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Monday, 29 June 2015

All the Lonely People, Rainbows, The Big Black Dog and Sex

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It is wet and dreary here. And Simon’s birthday. I was thinking of sneaking into his building and throwing flowers off the roof. I don’t know if that will help. I am beating this whole thing to death. Or at least trying to. All the lonely people should hang out more often.

Rainbows
Everywhere on Facebook, people are turning their profile pictures into rainbows. Perhaps it is just some silly Facebook trend, but when I see everyone’s face turned into rainbows, I feel happy. Some people have clever and political reasons for not changing their profile pictures.

Like this tweet from Che Gossett:
 
“Gay marriage will be another racist and colonial sign of which nations are civilized.”

Interesting. Okay. But what are we going to do? Revoke women’s right to vote? Another Facebook friend wrote about the oppressiveness of marriage as an institution. How the mythology of exclusive love conquering all perpetuates delusions and violence. Of course she is right to remember that there are still so many people left behind, all over the world. I don't know what to do. I am terrible at politics. And at forming sentences that contain the word “colonial.” Anything I say will make me sound like I’m in kindergarten. Silly white girl with rainbows on her face. I just find we are all so beautiful in rainbows.
 
Eliot, and Sex

Eliot the Big Black Dog always liked to be involved during sex. Whenever he heard us kissing, he would make sure to be close by. If we were upstairs, he’d follow us, putting his nose up over the bed and wagging his tail. We’d tell him to lie down, and he would, but there wasn’t a chance he would leave the room.  After his legs got bad, he could no longer join us upstairs. He hated this. While we were at it in the bedroom, he would lie at the base of the stairs and make sooky noises, overcome by the injustice. The last time he got to take part was at the cottage, where all the rooms were on one floor. We’d started making out and getting busy in the guest room. Suddenly, we heard rhythmic banging against the wall.  Thump, thump, thump, thump. He was right next to us, wagging his tail enthusiastically, so so pleased with himself. We laughed so hard.

Eliot the Big Black Dog. He would have looked marvellous in rainbows
 
The End.
 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cardboard Box

Inhaling chocolate covered pomegranate berries, I watched Michael Stone as he talked on my i-Phone screen and told me about the wise use of sexual energy.
“Sexual energy is not personal,” said Michael Stone. Apparently sexual energy doesn’t belong to anybody. This is an interesting way of looking at it. My sexual energy feels very personal. And if I’m not the one who wants to hump the bed, who is? Michael Stone says that despite living in a world where sex is everywhere, few people are willing to talk about it. I tend to be one of those people. Along with shit, masturbation, and menstruation, sex is one of my favourite topics. 
“You are different from anybody I’ve ever met.” People tell me this all the time. Either the phrase triggers my Special Person Syndrome or it makes me feel uncomfortably odd. How come everybody says that?
Odd? Me?
“Well, you are different from everyone else,” a friend told me over coffee. “Most people have boundaries.”

“Boundaries,” I thought. “Should I look into getting some of those?”
 
My 60-year-old Jewish therapist from Westmount used to describe some of my sexual endeavours as “Sport Fucking.” “So you’re just using each other for sex,” she'd say. In English, they call this a Fuck Buddy. My Quebecois roommates call it un ami d’oreiller. A jPillow Friend. Sounds kind of nice.  People say that it is easy to treat your Pillow friends like objects. But I wonder if sometimes it is easier to treat a person like an object within the context of an official relationship. Now that you are MY boyfriend, shouldn’t we have sex whenever I want? 

One Sunday morning last April, the Boatman picked a civil war documentary over having sex with me. He made a valid choice, and yet, it took me about three and a half weeks to get over this. If the Boatman had been a Pillow Friend, I feel like it would have felt less personal. With Pillow Friends and Fuck Buddies, whoever it is has no obligation to you. You have to respect what they’re willing to give or take. Pros and Cons.
Michael Stone says that every sexual relationship builds something, even if you don’t make a baby. What are you building, and with who?
Simon used to say, “We’re not writing a book, we’re writing our lives.” Well, the book is done. He’s dead. I’m not. I love writing letters. It is one of my favourite kinds of writing. As a child, I was an excellent pen pal. So far I have already had at least three romantic relationships that were based almost entirely on writing letters. It is so fun. But sometimes I am too charming, too creative. I send too many locks of hair. (One is far too many.) I also tend to send stickers. Who knew that grown men adore stickers? Me. When I turn thirty, I will stop sending grown men stickers. I will look into getting some boundaries.  
Exciting Whale Stickers
“It’s like we can’t get close enough.” In bed, I have noticed that many people say this. Our tummies fuse together. Still we want to be closer. We may as well just write letters because we’ll never get close enough anyways.
 
