(Except Huffington Post, of course)
I've been walking around all day like a complete moron with a huge smile on my face. I'm not the type to sing out loud to my iPod on the street ("Dude, WE can't hear the music. You look like as asshole.") And yet... Oh man. Today I did it. Full voice, total shameless full-bodied skipping idiocy for at least 15 seconds til my socialization came back on-line. And what's worse is that this choice of song is about the cheesiest most unsubtle choice ever to do that to: Jason Mraz's, "Living in The Moment." Yup. Cheeseball alert. Goof-a-rama. It's worse than embarrassing your children: it's embarrassing your species.
Now, I consider myself a bleeding heart-liberal-dyed-in-the-wool-cynical-activist-kinda-girl. Not to mention a feminist who uses the word "girl" ironically. There's nothing about my taste in art that would allow for something like this. I created performance art in the 90's for fuck's sake!
But here's the thing: It's just gotta be the cure for the yawning black hole of meaningless middle class existence. BECAUSE it's so fucking straightforward. (Sorry, I swear a lot when I'm embarrassed or mad or when shows like Enlightenment get cancelled.) Because you just can't say, "Aw Jason that's bullshit." Look, I am a long-time reluctant Buddhist -- which means I try, I really do try to live this stuff but I'm generally hopeless. I DO NOT live in the moment except when I'm forced to: performing live on stage, eating sushi, sex (usually), and when I had Meningitis cuz there was nothing BUT the moment -- volcanic vomiting and brain-cracking pain has a way of getting you present.
So. Is this it? Is this how to combat the news-a-rhea cycle of my daily life? It's impossible to be a satirist and political comedian without reading, nay, digesting the Overflowing Information Toilet of the distressed world rising up around our ankles every second of every day. But it's so SIMPLE. Just live in the present moment? This can't possibly be the answer. And yet.
Every Buddhist retreat I go to, I spend the whole time resisting. I sneak peeks at my email on my phone like a meth addict at a fancy rehab center hitchhiking at midnight to the local dealer and then sneaking back in time for morning group meeting, listening and nodding and sharing, thinking no one knows. Ha! I'm FINE! Really! I'm not an addict who needs to be electronically "connected" when I'm at the retreat center! I'm connected to the Buddha bitches! Look at me! In yo face, dharma. I got this.
But I don't.
I fear though, that I'll get over the honeymoon soon with Jason and go back to the news binge and then I'm going to start playing this song in a very different way. Like trying to get a quick hit. (Jeez these are a lot of addiction analogies for someone who's never been an addict. But then again, I guess I am, but my substance of choice is an imagined future.) And I'll be like, "Jason, I trusted you! And IT DIDN'T STICK!!! I thought we were forever!!!!! Fuck you, Jason, fuck you." And he'll sing to me: "I was denied the future I'd been searching for..." Oh okay. Right, right. Thanks for the hit. Got it. Sort of.
Kids, can you say "grasping"? Yes, very good! Now can you say "elusive"? Oo! Veeery good! That's a big word!
My mother always talks about finding the "even keel." As a drama queen I didn't even get the sailing metaphor the first time. I was thinking "keel"? Like keeling over from stress? I'm good at that! Is that what we're talking about?
And yes, the #FirstWorldProblems of all this is that I'm fed, housed and even (gasp!) have health insurance! But it doesn't mean if you are even paying the slightest bit of attention that you aren't affected deeply by the insanity going on on our planet. How do we manage to help it (or "unfuckitup" as my company is called, committed to awarding unfuckers of the month at www.unfuckitup.com). I mean how can we help it without losing our minds? And I'm serious here. It's insane to see all this going on and go, "Well, guess we gotta just carry on!"
But it's also going to make us insane if we don't carry on. So, back to Jason. And every other great leader and grounded human who ever said the same thing. And this is all of course the day after a friend casually said to me about a career in comedy and activism, "You have to be pretty persistent in your field, don'tcha?" And I literally spit coconut juice out my nose. Um, yes. Yes you do.
So, perhaps persistence at trying to live in the moment? My Buddhist teachers all constantly remind me this is a practice. You screw up and try again. The trick is not to fixate on how you screwed up, cuz that's the past already even if it was an hour ago. Can you imagine how different the middle east would be if they all had instant amnesia and got to start over? Or even just your family getting amnesia and then actually enjoying Thanksgiving dinner together?
Well, here goes. I want to say Fuck The News. It's overwhelming and we are not evolutionarily developed to take in this amount of information about that many people suffering. So when it's too much, I'm just going to look at what's right in front of me: my kid, my veggie burger, my guitar.
Okay Jason, I'm not mad at you any more.