Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Buddha Brains

While most people prefer the exquisite beauty of a full moon, I prefer a half moon; perfectly sliced right smack down the center and just as powerful in its ability to light up a night sky.  I'm up before the crow flies this morning and she, la luna media, is staring down at my sleepy-ass eyes.  Been trying to just "go with it" when I wake early; not only embrace the wee hours of the morning when only vampires and me are awake; but more than that, make a Zen-like, transcendental, cosmic, goddess effort to begin each new day with a head filled with only positive thoughts.  I’m talking thoughts of love, happiness, wisdom and pretty little yellow daisies sprinkled in fairy dust.
Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, Dalai Lama and other great teachers were born with a brain built essentially like this: happy. Then they used their minds in ways that changed history, didn't they?
An acquaintance just loaned me a book by neurologist Richard Mendius, M.D. called Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom.  It’s well-referenced and grounded in science, so of course, I skimmed that shit because all that is much too much for a girl from a trailer park.  But with all it’s heady scientific mumbo jumbo, the book is also full of practical tools and skills that we can use in daily life to rewire our brain over time, in order to feel as if we’re in that field of fairy-dusted daisies 24/7.  Mendius seems to join modern science with ancient teachings to show you how to have greater emotional balance in turbulent times, as well as healthier relationships, more effective actions, and greater peace of mind.
Sounds like a bunch of Kum Ba Yah and ceremonial sweat lodge crap, I know, but Mendius refers to our brains as being like Velcro when it comes to negative biases, but Teflon when it comes to positive ones.  One stat I do recall when skimming the book was this, “It takes 5 positive thoughts to erase one negative thought and reconnect a brain “circuit.”  Wow!  Five!  Shit, those can add up.       I mean if you watch the news, go on Facebook, talk to the grumpy dude next door, cross a street in front of a road–rager, read a newspaper, wait in line at the DMV, or just step out your front door into the world, negative thoughts loom.  Some originate out of a need for pure survival, while others breed like the families I worked with in the hills of Bangor, CA but nonetheless, use your math brain; replacing every single one of those negative thoughts with five positive ones could be quite exhausting, not to mention, for me, take 25 hours in a day.  Like, for instance, this comment made by Chanel fashion designer, Karl Largerfeld, last week about Adele:
“She has a beautiful face and a divine voice, but she’s a little too fat.”
His stupid, selfish comment stinks like his fragrances and sticks to my brain's Velcro like flies on shit.  It’ll take way more than 5 positive thoughts to re-wire my brain with this one.  I’ll have to work overtime to replace all my negative thoughts about Karl, and all the other men just like Karl, that think women should starve themselves for a dude’s pleasure.  As if a woman is really only beautiful if a man gives his approval or if she looks like a model in one of Karl's Chanel ad. 
This is real for me.  
I actually live  it every day, and so do millions of women. Young girls too. And so I guess I better fucking open Buddha’s Brain again and read not skim, or I think I could kill Karl and all the dudes like Karl.  The Chanel mastermind also said, “Nobody wants to see curvy women.”  Well, that’s bullshit too, Karl.  You don’t think Adele has to deal with this bullshit every day of her life like so many of us?  Except, she's in the limelight and so her photo is constantly being taken and then airbrushed before it hits the cover page of any magazine.  And what do you think that does to her soul. Karl? 
I'm actually hoping that the next time I want a cookie or a second helping of rice; the next time I look in a mirror with self-doubt or suck in my stomach (Automatic. programmed in at a very young age)  I'm hoping that your words, Karl, will help me replace those nasty habits and all those damaging thoughts of guilt with joyful and uninhibited pleasure-thoughts and positive self-esteem will reign victorious!  I just pray I can bring in 5 of those kind of thoughts for each negative one I have of you.  (Shit, I'll probably need about 500 replacement thoughts.)
In Margaret Cho’s blog last week entitled Shut Up Karl, which I think you should read if this rant of mine hits home at all, says it best… When you say we are fat, you murder our grace, and we’ve already lost so much to begin with. We’ve already lost everything, except weight. That we gain steadily, along with self-hatred, and all you are doing is adding to our burden, pressing down on the scale with the long toe of your fine, elegantly tasseled loafer.”

But I can’t go there no more; at least not in this blog because this blog is about replacing those festering, rageful, negative thoughts, that are harmful to us humans, with positive, happy thoughts that skip along pearly white sidewalks.  And Adele showed him last night, didn’t she?  Looking gorgeous. (and not just her face) A perfect goddess as she cradled her 6 (Count ‘em Karl, SIX!) Grammys.

I’m wondering what, in simple, trailer park girl terms, are the key ingredients for maintaining a good mood, a happy and positive attitude, a closet free of weapons? (to be used against the mean people of the world, the haters, and the Karl Largerfelds…)
TPG's Simple Ingredients :

1.Turn off television.
2.Turn off the computer. (Except to read my weekly blog)
3.Stop all newspaper subscriptions and recycle all past issues.
4.Dance more.
5.Replace all weapons in your closets with bottles of gin.
6.Wake up before those crows fly, step outside to a shadowed patio, and breathe-in that half moon on a regular basis.
Perhaps the line in The Indigo Girls’ lyrical masterpiece, Closer to Fine, gives us a “heads-up” to what we need to focus on,  listen for, overcome;  the filling and refilling of our heads with lightness rather than darkness.  But, damn, it’s often times, hard.
“Well, darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable.  And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.”


  1. Thank you for standing for the curves. And thank you for pointing out the weight of our heaviness of thought and the bitch it can in fact be to get them off the mind when we are bombarded with things that can stir them all up....I think what you and the Buddha folks speak of the solution being is what they call a "mental diet" right?
    Oh, and I thing I can check off maybe four on the of other solutions list already. I just don't like gin....

  2. Oh, TPG, did you hit a grand slam over the outfield fence! Just pairing Buddha with Jesus and the Dalai Lama...all happy guys whose teachings I so great. May I add St. Teresa of Avila who said,"When it's prayer time, pray, and when it's partridge time, partridge!" She said this in response to some old goat who criticized her for eating with such gleeful relish...certainly not "approved behavior" for a nun. She's my kind of gal. So hey, let's be positive, right? Seems I'm destined to carry around a little extra weight, now that I've approached those late-middle age-years (ha...that is where a person is at 73, right?) I'm happy as one of Ross' hogs wallowing in a mud bath on the Tieken Farm. What, me worry? Hell, life's too short and too special to be dragged down by the dribble of the "negativos" in our midst. Live it up, TPG, and I'll see you soon! Keep looking at that moon....