This is a letter to Simon from “The Little Savage and the Hermit.” I wrote it one third of the way into the book, at which point Simon thought it would be a good idea if we flipped the narrative on its head by turning ourselves into squirrels or airplane seats or something similarly groundbreaking. I didn't turn us into anything and the letter was supposed to help set boundaries. It didn’t exactly work. The Wise Use of Sexual Energy also means treating all beings with dignity. The year or so I had with Simon was not my best era for treating all beings with dignity. Poor Simon got the brunt of it. But he really liked this letter. It is called, “Cardboard Box.”
Cardboard box
Dear Simon,

I am eating salad again.  These days, I am eating a lot of seaweed.  It goes right through me.  I know that you find my digestive system tiresome.  I find it tiresome too.  I’d apologize, but there are more important things to say.
 No self-respecting person would read your last letter, mix gin and energy drinks and then appear at your doorway to fuck.  Turns out I’m not a very self-respecting person. Sure, it counts, even if I was drunk, but it will never happen again.  I’m sorry that I set shitty boundaries and pissed you off.  Now it’s my turn to use Italics. 
             I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore.  Unless it’s in a letter, I never want to hear from you again.

Perhaps you were trying to inspire me to turn myself into a cardboard box and drastically redirect the narrative.  Not necessary. I am already a cardboard box.  I always have been.  The reason I didn’t want to continue the narrative was...  I can’t tell you, it’s against the rules.  Too self-absorbed.  So you don't get to hear the story about the park bench and the man with the hole in his liver.  This summer, emotionally dependent guys came in packages of two, and my solution was to throw both of them out at the same time.
I saw a picture of you on Facebook with Marcel, the man who drives a power wheelchair who I got you a job with. Marcel's giving you a low five.  He looks a little dazed and delirious. I can tell he loves having you on his team.  Did you coordinate your black shirts and blue pants on purpose?  Your smile is large and goofy and ridiculous and your eyes are bright.  You have a long beard, as though for the last two weeks you’ve rolled out of bed without having time to do anything except run to the metro to get happy with Marcel.  I’m glad I gave you that job, even though now I’m financially desperate and essentially unemployed.  My job at the swimming pool has been put on hold due to a leak.  Throughout my frantic job hunt, I’ve applied for a few adult gigs on Craigslist. Dominatrix, Threesome, Cleaning Lady in Lingerie.  I don’t own any lingerie. Only yoga clothes.  The Threesome man just got back to me.  He asked if I had a friend who could join us.  No, I don’t.  No friend.  No friends.

I’ve been teaching yoga to weightlifters.  That’s probably about all you want to know about that.  I also wrote some articles for a website that would pay me if enough people read my stuff, but not enough people do.
My last bad news is I’m seeing a new shrink.  He says I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Madonna Whore Complex and Gifted Child Syndrome.  I sort of hate him so I drink vodka cocktails out of Mason jars before our sessions.  That’s the good news.  Also, I am about to roll up my duvet and hump it.  But before I do that, I want to make amends.  You’re probably right that it’s best we never see or hear from each other ever again, except for in letters.  That said, I don’t want to be that girl you never talk to anymore, who you pretend not to see when you run into her on the street.  I don’t believe in that.  I never want to be that girl, and you’re not that guy for me.  If I ever see you again, I will smile and say hello.   
Erica.

The End.

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Internet Diagnosis of the Week

The Exuberant Bodhisattva introduces the Internet Diagnosis of the Week.

In fact, it will probably end up being The Internet Diagnosis of Every Three to Six Weeks. Still, the new column format requires an introduction. For my imaginary podcast, I envisioned a bit for which listeners would call in with their angsty, neurotic concerns about their terrifying and devastating self-diagnosed health conditions. Before podcasting, I am working to tame my verbal machine gun and general incohesiveness. Until then, the segment is going to manifest itself on the blog. 

Here’s how it will work: Should you find yourself fretting uncontrollably about some unexplainable bodily abnormality, instead of presenting yourself at a walk-in clinic, or even wiser, waiting to see if the affliction goes away, I encourage you to obsess, agonize and fixate on your so-called ailment as much as you desire. Google your symptoms thoroughly; devour every relevant  and irrelevant Wikipedia and Mayo Clinic article; scrutinize whatever patient forum you can find, and be sure to scroll extensively through all the horrific google images. Whatever your google search item, never ever limit yourself to the first ten search results.

You might also extend your research to include friends and loved ones. Ask them if they have ever endured similar symptoms. In the case that these symptoms coincide with a frightening illness, spend at least five minutes being utterly convinced that you are infected and/or afflicted. When your friends suggest that you might be overthinking things, do not listen.

After 12 to 72 hours of comprehensive investigation, it is time to conclude on a self-diagnosis.  Ideally, this conclusion does not require an MRI for verification, but at Internet Diagnosis of the Week, we are not exclusive. Once you have decided on the cause of your suffering, go to the Exuberant Bodhisattva Facebook Fan page, and send me all the details in a message. If you would prefer to speak to me on the phone, through Skype, or in person, this may be arranged. 

Upon examining your situation systematically, I will offer you my entirely unqualified, unprofessional and unmedical perspective, complete with individualized advice. In case you are unable to come up with a self-diagnosis, you are still eligible for this personalized attention, and I urge you to get in touch.

