Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In which our heroine rocks

Okay, I am tooting my own horn because I feel good. For over three weeks I have written my morning pages, without missing a day. Sure some of it is me dumping my neuroses on paper but it's better than it just rolling around in my head. This morning I woke after having the most amazing dream; it dripped with rich symbolism and it made me cry with joy at what it showed me about myself. The dream became my morning pages because I don't want to lose it. Ever.

Monday I had a tiny e-article due through this agency I signed up with and I thought I had it half written, stored safely on my computer or on their website. Double no. Instead of panicking, or at least not completely, I got on the stick, did the research and wrote it fresh. Then I received notice that they approved it. No rewrite, no nothing, just approved. Wow. I went to the assignment section and picked another three articles to write.

Yesterday I completed all the work I could do on the database for Greg & Janet, a day early. Today, I wrote and submitted two of those articles I picked up on Monday. They aren't due until March 1st.
Who is this efficient person I've become? Seriously it's amazing. I bounced around the house with more joy.

Later while sitting on the couch suddenly in a tiny window pane, level with the floor, was a red tailed hawk settling on a branch. This is the second time while here that I have gotten to see one of these incredible creatures from above. Hawks, specifically red tails, have been showing up consistently, pointedly since March, after I left Dayton. It seems like I should pay attention to what this might mean.

When I was much younger I identified with cats, in many ways I still do. There is a certain understanding with them, a kinship almost. Though a partner, unintentionally on their part, I began an attachment, an resonance with bears, particularly black bears. It seems to fit on many levels.

I just did a search about the meaning of red tailed hawk and the first page I clicked just reeked with meaning, even referencing my dream, goals I have been working towards. The lesson for this totem: "Discover dormant abilities". The red feathers that distinguish them until they reach sufficient maturation. Red was a key color in a piece of my dream this morning. This page talks about kundalini, the unfurling of the energies. Again this references my dream.

Before seeing the hawk, I was so happy from the dream, from delivering work ahead of schedule, for writing two articles in the morning that I felt like I was expanding, soaring. The changes I have been experiencing, the awakenings I have been having are so tremendous. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be made aware of a bird of prey, that something that flies would speak to me, but it seems like that something has shifted. It seems to fit because as BC pointed said:
"moving from thinking you can do something to knowing you can do something is huge - i am proud of you for taking these steps to make your dream reality"
I am almost at the point that I can say aloud that I am proud of, oh hell I can say it. I am proud of the work I've done; moving from a dream to really practice my chosen craft, something I have wanted forever is do breathtaking

It all feels so complete and full, and yet there is still tomorrow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It lives in the body

For the last few days I had flits of thoughts of happy, butterflies and puppy dog tails, posts but today has kicked all of that out. Truly I have been having some wonderful days, even yesterday but then it hit. Despite feeling really good, despite knowing it was anniversary time, I thought I would escaped unscathed. Oh that damn hubris.

Friday was the one year anniversary of declaring my last relationship over, soon it will be one year since I got in my car and drove out of Dayton with plans only vaguely in place. It has been an amazing journey so far as some of you might know if you've been reading this blog all that time. It's true I did not talk about the problems in the last relationship and I promised that I would not air the contents of what happened. I have, for better or worse, kept that vow I made to myself. There are times I have wanted to spill the vessel of stories, of my truths but I knew there was no way to do that without letting loose something that would then be beyond my control.

Today I crashed, felt this crushing sense of ennui. I have done nothing, sans a load of laundry that still needs to folded. It was a day of random computer games, a bit of clearing out an email box and barely eating. After about 8 hours of this that I realized somewhere in the crevices of my gray matter the truth of the calendar leaked out, leaving lead coursing though my limbs. Deluding myself with how happy I feel so much of the time, I forgot that the body remembers; the body does not need a datebook, it just remembers that a year ago I was in deep grief with a whisper of hope. A year ago I had finally done enough self examination, a few brief but meaningful doses of what could be, that it was time to leave, to move forward. This has happened before, this unconscious act, akin to muscle memory. But I presumed given that I am in such more centered place I could escape such triggers. Again, hubris.

