My Peter says I should mention my praise for a little Indian restaurant in Tucson.  So here I go- never wanted to be a person who blogged about what they are eating…

Let me back up for a moment and say that I recently met a dear friend at another local Indian restaurant- that shall be nameless.  It has been in operation for many years.  Peter and I had our first meal together there.  The food is decent and the woman who owns it is, well, cranky.  Peter calls her the “cranky lady” and we accept that when we go.  He even enjoys it, being from New Jersey were cranky proprietors are quite acceptable, I am told, if they do a good job with their product or service.

I have not been to this restaurant in a while, and I thought intentionally of going this day to patronize them.  It was cold and rainy and I was early for my meeting.  No greeting or seating was offered so I simply sat down and waited.  Nothing.  I went and found the lady and she was true to form, cranky, when I asked for tea.  Tea was delivered, not particularly good.  My friend arrived and it was expected we would eat the buffet and no service would occur.  We ate, it was decent.  We visited a long while and only once perhaps was there service- she came and removed our plates.  I wanted more tea but was uncomfortable asking.  It seemed like she was annoyed we were there so long but it was pretty empty, so we weren’t taking up valuable real estate.

When I got home I didn’t feel well.  I don’t think it was the food but the whole experience was distasteful.  Why go there at all?  Why feel uncomfortable when I am patronizing her?  Why was it so empty?  Does she treat all of her customers this way?  If so, no wonder there is so little business on an ideal day for Indian buffet lunch.  Was she mad because her business was slow?  If so, this was not helping.  If I was unusually brave and kind, I would tell her what I am thinking- which is I do not feel inclined to come back there.  I would give her a chance to understand the effect her attitude had on me and her business.  Instead I will simply chronicle it for us all to consider- how are we behaving that may be adversely affecting what we hope for?

Now on to the delightful surprise I had at lunch yesterday.  A small restaurant formerly called “Amrutha” and currently called the “Curry Leaf”.  It opened a while ago and we patronized it a few times.  What was unusual is that they served some South Indian food, which is more uncommon- dosas, idili, sambar.  The décor was odd and the food was only alright then, but you could sense there was an Indian family determined to succeed.  With the name change and some renovation and a new menu it felt like a new place, yet the same owner was there which made me happy.  The food was delicious, the service warm and friendly, the prices perfect for a weekday lunch.   Next time I know where I will suggest my friend and I meet for our long visit over our meal.

Try making your mealtime harmonious by avoiding upsetting discussions.  A nicely set table also adds to the pleasure of eating.  So does a smiling face, a cheerful word, a beautiful flower or a picture.  Bless your food, and enjoy it. ~ Indra Devi

What is hard about being present…

Research seems to indicate that when we develop this basic embodied presence, we are integrating brain functions and naturally down regulating emotional re-activity.  We are able to align more with present moment reality- what is actually happening now versus what we think is happening now.  What is called for right now, versus fight/flight/freeze patterns that take over when we are triggered.  This also allows us to be more intentional, to steer our ship where we want it to go, not get thrown off course again and again.

What is hard about being present in this way is that the door to the unconscious or subconscious is more porous.  We are aware of more than usual and can be overwhelmed and flooded by unprocessed past material.  This is where the crying comes in for instance- you are crying for past hurts and losses, it is a form of release and catharsis and healing actually.  Ideally we let it happen, we feel it through and out, we are then more at peace with our feelings and our past experiences, and ready for new and different experiences too.

Yet a lot of us, are afraid of these feelings- afraid to be taken over by them, stuck in them, defined by them.  Oddly we are attached to some of them too, they are part of our story of self and we aren’t quite sure of who we would be without them.   They come up to consciousness and we reflexively stuff them back away.  This is where a rigid concentration practice can be a distorted meditation practice- you are using the practice to hide rather than heal.

With this said, such suppression (conscious or unconsciously initiated) can serve a person if they don’t have the capacity, context, or support to feel it directly right now, or the experience triggers them into a highly reactive or disassociated state.  Sometimes this unconscious blocking is actually a survival mechanism.  When we see the blocking and make a conscious decision “I can’t go here right now”- that can be a skillful, mindful response.