The 7 Deadly Whims of a Total Slug

Slug, as in sluggard, a slow, lazy person.

Is there a less becoming word in the entire English language? Picture the garden slug, a serious plant pest that resembles a gelatinous, greyish blob that slimes along leaving a glistening trail of mucus wherever it goes. That turns my stomach.

I awoke feeling sluggish this morning.

Yesterday, in an effort to change up the routine I found a yoga video with new moves. Flat on my back, I watched the nubile, twenty-something yogini raise her straight legs off the mat and…hold it…hold it… I did the same…eight, nine, ten…lower slowly, slowly…

I didn’t notice any negative bodily responses at first. In fact, I went about my day feeling a bit smug. That is until bedtime when I turned off the computer and tried to stand. The catch in my lower back was familiar. I straightened slowly and probably uttered a few expletives, polite ones, then searched for the bottle of ibuprofen that I keep on hand for just such emergencies. I popped two, massaged the offending area with skin-stinging Cap Kapak oil, then went to bed and slept like a rock.

Six-o’clock roosters were full-throttle as dawn filtered through my curtains. With concentrated awareness of my body, I sat up. So far so good. Gingerly, I stood. Not so good. But not terrible.

That’s when I made my decision. Today would be a day of complete and utter indulgence. I’d give my body exactly what it needed: rest. I’d yield to every whim and fully embrace my slug-self.

A shivery thrill trickled through me. I walked to the curtains, started to pull them aside then stopped. Too bright. I closed them relishing the softness of filtered light.

Whim #1 – prolong morning – don’t let the outside in too soon.

With that decision, undetected tension through my shoulders dissipated like a sigh. What had I been carrying that eased simply by leaving my draperies shut? I made a note-to-self to ponder that in my journaling later.

Some people love lounging in sleepwear all day. I’m not one of them. I briefly entertained the thought but found it unappealing. Usually, yoga clothes go on before my eyes are fully open. There’d be no yoga for my tender back this morning. I checked with my body and the answer was clear – long white tee-shirt with peekaboo shoulders and formless shape over stretchy leggings – heavenly.

Whim #2 – dress in the ultimate slug-appropriate garb.

Fully clothed, I ambled to the kitchen to heat water for ginger tea. Since eliminating coffee several months ago, that has been my go-to drink while journaling. I’ve brainwashed myself into thinking it’s an acceptable substitute but my coffee craving hasn’t subsided.

When I opened the fridge, I remembered I’d used the last of the concentrated ginger juice yesterday. The kettle was already whistling-hot. It took about one-and-a-half seconds to know what to do. Nescafe. I rummaged for the little packet of uber-addicting powdered coffee, fake sugar, and chemical creamer. Now we’re talking real debauchery. I poured steaming water over the concoction and sucked in glorious fumes.

Back in the dim cave, I curled up on my daybed with the journal and that tantalizing cup of sin. Once again, stress oozed out of me in the release of self-inflicted restraints. Bliss.

Whim #3 – allow the forbidden treat.

In the midst of journaling, I decided to share my slug story with the world. So here I am, blogging. When I finish I know what other whims I’ll entertain today.

Whim #4 – several naps.

Whim #5 – tarot chips and carrot hummus for lunch and dinner.

Whim #6 – read more of the new book I just started, Overstory, and hope it starts to make sense.

Whim #7 – meditate for an hour.

I’ve never intentionally meditated for an hour. I’ve probably daydreamed for longer stretches, but to sit in meditation for more than thirty-or-so minutes, no. Why haven’t I done it before? There’s always enough time. It’s probably that Capricornian urge to get to work. Produce. Make things happen – core beliefs that coincide with the illusion that sitting in the silence of suspended thought wastes time.

Today it’s all about wasting time. A guilt-free embracing of my total slug. An hour of sitting meditation is the perfect experiment for proving to my inordinately driven, disciplined self that I need more opportunities to give my body rest. More days exactly like this.

