My Grandma was a hippy. Like, a serious, original SoCal hippy, long before the word was even invented. She came originally from this teeny conservative (even by the standards of the day, which is saying something) town in rural Ohio, and went to Hollywood after the war when she realized that she wouldn’t otherwise escape marrying the boy next door who, I grew up with her telling me, was boring as sin and had a mole on his nose that would have driven her crazy until she probably tried to chop it off in his sleep and ended up decapitating him. It’s a good thing she had stars in her eyes… !
Her Hollywood career was short lived on account of her complete lack of talent (her words) so she moseyed on south and spent the next few decades playing her guitar, communing with nature, and raising first my mom and then me, both times alone. She got into yoga and meditation at least 30 years before everybody else, and cackled like a maniac at least three times a day over the most random things, and never wore a bra in her life.
That was a super long (and kind of rambly, sorry) way of introducing that I grew up with her various philosophies on life, many of which were inspired by Eastern disciplines which have now been twisted into cod psychology of the kind that people post memes of on Facebook and think it makes them seem deep. I remembered one of them last night.
My amazing mood this week threatened to shake a little when the Viking announced that we were invited to drinks with his lovely crew. Even though things are great with us – to the point that I couldn’t care less what his buddies think of me – I still wasn’t exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of coming face to face with them. Especially the girls for the first time since they blew me off.
But then I started to think about my Grandma this afternoon, and remembered how she used to talk about setting your mind to neutral. The idea is that when you have expectations for an event – good or bad – you put vibes and pressure and screwy stuff out into the universe. If you expected it to go bad, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, and if you put too much pressure on it going well, it doubles back and bites you on the ass. Something like that, at least. She always said to empty your mind and let whatever will be, be; she believed that being neutral and open to the universe rather than demanding or scaring away good stuff, lets everything just be as it should and more often than not, that is a good thing. She could describe this a lot better than I can!
All the same, however inarticulate I may be at explaining the philosophy… it worked! We went to meet the Three Headed Monster at a trendy bar a few blocks from our apartment, and on the way there I reminded myself to be neutral and neither hope nor dread. The Viking and I got there first and sat at one of the tables out in the sidewalk, basking in the glow of the evening sun (the light in Stockholm at this time of year is just breathtaking), and enjoying our first drinks. The three of them arrived together, and I admit I had a moment of my heart jumping into my mouth when I caught sight of them walking towards us, but then I firmly reminded myself, “neutral” and smiled casually. Not hoping they would be my friend, not daring them to be jerks, just open to however it was.
Maybe we won’t ever be the four best friends that ever there was, but the evening passed pleasantly, and that is a huge step up. Hockey Girl and I went to the bar together at one point, and she apologized about last Friday and I said it was no big deal, and she seemed really relieved and, just maybe, she’s okay. ABBA Girl is still weird and stand offish, but you know what? That’s her problem. She sat quietly as I asked Hockey Girl about her work (she is a lawyer, and the Swedish legal system is pretty unique and genuinely fascinating), but it was her loss as I enjoyed the conversation.