yoga

Meditation, Demonic Possession, and You!

5 Ways to Get Yourself Possessed by a Demon

I went to an Evangelical, Fundamentalist junior high and high school. We trended more Pentecostal through elementary school, but since I changed elementary schools 11 times, it was tough task to pin a solid doctrine to me then. One consistent thing throughout, though, was that my institutions were serious about demons. If there’s one thing you don’t want, children, it’s to get possessed by a demon. My 4th grade Sunday School teacher, Miss Kathy, was the first to share the truth bomb that there were demons in the room with us right at that second. She felt we were old enough to know the truth. But don’t worry, they were outnumbered by angels, so we cool. She also broke the news to us about the Persian Gulf War when other grown-ups didn’t think we needed to worry ourselves, so she’d established her reputation as a reliable adult. She was really nice and pretty, so I was gonna listen to whatever she was on about.

Lucky for us, Christians can’t become possessed, except under special circumstances. With regular Bible classes, chapels, and Bible studies beginning in 7th grade, I was given a solid curriculum about how to keep from letting my spiritual guard down, lest a demon slip in. There are a few ways that the demons can get into a Believer:

  1. Meditation. Best to stay away from yoga altogether. There are literal demons all around us, just waiting for us to do maximal breaths while we’re in Shavasana. Then, just when you’re like, “Is this what it feels like not to be freaked the fuck out?” — Bam! That’s when they get you.
  2. Drugs. Did you know that the Greek word used in the Bible to mean “witchcraft” is pharmakeia, the same word for drugs and pharmaceuticals? Drugs and witchcraft are interchangeable as far as Paul is concerned. (We don’t call him “Saint Paul,” because all believers who have accepted Jesus are saints. That’s why Catholicism might be a cult, whereas this particular strain on non-denominational Christianity is the nonsense-free path to salvation.) Anyway, don’t smoke pot if you don’t want to get possessed. And stay away from antidepressants, too. And if you’d prayed harder, you wouldn’t have cancer right now either, so get your shit together.
  3. Witchcraft. See above: It’s as bad as marijuana. So avoid hexes and spells and shit. Oh, and Dungeons and Dragons. You will legit get expelled if you’re caught playing Dungeons and Dragons. Lord help you if you get high and then play Dungeons and Dragons. It’s like you don’t even want to not be possessed.
  4. Method acting. You just gonna let those characters waltz into your body like that? How you gonna get them out when the director calls “cut?” That’s right, you’re not. We’re not saying to totally avoid the arts, because otherwise it’s going to be difficult to witness to the homosexuals. We’re just saying be careful out there, and just do line reads where you try putting emphasis on different words and see how it sounds.
  5. Hypnosis. What are you, dumb? This is the #1 way demons get into your body. You better believe that a hypnotist’s office is teeming with demons, waiting for some dumb Christian to come in to get help with smoking cessation. Demons also hang out at the Orange County Fair; they travel with the warm-up act. You know, the magician that makes audience members cluck like chickens before Steppenwolf comes on at 7. Those demons leap into you as soon as you close your eyes.

As a young person who took my faith very seriously, this was scary as shit. Goddamn demons trying to get into me? I’d better keep my guard all the way up. That hypervigilance, it turns out, is very difficult to unlearn. Now I’m an adult with fibromyalgia, the treatment for which can include a combination of drugs, meditation, yoga, hypnosis, and occasional witchcraft. Fuck method acting, though. Ain’t nobody got time for that much rehearsal.

The chronic pain I experience is the result of prolonged stress and trauma. If you look at brains of healthy people vs. brains of people with my diagnoses, the brains like mine are gonna have more gray matter… Almost as though I could never let my guard down, lest a fucking demon get me. Where there should be space for executive function and positive aspirations, there’s instead just a bunch of neural super-highways to the sensation of pain. My job now is to rewire it all through the curative powers of previously forbidden activities, and by avoiding things that cause undue stress. It’s hard.

