"Essential"


India, 2016. This is "literally" what was floating around me in this tributary of the Ganges.

In the same way that we sometimes use "lol" when we're not actually laughing, much less 'out loud', we degenerate humans have commandeered certain words for our own arbitrary use. One such word, and a timely one, at that: ESSENTIAL.

What IS essential? According to the CDC and whomeva, essential is: a list of various professions, which seems to expand every two days or weeks or so. According to Merriam-Webster, essential is: "of, relating to, or constituting essence."

...This appears to be the smart-ass definition of the word, or perhaps I've become accustomed to interpreting simplicity as sarcasm. Either way, good on you, Merriams and Webster! (I just remembered I had drawn a portrait of Noah Webster ~2nd grade, which is one of those things one can look back on with bright-eyed awe as an adult and say, "Oh, I just knew I was destined to speak or write words one day, because I drew a portrait of Noah Webster in 2nd grade!") There are other definitions, of course, but I wouldn't want to do your work for you. I reserve that kind of involuntary dedication for my clients [eyeroll emoji here, directed towards myself]. Anyway, the new and unofficial definition of "essential" seems to be: "the most desperate but actually unjustified version of necessary." Key word: desperate. Do we really need four bathing suits, a loaf of gluten-filled bread, manicured fingers and toes, botox, or an entirely new facial structure? (No.)

If you’ve read Don Miguel Ruiz's "The Four Agreements," particularly his first agreement, "Be impeccable with your word," and which I have referenced far too many (or not enough?) times since I first read it, then you will understand how most of us are Liar Mc-Liarsons just lying many times throughout the day. For instance, saying "Good morning" when you're feeling anything but "good" or "morning" means that you're not being impeccable with your word. It's as simple and jarring as that! The sale of foreign arms is not "essential," but if you live in America, where that's been recently deemed as such, I guess we need to feel included in ongoing worldwide destruction and death, otherwise we will lose our national sense of self.

This is all the longest-winded way of introducing my list of not-"essential"-because-that-wouldn't-be-being-impeccable-with-my-word-but-instead-very-appreciated-and-sufficiently-utilized “things” for taking full advantage of having to (mostly) stay dafuq at home.

Meditation and Journaling

I'm pretty flexible with my morning routine in the sense that if I don't get it done, I won't not be able to continue forth with my day, but I guess that's what differentiates me from someone diagnosed with OCD. That being said, I stay on top of it because I don't have a justifiable excuse, reason, or desire to not be on top of it.

1. The Calm app - Tried and true, good for unique 10-minute daily guided meditations and a ton of other useful grounding shit.

2. For a while, I was on the Deepak 21-day abundance meditation (thanks, Annie!), then it was the Deepak and Oprah 21-day meditation, then it was back to the abundance meditation (thanks to Janani!), all of which came with journaling prompts. FYI - I didn't pay for the abundance meditation, and I got the goods for both, so holler if you're interested. If I've mysteriously disappeared, know that Deepak has found me, turned me upside down by my ankles, and shaken out from my trouser pockets all of my silver coins.)

2. Journaling prompts for directly after meditation. Just stuff to think about and then go off on no fewer than 8 tangents per page.

(Actual) Journals. Used for:

1. Gratitude - I have mentioned this before. Lately I've been listing things in the morning and then adding to the list at night. I might be more curmudgeonly if I didn't make sure to reflect on things I'm grateful for every day.

2. Meditation/random shit - (This is the one I'm using. I found it in Mom's stockpile of blank books, and it's reminiscent of being a school-age person, pre-technology.)

3. Budget planner - I'm trying to be an adult in the sense of getting rid of debt quickly as well as not wasting all my money on crap food and cheap clothing, and this really helps.

4. Food/mood/poop journal for my reset cleanse - Yes, I have been tracking what I eat, how I feel, and my BMs. (I currently use these Baron Fig notebooks for this and the gratitude journal.)

5. Art - I have filled up many of these through the years. They're maybe one of the most consistent things about me. I also use this travel watercolor set which is a game changerrrr and always gets a lot of "oohs" and "aahs" when I bust it out (aka make people examine its coolness for 3 minutes) which makes me feel validated.

