That Fleeting Moment

You know, once in a while I get this flash of desire to drink.  It happened the other day when I was on a walk.  It was a beautiful day about 70 degrees out. And this desire came over me.  Not exceptionally strong, but it came.  So, I let myself go into it and picture what I was missing.  I could picture myself sitting on my balcony overlooking the Canyon that we live on.  I could see the glass of ice cold Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre on the arm of my chair.  I recalled how the part I liked was when I first started to feel the wine and my  mind would roam-drift. God! I spent who knows how many hours of my life doing that.  And, to be honest, I could take myself great places.  Come up with some really good ideas.  Visualize past experiences and future goals.  Drifting.  But, as I went into it, I realized that that feeling of floating mindlessness was fake.  Because while part of me was drifting, another part of me was constantly aware of how much wine was left in my glass.  Aware of how much wine was left in the bottle.  How much time it was taking me to drink it.  Calculating the amount of time it was taking me to drink it and how much time was left in relation to the amount of wine in the bottle and the time I wanted to stretch it out.  For instance, I would normally only buy one bottle at a time-guess why?  Yep, that way I could control it!  Yeah, right.  But, if I had more than one bottle on hand, the chance was that I would open a second one.  The other component was that I usually timed my drinking with prepping dinner and eating said meal.  So, I would want to maybe have a glass left for my dinner-but would have gone through most of the bottle by the time the food was ready. Of course then things became more complicated as I had to be conscious of the the amount of time needed to prep the food and then the amount of time it actually needed to cook.  Of course I was a pro at saying dinner was taking much longer than it actually was.  Eeking it out so I could drink and keep to that schedule.  Getting the right amount of “buzz”!

Jeez Louise! How complicated is all of that!?? What a lot of work that was!  And, I wasn’t totally drifing and relaxed because another part of my brain was always aware of and calculating the amount of wine versus time.  Oh how we deceive ourselves!!!  Yes, I’ll admit, I did come up with some great ideas during that “drifting” time. And then, I’d be pleasantly sloshed.  Then I’d be drunk.  I’d try to remind myself that even after a glass-or a bottle- of wine was finished, the effects continued to grow.  Of course that never stopped me from pouring more or opening that second bottle if I had it.

As I’m writing, I’m thinking about how at times, I would buy a big bottle.  To save money..(she snickers)!  But then I would think-“well, one bottle!”  So that wasn’t good.  Then I started thinking that maybe I should try some of these wines in a box.  Some of them get really high ratings and they’re cheaper and last longer. As if that was ever an issue!  The problem with that was that I never had any idea of how much I drank. And boy!  Was that easy, just turing that spigot! So, I went back to a normal bottle of wine every night.  Continuing to fool myself that I was in control.  Fooling myself that it was helping me not only to relax but to create. So what if I didn’t remember the last episode from a series that we’d watched the night before?  So what if I got grumpy in a restaurant because my SO was having half a glass of wine which would deprive me of my bottle? Not taking into consideration that I’d probably had a glass or two before we’d even left the house!

WELL! After mulling all of that over, I decided that I really didn’t miss that wine time. It took too much work under the guise of relaxing!

Learning to “relax” without the wine can be a challenge.  To be honest, I’m not sure I really knew what relaxing was without wine! What I do know now is what it’s not-it’s not getting numbed out.  It’s not getting blotto.  It’s simply enjoying a moment or a period of time.  It’s letting myself breathe.  Letting myself “be”.  And guess what?  I can still be creative in that time!  So, go ahead!  Put your feet up for awhile.  Let yourself “Be”!





