Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"God is our employer and he can't fire us" .. WHAT?????

Two Weeks later.
How the hell did it get to be February again ?? In twelve days it will be March.
Okay—so going blonde may have been a teeny bit rash. While it has indeed lifted my spirits a little – there is a price. The good news of course is that a body that only six months ago shed every hair on its head and elsewhere —is now growing excellent quality new shoots of dark brown hair rapidly and efficiently. As I say to my body, when I infrequently think to do so – “Good job, body!” BUT, the bad news is that just about ten days after the dye job, those bloody roots pop out of my scalp like determined little killjoys and just ruin the whole look. It means maintenance every three weeks and my rapidly-growing arsenal of new skills (leg waxing with strips from Rite Aid and clothes dyeing to name just two) is now going to have to include learning how to mix a mean bleach.

But looks aside, there’s the spiritual side that’s also in dire need of a massive makeover. And whilst at it, I wouldn’t mind if my empathy levels could be ratcheted down a notch or two. I find myself identifying with any sad soul I see –from the man who sleeps on the sidewalk in a big cosy mess of duvets outside the Papa John’s Pizzeria on Beverly and who, upon waking, then sits all morning in a camp chair across the street right outside the Starbuck’s. I wave every morning and smile sweetly but can’t help imagining I AM HIM and what it would be like to bathe in public restrooms and sleep outside in winter.
I also think I am every sad little old lady sitting at a bus stop or schlepping big grocery bags back to her lonely cold apartment. And if I believed in reincarnation and had a decent voice, I could almost believe I’ve come back as a poor relative of Paul Robeson as I find myself driving round moaning (it definitely could NOT be called singing) that old song from Showboat- “I get weary and sick of crying, fraid of livin, but scared of dyin’….but Old Man River just keeps rollin’ along.” I do. I spend long periods in the car alone. Who’s to know?

But I truly do wish I COULD sing. I’d like to be known as “one of the Gospel Greats” and be able to belt out Amazing Grace with enough soul to make Mahalia Jackson look lame. That would reboot my anorexic spiritual side. Give me a center. But, devoid of any musical talent WHATsoever, and pretty light on emotional intelligence as well, I find myself heading off to the La Brea Showcase Theater where Marianne Williamson is once again, after a long absence, lecturing on the Course of Miracles every Tuesday evening. I had never seen the New Age guru the first time around so I was keen to check out her spiritual evenings which are half lecture, half Q&A with the audience, plus two prayers and a quick ‘imagine you are bathed in golden light” meditation.

Meditation, Marianne tells the standing room only crowd, is the key to EVERYthing. She says that a mere 5 minutes of meditation in the mornings is enough to raise your thought patterns to a higher vibrational level to put “your thought forms in the care of God” for the entire day. Jesus. How hard can that be? And if it’s really that easy, why the hell have I never been able to focus for five measly minutes in order to meditate. It’s a tragic indictment of that dark, scary swamp known as my mind. I go from feeling elated to a loser in an ADD flash.
But wait—it gets even easier and more seductive. While meditation is the way people listen to God, prayer is the way they talk to God. Williamson says that “prayer is the medium of miracles”. She explains that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. All people have to do in order to receive a miracle is be willing to ASK.

Not very hard. Just ASK. Got that? I plan, from here on out, to meditate and pray. I may have the two words tattooed on my arm since I don’t really trust myself to remember.
No, wait. A third word might have to be added. LOVE. “Love is to fear what light is to darkness,” she explains “Let the love in and fear disappears.” Yay. I am up for that. And I can see it on a bumper sticker. Can I make money with this? But just as I’m beginning to think this might all be a teensy bit simplistic and too easy to be true, Marianne swings into Question time and somehow love flies out the window.

She’s very crabby and wildly impatient with anyone who asks a dopey, annoying or long-winded question. “What are you asking?” “Get to the point!” or “Do you actually have a question??” are snapped at dull folk with her rapid-fire delivery and one guy who dared to mention his theory that a “mafia of women” was refusing to hire him for a job was leapt upon with just a hint of glee. “You’re not getting a job because there’s a MAFIA OF WOMEN? Is that what you actually said? Are you SERIOUS?”” she demanded, to peals of laughter from the largely female and gay audience.

