Wednesday, February 15, 2012


On my other blog a couple of posts ago I wrote that in order to be spiritually healthy, one must grapple with the primary philosophical questions such as why are we here, what happens before/after death, is there some kind of Big Plan, etc. The details and particulars of belief systems are not as interesting to me as the act of facing these questions, figuring out the best possible answers. For most, that involves thinking hard enough to approach brain freeze, opening the heart wider than imaginable, and navigating through a few ideological collisions. The physiology of spiritual health feels like old-school pinball to me. It really does.

It's a dynamic process and can be dangerous when people get too involved, but the people who never wonder about the big questions tend to strike me as dull, lifeless, stressed out. Precarious, finding a belief system that fits. For the spiritually healthy, that includes ongoing engagement, crises of faith, and the ability to change one's mind. Belief systems are not set in concrete.

On Monday, I grappled. I grappled all damn day. As I grappled, I blamed the cake, the pan I baked it in, the cookbook. I blamed the massage therapist who came to the chateau, I blamed PEPCO. I tell you my finger was pointing in all directions, including inward. I was so in the swirl, I could not see the forest for the trees. I couldn't see that birthday number 59 was a formidable rite of passage. Wow. Or should I say Whoa!

I lean hard against the societal paradigm that old age is bad, disgusting, and embarrassing, I advocate vociferously, and constantly, it seems, for my feelings of happiness at getting older. To be content about the aging process is like swimming up a quickly moving river, sometimes without a paddle, I tell you!

On my birthday I got caught in a whirling eddy of breakage. Besides what I've already mentioned, lightbulbs in the kitchen popped, a big chunk of rock dislodged from the stone foundation of the chateau, I dropped a glass that shattered into a million pieces. Fifty-nine was a major shakedown. I felt, for most of the day, as if I were standing on a high hill, leaning into a fierce wind while my scarf blew off, my gloves blew off, my glasses blew off. etc. Imagine me uselessly shouting Make. it. STOP! into the wind. It was like a bad dream. OMG

Yesterday everything was different. Once I was through the portal, the gate closed, the wind calmed and everything fell together rather smoothly. I LOVE my new table! It is far and away superior to my old table; twice as plush, sleek and well designed, and the face rest is adjustable in many different dimensions. I don't like throw-away consumer culture. The old table was fine. But my, my, this morning I'm asking myself why I waited so long to replace it. I feel like a real professional with this new table. My clients are going to LOVE it.

I could berate myself for failing to realize what was happening on Monday. As a shaman, I know I can't plan for the power to go out and my massage table to break on the same day, and the fact that the fateful events occurred on my birthday is in the category of you-can't-make-this-stuff-up. If I'd been clearer, I would have realized immediately that trying to bake a cake was a silly idea that would only add to the ongoing drama. I'm not going there, though, blaming myself for my imperfections. Apparently, I had to grapple. I'll begin grappling now with the fact that I'm going to turn 60, I think. Maybe if I start immediately, my transition next year will go more smoothly. Then again, maybe everything went down exactly as it should have. Sometimes I must grapple. Oh yeah.

Onwards and upwards. Shalom.


Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow--what a day! For me the _9 birthdays are always the difficult ones. 29, in particular was one I'd like to forget. The ones that end in zero--no problem. And because those birthdays have such a bad rep, people go all out for you, so they're extra-nice birthdays.

If my theory holds, you're good until 2022! Enjoy your new table, and your search for new recipes.

Reya Mellicker said...

I think you might be right about that, Rebecca. Certainly 49 was rather awful for me. 39 was life changing, not necessarily for the better, in retrospect. I don't remember 29 - thank God!

glnroz said...

well, Ms Gold Puppy, I have been a little out of pocket lately and I certainly hate that I havent wished you "happy birthday" "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"...(I finally got used to the 9's)

Elizabeth said...

What a lovely, thoughtful post, Reya.
Yes, all this sturm und drang and you in the middle not wanting to look at 59.
I love it that you think through things so wonderfully thoroughly and sometimes come to the wrong ( and the right) conclusions.
I'm reading a wonderful book by Sarah Bakewell called How to Live or a Life of Montaigne --all about lots of the stuff you/we grapple with......
his final answer having thought a great deal ----is that he might have thought wrong in the first place.
Philosophy and all sorts of good stuff, but mostly about trying to live a good, thoughtful, worthwhile, somewhat mindful life.

the new massage table sound excellent.


Val said...

maybe it is the -9 birthdays; its a shocker when you think you are prepared and calm and then the foundations start to shake! well i am glad thats over and i hope you can relax and enjoy the year. wish i could test out the table! x

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Elizabeth and Val. It's all over now. You know how after a storm when the sun is out and everything dries out it's hard to imagine it even happened? That's how I feel today.

Thanks Glenn!

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Great recovery! Well thunk and all that.
It is what crossed my mind when reading your birthday post.
Thankfully we are not all that clear when these things happen to us all the time, life would not be spontaneous and goodness it only took a day.

Reya Mellicker said...

I agree that sometimes we have to flop around a little while. It stirs energy and creates the possibility of something new. Sometimes it's fun. Monday wasn't very fun, but as you say it was just one day!