Dying of ear wax? Call the Exuberant Bodhisattva.
Symptoms that may lead to an excellent IDOTW: Odd coloured ear wax, an upsetting shape emerging between the cracks of your toe callouses, vague puss in any location.  Anything vague is excellent for Internet Diagnosis of the Week. Intermittent is also good. Syndromes are often both vague and intermittent and therefore perfect. I look forward to what you come up with. Please note that although cancer may appear during your googling process, let’s keep cancer and all forms of malignancy, and AIDS out of the final verdict. Thanks.
While I was still living in Halifax, I brought up my idea of Internet Diagnosis of the Week at a Buddhist Soup Night. As fate would have it, just the day before, the guy across from me had diagnosed himself with Fructose Malabsorption Syndrome. His symptoms included sudden bloating, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, all lasting about a weekend. Sounded suspiciously like the flu; however, my friend had devoted hours to internet research and had determined that indeed fructose was the culprit. Now he was on an elaborate diet that forbid quite a long list of foods. It seemed as though Buddhist soup was okay, but he wasn’t allowed any of the delicious cheese or bread. Only rice cakes. My friend sounded adamant and confident about his diagnosis, though his face appeared somewhat pale, gaunt, and translucent. As my first Internet Diagnosis of the Week, he would have been fabulous.

A second potential IDOTW emerged at a Halifax Creativity Night. One graphic designer was suffering from a subtle and elusive lump in his throat. Although the lump didn’t exactly affect any of his activities, it was driving him crazy. This IDOTW was a mystery. Nobody knew what it was, and the doctors had demonstrated some mild annoyance at his most recent appointments. Earnest and filled with compassion, it was with great sincerity that I considered his puzzling ailment.
“I wonder what it is,” I thought. “Could it be caused by forward head posture?” I suggested that he try balancing a book or block on his head whenever he worked on his computer. The graphic designer gratefully welcomed my recommendation.  In retrospect, I wonder if he just needed a big cry. Hard to say. Now it’s too late. But it’s not too late for you!

Once again, I urge you to send your Internet Diagnosis in a message on the Exuberant Bodhisattva Facebook Fan Page. It will be a bit like going on Oprah in that you won’t only be helping yourself, but also the innumerable swarms of readers who have suffered the same symptoms and seek the same diagnosis and exciting customized advice. I will put out the column as promptly as is humanly possible.
Let me know if you are one of those people without Facebook. Other technologies exist. If we are already friends on Facebook, you can send me a message to my real name account.

And there’s another alternative Blog Format for those days when I tire of talking about myself. It’s called, “Asking People About Their Lives.” Last week I interviewed Matt Wiviot in a post entitled "Why You Are A Hermaphrodite." Some of my friends slash friends expressed some aversion and disdain towards the title. I want to clarify that the post contains Hardly Any Genitals. At least four and a half people seemed to find the post thoroughly enjoyable. To expect more than this would be greedy; however, I do invite you to read about Matt Wiviott’s life. His beard and his hashtags are like no others and it makes for a nice change from my Ex-lax and Pelvis memoirs.
I am going to try and create an “Asking People About Their Lives” every couple of weeks. If you know someone who you’d like to see interviewed, or if you think you might be a good candidate, do get in touch with me. All the people of the world are welcome. You'd be surprised how interesting your life is. So far I have interviewed two people. Both experiences were delightful, and it's amazing how little I spoke. Proud of Me.

So that’s it for my PR/Public Service Announcement. Let’s end with a helpful Chinese Proverb, quoted to me by one of my very first yoga teachers. It has been more than ten years, and though you'd never know from this blog, I’ve never forgotten it.

“Why do I suffer? Because 99.9% of the time, I am thinking of myself.”

The End.
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Why I Am Like Jane Fonda
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The Onesie I decorated at Matt Wiviott's Baby's Baby Shower.
 It is a Brooding Anenome. Are you?
 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Why I Am Like Jane Fonda

Passionate about purple leg warmers, grueling butt exercises, and the eradication of oil pipelines, Jane Fonda and I share a great deal in common. Before I had yoga videos, I had Jane Fonda’s advanced cardio workout. It was something upsetting like one hour and forty five minutes. But Jane never seemed to tire and it was thus with great enthusiasm that I followed along with the bouncing, pumping and squeezing of various body parts. My hair was more dishevelled than Jane’s perfect feathered down-do, my sweat, more profuse, and my ten-year-old athletic wear much less spectacular than her belted pink and purple leotard, her grey leggings, and of course, the excellent purple legwarmers. Even so, Jane never made me feel alienated from her supreme and elite fitness endeavours. In fact, as Jane rapidly whipped through ninety-six and a half tricep kickbacks, I felt like she was looking right at me.

Resist. Photo From Here.
“Resist,” she urged me. I did, determined to overthrow the wobble of my underarms. What does Oprah call those? Flags. How ridiculous. Although flags and Oprah have their place. I used to watch Oprah on Wednesday afternoons, my only night off from swim practice. That’s how I learned about Jesus whispers. One day the show was about people who had made some sort of horrible distracted mistake that had ended in someone dying. There was a woman who had backed her car over her grandchild, and another who had fallen asleep at the wheel and driven her car full of her kids over a cliff. A third woman, who had hit and killed a cyclist felt like the whole thing could have been prevented had she listened to the voice inside her head.

