanting and the instruments were so beautiful, especially the cello.  The chanting went on for what seemed like forever and my legs were officially asleep.  I was starting to get angry because I wanted to get to the meditation already, but I was desperately trying not to be angry because I didn’t want GuruMai to sense my negative energy, besides I had high hopes of reaching enlightenment during mediation.  

Finally the chanting was over and it was time to mediate.  We were instructed to repeat the mantra in our heads with our breathing, om namah shivaya, in, om namah shivayah, out.  I did this and tried to ignore my now numb legs.  I felt good, in fact I felt great.  No intruding thoughts, just breath and mantra.  My spine tall, I took deep breaths and really felt my body as I meditated.  Then suddenly it was over.  Wait, what?  Why was it so short?  Why did we waste so much time chanting?  I’m not exactly sure how long we did meditate for (they tell me sometimes you lose track of time, however I doubt my skills are up to that level of elapsing time).  I stretched my legs, the best feeling in the world after sitting indian style  for what seemed like hours.  We exited the temple and Lola asked me how it was.  Good?  I didn’t get a jolt of enlightenment but I didn’t dislike it either, I was now legitimately intrigued.   

That night I slept well.  The next day I wasn’t a better person but I definitely felt like I had done something new and exciting.  I am  going again.  I am determined to enlarge my brain part that apparently is non existent in my current non spiritual state.

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Caged Bird… May 21, 2009

Filed under: game shows,Identity,Jobs,Uncategorized — The Under-Analyst @ 11:03 am
Tags: , ,
 E-mail to a friend…
 
Sorry about the static as I entered my large parking structure for the Flynt buildings’ working slaves. Yes, true, I work in the Larry Flynt building in Beverly Hills where apparently his office on the tenth floor is made of gold…right. Aaaahhhhh how drastically my life has changed now that I have responsibility. Once, I was carefree, free to roam the calles of LA, free to audition for ridiculous game shows, free to spend hours blogging.  Now I am glued to a reception desk with flourescent lighting ruining my blessed
complexion as I longingly look out our large windows onto the beautiful streets of 90120 (Dillon, Brandon Kelly, is that you?).  I spend my hours using a falsetto voice, appeasing patients and acting excited to see 
strangers with weight problems. I find joy in a label maker and choosing which highlighter color to use on a patient’s chart. 
Oh give me freedom, give me the sea, give me cutoff shorts and the mediterranean.  My creative juices drown in agony. I must stay positive, clutch my label maker and know that soon my dream career will materialize in the flesh. 
 
Of course the Singing Bee calls me now.  Taunting me with casting calls, laughing at my caged existence. I tell them I cannot make it and I watch as my lifelong dream of singing incorrect lyrics in front of millions vanishes into the abyss of unlived glories.  Instead I lend my voice to the waiting room, casually singing to the soft arias of classic light rock.
 
Someone once asked me, “Leah, why does the caged bird sing?” 
 
Because someday that bird will be freed and go on the Singing Bee game show with Joey Fatone, and when that day comes, this little bird will be ready!
 

I love thrift stores, Cat Stevens and apparently Maude. May 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Under-Analyst @ 11:08 pm

It’s been a while… and there’s a perfectly good reason for my lollygagging.  I got a job!  It’s only natural that I, Leah, work with medical charts and around sterile lab equipment.  Yes, I am the new face of a private bariatric clinic in Beverly Hills.  By face I mean receptionist/front desk and by bariatric I mean overweight.  Why wouldn’t I help chubby people by obnoxiously over-sharing while they wait to see the doctor?  But my current state of employment is not our topic today, only a fact, that may or may not change any day…

This evening I watched the movie Harold & Maude for the very first time (thank you Jackie!!!).  It changed my life, well, just my day for now. Anyways for those who are not familiar with this flick let me tell you the quick summary:

Harold is a young (like 18 or so) social misfit who spends most of his time attending funerals and faking his own suicide.  Maude is approaching 80, lives in an old train, steals peoples’ cars and has picnics in the landfill.  The two meet and fall in love.  blah blah blah. you get it.

