This is for The Birds!

Oh, the woes of urban monkdom. I know it sounds ridiculous, but before I took my vows, my first monastic dilemma was whether or not I could go see The Birds on the big screen in downtown Berkeley. It's running tonight and has been on my calendar for ages. I know, I know...paying money (which I don't have) to see ravens pecking out the eyes of alluring blondes doesn't exactly support the goal of quiet, stillness and listening for God. But it's the big screen! And it's Tippi Hedren!

No really, it's Tippi Hedren. With ravens. 

And so, what to do...what to do...? I could argue that since it was on my calendar before I even knew I'd be taking vows, it should be grandfathered in. Plus, it's been only three days since the ceremony; I've not exactly had time to immerse myself in the sounds of silence. 

On the other hand, horror films (even (or especially) classic, genius, Hitchcock ones) are bound to stir up fear and discomfort. Mega-doses of adrenaline in the system will not help me settle into prayer or soothe any of the other frazzled parts bopping around inside. 

Aw, who cares? It's one little movie; it's not your whole life! What's the big deal?

Well, that's just it. One little movie adds on to one little cappuccino, which adds on to another episode of Breaking Bad, which adds on to Mango Mintra Martinis at the Mint Leaf, which adds on to the Himalayan Festival at Live Oak Park, which adds on to a poetry reading at Diesel, which adds on to Chromatic Fever playing in Kensington (which definitely adds on to at least one whiskey) and before you know it, nothing in life has changed. Nada. 

I obviously adore all these things and more, and I don't intend to erase them completely from my world. This year is meant to explore the intersection of real life and spiritual practice, not to cloister myself in the Hills with 45 cases of Phoebe's cat food and a closet full of Lara Bars! Still, it would be all too easy to continue making this exception and that one, especially for a hedonist such as myself. I'm trying to learn how to exercise restraint - not because I think there's value in deprivation, but because there is much to gain from knowing how to go without and not feel deprived, how to live from a place where less does not automatically equal lack.  

In the end, I've been rescued from the torture of having to choose between Hedren or no-Hedren. I've come down with a wretched cold and my body is so weak I've been doing all my prayers from bed. (Yes, there will be at least one post on praying from bed.) I couldn't possibly trot myself down to the theatre for a 9 o'clock show tonight. I can barely make it to the kitchen for soup. My nose is chapped and my ears so plugged it's doubtful I could hear anything of the movie but the annoying screams. No, I'm not going anywhere. Boo for missing authentic Alfred on the big screen! But hooray for the gods making an executive decision. And this cold? Well, this cold (here it comes, it's so bad) this rotten cold is simply for the birds!


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