Unexplained Phenomena

Blog of the Year Award

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpegThis is a touch on the belated side, but a warm thank you to Rohan – an inspiring, loving, super talented, insightful and generous spirit – for nominating me for the “Blog of the Year” award last December!  Yay!

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Unexplained Phenomena

White Men

My recent post on self-love was viewed by hundreds of people.  A bunch of folks commented or wrote me personally to tell me they appreciated what I shared.

As I read their engaging, thoughtful and supportive comments, a curious pattern emerged:

They are all white men.

They are straight. They are gay.  They are old.  They are young.  They are European.  They are American.   They are musicians.  They are artists.  They are writers.  They are academics.  They are white. They are male.

Every last one of them.

How–and why–could this be?

This is all the more peculiar as the post mostly delves into beauty and body image. I mean, I’m giving out tips for styling natural hair and *white men* are my number one co-signers?!

I’ve thought of various sociological explanations: the politics of white male privilege, the topics I explore in this space, the fact that my audience is still building (and probably predominately white).  In all likelihood, my sample size is too small to draw any conclusions.  Perhaps it’s just the luck of the draw.  But I doubt it.  The white men I’ve interacted with through this blog have consistently engaged in a such a high level of spiritual, intellectual and emotional exchange that it begs the question: Do my musings only resonate with this demographic?  And if so, how did I get to this place in my life?  

People of color do sometimes reach out to me about the blog–but almost always in private.  They call.  They write.  And while they have expressed appreciation, their enthusiasm never reaches the passionate heights of White Male Appreciation. I suppose there are worse problems a black woman can face than being shown love by white men, but something about the lack of colored voices here troubles me.

Thoughts?

Unexplained Phenomena

Very Inspiring Blog Award

Having won the “Liebster Award”, I just remembered this lovely nomination for the “Very Inspiring Blog Award” from Blown. Many thanks!

The rules for this one are as follows:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

inspiring2

Seven things about me:

1. I like giving and receiving massages. But mostly receiving..#keepingitreal

2. My favorite drink is a whiskey sour with extra cherries.

3. I like to step out of the shower onto a fresh towel.

4. My body temperature usually feels low so I’m a heat-seeking creature. Think: sauna, thick blankets, heater on medium blast, warmth from human snuggling.

5. I speak French.

6. I would love to beach-hop through the Caribbean for about 3 months straight.

7. I have a tiny beauty mark on my lip.

Alright. Now the important stuff. My nominees!

  1. Not Tsuris
  2. Get a Life, Ph.D.
  3. Truthless Truth
  4. To Be Aware
  5. Reassigned Time
  6. Canadian Hiking Photography
  7. Rohan7Things
  8. Silent Journey
  9. GYA Today
  10. The 6th Perspective
  11. Curl Please
  12. Fashion & Fun After 50
  13. Crunk Feminist Collective
  14. The Life Monk
  15. Notes of a Shaman Student

With gratitude,

C.

Unexplained Phenomena

Liebster Award – Thank you!

Merci!
Merci!

Many thanks to the awesome Rohan nominated my blog for the “Liebster Award”!  I was mystified as to what this was all about and a little internet diggery uncovered that “liebster” means something along the lines of “dearest” in German.  The possibly apocryphal origins of award are explored here.  Anywho, it’s very cool to be recognized by a fellow blogger I really dig.

Here’s the lowdown:

Liebster Blogger Award Rules

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Answer the 3 questions, or make up your own 3.
  4. Pass the award onto 3 other newbies (200 followers or less, or started the blog this year) bloggers and link to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by pingback.

Answering 3 Questions:

1) What can you say about dreams?  I usually don’t remember my dreams.  But on rare occasions, I actually have telepathic and even prophetic dreams.  Of course, I never know when a dream is actually telepathic or prophetic until I talk about it with someone else.  If a dream seems significant, I’ll mention it to whoever it feels appropriate to share with (or whoever the dream was about).  In most cases, these dreams have been extremely detailed and specific, so there was no ambiguity as to whether the dream was about a certain person or a certain situation.   What makes it really cool is that I’ve dreamed of things that I could not have ordinarily known – not even by chance.

2) If the sky is not blue, what color would you like it to be? 

Violet.


3
) What is your favorite work of art? 

I don’t have a favorite work of art.  For paintings, I’ve been intrigued with Italian futurism ever since a friend took me to the MoMa last summer.  Umberto Boccioni’s work is incredible.  To imagine this is a painting of a soccer player:

Dynamism of a soccer player
Dynamism of a soccer player

And now the important stuff!

