No More Band-Aids

starting-overAs I was thinking about this week’s post and what I would talk about, so many things happened that I had to formulate how best to explain everything when everything is just so new to me…and in a way, it’s just common sense.

First, I wanted to write about my redecorating project.  I’ve upgraded mostly everything at home.  The final installment (the new bed) arrived a couple of Saturdays ago.  As I put the bed frame together and then hooked the frame up to my headboard I coveted so much from Neiman Marcus’ Horchow, I realized just how much I had done everything wrong before.

The previous bed frame was a hand me down from my uncle when I first moved to NYC.  When I took it apart and put it to the side to build my new bed frame, I saw how rusted it had gotten from years of wear and tear.  Could this thing possibly be from the 1950s?

I was trying to decide whether to throw out the box spring or keep it.  That’s when I discovered that I had a really old box spring, but it was still in good shape.  The cat had torn the cover to shreds…and thank God she did.  I discovered there was yet a new life to that box spring and there was nothing wrong with it.  I cut off the top cover that was stapled on in an apparent resale attempt…and uncovered the real box spring mattress underneath…with a cover the cat will not shred to pieces.

After the first couple of nights, the only thing waking me up in the middle of the night was the cat.  The bed is now a few inches taller, so when I hear her climbing up the mattress beside my head, I have to help my little aging beauty up to make sure she doesn’t fall off the bed.  Otherwise, I’m sound asleep.  No back pain.  No waking up in the middle of the night tossing and turning.  I’m getting a solid night’s sleep…all thanks to the new mattress.

I thought to myself…why didn’t I do this in the beginning?  Buy something qualitative?

Because we are taught to get what we can afford that gives us the function we need it for.  A bed?  I’ve had hand me down beds all my life.  To go and buy a new bed was unheard of.  Bed is sagging?  Just throw a feather bed on top of it…get a little more life out of it.

We’re always trying to just put a band-aid on the situation rather than just do what is the right thing from the start.

That’s not what I’m going to do anymore.  Not in this new story.  There are no more band-aids.  There’s just doing the right thing from the start.  That includes buying a new bed because I plan on sleeping on it for the next 10+ years.  Upgrading the things around me from trusted and true companies for all of the things that I use on a frequent basis…or would like to going forward (KitchenAid Mixer for all of those baking needs).

While I was organizing all of my magazines this weekend into the new file cabinets, I thought…if I really looked at the price tag of each of these file cabinets, the old me would have said I was crazy.  Why pay that much for a file cabinet when you can get one for $20-$40 a piece?  Why spend all of that money?  The old me would have freaked out…felt guilty for what I had done.  The new me said, “If you did it the old way, you wouldn’t have been happy and would have put a band-aid on it just to feel better about your decision to save the money instead of splurging on the right thing that you loved.”

Not sure how I would have mastered a mint green file cabinet the old way.  Painted it?  Boy, that would have looked horrible.

That’s the key here…putting a band-aid on happiness.  The old me put a band-aid on everything.  After my boiler broke last month, I wondered what band-aid the landlord would put on this situation.  It wasn’t until I mentioned that I was afraid that the building would blow up and I refused to turn on the heat…that was when my landlord called to tell me that he would put in a new boiler just so I would feel safe in my own home.  After all, I pay the most rent in his building.  I should feel safe, right?

Most of these changes now have a little more to do with planning for my new home.  I would rather buy the qualitative stuff right now so I can focus more on the refurbishing I’ll have to do when I move into the new house.  You should see all of the various shades of blues and green paint I have right now…all to decide which colors I’ll be painting the walls.  What colors can I live with?  What colors are better as accent colors?  What about wallpaper?

I’m redecorating my world, not just my home.  I’m writing the new story.

Understanding that I am on that “qualitative,” do it right the first time mentality, I returned to the Meditation Center this month.  The last time I went was last year, but it’s hard covering hockey and keeping a continuous meditation schedule, especially if you’re attending classes there.

I emailed with one of the sisters before I went so that she was aware I was coming back.  She had warned me last year that I would have to start from the beginning again and then they would decide if I was ready to return to the masters class.  As much as I meditate outside of the Center, you can still become plagued with the issues of the world around you.  They start to seep in and stay within you.  You start to lose a sense of yourself and who you are.  It’s like a blanket has been tossed over your light and you’re just trying to peel back the layers so your light can shine again.

I felt like I was losing a sense of myself and letting the distractions of the world seep in.  It was time for me to take a few steps back and return to the things I know are true to me.  The Meditation Center can help me with that.

Going back to the beginning and starting all over again is about purging everything you let inside.  It’s about re-learning how to find yourself again.  Trust me, it is so easy to forget who you are when the world comes crashing in on you.  You start to become the roles you play.  You think those things are who you are…and you forget all about your soul and what brings peace inside of you.  You lose sense of who you are.  You feel a disconnect with yourself.  You’re just trying to get back to your own center…the place where you can say, “I AM.”

I hate knowing I have to begin all over again, but at the same time, I see the positive in it.

The first time around, my mind became too powerful.  Like it scared me because it became too powerful.  When I foresaw my boss’s death, it shook me up because I was the one who discovered he had committed suicide.  I don’t fare well with suicide deaths, so this was a big shake up.  At the time, the sisters tried to help me, but at times it is best to forget and move forward.  In this instance, I forgot myself.

This time, the sisters know what my mind is capable of doing.  I have to keep reminding myself to stop listening in on other people’s thoughts.  I have to focus on just me.

In class last week, since there are a lot of new students trying to discover themselves, God and peace, I spent most of the class keeping my mouth shut.  I tend to take over the classes when I’m there because I know much more than these students.  What I have in knowledge, I lack in practice.  I don’t always use the knowledge I have and put it into practice at all times.  This time, I let the teacher teach the class and kept quiet.

