The rain is falling hard and fast on the roof. Spring rain. The kind that will tamp down the pollen. The kind that will turn everything green. It is a good rain and I am grateful for it, even as I pull my fleece around me, protection against the chill it has brought with it.
This evening was fast and furious. Children and friends all piled into my house, all coming and going at once–exactly as I like, the messiness I relish. I talked to a new friend on the phone and hearing the sound of her voice made me want to cry. I had so much to say, I felt the words wanting to tumble out all at once. There were so many questions I wanted to ask her but I don’t think I even got to one. Too in awe of actually hearing her voice I babbled on. I needed hours to untangle all the things I wanted to say, but a lifetime or a weekend to untangle all the things I longed to hear. “Tell me your stories” I wanted to beg her. “Tell me all of them. How you met your true love. How you came to this place. How you decided to write. Tell me.”
But now it is quiet. My mind is quiet. The evening’s projects for the most part are done. My stories, her stories, our stories they remain untold. And all I hear is the rain.
I am in a place right now of waiting. Of stillness. Of silence.
I have so many stories to tell. I have told many of them here. They have been liferafts for me. They have healed me. They have made me laugh and sing and cry. And now that they are told they are floating a bit away from me. They have done their job. I am watching them go now.
There are other stories to tell but they are not ready. Some are stories I need to hold close awhile. Others are stories that are incomplete. I don’t know how they turn out. I don’t know what they mean. I don’t know where they will go or how they will unfold, except for the fact that I believe they will unfold exactly as they should. I know that in the pit of my stomach. I know it in the crevices of my heart. I will wait for them to end in their perfect way.
I am at the place in between chapters. Where one has ended. Where another has yet to start. I am at the place on the page where the emptiness is pregnant with possibility.
As much as I want to say, as much as I want to tell, as much as I need to ask I have only this. This white page. This emptiness before me. As much as I want to fill it, to rush to the ending to tell you how it all turns out, I cannot. And so I sit. And wait.
There is a doorway in a courtyard at the end an alley off a street in Miami Beach. I went there one night with my dear Jackie and Dolores. We were sneaking off the beaten path looking for a place to steal a forbidden smoke, to sit awhile away from the rush and the glamour of South Beach, to hide from some pretty fierce winter winds.
We turned the corner and I looked at the tree, the arched doorway, the heavy wooden door, the adobe building, the wrought iron gate, the sign. And I knew it. Instantly. From a dream. It was a dream I had had months before. It was a dream that had haunted me. It was a dream I had told Dolores about just that morning on the beach–so rich and vibrant and luscious it was. It was a dream about her husband Morgan. I dreamed that I met him here at this doorway, in this courtyard at the end of this alley in a far away dream world. I dreamed he was a healer and that I was coming to be healed. He had waited for me at the door for a long long time but when I finally got there the hour was late. He was locking up for the night and so instead of walking through the doorway we turned and we walked back home–past the tree, across the courtyard, down the alley and onto some dream world streets.
In my dream we walked to a bridge. I would cross that bridge leaving him on the other side, waving and bidding me well. We talked about family, about love, about acupuncture on that walk–about a mutual friend who we both loved dearly, about loss and about finding our way back home. We told our stories on that walk and then he turned away and went into his home to live the next one. It was so real I cannot wrap my head around the fact that it was a dream. But it was.
Back in Miami Beach, we sat, all three of us in hushed reverence. Thinking Holy Fuck. I can’t believe we are here. Right here at THE doorway–from THE dream. To know that it was magical and unknowable at the same time. To wonder what could possibly come next?
That is what it feels like to be in this space. The space where stories end and where they begin again. So I sit. Crosslegged in the courtyard. And I wait.
Awww…yeah…I’m so smitten with my community, is it true. I couldn’t help myself. Had to post about ’em. But…aren’t they good y’all, these friends of mine? They are so talented but more than that–they are so damn fun.
I love that I have friends that sing and play for me. I love that I get to hear these guys around a campfire, in my living room and around the corner on a regular basis. I love that music, played joyfully is a part of every day in our life in one way or another.
I am a lucky girl.
And did I say it already…these guys– they really do rock.
Back when I was in my teens or very early 20s I had a vision of my future and it looked like this: I would finally make it, be wildly famous if only in a small circle, have lots of friends, and life would be largely effortless.
The things that would be difficult, I imagined would be amazing challenges–like hiking up high Asian mountains, or writing THE speech, or winning some national prize. I imagined that things like getting the laundry done, remembering birthdays, matching my clothes and looking passably fashionable would be so old hat. Certainly things like caring for children and getting a healthy dinner on the table and the grocery shopping done–that stuff would be done breezily in no time flat, leaving me lots of time to struggle nobly with poetry, and science and other meaningful critical important stuff.
