Reverse psychology

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, December 29, 2013

You. Yes, you.

You are no longer allowed to have New Year’s resolutions, by decree of the highest court in the land, signed and dated this 29th day of December, 2013. It is expressly forbidden and punishable by law. So don’t even try.

When the ball drops and we’ve turned the page on 2014, all pending resolutions must be quashed. You must be standing there without resolve, fresh, clean and stress-free, mainly because the highest court in the land wants you to be happy. At least for a little while.

So …

No standing there in the middle of main street on Jan. 1 all cold and tired from a big night, gripping a cup of strong black coffee and pretending to window shop, pretending to stare at that watch you really like and would like on your wrist as you actually think about making better use of your time and how that resolution might go — something like, “Those lazy 10 minutes in bed before getting up are now the property of your new self. And your efficient new self knows what you can do in that amount of time with a good list to tick at. Put in a load of whites. Sort the unpaid bills. Fill the birdhouses. Meld the honeys. Iron the 14 shirts you haven’t worn in months.” And so on.

You’re going to stop all that, which, by decree, is no longer allowed. The birds will survive without unlimited seeds and nuts, just like they have for millennia. If you don’t iron, you won’t burn yourself on the iron or struggle with the cord or knock it over. You’ll wear sweaters. Every day. Or cotton jersey, right out of the dryer. You’ll be liberated, un-starched and happier. Maybe one day, you’ll actually want to iron again and maybe then you’ll be allowed to. But not now.

On the first of the new year, you will not be standing at the counter having that piece of spelt toast thinking now is the time to 1) not stand while eating anymore, and 2) not eat so much butter. You sit down all day some days, remember? And your brain needs fat. By nothing less than a writ, you are encouraged to rebel and do just the opposite. Gain a new perspective by enjoying standing, doubling the butter and even doing it over the sink. Hunched and in a hurry. And if someone else is doing it in your life and it bugs you, you will not in any way enable them to think they need to change, to resolve to change.

Because at the present time, the authorities do not want even an inkling of whatever general malaise you feel because you think you should weigh less, or work more, or read more books, whether they’re about geology, or Greek gods, or carbohydrates, or carbon footprints, or codependency or having less anger in your day. The projects you’ve never completed shall continue to pile up in 2014 because it is not only unadvised but against the law to complete them. Set it all aside, in a pile! Enjoy the pile in your mind. Enjoy the heaviness and the having-ness of the pile, the fact that you have things to do and work on in this life. Just not in 2014. There will be other years for all that.

And, whatever else is going on, there is not to be any trimming the tree of your character. Leave that tree alone. You came with a certain number of ornaments and lights and garlands and your job is not to scrutinize and refashion or amend in 2014. Make zero promises about changing. Fervently, try not to improve yourself. Don’t think of other resolutions you’ve made in the past years and edited, and do not think to yourself “Wow I haven’t made good on these resolutions in six years.” That alone is reason enough to stand there, mute, staring in the mirror without judgment.

Hey, dog walker: Stop resolving to do something else with your life. Hey, accountant: Stop making bucket lists. Hey, jitterbug: Stop endlessly saying this’ll be the year you drink less joe. Hey, pretty much everyone: Stop saying you’re going to stretch more in 2014, that a stretching routine is in your cards. Because it’s not. All of you resolvers, addicted to resolving and feeling the tug of it as we approach dropping-ball day — just stand there. Resolve nothing about nothing.

Because by decree and for the good of all, in 2014, we are taking a break. Permission granted to all to breathe a sigh of relief.


Transcribed from the original…

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, December 15, 2013

Transcribed from the original letter, dated December 13, 2013.

Dear Michelle,

True, true, I don’t generally reply to letters. And I’ll admit it was the missus who suggested I make an exception – not because you’re particularly needy, or worthy, or unique, my dear, but because I know I can count on you to type it up and send it to your local newspaper for publication. Right?

You might mention how good my handwriting actually is, even to this day. I take my time with it, use fountain pens and such. A graphologist would say the big loops prove I’m of a philosophical bent, which is correct except when dealing with the reindeer, then it’s just a lot of discipline and shouting and sometimes even my swatting a broom at them. Blitzen drives me nuts most days: he’s fast but he can be careless and a bit vain. Plus, the flying, because it’s an act of will, has to be relearned every year; I simply cannot explain the subtleties and challenges of this.