“Those are Jesus whispers,” Oprah told her. “And I wanna thank you for coming on the show today because now everybody out there watching will know not to doubt that voice ever again.”

Oh Oprah. Despite listening very intently, I never had much luck with the Jesus Whispers. Fortunately, Jane Fonda’s voice on a podcast called “Death, Sex & Money,” had a similar effect. The podcast transcript came out on June 18, 2014, which happened to be the third-year anniversary of Epic Day, the wonderful day when I met the Boatman on a boat at my friend Fern’s wedding. After that, I moved to Halifax and we lived happily ever after.
On the podcast, Jane (my dear friend) spoke about her divorce with billionaire cable executive Ted Turner, her third husband. Ted was fun and good-looking, and he had a beautiful home on beautiful acreage.  Being married to Ted was easy and “safe.” Then, about ten years in, Jane had the revelation “that if I stayed with him, I could never be a fully realized person” (Jane Fonda in Episode 30 of the Death, Sex & Money podcast, with Anna Sale). This is where the Jesus slash Angel Whispers came into play. Said Jane:

“I felt like Virginia Woolf, only I had two angels in the house. One on one shoulder saying oh come on Fonda lighten up!
The guy’s got two million acres of the most gorgeous land in the world and he’s funny and he keeps you laughing. And on the other shoulder there was an angel with a very soft whisper saying, Jane, you can stay with him and die married, but you’ll die not being whole. And so I opted for the whisper" (from Episode 30 of the podcast Death, Sex & Money: Jane Fonda After Death and Divorce).

The notion of being a fully realized person is rather vague. And probably, everyone is always whole, whether they listen to their angel whispers or not. But I get what Jane meant. Before I moved to Halifax, I had just come to the end of more than a decade-long relationship with eating disorders. My most prevalent symptom was puking in my mouth, over and over again until whatever I had eaten became bitter and acidic and disgusting. While I was in the throws of my eating disorder, I always imagined that the eradication of my symptoms would coincide with the emergence of a new and beautiful Erica. A Whole Erica, who didn’t fret about silly things, who didn’t get overwhelmed and melt down, who didn’t fight with her mother. All this and more would be the prize for not puking in my mouth. It is hard to do things without expecting a prize in return. Fame, Money, Weight Loss, Prizes, Sex. (FMWLPS). I want all of these things, though perhaps finally I can do without the weight loss. One big prize that I felt would surely make me Whole was finding a long-term partner. Until I met the Boatman, success in this area had been minimal. There was Simon the hermit, who I met on a biodegradable yoga mat. In the name of art, we got drunk and fucked around as we attempted to write and publish our groundbreaking epistolary novel, The Little Savage and the Hermit. Despite the creative excitement and exhilarating recklessness, mostly it felt messy and not that whole. One day, after waking up with Simon in a room that reeked of vomit and vodka, it occurred to me that perhaps I needed a year off from relationships. Somehow I would get myself out of Montreal, take my space, and figure myself out, whatever that meant.

Less than a month later, I met the Boatman. We had our Epic Day. Beneath the light and guidance of our friend the Full Moon, the profuse making out began. Of course the Boatman was wonderful. Of course the day and the night were magical. And when the Boatman invited me to come live in his house in Halifax, of course I said yes.
Although I was never particularly enamored with Halifax, like Jane Fonda’s marriage to Ted Turner, living with the Boatman was safe and relatively easy. The Boatman was fun, supportive and loving. Unlike Simon, who mostly considered me to be a fucked up disaster, the Boatman believed in me as a person. I was set up in a house with a hedge and a dog. The Boatman’s mother bought me fancy clothes. For the first year or two, I had lots of time and space to practice and teach yoga, and write. And when I got the job at the Montessori school, the Boatman supported me through my perpetual state of overwhelm.

Me and the Hedge Clippers
On our Epic Day anniversaries, the Boatman and I wrote similar things on our cards. For now, the Boatman’s cards to me are stored in a box in Halifax. I remember the drawings of the moon, and the gist of most of the words.

“I’m so grateful and lucky to have met you.” “Nobody else is as wonderful as you.” “I could never find anybody else but you to talk to about potty training and poops, and the dress-up box." "I'm so glad our friend to moon helped us get together." “I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you.”

Whoever you are with, it can’t be like anyone else. We are all precious and irreplaceable. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without the Boatman. Yet when I listened to Jane Fonda speak of her angel whispers, I was sad to realize that deep down, I didn’t believe I was capable of pulling off life on my own. If I hadn’t left Montreal, would my life still be infused with vomit and vodka and Simon, all the way until he jumped off a building?  
Oh well, I thought, the first time I heard Jane on the podcast. There was no way we were going to break up. That September, I went to India for three months.  I missed the Boatman immensely; however, I discovered that in fact, I could maintain some kind of autonomy without him. I lived in four different apartments; I organized day trips, and Butt Club, and even coined the term "Spiritual Pants." Every day, there was someone to eat curry with. The entire thing was so delightful.
Spiritual Pants
But my token fly-to-India-and-have a meaningful-revelation-about-your-life was, “You kind of completely hate Halifax, and you’ve barely been happy for a really long time.” When I melted down to the Boatman over FaceTime, the first thing he said was, “Well, I really can’t move.” There wasn’t much to be done, but fly home and see what happened.

