Yeah, so like, I usually meditate by myself in my study in Inwood, which means a lot of times I am meditating through loud salsa music, screaming children, sirens, fights on the street, etc.
So, now I'm at Kripalu, right? I have a view of a lake and the Berkshires outside my window. Yep. And I'm typing right here, sun shining on the water, creating light diamonds on the lake, the whole bit.
I go to the meditation room, which has the same stellar view.
I see shoes outside. Oh, no, I think Someone Else is In There!
I had the place to myself last time I was here...interloper, etc. I do know this is insane, just FYI, but these thoughts continue apace.
I also want to smuggle in my coffee and am afraid there will be a nitpicky meditator in there who may take umbrage. Worse, they might have An Electronic Device...
So, when I go in there is a smiling young woman taking photos with her phone of beautiful view. She scurries out when she sees me - because I am there to ya know Meditate. I feel slightly smug and smile graciously. I am in fact relieved. Room to myself again. Sanctuary. Mind you, as of now, I don't even have a roommate in my own room so could have meditated here, but nooooo, I need the Meditation Room...damn it. So I can practice Loving Kindness meditation....bwahahahaha.
But OK, so I read my daily books that remind me how to live and not act like an asshole - which I sometimes remember to do every once in a while. Then I sip my contraband coffee...oh and please note any Kripalu alums, they now serve coffee In The Dining Hall for breakfast. In the Dining Hall!
(This is radical if you ever came here back in the day when there was No Coffee, and if you needed it, like I did, you had to bring it yourself. The first morning I was here, I walked into dining hall with my own filter with ground coffee in it, so could get the hot water. I felt like I was bringing heroin into a rehab. One woman was smiling at me like she was on acid. Because breakfast is silent I couldn't ask her why. I felt a silent shunning from others. This may have been in my head...Later on, when we were in a sharing circle, I met this woman, Anne, and she told me she was smiling because she had smuggled her coffee in as instant in a bag that looked like tea whereas I had walked in with coffee For All to See. She thought I had been brave. We became fast friends...So...fast forward from 2003 to 2016 and they are serving coffee in this same dining hall. Times they do change...and of course now coffee is good for you again...)
So, back to meditation room...I have begun meditating - after getting all the pillows Exactly Right. I am happy to be back in this sacred room, which was the site of some profound and healing insights in December 2014, when Someone Else Walks Into the Room. I feel myself bristle inside (while attempting loving kindness meditation....bwahahahahahaha). I wonder how long will the rustling continue. When will this person Settle Down? Of course it takes about 5-10 whole seconds and she is still. I know she is a she because I sneak a look.
All is well, and I notice that it can be easier when someone else is meditating, too, because I am less figidity. I wonder if she is doing the loving kindness meditation, too. I am feeling happy with myself that I am So Tolerant of Another Person meditating in My Meditation Room...when...she starts Breathing. Loudly.
Not loudly, loudly.. but audibly. I realize she is doing some kind of pranayama (yogic breathing). I think hey yo this is a Silent Meditation Room Homie, what up?? I do not say this of course. I sneak another look - alternate nostril breathing - obviously to settle her down. I do that sometimes. But I'm Not Doing That Now! Because it's Silent Meditation...etc...
I then almost burst out laughing when I remember the amount of disruption I'm used to meditating through. But I notice that comparison doesn't help because I can't stop thinking Silent it's Supposed to be Silent here. Don't mess up my Vibe man...
If you were there and heard how not incredibly loud her breathing was, you would have laughed at me. Hard. ... I keep breathing and attempting to Let It Go, using Loving kindness mantras such as "Let me be free from enmity" - which I am saying pretty non-stop actually...then remember even more helpful things like: this too shall pass, which pretty much as soon as I thought that, it did. She had just done this breathing for about 2-3 minutes max.
Silence ensued. I was still irritated because felt I couldn't reach for my coffee, which I'm not supposed to have in that room anyway, but finished out meditation relatively happily, then noticed the lovely birdsong, and birds, watched the clouds go by slowly and watched the light change on the lake as the clouds moved across the sun. I wanted to have the room to myself again, but I was done so left it to her. Even though she is an interloper!
Then I came back into my room - after having taken 6:30 yoga and had breakfast before meditating - and took a sort of nap.
The message that comes to me over and over again here right now is: do less. Do Less. Do Less.
Which is why instead of racing around to every little workshop I've spent the late morning just looking out this window to a gorgeous view and remember how grateful I am to be here.
Also for great luck in not having a roommate at least so far.
Peace out from the Berkshires...what a gift.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While felt blessed for the opportunity, after four years of this, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in my own apartment and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with a new book recently completed.
I am now working full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, and editor. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now. You can also contact me through that site.