My devoted wife also wanted me to tell you – just so you know it’s really me —  that that recipe you’ve been looking for, for the snickerdoodle cookies your mother used to make is in the old wooden recipe box about halfway in, mistakenly filed under Appetizers, right next to the cream puffs with blue cheese. People sure did love those cream puffs, didn’t they. Anyway, the wife says you could find the same exact snickerdoodle recipe online and that the Betty Crocker version is what Millie Standish gave your mother in 1964.

In re-reading the letters you’ve written these past few years, it occurs to me that maybe you don’t realize how many adults actually do write to me. I don’t think many people realize. In fact, these are the most poignant letters of all, adults writing to Santa. It would break your heart to read them – or crack it wide open.

Now, I’m not talking the kind of people who would enroll is a workshop to learn to write a good letter to Santa Claus — people wanting to get in touch with their inner child, or their sense of wide-eyed belief, or wanting to un-calcify their imaginations. People, in other words, who metaphorically never learned to crawl and now want to go back, get down on their baby knees, and unfetter themselves enough to write me a letter.

No, the letters I’m really talking about are from the people in dire need — who have nothing to lose by writing to an old man in a red suit who cares more about children than anything else on the planet. These are the people, and there are plenty of them, who, for whatever reason, have surrendered, gone far beyond the point of anger and resentment and bitterness and are simply asking with a sort of scrubbed-down and naked sincerity: Help me. Help me get me through this. Help me carry on, sleep at night. Help me breathe.

They are the ones asking for spontaneous remissions for their children, for their marriages to survive, for messages from the dead. For loneliness to end, for hope, for a safe port in whatever dark, roiling, and lashing storm is working them to the bone. Without saying so much, they are asking to believe in tomorrow, to be present when the sun blazingly rises and shines one more time and hits them square in the face.

Mostly, they write in private, you know. They send letters without signatures or addresses – as if I didn’t know who was writing and where they were from. But the fact is they’re writing from a place where everyone is the same, where everyone is one person, and every voice of need is all of ours.

So for all you adults out there who have a hard time with the holidays because you feel cynical, or lost, or confused, or dead tired, I’d like to say a couple things: One is to keep writing me, whether the postmark is Esalen Institute or East LA, because it’s a good practice. The other is hold fast to life and not give up. To make room for healing and to take responsibility for whatever light – big or small — we can shine.

Rudolph wants me to add sometimes we shine where least expected and the light may be red. Ho, ho, ho!  Good one, Rudy!

In closing, Merry Christmas. Especially to all the adults out there who need me most: you know who you are–


Don’t spare me the details

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hey, just in case.

In case I get up in the morning already chomping at the number one task on the number one list, already back in last night’s thoughts, the ones sputtering like grease in a pan before I drift off to sleep. In case I forget that my old-seeing eyes can be freshened every day with things like light, surprises, a magnifying glass or my palms on closed lids for a second of peace.

In case I get lazy or bored or take things for granted or don’t make room for something a little harder to handle but worth it.  In case I start looking at nature as if were part of the furniture, or the furniture as if it weren’t a privilege to sit on something soft and comfortable and cozy. In case I idle too long in one place without noticing what’s right out the window or the breeze coming in against my cheek. In case I stop rolling down the window.

In case I start thinking that life is all material world and bills and piles of stuff. That it’s all about me and my body and ego and personality and the three percent of the brain I use, the forty or so percent of heart and who knows how much spirit. In case I forget the power of my five senses to reboot my take on things at any moment of any day. In case I lose track of what’s real – and in case I think I know what’s really real all the time. In case I flag, and stand there under a twinkling black umbrella sky, thinking, “Is this all there is?”

Whichever case, give me details to set me straight. Shove me up against the wall with them and then once I’ve surrendered, let the rich particulars of the world spill out of their gilding for me. Gifts — if only I will let them in.

Give me a panoply to remind of abundance in my life, the ridiculous show of riches that are mine. Give me sliced lemons, and mint, cardamom, pomanders, orange blossoms, eucalyptus. Give me the smell of oil paint, the smell of graphite, of pencil shavings, of shorn grass. Give me leaves, turned yellow and tossed in the wind. Give me the mountain air in my nose, and wood fires and chestnuts and wet woolens and wafting perfume in a spiral stair. Give me the earth of spring and the rot of fall. Sweet berries and sticky, piney resin dripping from a tree. Give me every taste bud on active duty and five senses acting more like fifty.

