Tuesday, February 26, 2008

n8 the gr8

Given my experience with the "apple fast" I was going to make some slightly snarky comment, but I'll let you decide for yourself-


Good luck boys.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Open Hands

My weekend turned into a bit of a strange adventure full of rule breaking, snow driving, girl talk and "mom" hugs.

I think I've always taken the presence of my girlfriends for granted. So thank you to Kassie and Kourtney, Rachel and Veronica, Stephanie and Kat for being there for me. Let's not wait until things like this happen, I love hanging out with you all (especially for happier reasons).

Church on Sunday was a welcome respite. My understanding of God and religion may be different than the people sitting next to me, but for me it is a wonderful experience to break bread and share concerns with the community that has played a huge role in me becoming who I am today. It is a great way to step both outside of and into myself for an hour- tapping into something bigger than myself while taking time to restore my inner sense of peace through songs and silent prayers. And honestly, more than anything, I needed those mom hugs. :-)

This Sunday was particularly unique, as our youth minister Gabe and his wife Patti shared the story of their mission trip to Costa Rica. Seeing their pictures and hearing their stories reawakened that huge part of me that can't wait to travel the world and encounter other cultures. Maybe it will be the Peace Corps, maybe Disciples World Missions, Habitat for Humanity...who knows? I want to experience the global community.

The most important part of Patti and Gabe's presentation was the idea of a mission trip versus a people to people "pilgrimage". When we go on mission trip we come with our hands full, thinking about all the things we have to give these people, how much we can do for them. But then, when our hands are empty we are able to learn from the people we interact with. It is that hands open interaction that benefits both parties the most. It's that hands open sort of interaction that I desire.

Change seems to be in the air and I'm holding my breath. I'll let you know when I exhale.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Start Where You Are

"Today was enough to make me completely not believe in karma."

That was my exact thought as I sat slumped in a chair in the back office of Pier 1, head and trashcan between my knees. I still had 6 hours to go in an 8 hour shift and I found myself throwing up the cantaloupe juice I'd consumed instead of an apple this morning.

I was only supposed to work 12-5 today, but one of our assistant managers decided to quit and not work her final two weeks. This was the particular assistant manager who I had covered for on numerous occasions, including one where I came in early because she had been throwing up all morning. I normally wouldn't complain, but the pain in my stomach and the burn in my throat made it hard not to think "This is so not fair".

A few hours later I took my 30 minute break and sitting balled up in the office chair focusing on my breath, I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite Buddhist authors- Pema Chodron. Ironically I'd flipped through a copy of O (Oprah's magazine) at Mark's parents' house during our strange estranging last weekend and read an interview that Oprah did with Pema. In that interview Pema talks about pain and suffering and how we desperately try to avoid it, to shut it out when what we really should be doing is the opposite.

"...not staying with the feeling cuts you off from your compassion for others, your empathy for others, and also from the largeness of your own heart and mind"

I took a couple of deep breaths and tried to stay with it. It started simple- I began to think about how many other people in the world were dealing with and have dealt with stomach aches. I thought about how many people are struggling with anxiety, how many individuals are mourning the loss of relationships and love, and I couldn't help but feel compassion grow within me.

Starting where we are, recognizing and fully being present in our own unique experiences allows us to reach outside of ourselves and connect to other living beings. But I also realized just how easy it is to do the exact opposite- to feel pain and cut other people off. I started to understand how people who abuse alcohol or drugs or food are desperately trying to escape an emotional pain and their resulting actions are so selfish. We're so bent on avoiding the hurt that we ignore the fact we're hurting those around us. We're face down and wallowing in the mud of our own self pity.

It hurt to admit to myself that I had been doing that in my relationship with Mark. I was so stuck inside my cloud of anxiety about my own life that I couldn't see much beyond my own nose. I wasted a perfect opportunity for healing, compassion and being awake and instead I chose to make myself and those around me miserable.

There's this trap I fall into whenever I start practicing compassion- I start to realize just how good I really do have it in comparison to everyone else in the world and I start to feel bad for any small amount of suffering I might feel. But tonight I realized that my suffering may be less (empirically speaking), but it isn't any less valid. I can't just wave it off as "Well at least I'm not starving to death" and try to push through and move on. Instead I need to feel it, to acknowledge it and allow myself to learn.

