I grew very fond of this cake last weekend. I could relate to it. Yes, that's it, I emotionally identified with a pink, artificial cake from Vons. The photo does not do justice to the obscene, girlish pinkness of this thing. In the midst of a weekend retreat of purity, contemplation, and organic food, this cake was a reminder of my own absurdity and artifice. I was assigned to the task of cake-keeper, since my trailer had a big enough refrigerator for the thing. Silently I carried it over the kin-hin footpath to the trailer, believing that mindfulness could sanctify even a fake strawberry cake. That was on the first night. The second night, we ate leftover slices at 11 pm with our bare hands and went to bed slightly ill.
My first zen retreat so long ago was semi-sacred, so exotic and intimidating that I was scared to break any rules. Now I'm questioning the benefits of sitting on a cushion for hours and hours and more aware of other ways to "practice." To test that idea, as well as to counterpose my usual tendency to obey rules and be a good girl, I skipped a lot of the sits in favor of hiking, writing, and helping in the kitchen.
Plus, my sitting practice wasn't going anywhere that I could discern. I mostly kept thinking of pop songs. I have a lyrics problem. Sometimes it feels like every one of my emotions has already been described in a pop song, but I usually suppress the urge to point that out. Say I'm feeling, "You're cute and you make me happy." I stick to my own inexpressive way of saying things when I'm really thinking in Weezer-ese, "You're just like Buddy Holly and I'm Mary Tyler Moore." And in meditation, forget it, I might as well just be listening to my itunes on shuffle. I felt an interesting sensation of fire coming up my core and water washing down the outside. And so I started singing in my head, "You and I are like when fire and the ocean floor collide." Thanks, Saves the Day. Really? After 10 years, you are still stuck in my head?
The lyrics that I really couldn't get out my head this weekend were from the song "Lust for Life" by Girls: "I'm just crazy/ I'm totally mad. Yeah I'm just crazy/ I'm fucked in the head." Which never felt so true and so irreversible. But we're here to stay, pink cakes and my crazy head.