My first day back in Halifax, I obsessively calculated how much money I would have to save if I wanted to get back to India the following November. If I was going to stay in Halifax, every year would need a decisive exit strategy. The financial verdict was about 900 extra bucks a month, tricky in Halifax, the land of Nepotism and Underemployment. Still, I could give it a try and hope for the best. I wasn’t ready to fuck off just yet. The Boatman and I avoided discussing the situation and I went about my days, struggling to breathe.

Finally one day in February, the Boatman replied to my ten thousandth anguished rant about friendlessness and loneliness with the words, “You could leave.” I felt a distinct sense of relief and I paused briefly before deciding that I should mourn and wail, since his words meant my world was collapsing.
I made an appointment with my psychologist, who I called My Expensive Friend. He happened to be one of only a handful of friends that I had made in Halifax, after more than three years. My Expensive Friend didn’t think that I should do anything too drastic in February. He helped me to write down goals on Index Cards. Go to a potluck. Invite your friend Lindsay out for dinner. Organize the Halifax Butt Club.
Halifax Butt Club. Note the Purple Legwarmers
Mysore Butt Club, Et. Al.
Jane Fonda Butt Club. See how we are similar?
Photo taken from this dizzying video.
Although the Halifax Butt Club enjoyed two rousing sessions, it was all too little too late. For Valentine’s Day, the podcast Death, Sex & Money rounded up highlights from the past year of interviews. Sure enough, as I trudged up the hill to the Boatman’s house, Jane told me about her angel whispers once again.

“Jane, you can stay with him and die married, but you’ll die not being whole. And so I opted for the whisper.”
Soon it would be time. I was gone by the end of April.

As Dan Savage says, a relationship isn’t only a success if it ends when somebody dies. Unfortunately, our children’s diapers and underwear are covered with princesses, and our world seems to hold a bias for the Forever After People. The good news is that all of the people - me, you, Jane and everybody else- all of us are whole. 
Some people’s paths may lead them along with one person by their side the whole time. Surely, this can be beautiful. I may have a shot at this later. In the meantime, I get to be a little bit like Jane Fonda. Depending on your Jesus whispers, you might considering joining the club.
Jane Fonda speaks out about Fossil Fuels. Go Jane. Image taken from this page.
Seventy-seven years old, Jane Fonda says that “when a woman is older, sex is better. Partly because she doesn’t give a fuzzy rat’s ass anymore… she knows her body, she knows what she wants, she’s less afraid to ask for it. If it doesn’t work out, so what?” (Jane Fonda, on Death, Sex & Money). I think that’s great. From now on, I will aim to have sex like I’m seventy-seven.

Four years ago today, I met the Boatman on a boat, and he kissed me under the moon.
In fact, the first time we met wasn’t actually on the boat. We met some other time, in Fern’s kitchen. I made the boat part up, for the sake of the Blogging Fairy Tale. I am as terrible as the folks who make princess diapers. Oh well. 
Boatman and Me, Blogging Fairy Tale
Every day can be an Epic Day. The moon is always your friend.
Happy Epic Day, to the world, and to the Boatman.
I’m so grateful and lucky to have met you. We are so lucky for the time we had together.

The End.
All Jane Fonda quotes are from Episode 30 of Death Sex & Money – Jane Fonda: After Death and Divorce

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Monday, 15 June 2015

Why You Are A Hermaphrodite (Asking People About Their Lives, Episode One with Matt Wiviott)

Like Dan Savage, Margaret Atwood and Jane Fonda, Matt Wiviott has a Cuttle Fish personality type. (In fact, he was one point off, but I took the liberty of deeming him an honorary Cuttle Fish.) This week, he invited me to be his chief of staff for his 2017 mission to make Jerusalem an International City of Peace and Healing. And on Friday, he composed a Facebook status about pornography, vibrator poetry and Shamanic politics in my honour. For all of these reasons, I chose Matt Wiviott as my first “Ask People About Their Lives” post. We sat face to face on a yoga mat, my iPhone recording between us. Scientists are saying that talking to people face to face constitutes an essential biological imperative. Another essential biological imperative might be to stop obsessing about your own life so extensively. And so, I asked Matt Wiviott about his.

Matt Wiviott
Born and raised in Montreal, Matt is a yogi, architect and musician. He regularly plays the harp at yoga classes. I attended one of these classes. All you had to do was lie down and listen. It made me feel absolutely lovely. Growing up, Matt was sent to Jewish elementary school which he described as “very materialist.” He was one of only two kids who didn’t go to a Jewish high school, and he was grateful for this since he feels that everyone who came out of Jewish high school came out “a brainwashed Zionist.” Well, I wasn’t there so I don’t know. As it turns out, Matt is the partner of one of my very dearest friends. They’ll be having a baby boy in July.