I’m a Capricorn – the epitome of disciplined self-control…!

What high expectations I had for the regular Friday afternoon meetup with my neighbor. Our weekly chats run the gamut from current Visa regulations here in Indonesia, to quirky relatives, to where to buy the best bunkus in Ubud. If you aren’t familiar with bunkus, they’re cone-shaped packages of rice with various toppings: vegetables, chicken or pork, spicy noodles, egg, with a few mystery ingredients thrown in that you’re better off not questioning.

Besides stimulating conversation, I usually furnish beer or wine and something crunchy to munch on. Today it was Thai peanuts with lime leaf, carrot hummus, and krupuk – special crackers from the granny down the road who sells them in her tiny shop.

This time though, instead of Bintang beer, or Anggur Merah, the 14.7% alcohol Bali wine, I had a real surprise for my friend. Pu Tao Chee Chiew. I found it on a recent excusion to Grand Lucky, a grocery store that stocks things not available anywhere else in Bali. The name sounded like an exotic Chinese elixir and when I read the label and saw 37.15% alcohol I grabbed two bottles.

I feel the need to add a disclaimer here. Perhaps I’ve mentioned alcohol in too many posts lately because I had a very discreet email from a reader who wondered if I’d become a bit too dependent. I felt like saying, I’m a Capricorn, the epitome of disciplined self-control. There’s no way… but I didn’t. I decided to write this blog instead because I know she’ll read it and have a good laugh.

Here’s a snapshot of my life.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – wake up. Journal. Do yoga. Meditate. Eat breakfast. Write. Take a nap. Read. Eat dinner. Answer emails. Shower. Go to bed. No alcohol.

Every Friday – wake up. Journal. Do yoga. Meditate. Eat breakfast. Write. Take a nap. Prepare snacks and some fun alcoholic beverage for the four-hour chat with my neighbor.

So…about my neighbor…

This woman is one of the busiest people I know. She works two online jobs, cooks for her husband and daughters ages 5 and 13, tutors a Balinese child in English, helps with homework assignments, writes middle grade fiction, and I’m sure I don’t know the half of it. How she carves out time every week to entertain me is one of life’s greatest mysteries. Of course, I do ply her with alocohol…

Speaking of intoxicating beverages, I introduced us to Orang Tua – translated Old People – a wine with a nasty flavor reminiscent of the hot grog we had at Christmastime in the Midwest. I’ve served Brem – a thick-ish, cloudy rice wine, and Anggur Merah, a decent red grape wine made in Indonesia. But when I told her about my latest find she was as intrigued as I was.

She arrived and settled into her usual spot just as the afternoon rain started. I popped the cap and poured sparkling amber liquid into two glasses.

“Mmmm. Bubbly. It looks like beer,” she said.

We toasted then took that first tingling swig. “Oooo, sweet.” She licked her lips with only a slight grimmace. “Like dessert wine.”

“Or communion wine,” I added. “Or like drinking perfume.” A cloying floral bouquet lingered on my tongue.

There wasn’t much else to say about it, so we turned to the snacks and commenced our animated give and take filling each other in on the events of the week, which, if you recall what my Saturdays through Thursdays always look like, could put a caffiene junkie to sleep. But her lively stories more than make up for my yawn-worthy tales. Most importantly, we laugh a lot.

Around about the third hour of chatter, my guest frowned. “How much alcohol did you say was in this stuff? Thrity-something percent?”

“37.15 %. Why?”

“Well, I must have built up a heckuva tolerance because I don’t feel a thing.”

I took a minute to assess my own buzz but found none. “Now that you mention it, neither do I. How can that be?”

She reached for the empty bottle. “This is it, right? Let’s have a look.” Still frowning she sqinted at the small print,then exploded into laughter. “Guess what?”

I shook my head. “No idea.”

“This says fermented green grapes 37.15%. But up here at the top – see?” She twisted it so the label stared me in the face and pointed.