My 3 nominees are:

  1. Silent Journey : Lovely blog with inspirational quotes about life and spirituality.  Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
  2. Beyond the Dream: I find Rory’s reflections to be full of wisdom and I identify very much with a lot of what he posts about emotions, nonduality and love.
  3. The Vintage Dope Dealer: This guy posts his meticulously arranged outfits with a level of dedication and passion so stunning in its magnificence that you’ll simply have to see it to believe it.

Love,

C.

Gratitude, Life Musings, Unexplained Phenomena

Kismet

As all three followers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of pleasant and delightful synchronicities.  I’ve experienced quite a few cool ones this summer , but none as remarkable as what transpired earlier this week.

To be honest, I am not sure I would categorize this as a coincidence so much as it was a confluence of fortunate circumstances that boiled down to one man deciding to do something that he, in no way shape or form, had any shred of obligation to do.

I met Eric about a month ago at the screening of an independent film.  Mostly, I did not meet him.  I was there with my girlfriend Tracey who, at the last minute, told me to come through to the event, which included a Q&A with the filmmakers and a wine reception afterwards.  I found the film quite moving and provocative for reasons I might explore in another post at another time.  At the reception, I found myself engaging with a number of really interesting people – including a wonderful lady in her 60s who has been deeply involved in labor union organizing and activism.  I sipped a bit of the red wine, watched my girlfriend take pictures with the filmmaker and generally enjoyed myself.

I am still not sure how or why Eric and I began speaking, or who spoke to whom first, or what exactly went down.  All I know is that Tracey and I were on our way out when we encountered a group of folk standing by the door.  Pleasantries were exchanged, conversation ensued.  A gorgeous young lady and her friend were talking excitedly about something with Tracey.  Eric, the father of the gorgeous young lady, was talking to me excitedly about so many things that it all blurred together in one pleasant, yet diffuse, impression.  There was something about his recent move from California, a bit about his work in the arts and activism, our shared interests in antiracism and his beaming pride at being a father.   I told him that he reminded me of an older version of my very good looking friend Ron, who also lives in California.  I wondered if they were related.  He gave me his business card and said to drop him a line. I enjoyed our exchange and promised to be in touch.

Tracey and I left to have a drink and exchange notes about our most recent dating adventures.  I told her about this ostensibly fabulous guy I had just met–a Buddhist academic doing meaningful work who was both interesting and good looking in an adorably bookish kind of way.  He was also above my minimal age requirement for dating (mid 40s).  Alas, I would find out in a few days time that we were definitely not a romantic match, though we might make good friends.  That night, though, I was still floating on cloud 9, waxing poetic about our lovely first date and sharing my latest spiritual insights with Tracey over cocktails at the bar.  At some point, she casually said something about “that guy” we met at the theater earlier that evening.  I said he seemed really cool.  And, he was easy on the eyes.

“Well, I think he was there with that woman,” Tracey said.

“What woman?” I raised an eyebrow as I sipped my amaretto sour.

“You know, the film director.”

“Oh really?  I didn’t get that vibe at all, but hey, who knows?  He’s the one who gave me his card.”

“I think they were a couple,” she intoned, with knowing authority.

I finished my drink.  I hadn’t spent much time trying to analyze the man’s romantic entanglements and it was not really at the top of my agenda, given my ill-fated infatuation with Buddha.

The next day, I saw Eric’s business card on my living room table and decided to drop a line before I lost it.  He replied right away.  I let him know I was about to go out of town.  He suggested meeting up for a meal in the city sometime soon.  I went on about my life, he went on about his.  I got an email a few weeks later from him following up on the meal rendezvous.  He was out of town but wanted to know if I’d have time when he got back.  I wasn’t sure if his interest in me was friendly, professional, romantic or all of the above, but I also didn’t really care.  He seemed like cool people and I could use an excuse to force myself to go into the city, given my general inclination to luxuriate in the good life on the north shore of Long Island.

Fast forward to this Monday.  I found myself in a pickle.   I had to move a few things from my old place to my current residence immediately–by Tuesday, in fact.  It would be a relatively easy job for two people, but I had been deathly ill for 10 days and had not secured someone to help me.  The main complication was the distance involved: there’s one hour between the two apartments and many of my friends are scattered in areas that are already 1-2 hours away from either my current or former residence.  My local friends had various impediments: one had just been hospitalized, another has an ongoing health issue that limits her mobility.  The other complication was that my ex was involved.  In a frenzy, I contacted everyone I could think of: platonic friends, old flames, cigar-smoking buddies, Tracey, even Buddha.  I got not a single response.  Nada.