Give me pocket watches and owls and fountain pens, dark clouds, bits of paper, wooden matches, scrawled words, silver dollars, cactus blossoms, babies’ heads, gold tassels, Lucite, insect wings, the pants on crows, a cat in a window, candlelight, pressed handkerchiefs, old movies, gold ink, grey mists, clear lakes, and elk snorting in the snow. Give me things I’ve never seen, heard, or smelled before. Give me to patience to be there for them.

Give me a hand in mine, soft looks that cannot be described, a child’s quick smile, pealing laughter, cool sheets on a hot night, the smell of someone’s skin. Then give me silence. And dreams that weave their gold threads through a tapestry of days.

Give me sunrise and the leaping heart to witness it right. Give me heavy cream in my coffee, a heavy blanket, a blanket of snow, the sound of familiar footsteps, familiar songs, music like dental floss through my ears. Give me stained glass, cathedral spires, buttons in a box, brass zippers. Give me city lights. Dripping icicles. Sand under my feet. Shoulders relaxing. A yawn. A sneeze. The feeling of feet, my feet, firmly rooted on Earth, Mother Earth. Give me bluebirds following me, post to post. An eagle sitting tall in a tree and then – miraculously – taking to the air. Give me the sound of those wings, of flight itself.

This is my Thanksgiving prayer, my prayer for the holidays – to raise details to their rightful place and pluck them like sugarplums one by one. May we all have the grace, gratitude and imagination required to truly savor their sweet harvest.


Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, November 17, 2013

It is nearly midnight and you have just arrived in New York City. It’s your first day of vacation, and your first vacation in a long time. The approach, right over the city, is unbelievable — lights for miles in the crystalline black of night, Manhattan Island like an ornate jewel, pulsating, scintillating, set apart.

In the silence of the taxi, you scream quietly through streets, over the Robert F. Kennedy bridge and then down through East Harlem toward your friends’ apartment.

You haul your stuff up and settle in the guest room, the one next to the bathroom that has better water pressure than any hotel you’ve ever been to. Which is one reason you left New York all those years ago, because of the carbon-footprint mindbender of fantastic water pressure three floors up in a city of 10 million.

Though you’re tempted take a hot shower, right then, instead, you reach for your carry-on and unzip it, given that the toiletries are right there on top.
When you flip it open, however, you don’t see your cleanser. Or toothpaste, or little pills. Or the Ziploc holding them — or anything else. Instead of your clothes is a pile of brochures sitting loosely on a stack of men’s socks. White socks you’ve never seen before. And shirts. Someone’s shirts. That you don’t recognize.

You drop the flap and freeze. What is happening here? Who are you? All of a sudden your hands aren’t your own. You feel like you’re in a movie, a dark comedy written by people who hate you.

It occurs to you then, as you launch yourself into the bathroom like a missile, that it is your companion who has taken the wrong bag down from the overhead compartment on the plane! You tell him he’s made a terrible mistake, terrible! Spitting out his own perfectly packed, tracked and traveled-with toothpaste, he tells you the mistake was probably made in Denver at the gate check cart. Because there was only one bag to take from the overhead, which is the one he took.

Where is your silver carry-on, then, the one purchased specifically not to look like the hundreds of plain black ones? Now, of course, it’s obvious: This silver thing is not yours at all. It’s scuffed. There is a tag with a phone number on it (708!), which you call and text to no avail. Maybe this non-existent, faceless man has gone off without any bag, had a heart attack and died. Where does that put your bag, though, a bag without identification of any kind?

Numbly, you fill in the required online form, which is pointless unless you have checked your bag (in the future, you never even hear back). And then you start to think about everything in that bag, the only bag you have ever really been proud of packing, since you are a worthless packer, the kind of packer who, despite lists, panics at the end and either packs too little or too much, and then throws stuff in indiscriminately. This time, you have spent an entire week editing the bag for New York and for 10 days abroad. All the gifts for the relatives (12) have painstakingly been packed as well. There is plenty of underwear. The right ratio of shirts to sweaters, jeans to other pants. You have even packed a safety pin.