Clutter and Toxicity

verb: Cover or fill (something) with an untidy collection of things
noun: An untidy state

I hate clutter.  I can’t stand a room full of “tchotchkes”.  Piles of papers, months worth of magazines in the corner, dusty shelves because there’s too many things to move to dust properly.  Clothes piled up-a messy desk.  Although I always had a messy desk-and read it’s a sign of a highly productive person.  But that was at work-I hate it at home. Too many appliances on the counter in the kitchen.  Junky drawers.  Closets that want to vomit on you when you open the door.  Don’t get me wrong-I’m guilty of all of it.  I’m in a constant rotation to keep things “tidy”.  In my mind, clutter is a symbol of chaotic energy.  I’m not talking about being obsessed with having to have everything in place all the time.  Not the OCD kind of tidy.  We have a couple of friends that live in a big, old historical house. Every spare inch of countertop, wall space, shelf, dresser is covered with stuff. It drives me crazy.  While it may have some sentimental value, there’s no rhyme or reason as to how it’s displayed.  Just a total jumble.  It’s not a peaceful environement for me.  What’s more, it’s reflective of my friend.  Who has a kind of scattered, chaotic personality. Clutter in her mind as well as her living space.

Yes, there’s the type of clutter you see in Architectural Digest-all very expensive clutter somehow coming together and making for an appealing and sometimes cozy looking environment.  Of course when looking at these photos, we tend to forget that there were God knows how many stylists arranging every little knick knack just right. Staging every angle. I always wonder what the place really looked like a few days before and after the photographers left.  Of course, most of these homes have a staff to keep everything in place.

Too much clutter makes me uncomfortable. It effects my mental state.  And, being uncomfortable in a physical situation can lead to toxicity. Toxic feelings, toxic reactions.  I also see my living space as a very spiritual abode.  To me, dusting is not only getting rid of dust mites, it’s getting rid of old energy.  Everytime I clean my house, I’m conscious that I am conducting a kind of exorcism.  Clean, tightly pulled sheets are important.  I sleep better.  Everytime the trash is emptied it’s kind of a form of letting go of the past-whether it’s the remains of a meal or and empty carton of ice cream or last weeks’ newpapers.

Yes, external clutter can represent a collection of things-mess.

But, what about mental clutter?  There’s a breeding ground for toxicity. All the unnecessary mental bullshit that we/I let roam arouond in my mind.  Fixating, obsessing over so much that I have no control over.  And the craziest things that come out of nowhere-like the Frito Lay song that was in a commercial when I was about 6 years old. Fritos are corn chips-“Munch, Munch Munch a bunch of Frito Corn Chips.” Is it really necessary that I have retained that jingle for something like 50 years??? And that’s just one example!

Now alcohol! Wow! We think that that’s something that will shut down the clutter.  And it does-until it doesn’t.  Of course it also adds to our toxicity, both mentally and physically.  A therapist once told me that the people who were the most controlling outwardly were the most out of control internally.  That certainly seems to be the case with my friend with the house full of tchotchkes.  She is a total control freak.  She tries to anticipate every move and request before it’s even out of a persons’ mouth. When offering to cook dinner for her and her family, she stepped in to give me instructions on how to use the food processor, how to chop garlic, peel a melon….And, I would say that internally, she likes chaos. And, she drinks a lot. Which reinforces my own experience that drinking does not quell inner chaos.

At this time of my life, things are tricky.  I’m not drinking anymore and I’m not working regularly in the extremly stressful catering field.  I wake up calm and write in my journal.  I pray and meditate some upon waking up. I’m able to take long walks to get my endorphins going.  But, because of the political situation here, I find my mind becoming cluttered with a variety of things to be concerned about.  All of it feels very chaotic (of course the head of the “regime” thrives on chaos) and toxic.  Daily, the situation gets more alarming. More toxic. I do what I can to help quell those feelings. I make phone calls to Congressmen.  I write e-mails.  I pray-even for the ones I detest for they need it the most. Sometimes while watching the news or Rachel Maddow, I flash to how I would be if I was still drinking. Let’s just say not a pretty vision-sloppy, indignant, overstating, obsessing, screeching probably.  It’s bad enough without the alcohol. And at least I remember in the morning.

So I suppose the message if there is one, in this post is to try and get rid of the clutter.  Learn to breathe.  Learn some kind of meditation.  Take some time to just “be”.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Enjoy a good meal.  Dust. Take out that pile of old magazines. Be proactive. Don’t drink.

And with that, I’m going to clean out my closet!

With love.