Welcome to presidential campaign season in the U.S., and what a doozy it’s been. Hillary and Bernie are in a serious horse race, and I have to say I’d be fine with either and wish they’d team up. Hillary is the consummate politician, experienced, and a WOMAN!!! (I had to exclaim over that since I wanted her the last go-round and on some level think that this may be the final stronghold of resistance… America will take anyone over a woman… we’ll break through glass ceilings to choose a man of color or a socialist or an old Jewish dude but please, please don’t make us have a woman prez). Also there’s Bernie, the champion of good old left politics and a man of conviction. He’s pulled Hillary towards his leanings, a good thing in my opinion.
And then there’s Trump, the clown who may be king. A shocking turn of events but informative for all of us. Some lefties are saying they won’t vote if Bernie doesn’t win… Charles Blow did a fabulous video and editorial about the craziness of that position. The power to choose Supreme Court nominees in itself would challenge that stance, and Blow suggests that only a privileged person would consider allowing one of the Republicans in this primary contest to win.
But enough said about things political…as if. And yet the personal is also political, as my feminist pals used to declare. The months since I blogged have been full of adventure and insight and dreams. I hiked in Kyoto, Japan and Yunnan, China and brought home images and feelings of sheer delight. Is there anything as stunning as Tiger Leaping Gorge? I dare anyone to find something more awesome. Awe was definitely the word. It’s hard to settle back to the routines of quotidian life after a moment of bliss. Is it that the contrast diminishes the less showy but good enough parts of day to day existence? As the years pass, I am pulled, like by a magnet with stronger and stronger charge, to enhance each minute, to live as if I were expecting to die any time.
I’ve heard that monks are often exposed to dead bodies to encourage living as though they were about to die, to feel the preciousness of every day. While it’s sensible to maximize our mindfulness, as it’s termed, in this way, it also can feel burdensome. You mean every nanosecond has to be special? You mean that sitting in front of this computer and typing might be the very last thing I experience on this earth, and what would I say to that? No. No. Not that. You mean that I should be out in the woods or watching the sunset or making love or swimming across a pond every moment of every day? It’s exhausting, not to mention anxiety provoking. And we all know that anxiety will foreshorten this very life I am trying to preserve. Awful. The pressure intensifies with each year. What will it be like at seventy, at eighty, at ninety? Should I live that long, as they say.
I read that I shouldn’t sit much during the day, that it will also shorten my lifespan. Standing, walking, turning to toil as a farmer or carpenter or postal carrier would be the ticket… forget being a writer, a therapist, a secretary, an office worker. I sense the body deteriorating as I write…a new market has risen up for standing desks, treadmills, balls that will throw you off if you lose balance. We will conquer the certainty of death by trying this or that new device. I’m fatigued by the effort. I long for the good old days of just doing what I wanted when I wanted. None of this daily exercise nonsense, nor fear of sitting, nor constant meditating to be present at all times. There seemed to be a blissful focus on the outer world, on work, and fun, and who loved whom, and whatever was around each corner. It must be age that changes that… the sense of an exit – mortality. Suddenly we all are working so very hard to manage every second that ironically it somehow feels like missing the whole bonanza.
Oops, have to go… it’s time to exercise and then meditate before dinner, and anyway, I’ve been sitting way too long on this chair. I’m voting for Hillary and will go out and stump for her… at least it will get me off my duff and I just might get an extra few minutes tacked onto whatever days I have left. Who knew I would still be alive to see a woman be president? Hoping….