The next day, fully discombobulated, you find yourself buying pants and underwear, and even though you love this particular store, you cannot think straight. Can you travel to France with two pairs of pants and a shirt? Arrive with no gifts? Your companion leads you around like a person trailing an IV. You might as well be wearing a backless hospital gown because that is how it feels.

While in the dressing room, a call comes in. Finally: white-socks. His phone has died but now he’s received your message and, boy, this is a catastrophe because he is about to go to a conference without his brochures. He quickly tells you that you’ve obviously picked up his bag first since he was sitting in the back of the plane. Huh? Utterly unnerved, you take responsibility. And two days and $360 later, you are reunited with your bag and he, presumably, with his.

You force yourself to forget the money and proceed to have a fantastic trip. You narrowly miss running out of gas (see six rainbows that day, in fact). You narrowly miss having your wallet pinched in the Paris metro (you feel his hand on it and see him flee). You narrowly miss a major flight-canceling storm in Europe (you get driving rain and flapping shutters in Paris).

Somehow in the great pachinko machine of cause and effect, it all evens out. Which is reassuring. But that doesn’t change the one take-away from this:

Tag the bag, sister. Tag the freaking bag next time.

First snowflake (the 99-year interview)

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, September 29, 2013

The sky is blue again, bluebird-blue, and the post-summer sun, more than ever committed to its last deeply golden moments, streams down in gushing rays, skipping across exposed human shoulders. There is no intention to burn a tissue layer off the most fledgling of earthly inhabitants, but sun’s potency is formidable.

This having been said, a dusting of white snow covers the peaks. Two days prior, a torrential rain has eventually turned to sleet and then — unequivocally — to snow itself. Mid September. No one has any way of knowing, but this year, the ducks score highest on the shock scale. They don’t like it one bit.

First Winter Snowflake, meanwhile, now a drop of water, has somehow found its way into an interviewer’s palm, who stares at it, wondering where its voice will come from. So far, all the micro-puddle has uttered is a sigh, which the interviewer hears quite unmistakably.

MCW:  [speaking aloud to the center of her open hand] Hard to believe—
FRSTFLK: [throat-clearing sound, without a throat] What, that I can talk? [The voice is sweet and crystal clear, like a fairy the size of a ladybug. With a microphone.]
MCW: That, yes. But, I mean… [hushing] this whole thing.
FRSTFLK: [jiggling happily, like mercury] You mean the whole enchilada? The universe? The gestalt, the hologram, the whole ball of wax? I was told you humans might not even be able to hear my voice, let alone be in wonderment of it all. I guess that element of surprise is your unique gift. Of course, crows were given a smidge of that. Cats think they have it. But humans — they surprise us all the time.
MCW: Hate to disappoint, but I really just meant the elements of talking to a snowflake were hard to believe. No mouth. No brain. It’s like talking to a—
FRSTFLK: I beg your pardon? No brain? [the droplet sways slowly, and, in doing so, the interviewer sees a convex reflection of her own face in the drop]
MCW: I mean, that I can discern. Is your voice different when you’re a snowflake? Can you even speak all frozen solid and flat?
FRSTFLK: For your purposes, no. The crystalline snowflake vibration is out of your audible range. And of course, each of our vibrations is slightly different … because we are all different.
MCW: So, it’s true then. [pauses] No two are alike.
FRSTFLK: [emits nearly inaudible peals of laughter] Who would make that up? Of course we are. [giggles until the very air trills]
MCW: It just seems so … farfetched. To all be so different and so beautiful and so … perfect.
FRSTFLK: Everything is farfetched! [her exclamation pings, like a Tibetan bell] That you pull on pants with pockets is farfetched. Then put things called money in the pockets, or shells, or little messages out of sweet folded-over cookies that remind you how sweet and folded over life is. Or what about this: that you blow air onto your head to make those protein filaments puffier or flatter depending on what you started out with, flatter or puffier. [whistles, high and clear] Wow, baby.
MCW: True—
FRSTFLK: [interrupting] And we haven’t even gotten to the natural world. How about furry stripes on a bumble bee? Lightning cracks across a lavender sky? The segments of a blood orange. An ant’s elbow? A geode filled with its own city of minerals?
MCW: OK, I get it! [about to throw hands up]
FRSTFLK: Watch it! First flake here. Sacred droplet. The only one who is allowed to speak at all — and 99 years out of 100 it doesn’t happen.
MCW: That should have been my first question. Is there really a first flake of the season?
FRSTFLK: [sweetly] Oh, my, yes! And it’s me!
MCW: Then, like, who decides? When did it happen? And how did you land here in my palm?
FRSTFLK: We all decide together. One is chosen.
MCW: You all … decide … together.
FRSTFLK: Yes. Because all snowflakes are connected. We’re part of one big, huge, gigantic snow complex called winter. We are one. We unanimously selected me to represent. And I chose you to interview me because I know you interviewed a hummingbird, once. And there’s only really one thing I came to say — before evaporating at which point I become part of an even bigger thing called the—
A large and lumbering golden-haired dog suddenly bumps into the interviewer, knocking her elbow and hand down. Eyes wide, she feels the drop loosen, a drip form.
MCW: Called the what? Called what? Please!
From far, far away, the interviewer thinks she hears nano laughter, Tinkerbell-ish and exotic. She is rapt, utterly rapt until she feels golden dog’s wet black nose shove itself up against her and lick not only her palm but all her fingers, whatever delicious secrets lost for another 99 years.