I read this post today by Jena–Her blog is often a mirror for me–I go there and see so much of my own internal world reflected. In her post I recognized so clearly the way I sometimes hold the ordinary regular old stuff in my life. I wonder why it is 20 years later and I am still struggling to figure out how to get the cat fed and the recycling to the curb and the kitchen floor mopped, why small things can leave me feeling a bit flustered and why I do not have a perfectly ordered and neatly wrapped up life like “everyone else”. Or I stomp around grumpily through the mundane wondering when I can get through it, when there is going to be time to be brilliant and glamorous the way I imagined it would always be. Fortunately, I recognized too my own eventual settling into the notion that really at the end of the day I am enough. Happily enough.
I am so thrilled to be regular and unglamorous. To not always have it together. To screw up and make mistakes and learn.
Yesterday Jen Lemen talked about many of the things that leave her feeling foolish. Oh I have my list too. Many of them are mentioned above. Jen and I spend hours giggling over all the ways we play the fool and yet in this laughter I see beauty reflected back at me. I look in this mirror and know that I am exactly perfectly who I need to be right now. That its quite OK to be able to the kind of person who doesn’t always hold it all together so neatly but instead who runs around with life spilling over her arms, dropping pieces of lovingly constructed color along the way. Flawed but authentic. Jumping in with both feet. Getting messy. Living now.
And just now, I stood at this mirror. How crisply I saw my reflection in Bella’s story even though the contours are so very different. I am on the otherside of my divorce and am truly healed and yet the echoes of who I once was are still there. And I wonder what that means. Like Bella, after a long struggle to overcome difficult things I am used to being in healing mode. I laugh with glee when I realize that I am actually on the other side –not in the thick of it anymore and have to giggle when I say, “What is my excuse now? What is holding me back”
And speaking of now, I also today found this little gem at another of my favorite places to go for comfort–Cheerio Road. I thought Karen Maezen Miller just hit it perfectly–this notion of what it means to live in the moment. To be present NOW. Its so cliche, so chic these days to talk about THE NOW as though you need some special sort of wisdom, you need to have obtained some special enlightenment to live in the present. I am printing this post out and taping it to my mirror to remind myself that there is no future when I will be glamorous–there is no time when it will all fall together. There is no time when I won’t play the fool. There is no time when I will forget what happened in the past. No–there is only now. With me in it, enough–more than enough.
I am tonight standing at my mirrors, gazingly lovingly at soulsisters who hold themselves up so that I may see myself clearly. And am thankful.
Last night as I was wrapping up my paid work, getting ready to come home it hit me. I am feeling so unfocused here at my job because it is all head–no hands. And I am itching to get out of my head. Get my hands dirty. Make. Do.
I have a job that is very much about thoughts–abstract ideas that get turned into memos, brainstorms that get turned into processes, random thoughts that get fleshed out through conversations, dreaming, and synthesis. It all happens in my head.
It used to be that I was most comfortable in my head. My head ruled the show. My thoughts were ever present, noisy, a little general trying to direct the winds of my life. Working in a heady job made sense. My brain, my non-stop thoughts, the ever present swirl in my brain–thats where all the energy was.
But over the last several years I have made a conscious effort to move out of my head and have realized that I am happier living through my gut and my hands. I am craving work where my hands lead.
I think about my acupuncturist alot. She listens, she watches, she observes. Then she thinks a bit, draws from knowledge . It is integration of heart, head and hands. After 20 minutes of talking and thinking, it is her hands that go to work. They take my pulse, they palpate to find points, they pick up and insert needles. They work. Silently. Instinctively. Very cool.
Truth is, I am happiest when my hands are leading. I love the moments in my knitting when I am not thinking–my hands just move, do what they do. I love training them to wrap themselves around a guitar neck. I love to hold a knife and chop chop chop–carrots, garlic, onions. I relish the feeling of instinctively reaching out to touch someone I love to make a point, to wrap my arms around a dear one, to brush their hair or a tear out of their eyes.
For any of my colleagues who lurk over here from time to time do not fear–I am not plotting to leave my precious job. But I am thinking I need to integrate my hands more into my life–to get rooted more in my hands. I am out of balance–too much head–no hands and my heart is trying to swing the pendulum the other way.
I want to build a treehouse for Max this summer. Saw wood. Measure. I want to spend hours feeling the sunshine beating down on me while I let my brain stop its chatter and instead hammer nails, one after the other. Build something out of nothing. I want to learn to throw a pot. I want to dig in the dirt. I want to hold people I love.
I think this spring I will focus more when I stop thinking and start doing. When I let my hands guide me.
Take these hands and let them lead me home.