This encounter, as unpleasant as I'm finding it, is unique. It's never going to happen again in exactly this way. And maybe I'm glad of that but I don't want to waste this moment because it's never going to happen again, just like this. You know, this is—this is the only time I'm ever going to experience this. So let's taste it, smell it. "

I survived my shift, ended my apple fast a few hours early with a lovely bowl of miso soup and now I'm feeling much better. Perhaps this was too personal of a story to be sharing in such an open forum, but I felt the need to post it because I think I only truly understand what it is I'm feeling and thinking after I communicate it with someone else. Maybe something I said reached out to you, maybe not...that's okay too. I just wanted you to know that tonight a lotus bloomed in my murky swamp of a self, and in a way it makes this whole painful experience worth it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Sooo...Day 2 of this silly apple fast that I decided would be an excellent idea and I'm about ready to gnaw my own arm off for some protein, not to mention the caffeine headache.

Who ever said that I don't have any discipline, was probably right. ;-)

Classes were canceled today (thank you snow!) so I took the opportunity to clean out my closets/drawers and donate clothes I don't wear and clean the whole rest of my apartment as well. It feels so nice to get rid of the clutter, all the junk I don't need and all the crap that's holding me back from breathing easier in my apartment.

I'm going to have my spring cleaning done long before spring even gets here.

I was going to go somewhere with this post, but I changed my mind...
So let me just say I hope you're happy and warm, where ever you are!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This I Believe pt. 2

Given that I'm a little emotionally drained right now, I've decided to do another exciting installment of my "Lindsey tries to be honest with herself and everyone else about what she actually believes about said topic" blog entry. I bet you're excited. ;-)

I took "The Politics Test" on OkCupid.com earlier today (the results are below), so I thought I might as well comment on that.

As it turns out I'm a "Strong Democrat", which is strange to me because the last 3 times I've taken this test (different times in high school and undergrad) my results have been more in the Centrist area of the grid. Apparently I was feeling a little more generous with my tax dollars (and yours!) today. ;-)

Technically I'm a registered independent, but right now I feel the country is so much in need of a change that I will be voting Democrat this November instead of throwing my vote away for a green party or libertarian candidate. From what I can see, John McCain is just George Bush without the funny accent, and obviously Dubba hasn't worked out so well these past 8 years.

I want to vote for Hillary, I really do. I think the US is ready for a woman president, however I'm not so sure the world is. Given the current global attitudes towards our country I think we need a great diplomat for a president, someone who can reach out to even those countries who are our "enemies". Unfortunately that will have to be a man. Barack the vote...eh Nate?

One thing that I do know is that I refuse to be a one-issue voter. I will vote for who ever I feel will be the best all around leader, the individual that will take the country in the best direction. If that means that I have to vote for someone who is anti-choice, but will pull us out of Iraq, fix the economy, help the environment, give us universal health care and better education, you'd better believe I will.

I'm also rather Marxist in my feelings towards church and state. Religious beliefs are a very private thing that needs to be kept in the private realm. They shouldn't be an issue in which candidate I vote for, unless I'm concerned that their personal beliefs will interfere with their ability to lead the country. I don't think churches should endorse (or campaign against) candidates or bills, I think the individuals members should choose based on their own personal beliefs.

But perhaps we're so overwhelmed with the anxiety of choice and change that it's just easier to let someone else tell you what to do.

Summing up: I'm an independent who will vote for whoever I feel will bring the most positive change and will lead the country in a productive, healthy direction. Separation of church and state is a must. The private sector and the public sector do not need to directly influence one another. Um, Barack in '08!

And Lindsey for philosopher-king in 2020! Ha!

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(16% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat (16e/55s)

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting"
- Benjamin Franklin

I'm at an interesting place in my life at the moment.

My spring cleaning is starting a little early this year, both internal and external. I'm determined to get to know myself better, to become a whole person again and reclaim my energy.

During emotionally stressful times it's my natural reaction to stop eating or only eat junk food, so this time around I'm doing something productive for myself. Out of this muck will bloom a lotus.

Tomorrow I start an apple cleansing fast*. It may sound a little strange, but it will be a good way to clean out my insides and introduce myself to the spiritual discipline of fasting. I'll let you know how it goes.

When you take a step back and take a breath, it's amazing to discover all the insights and opportunities that were right in front of your face. Life is good and I'm excited. :-)

*Before you get up in arms about me starving myself, this is a doctor supervised 3-day thing, no worries.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Infinite Regress

The Tough Guy sped on towards Lawrence, using the last of her energy to hold the car on the road. In a vain attempt to distract herself, she tried to compose a blog entry in her mind-

Her tear stained cheeks bearing witness to the weekend's "discussions"... no.

