New Meditation of the Month Is HERE
Newest Puppy Pics are HERE.
Astrology is obviously complete nonsense…and yet annoyingly it’s almost always completely accurate.
This Mercury Retrograde period was incredibly brutal on pretty much everyone.
(Just ask Facebook!)
My website began having minor posting problems and then completely collapsed.
It took about 20 hours and two tech services to get the malware removed and everything back up and running.
For a nanosecond, I enjoyed a blissful moment of freedom from tech-trauma.
And then my iPhone was accidentally destroyed.
Five different Apple Support operators gave me wrong info on the iChat, telling me there wasn’t a replacement within a hundred miles.
My only option, they said, was to have one rushed by mail which would take 3-5 business days and a $1500 deposit until they received my phone back.
What was most infuriating though, was that several of the chat operators suggested I call AppleCare directly.
Typing in all caps I had to keep reminding them The Entire Problem was…I DIDN’T HAVE A PHONE!!!
Despite their discouragement, I kept my appointment at the Genius Bar and––perhaps miraculously––within 15 minutes had an exact replacement phone in my hand for $99.
Fittingly for Mercury Retrograde, the online info was wrong.
The Soho Apple Store had two of my model in stock.
I’m not saying it’s the equivalent of traveling to Mars in terms of a profile in courage, but in 2021 I heroically managed to survive for 23 hours without an iPhone.
Some technology, however, lately has been my friend.
My favorite example involves crate training my puppy Vladimir.
When we’re at home together, he sincerely likes his crate very much.
After a crazed playdate in the dog park, he’s actually eager to return to his private space, knowing there’s always a treat involved.
Yet the first time I was planning on leaving him alone––for a 40 minute local haircut and beard trim––as soon as the front door opened, he began whining and yelping.
All the dog training sources say he’ll stop but it’s torture to think that while you’re being groomed, your puppy is having an existential crisis.
Technology saved me.
Vlad simply had his first Zoom meeting.
I recorded him in my office and returned to replay exactly what had transpired during my absence.
Basically, he yelped for 4 minutes and then slept for 36.
As I’ve increased my solo trips, I’ve continued the practice.
And if you want to see his attempts to make me feel guilty after a trip to Trader Joe’s the video summary is HERE.
(The footage is gripping mostly since you can see his acting skills when I return, about 45 seconds into the video.)
Another Mercury Retrograde-esque experience I’m having is real life information overload.
Specifically, Vlad is way too popular.
We live in an enormously large (1000 units), dog-friendly hipster complex.
He has so many new friends, my memory has reached its capacity.
I’ve mostly mastered the morning crew who meet in the baseball field across the street for runs.
Key members include Luna the German Shepherd, Zylo who’s an adorable and gentle mutt, and Mr. Wiggles, who’s a big black tank of a dog.
And just FYI, alongside his reunited sister Dua, Vlad definitely has a best friend.
His name is Malibu and he’s a husky/shepherd mix (pictured above).
They were born a week apart (they’re both sensitive Pisces dreamers) and around the same size.
They have extremely compatible play styles which means that I’m never worried, even when they are roughhousing like gladiators.
Watching them is enough to restore anyone faith in goodness.
If you want to see a dog run moment with them, you can watch one HERE.
Here’s the saving grace of the dog park:
No one expects you to remember the dog owner’s names.
It takes quite a while (the equivalent of a third or fourth date) for people to even ask another human’s name.
Those who frequent the park, however, do have an encyclopedic recall of how old Mr. Wiggles is and when he’s getting neutered.
(Next Friday, just FYI).
Although not needing to know any new human names helps me out, it does reinforce a bad habit from years ago during my active yoga teaching days.
I was always polite and welcoming.
I introduced myself to students but I could feel newcomers names slipping out of my brain the instant after I said them.
During my annual corporate evaluation, however, I forgave myself.
It turned out that over the course of a single year, there had been over 5,000 unique visitors to my classes.
That’s a lot of “one-class stands” to keep straight in your head.
I needed to free up space to remember new things such as there’s a black lab puppy named Ralph who wants to play but doesn’t have all his shots.
Or that beautiful RZA (pronounced “Rizza”) is basically the Beyonce of the dog park, aloof and magnificent.
When most of your work is focused on online platforms, having your website vanish can feel like a form of self-erasure.
This week, I often reminded myself of the phrase from Alfred Korzybski:
“The map is not the territory.”
Even though my website was down, I was actually perfectly fine.
The platform, in other words, is not the person.
There are even some advantages about vanishing from the electronic universe.
During my “harrowing” 23 hours without a phone and my 3 full days without a website, I did have to spend a moment or two re-strategizing.
For example, thinking “I’ll just take an Uber” and realizing you actually can’t without a phone.
And, just FYI, if you google famous people without cellphones, you learn that list includes Elton John, Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Simon Cowell.
Of course, they have vast entourages following them around with multiple cellphones.
I’ll never forget, for example, having a celebrity assistant (I won’t say whose) in a yoga class who apologized but insisted she needed to keep three cellphone on the mat in front of her at all times.
She promised to keep them all on vibrate.
It seemed her job (or more likely her life) was a stake.
I sighed and said OK, provided she put her mat in the back row.
Note: this is against every yoga studio everywhere’s policy but I figured this was someone who really, REALLY needed the yoga.
Mercury in retrograde isn’t actually a bad thing.
It’s meant to be a time of editing, of paring down and cleaning out closets.
It’s a time to revise and even finish projects.
And I actually did find a new level of clarity with something I’ve been struggling with writing.
The structure that had been eluding me suddenly became obvious.
I’ll be announcing some new things ahead but mostly I just want to share now that I hope this was a clarifying period for you as well…
That we all get to decide what’s essential to remember (Malibu and Mr. Wiggles).
And what’s OK to forget––like the owners’ names, and old grudges, and an internet troll that surfaced amidst the chaos.
Even if life forces us to temporarily unplug, it’s all going to be OK.
Like the aforementioned celebrities, Vlad still doesn’t have a cellphone…and he’s doing just fine.
And honestly, I’m 100% thrilled when I now get introduced in the dog run simply as “Vlad’s Dad.”
Namaste for Now,