Asking myself in the beginning months the first time I learned how to meditate whether I chose to embrace the positive or the negative was what helped me reach positive change early on.  I didn’t think it was a matter of turning a switch on or off that determined what would happen next, until I put it into practice.  I chose to do the positive thing.

In an instant, my life changed.  It changed for the better.

I’ve seen over these last five years what choosing the positive can do for you.  It can give you the most amazing adventure in life…one that you will absolutely love.  The most important thing is…you don’t need a band-aid to find happiness.  Happiness begins from the source…that light you’re choosing to let shine by embracing all of the qualities that benefit happiness.

Negativity does not equate to happiness.  Only positivity leads to happiness.

I got into a conversation with two different men once re: the vices that people choose to embrace that their holy books strictly forbid.  I spoke to a Christian and a Muslim about it.  Both had the same idea: what’s wrong with it?  It’s okay to sin.

My response to them was: And how’s your life going for you?  That choosing to sin life, despite what your holy book says about it?  Did you find happiness that stayed with you?  Or was it just a temporary band-aid to happiness?  Did you, at any point, regret the sin?  Did you feel guilt?  Did you hurt in any way (suffer from a hangover) or hurt others in the process (made others around you breathe in second hand smoke)?

This is why vices are bad.  Buddhists speak about it.  Hindu speak about it.  Why do you bring pain and suffering into the world just for a single moment of happiness that never stays with you?

We are constantly looking for a band-aid in life.  Everything from going shopping when we’re feeling down; eating something you know is bad for you because you feel like it (or because you believe it will make you feel better…cupcake, anyone?); to going to the movies to escape the harsh realities of the world; to going to a hockey game just to forget for a couple of hours the crap life you have outside of that arena…these are all things we do to find our band-aid in life…to forget for one moment what our true reality is…how unhappy we really are…how disconnected we are to ourselves and to something greater.  We are lost and have no idea what direction to turn.

We have lost a sense of ourselves.  We don’t know how to be truly happy, so we seek momentary temporary happiness, instead of building true happiness right from the get go.

The only thing in this world that will make you truly happy is YOU.  Not your children, not your pets, not your “when X happens, I’ll be truly happy,”…NO.  You could have children and not be happy with something else in your life.  You could look into your pet’s face every morning and find that happiness of watching them sleep…but it doesn’t last.  If you win the lottery, sure, you’ll be happy at your good fortune…but it never lasts.

What makes happiness last in you?  YOU embracing the true virtue of happiness that you can only find inside of you and your connection to who you really are…a soul.  Not the roles you play…but YOU, your true essence…your soul.

The first time I practiced raja yoga, a Christian woman came up to me and asked me what I did.  I told her I practiced raja yoga at a Meditation Center.  She couldn’t believe her ears.  How could meditation…or yoga for the mind…make someone look like God is shining through them?  How is it not Christianity?

This question has been posed to me many times.  These days I answer it as, “Do not ask questions of things you are not yet prepared to know the answers to.”

Happiness does not come from a religion.  Happiness comes from God.  It is a virtue all should seek to attain with God.

When I started this post, it was a few days before I left retirement to return to hockey writing.  I’ve thought about the band-aids in life, how we are always trying to patch things up instead of just doing the right thing from the start.

When I went back to covering hockey, I sat in the press box feeling defeated.  I didn’t want to be there.  I sat there with a heavy heart, almost in tears, because for some odd reason God was forcing me to go back to the beginning of this story.

There are so many things that happened over this last month that brought me back to a place where I had to start all over again.

Last week alone, I saw every single one of my all-time favorite hockey players.  I bought tickets to the games, only to find out during that first game that I was going back to hockey writing.  By Thursday night, I received the official confirmation from the Devils and off I went again.

Darius Kasparaitis…my very first interview…I not only saw him and spoke to him, he signed the hockey stick I received the day his article was released back in 2007.

Brendan Shanahan…another all-time favorite…gave me a little something to remember him by.  While my Shanahan shirt had the #18 on it, he wrote #14.  I had to laugh, because I remember when Dainius Zubrus got him to sign a few game used sticks in the locker room while we were interviewing him, he started to write #14 down.  I stopped him and said, “Wait!  You’re #18 now.”  He stood there with a confused look on his face and explained how his brain was so used to signing #14, he forgot he was #18 now.  So it’s funny that a couple of years later he signed my #18 shirt with #14.

Those two guys, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur were the reasons why I fell in love with hockey and wrote about it.  I was lucky to call Brodeur one of my professors of hockey.  Every game, he explained things from his point of view.  It opened my mind to understanding hockey through his eyes.  I witnessed the genius of Jacques Lemaire.  That man has magic up his sleeves when it comes to the Devils.  I learned so much from him.

To see all four of my all-time favorites last week, begin classes again at the Meditation Center, and go back to my beat…this is what I mean when I say I had to go back to the beginning.  Apparently the dream I left hockey for…it’s not coming.  That’s why it’s been hard emotionally for me to go back to the beginning.  It’s like admitting you failed at a dream.  Your universe says…this is your life…this is your dream…when all you can think about is a baby you’re not going to hold in your arms any time soon.

At the same time, I’m trying to remain positive about this.  Maybe I missed something the first time around.  Perhaps that’s why I get this do over.  Maybe it’s meant for me to do this right…right from the beginning.  Or maybe it’s a sign that I can have both dreams and this time around, I’ll see how I can have both.

Whatever lessons are to be learned, it may take years before I figure it out.  All I know is that I get a redo in life.  Not everyone gets something like that.  This time there are no band-aids in life.  It’s just doing the right thing from the start.

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