Best peach recipe (ever)

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, September 15, 2013

Prep time: your entire life until now
Actual prep time: 5-10 minutes
Ingredients: peaches, heavy cream, honey

1. Invite someone nice over.

2. Take out a bowl. There’s a white bowl from my childhood, a milky white one that I don’t remember ever not seeing growing up, the one that used to go with that big red-handled spoon. It’s the bowl everything was made in, and it represents everything to do with bowl-ness.

So take out a bowl that reminds you of my white bowl. Since you probably have lots of bowls at this point in your life, 3. Remember what it was like when you just had one. One bowl that was everything, form and function, essence and beauty. You can’t help but remember all the things the bowl contained: a bowl of batter, a bowl holding hard boiled eggs and cold water, a bowl of empty mussel shells. A bowl of icing. Of tuna salad. Of chicken bones for stock. Of milk with tapioca soaking in it. Of cookie dough, carrot salad, of vinaigrette in the making.

4. Take one of those peaches you bought last Friday off the counter, feeling its micro-prickers and dense, thudding softness in your hand, and think about the last time someone rubbed one against your cheek, or held one under your nose. The last time someone did that for you, moving the smell of peach toward you like a summer dream, that small gesture that made you swoon. It’s been so long, so, 5. Do it for yourself, and then, 6. Do it for your friend.

7. Consider your first peach. Did you even have teeth yet, or was it squeezed into your tiny pink gasket of a mouth, your gums resisting its slick texture until, sucked in, your eyeballs bulged in surprise and delight? What is a baby thinking of as a piece of peach flies into its mouth on the wings of a mother’s airplane hand? What letter-free micro thoughts? You could have more of those, you know, because they would most certainly serve you.

This time, it’s a big, organic, ripe peach from just down the road two hours and you are going to 8. Peel it as best you can with a paring knife, the kind of knife that used to peel cucumbers and potatoes and slice cheese before you had three peelers and a cheese slicer. Maybe you never really learned to use a paring knife. In this case, just use your thumb and the blade to gently lift off sheets of skin until the entire peach is denuded, smooth and slimy to the touch. 8.5.  Take your time. 8.75  Slow down even more. 9. Stare at this ingenious, golden-orbed package of juice.

10. Slice all the way around the peach with the knife, following its natural cleft. For each half, cut four or five slices, knocking the sharp blade against the rough pit at the center and then letting the slices fall into the bowl, then 11. Give your friend one to peel and slice, and, if you can, 12. Remain quiet, allowing the sound of peach slicing to dominate. Because soft and subtle sounds have their own earth shaking power.

12. Simon says lick your fingers and then wash your hands.

13. In a saucepan, heat up five tablespoons of high quality thick honey — redolent of flowers or grasses or beeswax — until it is liquid and warm. Remember how the sun feels on your shoulders? 14. Think of that as you pour the warm honey over the naked peaches.

14.5. Slide the mixture from the pan back into the bowl, scraping out any remaining honey with a rubber spatula and, then, more gently than you have ever done, mix the peaches with the honey until the glistening mass is one.

