Meditation and Gratitude

(The real names of the people below have been changed.)

For the first time, I leaned in during our dedication of merit, the part of the meditation session where we dedicate our sit to someone or something.

“I’d like to dedicate the merits of my practice to those who have shown me kindness and compassion. We often forget that in a jungle of hurtful people, there are those who still help.”

I didn’t say it exactly like that. I never speak as clearly as I write, but I finally spoke out because I meant what I said.

Most of my life, I’ve focused on negative people. I’ve often referred to them as “my enemies”. I thought that if these people were not in the picture, I would feel respected and understood.

My Buddhist reverend stresses the importance of compassion, reinforces it through repetition. It took years of going to practice for it to finally seep in. People have been compassionate to me, and I only wanted more from everyone.

Pam was the only person who talked to me in high school without me having to open up first.

Albert helped me when I was trying to make a movie. I wanted to be known as a young man.

Donna invited me to a party at age 23 when I hadn’t been invited to one in years.

Tanya set me up on a date when I couldn’t even get a hello from a woman.

Gabriel helped me be more confident about myself when I did get more dates.

Professor Dan sat me down and helped me set up this blog.

Ellen is my friend today and is always on the lookout for potential career contacts.

Mom and Dad did so much that they cannot be thanked enough.

I can’t owe it all to mediation. Meditation was the tool. I chose meditation because there was something in it, something I needed to sharpen my awareness and love of myself. I helped Marc first. Then, the door of perception opened and allowed me to see the things I needed see at the pace that I could bear.

I don’t know how I made the choice to help myself. Somethings will always remain a mystery.

Stuck in the Middle: A Flash Memoir

“Tell her that she’s not my friend anymore,” Tina, who was sitting to my right, said.

I turned to Linda, who was sitting to my left, “Tina said that she’s not your friend.”

“Tell her I don’t care,” Linda said. “She’s not mine.”

I turned to Tina, “She said she doesn’t care.”

“Well, tell her I don’t care either and that she’s a liar.”

I turned to Linda, “That you lied that one time and she doesn’t care.”

“She doesn’t?”

“No,” I said.

Linda looked around me, to Tina.

“You don’t care that I lied?” Linda said.

“What?” Tina said.

Two minutes later.

“Yes, you were, Marc,” Tina said. “You were trying to get us to fight.”

“But you told me to tell her all that.” I said.

“You didn’t tell her everything I said.”

“I did.”

“You’re mean, Marc.”

“But I didn’t do nothing.”

Life Lesson #2: Drama loves company. Do as little favors as possible.

Reservoir Dogs and Theme Analysis

As an adolescent, I believed that that tagline of a movie was its theme. If I wanted to know what it was about, I looked at the movie poster.

Christmas 1994. I opened my brother’s gift to me. Reservoir Dogs on VHS. The tagline: “Four perfect killers. One perfect crime. Now all they have to fear is each other.”

“Hey, this movie’s theme is that there is no honor amongst thieves.”

July 4, 2015. I was thinking deeply about friendship and trust. In my mind, I gravitated to Mr. Blonde and his friendship with Nice Guy Eddie.

Mr. Blonde was loyal enough to do prison time for Nice Guy Eddie, but he turned out to be unreliable for the job that Nice Guy Eddie had for him.

The list of imperfect relationships went on:

Mr. White bonded with Mr. Orange, but Mr. Orange was an undercover cop that meant to bring down Mr. White.

Mr. Pink had been friends with Joe since he was a kid, but expressed mistrust for him.

Mr. Orange looked to Detective Holdaway to mentor him on undercover survival, but Holdaway is just doing his job. He might not have the concern for Mr. Orange that Mr. Orange believes Holdaway has for him.

My new Reservoir Dogs theme: No friendship or bond is perfect. Both their development and their maintenance is as unique as the next.

I’ve read many books on story analysis and development. They all helped as a writer and a critic. But it was a lack of a close circle of friends in my teens and 20’s followed by the longevity of new friendships that have allowed me to see the film in this light.

The tagline was my training wheels. I can ride on my own now, soaring down the street or falling off. With age, I realize that no one (not even tagline writers) know more than anyone about the nature of this world. We’re all figuring it out until we die.

Who knows what Reservoir Dogs will be about the next time?