Then I noticed that business card, still on my table from weeks ago.  I had forgotten who it belonged to.  Turning it over, I saw Eric’s name.  I knew that we had never even had a phone conversation since our first meeting, much less had time to get together and actually get to know each other.  I knew he was out of town until Tuesday, meaning he would be flying back to New York on the very day I needed help.  I knew the chances of his even responding to me were pretty slim, but I texted him anyway.

Hours passed.  No one could help me.  A few friends said they would be free that weekend or the next week – but sadly, that would be too late.  I sent up a prayer: “Lord . . . . please have some pity on me.  I need some help.  Can You work it out and hook a sista up?”

Later that evening, a smiley face appeared on my phone.  It was a text from Eric.  He didn’t refuse, he didn’t ask why I was contacting him with such a crazy request or tell me how busy he was.  The brother didn’t even say hello.  Instead he cut to the chase and asked about logistics: “How much stuff do you have to move?” 

Copious texts and a phone call later, a plan emerged.  I told him I would do whatever/drive wherever he needed me to in order to accommodate him.  It turned out that I could help him, too.  He had to move from one apartment to another this week.  I let him know my SUV would be at his disposal.  I offered to pick him up in the city after his flight arrived.  He declined and said he would take the (1 hour) train out to make it easier for me and save time.

To be clear, let us review the situation.  This man agreed to help me in spite of the following facts:

  1. He didn’t know me.
  2. We met exactly once, for a grand total of 15 minutes.
  3. He was extraordinarily busy and had a Lot of Important Things to Do.
  4. He was not even in town.
  5. He would be flying in the same day.
  6. He had a business meeting to attend after his arrival.
  7. I live an hour away from him.
  8. He would be taking the train.
  9. He would then have to ride with me another 45 minutes to get to the other apartment, then 45 minutes back again to my place.
  10. He would have no time to eat all day.
  11. He had his own move to finish preparing for and organizing.
  12. He would have to do heavy lifting up and down several flights of stairs.
  13. He would have to spend the night with me. (I know, poor baby).
  14. He would be involving himself in a potentially uncomfortable situation where my ex would be “around”.
  15. Did I mention that he didn’t know me?!

Tuesday came and I wondered if it all would actually happen.  I mentally prepared myself to put my big girl panties on and do the move myself or, if I couldn’t manage it on my own, just leave all the shit there and let my ex throw it out.  I wondered if Eric’s return trip was going according to plan.  I further wondered what our interaction would be like since our entire friendship history involved speaking for a few minutes at a theater a month beforehand.

Well, not only did Eric show up at the exact time he said he would, he also waited for me when I rolled up 20 minutes late to the train station to get him.  (I was delayed due to that silly accident I had with my elbow.)   To make a long story slightly shorter, all I can say is that Eric made a very icky situation not only bearable, but pretty fucking awesome in the light of his company, great sense of humor, fascinating reflections, and so on and so forth.  In another cosmic synchronicity, he happened to have extensive experience as an expert packer – the brother cleared my car, loaded and unloaded the boxes, files and bags with such military precision that I could only gaze in silent awe and gratitude.  What was to be a two person job turned out to be, sadly (for Eric), a one person ordeal as I was sidelined with my elbow contusion.  Not only did he take care of every detail of the move, but he also kept me laughing – and showed me how to care for my injury.

He finished putting everything in my attic around 11:30 PM that night.  Then we stayed up talking till well past 3 in the morning, sharing music from our respective iPads, stories about our lives, thoughts on metaphysics and jokes about everything.  We played with Zora.  I forced him to listen to a few of my original songs.  He gave me feedback like Randy from American Idol, right down to the “It’s kind of pitchy, but . . .”

A few hours later, we drove to the city and moved his things.  Afterwards, I dropped him off at his office.  Before I could even text to tell him I made it back safely (somewhat of a feat given the flash-flooding that occurred on my way home as I drove with my one good arm), the brother called to check on me himself.   Later that night, I found that he had also fixed my bathroom sink.  He had left no stone unturned.