Soon after helping to conceive his first child, Matt had what he felt was a profound spiritual experience. It is probably better not to describe the profound spiritual experience (P.S.E.) in too much detail, so that readers won’t get jealous if their own spiritual experiences have seemed less profound. (Not everyone gets to be a cuttle fish, or Margaret Atwood.) But basically, Matt saw part of the Kabbalah Tree of Life in a vision, his consciousness expanded, and he got a clear sense of what he was supposed to do with his life. This happens to involve a stunning number of hashtags.

Matt was kind enough to tell me what gets his Jewish Kundalini going: “It’s fucking the Jews in Israel that are calling it as they see it, and they see what’s happening and they see it’s corruption and they see it for how it is… It’s a disaster. Everybody’s who’s really paying attention can see that it isn’t getting better. And this is why I'm putting forward my ridiculous political campaign of International Jerusalem 2017.”
So Matt and the UN are going to lead this campaign and transform Jerusalem into an International City of Peace and Healing. The details remain a bit vague; however, the hashtags related to the cause are abundant. I have already been informally appointed as Matt’s chief of staff, whatever that will entail. Yet another gig to add to my recent endeavours as a potty training consultant.

Matt is the first to call his methods “bizarre… the conventional way of dealing with such a large project is to write a book, a blog, or hammer letters onto church doors with nails.” Martin Luther King did some hammering in his day. “Obviously, I am not comparing myself to Martin Luther,” says Matt. “But I do feel like this idea of International Jerusalem is my idea to bring into the world.” Instead of hammering letters onto church doors, Matt is bringing his idea to the world by infusing his Facebook page with hashtags and political slogans. “I just need to get the idea out there. I just need to get people talking about it.” To facilitate the process he has created a Facebook personality which he describes as “the most conceivably narcissistic character I can imagine.”
If you are lucky enough to be friends with Matt Wiviott on Facebook, you will see that beyond the narcissism and relentless posts lies a deep commitment to pointing out the copious patterns and parallels that exist between ancient belief systems. Matt walked me through elaborate diagrams of how the branches on the tree of life line up with kundalini rising through the chakras, and how the Hebrew name of God lines up with vulvas, big and small penises and vaginas, elements of the Tarot deck, and THE elements, earth, air, fire and water. I took pictures of the diagrams for your viewing pleasure. I cannot promise that they won’t be confusing. But I do love chakras, and I love it when life lines up in any sort of way.
  
How Life Lines Up. Do your best.

How the Hebrew Name of God lines up with penises and vaginas, and other things: 


The Hebrew name of God in hashtags = #YUD #HEY #VAV #HEY
These days, one of Matt’s primary schticks is how “everyone is a hermaphrodite.” He is talking about a 6-part Kabbalah Gender theory. Matt believes that one of the main problems of society is that it lacks a gender theory that allows people to exist within a gender construct other than that which they were “born” into. Fortunately, Matt is saving the world by pinning gender nodes onto the Kabbalist Tree of Life. If you are wondering what the six genders are, here you go: man who likes being man; woman who likes being woman; man who likes being woman; man who likes being woman; person who likes being both man and woman (hermaphrodite); and person who likes being neither man nor woman (ascetic, which is different from the Hasidic Jews in Mile End, which I just found out a few weeks ago. Oops). According to Matt, “everyone fucking has them all,” whether or not you scored Brooding Anemone on the Ocean Invertebrate Personality Quiz. By the way, Matt loves Brooding Anemones. Who doesn’t?

Technically born female, the Brooding Anemone
acquires hermaphroditic qualities later in life.
All of Matt’s posts are accompanied by the hashtag #liveyogamusic, which serves in part to market his career playing music at yoga classes. Matt aspires to one day design his own methodology for teaching music. He believes that “the whole reason to study music is not so that you can play music, it’s so that you have music. And it’s different. And that’s not something that we’re teaching people.” I agree, and I feel like this philosophy could extend into other fields. Children don’t often learn anything without the expectation that they will one day be good at it. Once we grow up, there are so many things we won’t do, because we feel that we won’t be good them. Surely this causes long-term damage. And it deprives of fun activities such as bowling. Matt would also like to expand his music and political activism to include the elderly, since society’s current treatment of the elderly is horrendous.
Matt and his Harp
I told Matt that I might also like to extend my life to include the elderly. Besides being a potty training consultant, my other dream job is to be a People Walker. I could start with the old people in the long-term care facility across the street from me. So many old people don’t get to go for walks because everyone is afraid they will die. And yet, they already feel half-dead since they’re not allowed to do anything. I can take them for walks and when they get back, Matt can play the harp for them and/or guide them through a psychedelic yoga class.  
The day I met up with Matt, I was a terrible People Walker. It was raining and I decided that we wouldn’t walk. Everyone is a hermaphrodite, and we’re all afraid of melting in the rain. Matt says that when we close our eyes, we confront our fears.

Matt: “I overcame a lot of fear. I am not easily startled. And I’m pretty fucking optimistic about the future.”