There it was, the sad truth if I’d taken time to actually read what it said. Mengandung Alkohol 5%.

“What?” I shrieked. “Five percent? That’s less than Bali beer. And I have another bottle of this worthless (expletive deleted) in the fridge?”

My feeling of betrayal was short-lived. We laughed until our sides ached.

So please, for anyone out there who might have wondered…I thoroughly enjoy my two glasses of wine once a week. But if my neighbor can’t make it for some reason, Friday joins the rest of the non-alcoholic days. I find no pleasure imbibing in solitary. And as for that extra bottle of Pu Tao Chee Chiew…it’ll make a great gift.

Mind Control to Major Tom – No, wait…

I was certain that was the opening line to David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

It was 5 a.m. in Bali. Roosters crowed. Shadowy edges of sleep retreated. I reached for my phone and typed in those words, mind control to major tom. They’d registered so clearly as I hung in pre-consciousness. I wanted the lyrics – find out what message the Universe had sent through my dreams. I found it – whoops! Not Mind Control – Ground Control. Hmm, Freudian slip?

I read through the verses. The last one said it all:

Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

Don’t listen to it unless you’re in a super cheery state of mind. It’s dark.

I could immediately relate. That sense of floating through the days, losing track of weeks, months. Planet Earth is indeed blue if you define blue as sadness. But is there really nothing I can do? Isn’t there always choice? Somewhere? I’ve built my life on the belief that there is, that I have sovereignty over my thoughts, that my thoughts dictate my reality.

So if my reality sucks, I’m the one to blame for not exercising mind control because, as realities go, I’m still living a golden life. It’s just different, very different from what it was before.

Once fully awake I felt the shift in energy. My gut told me this was a big deal, an opportunity to enter into a new agreement with myself. Mind control to Major Tom…get your shit together, human. Today’s the day. You need to jump on this power surge now. You’re being supported by forces beyond yourself to make this change.

After ten months, my morning ritual is sacrosanct. I don’t waiver from it. I don’t skip a day. To some, that may seem obsessive-compulsive but I’ll tell you what. It’s survival at its very basic level and I cling to that routine for dear life.

So I journalled, exploring the morning message with questions and words. Nadda.

Then I went through my yoga routine. Not even a whispered clue.

My last hope was meditation. I lit incense, put on my earth and sky mala beads, sank to the cushion and –

Woah!

I wish, wish wish I had words for what happens in those moments. Sometimes it’s a quiet knowing. Not this time.

It was as though someone shouted at me –

Mental Reset

However, and this may give you some comfort, I don’t hear voices. Instead, the words sailed toward me through the sky in Arial Black typeface and entered my skull with a jolt. My eyes flew open. In that instant, the landscape transformed from overcast to radiant.

Do you remember being in love? Or better yet, being loved? My insides felt like that. Happy. Hopeful.

Everything is the same, yet everthing’s different and I’m still sorting it out. There’s a tickle that feels like maybe, just maybe I want to start writing again. (Blogs don’t count.) I no longer feel panicky about the future and I’ve lost the compulsion to try to plan for it. What an exercise in futility that is! I still miss family. I still see transition in my future. But my present is here, now, and it’s populated by precious relationships and equatorial green.

My gratitude bucket is bursting it’s seams.

Normally I’d pull this phenomenon apart piece by piece, looking at all the angles, wondering what I should DO with a new perspective, a mental reset. I process. It’s who I am.

But that’s the most amazing part. It’s done. All I had to DO was sit on the cushion. The rest was a direct download from the Universe. Zap! And my new operating system was installed and running.

I want to encourage you if you don’t already meditate, start now. It’s not just for ‘those yoga types’. It’s the doorway to accessing your intuition – the things you know that you don’t know that you know – the most powerful tool the mind has to offer. Everyone has it but few take time to develop it.

Alan Alda said it well:

“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

I’d love to hear your experiences with meditation. It’s a practice that is unique to every individual.

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