All of this to say that, of all the people I asked to help me, Eric was probably the busiest, the least available and certainly the least likely to feel any kind of inclination to jump through hoops for someone who was essentially a stranger.  And yet, against all odds, he showed up, handled every single detail of a tedious and unforgiving task and showered me with remarkable kindness in the process.   I could not have asked for a better road-dawg, logistics-handler and friend to help me deal with a challenging situation. I’m just really grateful and still, I admit, in a state of disbelief that any of this even happened.  When I expressed these sentiments to him, he simply said: “I figured if you asked me, it needed to get done.  So I made sure it did.”

Word.

Life Musings, Spiritual Musings, Unexplained Phenomena

Buddha, Buddha, Everywhere

People in my life know that I make a big deal out of pleasant coincidences.  I generally refer to these auspicious confluence of events as synchronicities.

I started noticing synchronicities a few years ago.  For a while, I’d keep track of them in my journals.  Then, there were so many that I simply could not keep track of them.

For a while, I tried to figure out why these cool and interesting things were happening.  I noticed some patterns.  My synchronicities:

– did not seem to concern terribly important things (i.e. life and death situations, huge decisions or existential issues)

– were generally pleasant and delightful

– made me happy

– seemed to happen in “batches”

Years ago, I gave up trying to figure out why they happen.  I did read Carl Jung’s work on synchronicities with some interest, though I did not delve deeply into the psychoanalytic framework he uses.  These days, I interpret cool coincidences as evidence that (1) I’m in the right place at the right time (2) the Universe/God/Angels/Beings of Light/Oprah were essentially reminding me that we live in a magical, matrix-like world (3) God loves me and has a sense of humor.

In any case, my recent trip to New England was full of cool synchronicities.  The most noticeable coincidence was the plethora of Buddhas that seemed to follow my every step.  When I arrived at my mom’s place in Portland, Maine, I noticed her collection of Buddha statues and took a few pictures.  I had seen them before, but I felt some need to document them this time.

A few days later, I showed up at a friend’s place in Cambridge only to find a tiny Buddha statue on the bed in which I’d be sleeping.  Again, I snapped a picture.

While walking in Harvard Square, I randomly bumped into a friend I hadn’t spoken with in years.  That night, I swung by his apartment.  At some point, I noticed a Buddha statue in one of the rooms.  I was delighted, though not surprised, despite my friend being allergic to most things spiritual.   He then proceeded to point out the half a dozen other Buddhas in his living room.  An interesting conversation about the meaning of life, his interests in nature and my interests in Buddhism and especially Hinduism commenced.

Other coincidences during the trip (some less impressive than others):

(1) While driving through Cambridge, I felt compelled to stop by the Weeks Bridge, a beautiful pedestrian walkway that arches over the Charles River.  The bridge overlooks my old place at Peabody Terrace, where I lived for 5 years as a graduate student at Harvard.  I walked up the washed-out white steps of the bridge, beheld the water and entered into meditation while listening to the recording of my “Harvest Moon” cover (a song I’d become obsessed with).  While on the bridge, I decided I wanted to grab a coffee.  My heart led me to Petsi Pies, a cool cafe and bakery I used to frequent.  At Petsi Pies, I ordered a mocha latte, still listening to my music.  Then, I watched as they took down the morning menu and put up a chalk board for lunch.  I blinked when I saw that the special of the day was the “Harvest Moon” sandwich.  I’d never seen that there before, and they told me they didn’t have that special the previous day.

(2) Walking through the Cambridge Commons, a little park on Harvard’s campus, I noticed a couple walk past me.  The woman was wearing a bright green summer dress with a striking gold necklace.  Her hipster male friend had on a matching green t-shirt.   About 55 minutes later, I walked back through the Commons to my car, and the same couple walked past me, in almost the exact same spot where we crossed paths an hour before.

(3) The Buddhas.  The Buddhas!

(4) A lot of synchronicities seem to involve my bed. Staying in my friend Miriam’s home, I noticed that there was a TV box next to the bed where I would be sleeping.  It said, in big letters: “BLACK CRYSTAL”. Okay, this one is a stretch, but it still made me smile.

(5) In my mother’s guestroom, I turned and saw a stack of books on the bedside table.  One of the books said “Advaita” on its spine.  I knew it was meant to be my book.

(6) At my friend’s Cambridge apartment, there was a Buddha on the bed in which I slept.

(7) Lying in bed at my friend’s place in Boston, I woke up to see a book on “Chi Running” on the floor nearby.  The book explains a technique for running long distances without hurting one’s self — the subject of an extended conversation I had with someone about a week ago.

(8) Conversations with various people I did not know I would talk with revealed synchronistic interests, reflections and experiences that are too numerous to get into here . . .