Celebrate your neurosis everyday

Halloween candyWhat’s your neurosis?

Now that Halloween is over, you don’t have an excuse to obsess over candy, costumes, and creepiness, but you still have your neurosis.

Neurosis, as defined by the dictionary, is a “relatively mild mental illness not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress… ” You might know it as a behavior like: worrying about the amount of candy you need to buy. And then realizing, if you give two pieces to each child, you don’t have enough candy for the entire neighborhood. Of course, you need to buy more, but rationalize that you’ll only buy the brands you like just in case the horde of kids don’t show up, you might as well eat what you enjoy. But don’t eat too much candy, you remind yourself because the sugar will expand your middle and eventually cause diabetes. And then you’ll die.

Or you might picture yourself as the obsessive compulsive “Fright Night” decorator like Claire Dunphy in the latest Modern Family episode. When she tries to out-decorate her obnoxious, medical marijuana-selling neighbor to win a scary house competition, leave it to precocious teen Alex, dressed as Tess McGill from the movie Working Girl, to “help her mom realize that putting on a scary Halloween is what helps Claire feel like an edgy, not boring mom.”

Even if Halloween didn’t raise up any neurosis from the dead, the holidays should do it for you. Thanks to retailers and grocery stores like Wegmans, staff was stocking shelves with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah-themed decorations on Halloween. I know because I was at Wegmans searching the aisles for one more bag of candy (I bought two).

With Thanksgiving in 25 days at this writing, many moms get hostess neurosis in an attempt to recreate a Norman Rockwell-style dining experience. We stress ourselves to the point of tears just to achieve Martha Stewart perfectionism – though it doesn’t exist – and in hope of avoiding a repeat of last year’s dysfunctional family drama.

The good news is that you haven’t lost complete touch with reality; you’re just a little “bent.”  Or as my son would say, “Mom, you’re cray-cray.”

Like many people, I strive to become more mindful by practicing meditation and yoga. What really happens as I cleanse my inner windows of perception, is that my neurosis tends to bubble up anyway.  Despite my wish to remain open, I hold tight to my old ways. It’s unavoidable, according to Pema Chödrön. The point is not to use meditation and yoga (or even medical marijuana) to avoid feelings of inadequacy or uncomfortableness, but embrace your neurosis.

“We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them.”  writes Deepak Chopra in his 7 Myths of Meditation post. In this spirit, I’m going to embrace and celebrate my neurosis today, and everyday – right after I get rid of all my leftover Halloween candy.

What do you think?

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Autumn Applause

autumn applause detail-medThe ash outside my window wears a joyful scarf of burgundy and gold. The change is a signal for me to give autumn applause and seek grace and serenity in life’s simple gifts.

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Season of enlightenment

Alhambra sun - Version 2What does enlightenment mean?

To some enlightenment may mean to gain greater knowledge or understanding about a subject or situation. To others it may mean to have a spiritual awakening.  To me enlightenment means that I’m intimate with a moment – acutely aware of what’s happening here and now. There are no words to accurately describe enlightenment. You can’t read about enlightenment and know what it means. To be enlightened, I believe, one must feel it.

Many Rochesterians may have experienced enlightenment from their relationships with recent challenging events in our area: The funeral procession of Rochester police officer Daryl Pierson, and news of a plane crash that killed two prominent Rochesterians – husband and wife  Others may have experienced enlightenment on Facebook, scrolling through the outpouring of condolences and photos posted for a family who just lost their loved one to cancer; being moved to action reading about a mother’s miraculous survival after she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle, or finally realizing that light will break through after many dark days.

Enlightenment, however, doesn’t always arise from grief, sadness, or loss. Happy moments are more frequent and offer us many opportunities to experience enlightenment from the ordinary things we do every day:

Children often have a way of reminding you to slow down, or stop whatever you’re doing to listen to their whimsical stories, or snuggle like bears on the couch. Children are like little buddhas, plump with enlightenment and unfettered by adult hang-ups. As a mom, I’ve found that when I allow myself to see the world throughout the lens of my child and act from an open heart, I learn something new.

This season, we need to take time to experience our enlightenment. Why not start right now?

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please feel free to share it with your friends or send me a comment. Don’t forget, you can also post a comment on my blog, like this on Facebook, or tweet to your followers.