Buddhism or Booze?

Jun 10

You can’t go oooommm again.
Or can you . . .

Hello Bitter Fans! I’m back blogging after a 3-year hiatus, caused by the illness and death of my wonderful husband, Lou, plus several crises at his building in New Jersey. More about that another day. But meanwhile, I am a bit jittery, as you might expect, and am seriously seeking serenity.

This is not the first time.

Way back in the late sixties when I was a mere flower child, I studied every means of spiritual enlightenment on the planet, including but not limited to: hatha yoga, a macrobiotic diet (that lasted about 10 minutes), group therapy, talk therapy, bio-energetic therapy (a mind/body thing), Reichian therapy (Orgone box, anyone?), not to mention a purely social amount of pot and hashish, LSD (just once) and psilocybin (Once was enough!). And, of course, transcendental meditation., AKA TM. I have my very own mantra, and unlike Jeff Goldblum in Annie Hall, I have never forgotten it.

Back in the day, it was “TM in the AM and TM in the PM,” as the Maharishi Yogi would say, plus all those asanas, assorted consciousness-expanding exercises and mind-altering substances.

Did I achieve serenity?

Well, not really. But I had a good time. And didn’t do anything really stupid, like overdosing on drugs, or joining the CIA.

This time around, I’m a bit older (a-hem), and most of the things I did in my somewhat misspent youth are off the table. Or the floor. Even yoga, which could exacerbate my back issues, and certainly not group therapy, which I really didn’t like even back then. Anyone remember those ‘trusting” exercises you had to do: falling backwards into the arms (You hoped!) of someone who’d catch you just before you hit the ground? No way, Jose’. Been there, done that.

So in my quest for peace and serenity, or at least a good night’s sleep, I turned, briefly, to Buddhism. The operative word here, people, is “briefly.”I went to one session, then met a friend and had a stiff drink.

It’s not that the session was bad. Au contraire! It was very . . . serene. I liked the leader. The people seemed nice. It made me think about forgiveness, living in the moment, and letting go of expectations. It’s just that I realized that Buddhism is not (DUH) a quick fix. And a martini is.

Richard Gere Does It!

From what I gather, becoming a Buddhist takes a lot of time and more effort than I can muster at the moment. But the results seem to be remarkable. The adherents are so nonjudgmental and seem so at peace with themselves and the world. No mean trick in the current political climate. I’m told that Richard Gere (and yes, Buddhism is NOT the first thing you think of when his name comes up) is comfortable in his own body (and if you were a Buddhist you would not be snickering about that) even in Tinsel Town.

I know, I know, alcohol wears off, sometimes leaving you more down than before. And it has calories, lots of them.

And yet. I do so love a good martini. The whole ritual of it. The ordering: Made with Belvedere, very dry, straight up, and unlike that Bond dude, stirred not shaken. And just so you know, shaken produces too many of those nasty little ice chips, which (GASP!) dilute the vodka. Oh, and extra olives. I like the giant ones.

The glass. Don’t you love the shape? My hands were so made for this glass. In fact, just after I had complained to my nephew Ben that I was dropping things lately (Lose your grip, anyone?), I literally caught a martini glass in mid air as it fell from an ill-stocked shelf.

This moment was not serene, but very uplifting. So to speak.

And the Moral of the Story Is. . .

Alas, my friends, Buddhism loses out to booze. In the short term anyway.

But before you start sending me info on AA , I must point out that in spite of all my ravings, I actually don’t drink that much. And most days, it’s just a glass of wine, not the hard stuff. I just really enjoy those martinis when I do indulge.

It‘s been said that an alcoholic buzz is very low on the list of religious experiences. But what the hell. How many religious experiences have you had lately.

And the olives must be good for you, right?



  1. Silvia Arcari /

    cin cin😘👸🏻! so happy to read you again!!

    • Silvia Arcari /

      Hello!!!! Siiii!!! OMMMMM-OMG you are back!!!
      Just so you are clear: we Italians believe in a little prayer a day keeps…
      the bad spirits away… and Martinis are VERY excellent spirits so…
      get ready to pray with moi every day when i get to you!!Ooommmm!!

  2. Silvia Arcari /

    Thought this hysterical: when i read back my comment, it says”your comment is awaiting
    moderation!!!!” how inapropriately appropriate!!!cheers!

  3. Jennifer /

    Why not booze AND Buddhism?

  4. If it works for you, go for it!

  5. I think a regular day one night a week, maybe Martini Monday, should take care of the booze part. Now the Buddhism part, perhaps we should find out what Richard Gere thinks. Couldn’t hurt!
    Welcome back oh not-bitter one.

    • Only one night? I get only one night? Well, maybe if I could have Richard Gere (or George Clooney) the rest of the week. I could get very serene.

  6. Gary Poole /

    Looking forward to getting your clever blog.
    I missed it so much! Sharp, witty and so you!
    Welcome back.

  7. I myself love yoga and trying to understand/integrate Buddhism into my life, but I agree – sometimes you just need a drink! And truth be told, savoring a drink is akin to the practice of mindfulness (two birds, one stone!).

    • As I said, it’s a religious experience. Of sorts. Next time I will be very mindful, especially about the olives.

  8. I also vote for booze. So much better for doing alone (not too often I hope) or in a group.

  9. Sara Coe /

    Missed your insights about life, with humor and style. Left coast is great, but miss you!

    • Oh, Sara, miss you too. But remember, you can go oooommmm again. At least for a visit!

  10. Love olives. I’m not a martini drinker. Preferred drink is beer – but not the tasteless stuff. Good craft beers. Amber ale, Belgian wheat, Irish stout –
    serenity – always reminds me of Seinfeld and serenity now.

    • Beer is booze too! Especially the good stuff. And whatever leads you to serenity is a good thing.
      Thanks for the comment!

  11. Oh Pat, so glad you’re back on the keyboard! Here’s my suggestion: booze, Buddha, and Xanax. That triple combo can get a gal through anything.

  12. NOW you tell me! It’s been a rough three years, but I’m glad I’m back too. And thanks for the comment, Elf.

  13. Nancy Lombardi /

    So glad you are back! I missed your posts! I hope you’ll give us your wit and humor on a regular basis again.

  14. I’ve faced a similar conundrum for many years: yoga or yogurt? (Preferably frozen and chocolate-flavored . . .)

  15. Sooo good to see your blog again…I missed it…I missed you …Very happy to see your blog again. With much love and appreciation. Aunt Loretta

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