Without Vices 1


I hate and loathe self-help books. I am embarrassed to confess that I read The Secret because many of my friends insisted that I must read it and found it to be a bunch of gobbledygook. The summery of its essence is that I should spend my time fantasizing about expensive luxuries that I can’t afford and when unfortunate events happen in my life they are all my fault because I wasn’t positive enough in my thinking. Other self-help authors seem to communicate “My life is great, don’t you wish you could be like me?”.  Apologies Mr. Self Help, I am glad that you managed to get everything sorted out in your life, but we can’t all make money selling “I am fantastic, what is wrong with you?” message.

Therapy is not for me either. The thought of paying somebody to care about me seems fundamentally wrong. The same way paying for sex seems fundamentally wrong.  Certain things in life should come for free or not come at all. If you are paying per hour for love, care and understanding, is it really love care and understanding or some perverted version that looks the same with a far more sinister undertone?

Then there is Yoga, I heard many raves about the magical, life altering powers of the downward dog and sunshine salutation. I wanted to march with the army of the faithful and join the chorus of those that sing the praises of ancient wisdom.  I tried one Yoga studio in my neighbourhood and went faithfully twice a week. When that failed to yield any benefits, I decided to try another and another place.  Fish pose, butterfly, tree pose, warrior pose, camel, lotus pose, frog, cobra, eagle, pigeon- all were attempted with dutiful effort. The only part of Yoga that seemed natural was sitting cross legged on the floor, having grown up in the Middle East, that part was only one that gave me no challenge. The enchanted qualities of Yoga alluded me from one studio to the next until I had declare defeat. Perhaps Yoga does yield benefits to other people, but Elen is not made for posing nor animal impersonations. Whatever nuggets of wisdom there are to be reaped from ancient culture of India, I am yet to grasp a single gem of it.

Then there is meditation.  I am not sure I know what it is, therefore I can’t tell you what I think of it. I went to a group meditation session and when I asked the instructor: “What is meditation?” everybody in the group started laughing, but no explanation was provided. I am glad I gave that group some laughter because most of the time they seemed way too serious and boring. My mind is way too restless to be empty of thoughts. Furthermore I realized that it is not in my nature to be peaceful, I am too passionate, too engaged, too curios to be a peaceful person. So whatever meditation is, I eventually gave up on it as well.

So what is a woman in crisis to do? When all the wisdom of the east and all the commercial vices of the west fail to provide a suitable answer. Unfortunately, yet again, I had to find my own way.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Without Vices

  • tracey

    Enjoyed your post and your writing!

    I’m with you… never tried therapy, am too stiff for yoga, did meditation years ago but found myself opening my eyes and peeking at the others. Never liked the mantra the bearded man gave me. Ha.

    What is a woman in crisis to do? Create. Love. Read. Think. Those are all forms of meditation.

    Just like all the bazillion diet plans which eventually get debunked, quick fixes for happiness never work. The people I know who spend their money on self-help books and therapists and their anti-depressants, are the most unhappy people I know. The best way to love life is to live it, which doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but the beauty of life is that we never know what is around the corner.