I am humbled to know that I am still earth bound, bound by conventions of human nature, that anniversaries ache no matter how much one thinks they have grieved. So rather than be hammering on myself for what I did not accomplish today I will try to give myself the graciousness I extend to someone in this space.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In which our heroine regains her balance

BC came up on Thursday about noon. In a horrible imitation of all the sappy movies ever shown on L*fetime Telev*sion, I actually came running out the front door to greet her. Yes, I know, it's sickening but after all the craziness of the day before, and three weeks apart, well I was happy to see her.

Even though she had to work, we went to grab some food at the Gilded Otter, and before she settled down to her computer she gave me my first gift - chocolates. And not just any chocolate, but locally made in Cleveland and a hand picked by her assortment which meant half a pound of it was dark chocolate covered caramels. Dinner was a simple trip into town to a Thai restaurant. When we came home, I made a fire and she gathered up blankets for us to lie on. Then she presented me with the rest of my gifts. First was a tiny packet of those infamous candy hearts, so cute. Then a small box that contained a beautiful necklace, a sterling silver mezuzah pendant. This is one of the most touching gifts I have ever received. Following this were three pairs of lacy thongs by one my favorite brands, Felina. Finally an absolutely gorgeous bra and underwear by Chantelle, an new favorite of mine, in a very dark blue and a very graceful lace pattern. The rest of the evening went as one might imagine given a fire, a quiet house alone in the country after three weeks apart.

The next day we met Greg for lunch at the Main Street Bistro, which was so good we thought we might go there for breakfast before she left on Sunday morning. Soon she was back at work. Upon my experience and Greg's recommendation I returned, this time with her to the Northern Spy where we had a very good dinner.

Saturday I took her for my intensive one mile walk which climbs 200 feet in that time. It was good to see that she felt it, which encouraged me that I am not a total wimp. We decided to wander around town and see what there was to gaze upon. We wandered in an independent bookstore, which taught us more about each other; a runner shop, where she found some nice accessories; a hippy shop where we found earrings for me and a great tye dye for The Kid. Finally in the end we wandered into Water Street Market where we had a fun looking a number of shops. We were both heavily tempted by the hand hammered singing bowls from the Himalayan Shop. Finally we were entranced by the many artists at Eden, at least that's what I think the name is. I want to go back, often because there is so much to look at. Again here we learned more about each other's tastes. In particular we were both charmed and enamored by Sticks work. Also there was Elliott Metal Art that was compelling to both of us. There was a lot of great jewelry, and of course I looked at most of it but one artist was unique and grabbed the attention of both of us, in the end I left with a ring by Christophe Poly that I am very happy with. After much indecision and the randomness of the universe we would up at an amazing place in town for dinner. Since it was Valentine's weekend they had a special dessert on the menu - two red velvet cupcakes served on a platter slathered with ganache. What a lovely and unique couple dessert.

On Sunday after breakfast at the Bistro (this place is truly awesome) BC left and I crashed, fairly literally. I took a huge nap, went to sleep at a reasonable hour, and on Monday I felt so drained, low energy. Upon reflection there was so much going on that I needed to recover from. Except for a five minute conversation with the snow plow guy I had not talked face to face with anyone from Friday afternoon until she arrived so I suspect I was a bit on overload. Also our time together was amazing, close, easy, romantic and I felt totally open. Usually after time together I have been traveling to other people, never having a lot of silence, this time there was nothing but me. I have not mastered this transition yet, it is still new. Rather than berate myself for not doing more, I did what I was moved to, gave myself the grace of finding my way again.

Today, I was much more on target and despite another set back with the car (the emergency brake would not release, ending my plans to work at Sunny's) I regrouped quickly, felt back in my pace. I am still learning so much about myself through this time. At this point I am my third week of doing my morning pages as part of my work with The Artist's Way and I keep digging around, finding interesting things that are living in my brain. Sometimes it feels like doing therapy with myself and it blows my mind. There are mornings I wander around after finishing my three journal pages saying Wow a lot. It's good. I'm good. Life is good. BC and I are good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In which our heroine lose her mind and finds an answer

It has been a crazy day, really. I woke with total joy as BC was driving today to come see me; to visit this little paradise I have been inhabiting. Yesterday I was so productive that I was very ready for her to be here. So ready on so many levels: it's been three weeks since I have seen her; I miss looking into her eyes and feeling her soft skin; the peaceable silence we have when each of us are working; and yes I have missed the more private moments of loud, passionate, sex.