15. Set two bowls out and two spoons and 16. Divide the peaches, letting them tumble into loose piles.

17. Take out the heavy cream from your refrigerator and show your friend how much to pour on top of the peaches. (A lot.) 18. Add a little more than that.

19. Instruct your friend to start eating while everything is still warm (honey) and cold (cream) and room temperature (peaches), and 20. Do the same yourself.

Because this is summer in a bowl. Just as fall is a mass golden leaves falling like coins, and winter is the blue-white buckle of water becoming crystalline, and spring is life reaching up with all its green feelers toward the sun. Summer — the peak and essence of summer — is peaches, dripping with sweetness, in a simple white bowl.

Queue meditation

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, September 1, 2013

Start with several deep abdominal breaths — in for four, hold for four, out for four — trying not to think of the movie you just saw, the program in your hand, or the line you are in for whatever. This is the movie. You are the star of it. It is a movie about being in a queue and about meditating in one. Only guess what? You don’t have to write any dialogue!

Maybe — given your spotty history with meditation — this will be better in the end, seeing it as a story about a person meditating. You’re brilliant, imagine that. Brilliant at this thing called meditating. What does it feel like? If you play the part with conviction then maybe the part will start to play you. You’ll become authentic by virtue of your runaway imagination. Wouldn’t that be great.

On the other hand, maybe movies make one less authentic. What if they’re movies about meditating though: Wouldn’t that somehow make it more viable?

Let’s see, movies with actual meditation scenes: you are not Forest Whitaker in the mediation scene in “Ghost Dog” and certainly not Julia Roberts in the meditation scene in “Eat, Pray, Love,” not if you are lucky you aren’t. If anything, you’d want it to be as good as that hilarious meditation scene in “Hangover 2” — that is, if this were a comedy, which it’s not.

What it is, is a drama: you, in a movie line, without a companion. Alone. It’s serious. Life is serious. It’s philosophical. There’s duality — or is it dualism. What is that again? There must be movies about it — Swedish ones, or German ones, or shorts. Maybe you’d be more authentic if you saw more philosophical movies.

Are you aware you just sighed, sighed as if it were all so … tiring? Get back into your body right this instant: You’re thinking too much! Stop using words and stop having thought bubbles. I don’t know, the thought bubbles are probably fine if you fill them in with color. Or water. Or light.

Mmmm, yum. You smell coffee go wafting by. Is there such thing as a smelling meditation?

Coffee guy with the nice jacket finds his place in your line next to a woman actually reading a novel as she waits. Don’t make assumptions about how fascinating they probably are. Shakespeare said it: All the world’s a stage. And these actors? Well, are some far more powerful and riveting than others. Oh god, listen to yourself: If you were the kind of person who meditated, you would not be judging people. You would not be comparing people in the line to yourself. It was a thin novel.

Wait a minute, no wonder this is impossible, you forgot to close your eyes! Put on your sunglasses and then close them. Feel the little plastic thing on the bridge of your nose. It’s just you, the sunglasses and your closed eyes: that’s it. And the patchy, unreliable sun that is blazing hot when it wants to be and then pouf, it’s cold out. These mountains are real, no doubt about that. Maybe they are what’s really real.

Was that a raindrop you felt? Because that flimsy plastic orange poncho in your satchel is a last resort, at best. Only 10 minutes until you go in, the perfect amount of time to sneak in some weather-permitting meditation.

So feel the air on your face and breathe: in for four, hold for four — ignoring the woman behind you talking about that movie you wanted to see earlier but couldn’t get into and therefore couldn’t tick off. Good lord. Have you become a ticker offer?

Wait, is that the line moving already? Really?

It is moving! Ahhh. Feels so good to be going in. Surrounded by a sea of people, all moving in the same direction. Feels so good to find a seat and plop yourself in it and just sit there staring at the screen. Feels good to smile once the very last seat is taken and the lights go down and the theater becomes dark and quiet for a few brief moments before the story begins. And wow it feels so good to experience the slow, even rising and falling of your breath now happening so naturally. To relax, to fall into someone else’s story, to allow it to fall into you.

And there in the black, facing the same direction as everybody else, anticipating without really anticipating, your heartbeat finally slows, your mind finally lets things just pass through. Almost as if … you were meditating or something.