Exercise

1. Pilates sliders - These hoes talking about using paper plates or socks or a fuckin' skatebord in lieu of sliders 1) have got to be cracked out and 2) are not being impeccable with their words. These sliders are saving my life the same way hamburger sliders used to save me from being skinny.

2. Booty bands - Neither you nor I have enough time for my praise of booty bands.

3. Resistance bands with handles - Must be careful with these, lest they pop you in the face. Hasn't happened to me (yet), but that's because I'm paranoid which makes me careful but which also makes me not fulfill my life potential, but that's another story for another lifetime.


Workouts

Basically, anything donation-based that also kicks my ass, I'm all about.

1. Pilates Plus LA - Particularly the workouts by Megan, Erika, and Nicole. I'd never done Pilates before, and as much as I loved OT, I think I may need to leave one for the other, once life goes back to "normal" eek!! Typing this is making me feel feelings of anxiety, so I'll put this thought away for now.

2. My beloved friend Annie's Wednesday Core-antine killers, as well as her Monday yoga murders (I'm naming these such violent things, which is not in accordance with Annie's personality.)

3. Inez's sliders workouts on Thursdays which make my glutes dissociate due to hyperarousal, that is if they had a mind of their own, ha ha ha. (I don't think anyone but two people in my life who don't actually read this will understand what the fuck I'm saying here.)

4. Tina's Church of Yoga classes on Saturday afternoons. Technically Sunday morning in Australia, which is why it's called CHURCH of yoga, although I think some people go to church on Saturdays? Anyway, she's brilliant and magical.

5. Orange Theory (although, not nearly as much since Pilates has taken over my life, but still not thinking about this).

Books

I am always in the process of reading at least 3 books.

1. The Untethered Soul - This book will remain on the list foreva-eva. I recommend this to anyone with eyeballs, especially my clients. When they read it and get something out of it, it makes me sooo happy in a non-attached way.

2. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone - Mom got this for me, and I think I've been really slow in reading it because I don't want it to end. It was written by a therapist about her clients and her own experience in therapy. It's like a textbook for therapists but reads like an intriguing novel. It's also interesting if you're not a therapist (well, I imagine it would be).

3. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior - This one is about why we do irrational shit even though we know it's irrational. Or maybe we don't know it's irrational? I haven't finished it, so I don't yet have the answers.

4. The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity - I haven't yet officially begun this, but I got this because I really like Esther Perel, and I am always rethinking infidelity, as a human and as a therapist. Watchables

There are SO many watchable things, so I'm going to majorly limit myself here.

1. Hunters (Amazon Prime) - Nazi hunters in 1970's New York.

2. The Midnight Gospel (Netflix) - A deep podcast with dope guests set to a cartoon in space with some guy/alien/creature who has an alternate universe simulator. J thinks I am not interested in continuing to watch this, but I AM, OKAY? Love you.

3. Upload (Amazon Prime) - Imagine uploading your brain to some digital afterlife. Sounds horrific but also sort of cool. You can maintain a relationship with your widow/widower. See? Horrific but also cool.


Work and Hang

Do I need to stay connected? No. Do I anyway? Yes.

1. Zoom - For my art therapy groups and workout sessions

2. Facetime - For friendships and private practice clients (don't tell HIPAA)

3. Google Hangout - For watching EO eat dinner every day


In case you were wondering, my list of actual essentials, according to the most impeccable definition, would be: 1) oxygen to breathe; 2) water to drink; 3) clean/whole food for sustenance; and 4) shelter of some sort. You may notice that this list is akin to that of Maslow's base level of his hierarchy of needs, although I failed to include in my list his suggestions for clothing, sleep, and reproduction. He came up with his hierarchy of needs after emerging from years in a concentration camp, only to find that he had lost his entire family to the Nazis. I guess one is more prone to realizing what one actually needs during times of intense despair, which is precisely why I think we are not realizing what is truly essential during this time, because, despite how shitty things are for some, death is still not as near of a prospect as it is when one is stripped of one's hair, clothing, and dignity, and waiting to be gassed or otherwise tortured. How's that for an ending! Goodnight.

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