Friday, January 20, 2012

A Manifesto of Sorts

So, it will probably be healthy for me to get this out:

I'm an addict. I serious, unrepentant, not recovering, addict. When exposed to my triggers, it's completely beyond my control. I just can't say, 'no' to books.

I can't let myself step into a library more than once a week, at the absolute most, because it doesn't matter why I went in, or how strong my resolve, I will crumble, and I will embark on a shameless reading binge.

It's been that way since I was a child: reading interfered with my social life, and kept me from participating in school.

Just today, I got a call that a tarot book I'm inordinately fond of had been put on the hold shelf for me. Taking the ONE book I had gotten from the hold shelf a couple weeks ago, I promised myself I would return this book, and check out that book, and that would be that. I had two more on their way to the hold shelf already, an issue of Yoga Journal, a copy of The Tablet (Brooklyn's finest Catholic newspaper...), and half an issue of the L to get through. I did not need any more. I dropped the old book in the book return, I found my tarot book waiting for me, I turned around toward the self check-out, and a little voice, one I know so well, whispered, "You could just take a peek at the Staff's Picks. You don't have to check any of them out! But you know, what's the harm if you pick up just one?"

Overcome by the urge to touch those laminated book jackets, to read those clever summaries, I made a beeline for the shelf...and hauled five books over to the self-check-out. I checked out every one. Clutching them in a lopsided armful to my chest, I hunched forward, and ducked out the door, sure someone was going to tell me I'd had enough. Wild-eyed with the high that only comes from that old book smell, I scurried down East 5th street, berating myself for my lack of will-power.

Yes,I know, it's pathetic. I'm a grown woman. I should know better. I could at least maintain a higher level of functionality by restricting my reading habit to bedtime, or making better use of my Nook, but the truth is, I don't want to. I live for reading.

Call me crazy, call it wrong...I'll never give it up. For my life, after all, is about Stories. I'm a writer, teasing twenty-six letters to give me meaning, beauty, and an unimaginable depth. My career, my mission in life, is to divine the stories waiting in my heart, and put them on paper, and to divine the stories of other people, to empower and equip them with the tools to write, and live, their own story. The books that teach us about yoga? Most of them are stories. The tarot is itself a single great story, the story of the human race, with smaller arcs of consciousness, single lives, embroidered within it. Meditation allows us to quiet the stories our minds constantly make up, stories we too often thoughtlessly live by, so we can tap into that greater story, written by the universe, in which we aren't the main character any more than the nice man that runs the laundromat down the street is. In that story, we write our own role, our own ending. The stories of our minds can leave scars, can lead to illness and damage. Reiki is a way to heal that damage, to balance a body and spirit thrown out of whack by a story that didn't serve. To become whole and healthy, tracking down that wrong story, and rewriting in the correct one is essential.

My voracious hunger for books, for stories, allows me to be innately familiar with them, with the ones we tell ourselves. It allows me to recognize a story, no matter how deeply buried it may be by rationality or reason. It allows me to assist in the incredible act of another person's birthing a new story in which they succeed, instead of fail, and more importantly, in which her or his victory is not at the cost of another's.

Tell me a story. Help yourself heal. And all together, we'll heal the universe...

live Omily,


  1. Everyone needs an indulgence; books are yours! Enjoy! xo style, she wrote

  2. With the library by my side, you've got to admit, it's cheaper than fashion ;-)