The Tough Guy's burden of understanding was almost more difficult to bear than the pain of...ugh, definitely not.

The Tough Guy always took pride in being a good girlfriend, but now is the time to find other things to be proud of- like knowing all the words to "We Didn't Start the Fire!"...wait, what?

What does it matter?
Who's really going to read this anyway?

At that moment, the sun broke through the clouds and the stolen CD began to play the familiar first few notes of the perfect song for that very moment. With the cold composure of Sebastian from the film "Cruel Intentions" (minus that whole sexual tension with your step sister thing), the Tough Guy flipped her scarf over her shoulder and pressed on.

I might have stopped crying but I still want to punch you in the face. Some day I'll look back and laugh at the amount of gas money I spent to break my heart. Right now though, all I know is you're not getting these CDs back.

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life....

Thursday, February 14, 2008


There comes a time in every girl's life when she must (after consulting with her hairdresser) throw any and all expectations out the window, pack her new Voluptuous Violet lipstick, and hit the road.

Strange how when you realize that the situation is not yours to control, you're free to let go and be yourself. Free will is only really possible after you recognize the limitations involved.

Have a great weekend, I know one way or another I will.

So if you care to find me look to the western sky...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

walk forward. breathe. be.

that voice in my head says

as far and as fast as i can
back to that time when my dignity was
free for the taking
self-medicate with meaningless kisses/touches/words
(me but not me, them but not them, it’s easier that way)
build up the wall a little higher/thicker/more sound proof
keep me from getting hurt

that voice in my head says

as far and as fast i can
into your arms
prying them open
douse your feet with my tears/fears/prayers
(wiping them with hair of the perfect length though everyone else likes it long)
begging for forgiveness/love/lust
keep me from getting hurt

my soul says
sit. breathe. be.

and for once i listen
sitting here
palms open, exposed
all my faults/insecurities/masks
(laid painfully bare)
waiting for your hand/heart/mind
to join mine

walk forward. breathe. be.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This I Believe...

(Yeah yeah I'm ripping the title off from NPR...I know)

This is the first entry in what I hope will be a series of entries where I give my opinion on...well...anything really. All that matters is that I'm being honest with you, my (rather anonymous) reader and putting it all out there. I'm setting aside my fears of judgment and rejection to better get to know myself. So disagree, argue, laugh, think I'm completely full of it; when it comes down to it, it isn't really about you. This might be slightly painful but hopefully a little enjoyable for all. :-D

I'm going to start with something a little easy, perhaps a little silly, but 100% honest. Here we go!

I hate robots.

Okay, okay...hate is a strong word. I strongly dislike robots.

Let me share with you a little something I wrote during my Classic Problems in Philosophy class junior year of college-

"I am not afraid to admit that I am a carbon chauvinistic speciesist. In order to be counted amongst those who actually have minds, you need to have grey matter like the rest of us.

I couldn't love someone who didn't have a mind, because any emotion they displayed, or anything they said to me would simply be the result of software. I'm not saying I would discriminate against robots, but I don't believe the artificial intelligence entity to be on the same level as those of us with brains.

Just because my Furby said "Kah may-may u-nye" (Furbish for "I love you") doesn't mean I believed it was capable of feeling love. It was simply responding to the program that says "If X happens, say Y". Consequently, I didn't feel any remorse when I accidentally gave it a heart attack with my TV remote control."

Clearly I am not a functionalist. I don't think you can recreate the human brain in silicon form. Even if you could make a computer program functionally identical to the human brain, it's still just a computer program. Maybe that makes me a bit of a soul theorist, but I think I'm okay with that.

At the end of my Theories and Methods class last week I pondered out loud whether or not Durkheim would recognize a church comprised of robots. One of the other students reminded me that computer technology is no where near that advanced and I had no need to fear a Matrix-style/I, Robot revolt any time soon.

Regardless, I want to be prepared.

Summing up: Part of my personal identity is dependent on me being a carbon-based human being. I do not believe I can be functionally re-created in a computer; there is something more to me than just electrical impulses. If there comes a time in my life where we run into an A.I. issue (a la the Matrix) you'd better believe I'm investing in an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) device.

(If you have any issues that you're interested to know my opinion about, feel free to leave them in a comment!)

Friday, February 8, 2008

No Two Ways About It

I'm starting to think that I shouldn't have given fish up for Lent.
No, I haven't suddenly changed my mind about compassion towards living creatures, and no I didn't give in and go on an all night California roll bender.

