Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm So Zen I Can't Stand It

Those of you who have met me would probably not utter the words "zen" and "Robin" in the same sentence. I don't inspire that kind of warm, fuzzy, calm feeling. More like "zanily energetic" on a good day, and "close to psychotic" on a bad one. My former boss once confided to me that when he called on one of my references, he was told "Robin is an unstoppable force of nature. She's okay as long as you don't get in the way." I'm still not really clear on whether that was a good reference or a bad one.

I blame it all on my mother. No really. When she was pregnant with me, her doctor (in all of his 1960s doctorly wisdom) didn't want her to gain too much weight. Like no more than 15 pounds. I myself gained approximately 280 pounds when I was pregnant. Well, maybe 60 or 70, but it felt like 280. So back to this doctor. He prescribed her some appetite control pills. Which we all know back in 1966 were probably something like, oh, amphetamines. Yep, I came out looking for that energetic high. I was just lucky to get hooked on exercise, not something worse.

By the way, I don't really blame my mom. She's awesome. Really. Our kids adore her, she does cool things like kayaks and hikes, and she wears hats like this that fold out and double as a fan (really!). I totally forgive her for listening to her idiot doctor back in 1966, and also for that time she made me go to the county fair with her when she was dressed in a chicken costume (yes, I've finally worked through that one in therapy), but really I had no chance of being normal. None whatsoever.

Which is all to say that I don't usually inspire feelings of zen in people. Except that this week, I'm just all over the zen thing. First of all, okay I do use the word zen when I talk about swimming a lot. Because in order to swim well, you have to "turn the eye inward" as they say in the zen business and really notice what you're doing. Lots of people just go swim laps, go back and forth and back and forth at the same speed with the same technique and never really get any better. In order to swim better, you have to start by paying attention. So when Julie used the word Zen when she blogged about our first swim coaching session, it didn't surprise me all that much. Fortunately, she's like a zen master already or something and was able to incorporate the whole gliding and stretching thing out and decreased her swim golf score by an astonishing amount just in one pool session.

Then, just while I was basking in the whole glow of someone actually grokking what I was trying to tell them in the pool and getting all zen with it, I get an email from a Buddhist magazine asking to use one of my photographs to accompany an article. It's always exciting to me when my photos get published, and I'm honored that they think it's worthy to go with such introspective thoughts.

That all collides nicely with this week, which has already become one of the shit-craziest scheduling nightmares in my parenting life so far, and has ominously shown itself to be the harbinger of things to come. My daughter is taking seven dance classes (no that's not a typo), plus theatre, choir, horseback riding, and French. My son is taking Spanish, training at the brown belt level in karate (lots of time at the dojo) and I'm coaching his robotics team. These activities are in all sorts of different places. Throw in my coaching gigs at three different pools, taking karate myself, and teaching kickboxing, and you've got twenty-five (I counted) different places I need to be each week. Those are just the scheduled things, that doesn't account for the playdates, field trips, and unscheduled appointments that might crop up. So needless to say, if I'm going to feel any measure of zen in the coming months, I'm going to need to create it myself. So now it's after midnight, I'm done blogging for now and I'm off to meditate my way to a state of inner peace. Namaste and goodnight.


Christy said...

It must be going around "the shit craziest week ever" madness! We're having that too!

Have a great weekend!

juliejulie said...

You gotta read "The Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life" by Geri Larkin. It's all about her adventures as a Zen practitioner. She's hilarious and LOVES chocolate cake and never seems to stop moving. Except, I know you don't have time to read!

Robin said...

No, I love to read. I just fit it in whenever I can. Luckily, I read really fast. I'll put that one on my library list for sure!