IMG_5432I’ve got a new yoga studio I like. (One Down Dog in Eagle Rock and Silver Lake, if you wanna come try to get mellow with me. I’m in all the yin and restorative classes, and in nothing called anything like “Sweat,” “Sculpt,” or “Butt.”) I’m seeing a new, good rheumatologist at UCLA. I even embroider every once in a while. All of this is in an effort to unlearn the hypervigilance that makes me sick. But mostly I alternate between watching the news and watching my highly acrobatic and strong-willed four-year-old; I observe that my right eye hasn’t stopped twitching in at least three weeks; and I get stressed out that I’m not calm enough. And lately, I haven’t been sleeping well because of the prospect of nuclear war with North Korea, among other treats unique to our era.

But at least I’ve never yet been possessed by any demons, best I know. Unless they’re hiding in that excess gray matter.

Namaste, b-words.

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The Sleep of Champions

Last night I had a dream that I went to a yoga retreat on a tropical island. And you were there, and you were there, and you were there. We were checking in for the meditation competition and warming up, like you do. We were catching up and laughing, drinking pre-game cocktails, and waiting for our spouses and boyfriends and girlfriends and partners to get past TSA so we could all enhance our calm together. At the competitive level.

We couldn’t see what happened from our lanai, but we could see the water rising and the people running. We were all safe, those of us who had already checked into the meditation competition.

The recovery effort was grim. Four-hundred local children had been swept into the river, plus many of our friends we had hoped to meet after the meditation competition. The recovery effort focused on the children. We hoped that our missing friends had found shelter. Brenna was caught in the deluge. But rescuers were still able to resuscitate some of the children. They aren’t healthy after recovery. They can’t eat or drink. We can tell the babies are dehydrated because their diapers are dry. They seem like the only try thing in the city. There will be a second wave of tragedy when the starvation sets in, unless we can figure out a treatment for the bacteria they picked up in the river. I offered to take up praying again, but the baby’s dad said it wouldn’t help.

We’re walking the walls around the river, looking for friends in the alcoves and children floating in the water. We’re safe, but we the guilt was consuming us. We couldn’t stop writing 8,000-word think pieces about what we saw.

Anyway, Happy Inauguration!

Zombie Pics (with Gender Reveal)!

My terrifying fetus pal wants to eat your soul.

My terrifying fetus pal wants to eat your soul.

Earlier this week we did our 20-week ultrasound. Remember when I did the 12-ish week ultrasound and the Fetus Pal looked like the Mars Attacks! alien? Well, that’s still happening, but slightly more terrifying.

It took for fucking ever to get this adorable soul-eating zombie pic, and we had to use our good friend the transvaginal ultrasound once again (in spite of promises made at the last visit that they would be able to see everything they needed over the belly from now on). The Fetus Pal now has a long history of being stubborn during ultrasounds. The last time we saw hours of fetus ass while we were trying to get nasal bone measurements. This time we couldn’t see much of the head because the legs were up in the air in what I believe is generally referred to as the halasana, or plow pose, giving us a fabulous view of scrotum for miles.

How the Fetus Pal has situated himself in my uterus. Photo from www.yogajournal.com.

How Fetus Pal has situated himself in my person. Photo from http://www.yogajournal.com.

So, it turns out it’s a boy. The ultrasound tech printed out a picture of fetus penis and handed it to Andy to show the grandparents. She said with a thick (let’s say) Ukrainian accent, “Here is baby penis. Is 100% boy. You show picture to your mother and tell her ‘grandson.'” So that’s how it came to pass that Andy was walking around town with baby dick-pic on his person for the rest of the day. The tech went on to say, “I need measurement of face. Let’s see if I go over here and– No, is just more scrotum. I’m going to try like this and– No, just scrotum but from different angle this time.” It went on like that for about an hour and a half. It was super comfortable and sexy and not at all awkward, just like all transvaginal ultrasounds.

We were planning on keeping the baby’s sex a secret until it was born, but both of our moms were so sure that we were having a girl (because of something something psychic powers and the spirit world) that I was having a hard time keeping the news in. Also, if we didn’t let our moms know it was a boy soon, they would continue to set aside items for their inevitable granddaughter. The winner so far has been this lacy, leopard-print diaper cover. We’ve also received a pink, flowered beanie, and I just learned that a pink vintage doll was in the process of being lovingly restored. Now we can switch to the time-honored football/gun/grizzly bear/motorcycle motif that goes with having a grandson.

For Sexy Babies

For Sexy Babies