However, I'm starting to think it would have been a better idea to give up my ambivalence for Lent. Maybe... ;-)

In all seriousness though, a complete stranger asked me today (in a completely pressure/judgment free situation) what I honestly believed, what my "spiritual beliefs and practices" are.

I hemmed and hawed for a moment before muttering something about being raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and studying Buddhism and seeing the validity of any honest quest and then I sort of made some vague reference to the "Ultimate Reality" and energy.

Wow Lindsey, is that really the best you could do?

You see, somewhere along the process of earning my degree in Religion and Philosophy and going off to graduate school I got so worried about people judging me for what I believe that I packed everything I might have held true into a box, locked it and sat on top of it. I think I lost the key.

So now here I am in this sort of suspended spiritual animation where I'm able to hold all these different conflicting ideas in my head and not do one damn thing about them. I don't judge, I don't believe, I just absorb. As a consequence of this amazing ambivalent juggling act I feel absolutely root-less. There's nothing holding me up.

I think this is definitely a major factor in the recent anxiety I've been experiencing. Sitting in class sometimes I really want to have an opinion, I really want to have some system of something to measure these new pieces of information against on a personal level.

I want to argue not for the sake of arguing but because I actually care about a belief or a cause.

It's a little bit scary thinking about unpacking the box since it's been so long since I've even really looked in there. But I think at this point in my life, at this point in my relationships, it's a necessary fear to face.

My act of compassion towards animals this Lenten season is not eating fish.
My act of compassion towards myself and everyone I interact with (especially you Mark) is reclaiming my roots, reclaiming health, reclaiming myself.

This isn't going to be easy, but sometimes the best things in life just aren't.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Throw me some beads!

My Fat Tuesday sushi feast was quite the success.
Unfortunately Kat was unable to join me due to the flu, so Gabriel and I hit Wa on Massachusetts street. Maguro (tuna) and inari nigiri (the little fingers of rice topped with wasabi and a piece of raw fish) followed by a Love roll (Crab, cucumber and avocado topped with more avocado and shrimp) and a spicy tuna roll. Oh and a piece of a Lawrence roll and spicy shrimp nicked from Gabe's plate. *drool*

So tomorrow Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, and while I am in no way obligated by my beliefs or even my church to give something up, I find it to be a great opportunity to practice discipline and sacrifice.

Technically the Sundays during Lent aren't counted in the 40 days so some people say you can indulge on those days, but I'm not going to. Infact, I'm not sure if I'll go back to eating fish after Easter. Giving up meat completely is an act of compassion towards all living beings, so why only limit it to a mere 40 days?

My main reasons for being a pescetarian (only eating fish) are environmental. We could easily end world hunger by simply cutting back on our demand for meat. The majority of grain cultivated goes towards growing livestock when it could go to feed the malnourished. The majority of the water used in this country goes to that industry as well. Cows contribute far more methane gas to the global warming problem than cars believe it or not. The list goes on and on.

By giving up all forms of animal flesh as food I'm acknowledging and reflecting on the suffering and cruelty of living beings caused my the meat industry (fishing included).

I'm not going to push this veggie thing on you or judge you for eating meat. I'm not even going to ask you join me, but I do ask that you at least take a moment to be mindful of your food, to appreciate where it comes from and be grateful for the energy and the life given that allows you to sustain yours.

Thanks for reading. :-)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hate Mail to PETA

Dear PETA-

I'm starting to think that you should change your name from "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" to "People for the Exploitation of Tits and Ass" (pardon my French).

I was absolutely APPALLED today when I visited your website and found your 2nd annual "State of the Union Undressed." Apparently when you state that all animals deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, you didn't include women in your definition of animals.

I was willing to give you a second chance PETA, but now I'm done.

-Lindsey the (sometimes) angry feminist


I'll save you the trouble of watching that video- basically the PETA spokesmodel speaks (full of innuendos) about how PETA has and will continue their "noble mission to end the exploitation and abuse of animals" but the kicker is that the whole time the woman is getting completely naked. Oh and this is the second year they've done this.

This isn't the only way PETA has exploited women's bodies, almost all of their campaigns involve nudity of some sort. They have a good, worthy cause but is it really necessary to add so much sex?

I sound like such a "prude" complaining about this, but is a little modesty too much to ask for?

I want to like PETA, I want to support PETA, but I don't want to feel like I need to get naked to do so. Oh well.

In other news, I'm giving up seafood for Lent (which means I'll be a complete vegetarian). Fat Tuesday tomorrow will find me gorging myself on sushi with Kat...mmmmm Philly rolls and unagi and whatever else I can get my hands on. Fish are friends...not food!