Erica: “Even with climate change, messy politics.”
Matt: “Yah, I see this as things that have to happen at this weird cosmic time.”

Erica: “Weird cosmic time. Yes, I would tend to agree.  So you’re not afraid, you’re just there. You just walk into it. With some marijuana, though. That seems essential for you.”

Matt: “Yah.”

Before we started recording, Matt told me about how one time, the leaves of a marijuana plant seemed to speak to him. This wasn’t part of his PSE; however, it is one of the reasons why Matt feels so drawn to Shamanism and to ancient wisdom cultures. And to psychedelics.
Towards the end of our interview, I asked Matt about having a baby. Matt considers making a baby to be totally related to his PSE slash revelatory experience:

“Part of my sense of love was missing before.  Another way of putting this is that my cup wasn’t filled… For me it was the last part that had to be filled. It happened by conceiving of this child and imagining a life with my partner… It also coincided with me becoming a huge asshole on Facebook.”
The End.

I look forward to the baby shower next Saturday. And to the baby’s birth, though I haven’t been invited.
Thank you, Matt for letting me Ask You About Your Life!

Me and Matt, hanging out.
Follow Matt Wiviott on Twitter: @liveyogamusic
Matt's Website: liveyogamusic.com

Follow me on Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook

Are you are a Brooding Anemone? Take the Ocean Invertebrate Personality Quiz and Find Out.
You might also be a Cuttle Fish. Like Matt and Margaret Atwood and Jane Fonda
And my sister.
Erica’s Hashtag: #AskingPeopleAboutTheirLives

Some of Matt’s Hashtags:

The name of God in Hebrew and Hastags: #YUD #HEY #VAV #HEY
      #tetragrammation    #shamanicpolitics     #sephirah     #IsraelitesDoItThemselves    #kabbalah

                #liveyogamusic     #sword     #coin     #wand     #cup     #UNadministration    #VibratorPoetry

        #NoOneEverLikesaSaviour    #Jerusalem2017     #InternationalCityofPeaceandHealing

Some of Matt Wiviott Facebook Statuses:
The "sentence" is a fascinating construct: BOTH a simultaneous whole thought AND a sequential unfolding of symbols.
#‎shamanicpolitics #‎liveyogamusic
#‎EITHER #‎OR #‎BOTH #‎AND
#‎sword #‎coin #‎wand #‎cup
#‎yud #‎hey #‎vav #hey...
#‎tetragrammaton

So, what does Fate hold in store for Jew tasked with teaching Hermaphrodite Kabbalah and advocating the Global Reclamation of Jerusalem?
#‎Jerusalem2017 #‎InternationalCityofPeaceandHealing
#‎UNadministration
#‎shamanicpolitics #‎kabbalah #‎liveyogamusic

The good thing about pinning Gender Nodes on the Kabbalist Tree of Life, is that the #‎sephiroth , like the #‎chakras , have rich polysemic possibilities. And everyone fucking has them all.
#‎shamanicpolitics #‎kabbalah #‎liveyogamusic

I think the real problems with lululemon began when Chip Wilson achieved a Visionary Awakening by reading the shit out of Ayn Rand.
#‎shamanicpolitics #‎liveyogamusic

Really Great Classical Music is ALWAYS #‎buddhistic , Really Great Jazz is ALWAYS #‎shamanic .
#‎shamanicpolitics #‎liveyogamusic #shamanic #buddhistic
 
Once I made a whole bunch of chakra cards. Perhaps not enough. 
Chakra Cards 
What the fuck should I do with my life? Part One
What the fuck should I do with my life? Part Two
 
Once I wrote a self-help book: I Let Go

Thursday, 11 June 2015

How I am violent, by Erica J. Schmidt

Since May, I have been taking an online course called, Embodying Ethics and Vows. It is with Michael Stone and Elaine Pierce. This week, our assignment was to write about how we are working with the precept of not causing harm (ahimsa) in our lives. Here's what I got:

How I am Violent, by Erica J. Schmidt

Instead of non-violence, I am thinking about violence. This makes me think of my relationships, especially with Simon and with my body, but with the Boatman too. Everyone saves their violence up for someone, for something. Actually, I have no idea what everyone else does.

It is hard not to tell the same old story over and over again. The story of Simon, my ex-boyfriend who I fucked at the Granola Party, on the biodegradable yoga mat. I was really drunk, and he wasn’t. Perhaps this should have been the last time. Instead, there was a big saga of alcohol, vomit, both passionate and ambivalent sex, and name calling. We wrote all this down in letters that were supposed to be published in brilliant books that were supposed to allow me to quit my three and a half low-paying jobs.

Simon used to say that I was like an eight-year-old sore loser tennis player. And I was always losing the match and so being with me was unbearable. He didn’t understand how the Boatman was able to stand me. Simon was probably more right about this than I was when I wrote,

Sometimes I think that it would kind of be ideal for you to die.

Then our book would be a huge success.  I could feel somewhat sorry for myself, because a guy I fucked died and that is always traumatizing.  Everyone would look at me with odd sympathy. Especially if you committed suicide.  The sympathy would be immense.  Oh poor poor, Erica.  You slept with a sick and twisted soul.  Scarred forever.  How terrible.