The credits began to roll and there it was… this voice, the voice of an angel whom I recognized immediately! It was my Cat Stevens!  And on the credits read, songs composed and sung by Cat Stevens.  I almost peed myself!  I hadn’t been this excited since Phil Collins wrote and sang all the music to Disney’s Tarzan.  And so all throughout this film I was mesmerized by the beauty of the music and the free spirited Maude.  For those that do not know about Cat Stevens, he was probably the best singer/songwriter of the peace time era.  Shortly after his years of success he converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, moved to the holy land, entered an arranged marriage and has been living a peaceful and spiritual life since.  But he is back! Yes he is now promoting new music and even has a musical titled Moonshadow (after a great song).  

I am Maude, you are Maude, we are Cat/Yusuf/Stevens.  We are all a part of this free world of craziness! Free hugs for everyone!!!!! ok, not everyone, but for most everyone!!! YAY!!  love you all!

 

The Midwestern Biological Clock… May 1, 2009

Filed under: Identity,Uncategorized — The Under-Analyst @ 6:26 pm

It is understood that time zones exist.  Here in the good old US of A we have several of these time warps.  In fact I still have yet to master the television advertisements that claim 9E8C, pacific blah blah, what?  Just tell me when the damn show is on!  Thank god for the Guide button on the remote. But my incompetence is not the topic at hand today, for once.  

It has happened.  Another ex boyfriend is engaged.  Okay, I use the word “ex” loosely, I am pretty sure we might have dated for two months.  Regardless, this kind of crap freaks the hell out of me.  I said, “another” because I already have one that is married and possibly others at this point by now.  wedding21

My first college sweetheart; aahhhh, the typical university love story… made out at a keg, conducted regular walks of shame and then eventual coupledom.  Long story short, we dated for a year and a half, maybe two years.. hhmm my memory fails me, but I don’t remember a 2 year anniversary present so must have been 1 and half. Anyways, after the break up things were friendly, but space was given.  He told me he had found someone new. Great.  I had found a few someones new too. All was good.  Then, one day, while looking at the Facebook recent album uploads I saw it, “Blahablah and Blahdblah’s Wedding!”  WHAT???  Ok, deep breath, he was a few years older anyways.. but really!?  Crap. I wasn’t prepared for ex boyfriends to make nuptials, let alone have photos in my face.  

After I got done crying.  “good for him, he deserves the best… why meeeeeee?  We broke up for a reason. He looks so happy. I like her dress… my dress will be prettier, that bridesmaid is fat, what a stupid… I mean god that is just precious, so so SO happy for everyone…”  You get the picture.  So, let’s see, I was 23 then. He must have been 26. 

Within the next year numerous couples I knew tied the knot (some of which I wasn’t invited to, ahem).  A sorority sister here, a highschool friend there…  And now it is a normal thing for me to search for an old friend and forget their last name has changed.  And don’t get me started on babies…  wedding1

While “young” marriage happens around the world.  It is undeniable that the Midwest has the largest percentage of these early beginnings.  I can’t blame them, I know what it’s like.  You can only go on the dating scene for so long, before a) some reputation acts as your predecessor and/or b) you or your friends have slept with all the good ones. 

So what happens if you don’t get married?  You move to Barcelona and then maybe LA (just an example).  Somewhere where you’re not a Spinster at 27.    I try to remind myself that 25 isn’t old.  That I’d be miserable in a Townhome in Urbandale.  That I wouldn’t be flying around the world with my current and wonderful novio.  But I would be lying if I said that deep down inside, my Minnesota clock wasn’t occasionally screaming at me to pay attention to my ovaries and to hurry back to the midwest while there’s still a chance. 

So… congratulations on the engagement.  And congratulations to all the others that are heading in that direction. And thank you Facebook for being my number one source when it comes to formers moving on.