She’d been talking about career on this one particular night and she managed to lull us all into some mass feeling of bliss as she explained that our careers were really to act with LOVE and that all would follow from that. If only we LOVED, the gig would follow. “And when God is your employer, you can’t get fired!” Yes, but what if you didn’t get hired in the first place, I wanted TO SHRIEK ??? Huh? What then?
A jolly-faced blonde of about 25 suddenly stands, is swiftly handed a mike by one of the scurrying nervous assistants (MW has made it crystal clear she doesn’t like to wait for those radio mikes) and she beams at Marianne as she says, with the Aussie twang of someone just off the plane, “Hi Marianne, since you’re talking about career, I thought I’d ask you for a job. I’m a singer and I’d like to join you on tour. I’ve got a tape I’d like to give you.” Another huge innocent expectant smile and a nervous laugh.. Well, let me tell you- our guru is not amused. She immediately launches into a very put-upon moan about not having enough time to listen to tapes and how she’s not even ON tour. No, sorry. No time.

But our intrepid gal is not put off and with the smile at high-beam she says “Well let me just sing you TWO lines” and astutely not waiting for permission, she begins to sing with enormous gusto—in a truly stunning big, soaring voice that sends shivers down the spine. I adore it and could listen for another hour. But she politely sticks to the two lines and then sits –to raucous cheers and applause. But does Marianne even acknowledge the girl and her lovely voice with a “Well done—great pipes. If there’s anyone here who is in music, perhaps you could give her some advice”.
Nope. No acknowledgement whatsoever. She turns on her heel and heads up the aisle with her mike and picks on – sorry, picks- the next questioner. But having now dished about the ‘cranky mean bitch’ side of Ms Williamson, let me just say that I’ll be back. Definitely. She is very entertaining, smart as a whip and let’s not forget – as my pal Brooke reminds me on the way home, it’s the message—not the messenger that counts here. I could sure use reminders to meditate and let the love in – especially if it does send the fear packing. I need a cheap life coach—even if it is a group session with 800 others.

So in an effort to put it into practice and SHOW the love, I decide that despite one of those torrential downpours of late, I must show up at the soggy ceremony as my dear friend Anjelica Huston gets a much-deserved Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I do so and am glad. It’s not every day a pal gets a star. It’s very, very wet but we feel very intrepid and rather selfless and fabulous as we stand listening to speeches by Danny Huston, Wes Anderson and the gorgeous, talented star herself under a tiny dripping tarp.
Unfortunately,at the risk of sounding tedious, I must note that the love comes back to me in the form of a foul cold/flu that descends a day later and lingers a week. Right through another breast-draining session courtesy Dr Bob who still won’t agree to schedule the next surgery due to this fluid build-up ! Wait—is he in love with me ?? Does he want these charming sessions where my left tit is swabbed with betadine before being assaulted with GIGANTIC needles that would scare a liger to go on FOREVER and ever and ever? Apparently.


Dee Thompson said...

I am sorry Marianne was so odd during her lecture. She is right. Prayer and meditation are the way to go. I love this quote: "Religion is for people who fear hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there."

I keep a bottle of Grapeseed Extract in the medicine cabinet and take it every day, and extra Vitamin C. Grapeseed is full of antioxidants and not expensive. You can find it at Rite Aid if they have GNC products, or order it from Drugstore.com.

Have you thought of writing a book about your experiences? I bet it would be great.

Hope you feel better soon!

P.S. We are sort of related - Chris is my cousin, though I haven't seen him in years...

Christina said...

Hey! I don't know if you have any interest, but I started a sort of "fan site" for the Marianne Tuesday sessions - I often feel like I want to discuss the nights more after I leave (as you did here) and so I figured I'd create a place to do that. So if you feel like it, check out Tuesdayswithmarianne.com - I enjoyed your feedback.