Highly mediocre writing, and unkind. This was from the second volume of the Little Savage and the Hermit. I wasn’t really into writing this book. Simon wanted the plot to be about how I finally got an orgasm. I felt like this was a dumb plot.

I am not the reason Simon jumped off his apartment building. I can just hear him say, “I would never jump off a building for you, you stupid fucking cunt!” His voice carries a tinge of love.

Simon’s most recent girlfriend gave me pictures and memorabilia from the funeral. When I first put the pictures on my meditation alter, I told myself that after a week, I was allowed to take them down. It has been awhile. They are still there. One of his photos is in a disposable coffee cup that is covered with the stream-of-consciousness poem I wrote during my French Literature Class in 2009. Simon kept this cup all the way until he died.  Those cups don’t biodegrade.
The alter, with spectacular lighting.
Simon once said that based on a study they did on rats in the 1970’s, I will never ever get cancer. The rats who expressed their stress by freaking out didn’t die or get any diseases. At this rate, I will live until I’m 98.

Not every day can be fulfilling and lucrative and productive. Some days are for melting down. Yesterday was a meltdown day. It was the first time I had woken up at 5 a.m. for a while. That could have caused the meltdown. I also don’t think I ate properly the day before. All the trivial and banal things tend to matter. Alas. I was stressed because I had this assignment to write, and Thursday is also blogging day. I thought that maybe I could combine the two activities, although I wasn’t sure whether or not the world should know that I told Simon it might be better if he died. As a creative practice, I have vaguely committed to myself and my four and a half fans that I will blog every Monday and Thursday. It started off being fun. Now I am starting to crap out.

Writing, with all its potential for redemption can also be violent.  Same thing goes for meltdowns.

My favourite person to have a meltdown with is the Boatman. No one can console and contain my eight-year-old sore-loser-tennis-player-self better than him. Plus I don’t really want to really want to impose this self onto anyone else. Some friends say that I should limit my contact with the Boatman. Otherwise, how will I possible get over him, move on. The idea of getting over anyone is so silly.  How can we possibly get over anyone?

Well, I suppose I am over the Vegan Life Coach. God bless the Vegan Life Coach, and his spirulina powder.

The Boatman and I talk once or twice a week. I try to make sure each time is not a meltdown. I try to ask him about his life. That was one of my goals when I began the ethics course. To ask people about their lives.

Yesterday, I called the Boatman in tears. “I can’t keep calling you like this. I will keep doing this forever.” For the rest of my life, for the rest of the world, I will compartmentalize myself to resemble a manageable and acceptable human being. Then when the eight-year-old tennis player appears, I will excuse myself to call the Boatman. I’ll be eighty years old, forty-nine years into a marriage, with seventeen grandchildren. Some blogging drama will emerge. “Excuse me, honey,” I will say to my geriatric husband. “I need to melt down to the Boatman.” The Boatman will be eight-eight.

“It’s okay,” the Boatman told me yesterday as I fretted and wept about my lack of meltdown autonomy. “You can just call me.” Maybe they can make a special Boatman Meltdown App.

As for my body, well, I cannot believe the violence I have imposed upon it. Sri W. Ham Wrap was right. My yoga practice was super violent, and  I cling to things until they die.

People always say, “My poor body,” and/or “My body is not happy with me,” and/or my body is angry with me. I know what they mean, but I wonder who they are talking about.

Or what about, “my back was killing me?” My back was killing me the day I went to meet Simon’s girlfriend. Earlier I had spent two hours on my bike, to visit a friend. Now I was walking. I felt that if anything in my clicky, crooked eighty-year-old spine were to shift .035 mm the wrong way, the whole thing would surely collapse. Someone would have to wheel me and my body away.

"Jesus," I thought. People think about Jesus when their backs hurt. I remembered listening to Ashtanga teacher Tim Feldman talking about his herniated discs. He could barely move, but he thought about his guru, Pattabhi Jois, who said, “You taking your yanus.” So Tim started squeezing his anus like nobody’s business. Somehow this helped. Seemed a bit simplistic to me, or rather, perhaps too complicated. But what else could I do? As I walked, I brought my awareness to my anus and pelvic floor. I didn’t squeeze, I just thought about it. I considered how it was all connected to my feet that were touching the ground. And how my sitbones were also somewhat connected to my nostrils. And how the crown of my head sort of balanced on top of everything. There was still pain, but by the time I arrived at Simon’s girlfriend’s house, it felt like maybe things had shifted 0.035 mm away from me being in a wheelchair.

It is a good idea to try and keep your body happy.

This afternoon I’ll be taking a stab at my dream job. I am going to help a three-year-old learn how to use the potty. Very little is more grounding than helping someone else to take a shit.

The End.
The cup with the biodegradable poem on it
Follow me on Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook

My name is Erica, and I love coffee
Simon Girard, 1979-2015
The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Not Separate From All that Is 
The Real Me

Michael Stone Teaching


Simon