The weather was not cooperating, not in the least, with a big storm system shutting down major roads and airports. After leaving later than expected, striving mightily on a major highway that was down to one lane, she wisely decided to stop trying to barrel through. Based on our phone call I had thought she was going to turn around and at the first chance pull off to a motel to sit the storm out until morning. While flipping channels I stopped on that channel that only geeks watch by the hour, you know the one, where I learned that they had shut down part of 80 East because of a huge car pile up in Pennsylvania. My mind began racing, now I was grateful that she had left so much later than planned or she could have been in that crash. Foolishly I stayed glued to the channel longer than I should have, plus I started checking weather reports on the web randomly covering all the miles between here and there.

Time passed without me noticing until suddenly I did. It had been well over an hour since our call and I had not heard from her. Thoughts began just at the edges of my mind, dropping tiny "what ifs" into my consciousness. Later I tried calling and did not reach her. The clock continued to move until the thoughts got louder, began taunting me with the possibility of terrible things, that just as I was finding myself at the precipice of a happy healthy relationship, it would be ripped away from me. Yes I realized I was being dramatic but I also know that I function better if I plan out the worst to try to picture how I will get past it.

The truth is after almost three hours and no response to my calls full on paranoia set in. My googling skills failed me as I searched madly for a way to locate accident information on highways. I searched for hospitals in the area and actually called two to see if she had been taken there after running her cute but winter incompetent car off the road. Did I mention I was aware I had run amok? I wondered who would know to contact me if something did in fact happen; would I be allowed back in the house, could I collect something meaningful to me that was hers to hold tight forever. I tried to distract myself with games on the computer, aimlessly internet shop, and tried talking myself out of this crazyville I had thrown myself into.

When the phone rang with her distinct ring tone I felt almost like I would crumple onto the floor. I don't think I realized how brittle with tension my body had become. In the end she wound up driving all the way back home, she was tired, pissed, sad and hungry. She did not even think I would be worried, probably because she was feeling so thwarted and frustrated. My response was less than grateful; I felt like one of those mothers who's child finally gets home and while hugging them, crying with joy is screaming that if they do that again she will kill them.

In reflecting on all of this it became clear why people rush into relationships, why they move in immediately, wed impetuously. The 'what if' is the pit in our belly, the insecurity of loss, of being forgotten, or being replaced. We want to know we have a place, we want that place recognized, both in the private realm (family and friends) and the larger circle (work, neighborhood, church of choice). We want our relationship to be acknowledged, we don't want to be left behind, we want to belong to someone; so we bond, sometimes bond badly, too soon, without enough thought which leads us to do it again and again. We need to find the strength in ourselves, the strength that tells us we are important on our own, that we will rise above loss, before we bond again, so that perhaps we can choose with greater wisdom, so we don't rush a relationship as to allow it to bloom as nature meant, not as a forced bloom shining out of season, out of rhythm.

I will not force this relationship into one, short and lovely flower that cannot take root and grow. When I feel panicked about the future, I will think about how lovely it is when a plant takes roots, when it spreads and grows with the right care. It becomes an integral part of the landscape, offers a home to critters, and is beautiful in its own right just because it there.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fly Away Home

Ladybug ladybug
Fly away home
Your house is fire
And your children are all gone

I am safe and fine but I learned that the house I owned in Northampton is gone. Not through fire but through demolition. A friend wrote to tell me that it is totally different, set further back from the road, turned ninety degrees. The news blew me away, left me feeling shaky, like the ground had moved underneath me and now there is less of it there. It is like a further unlinking, disconnection from my past, marking how much has changed in my life since I left there on September 10, 2001.

It wasn't my idea to buy a house, it was M's (an ex), it was her parents' gift of money that was the down payment that put us in the market. I knew it was a mistake, that getting deeper in with her was not a good idea. The house was not particularly cute, the only appealing place was the back porch - that back porch was a haven for me throughout the time I lived there. When the inside with it's semi-done renovation annoyed me, when the lack of gracious architectural details galled me, when I was angry, when I was sad, when I was peaceful - there was the back porch warm like a blanket, snug like a slipper molded to your foot with it's view of woods, a giant oak tree, my porch held me.

When I realized I was leaving is when I realized how attached I was to this place, my first true home. Not because I bought it, not because I remortgaged it on my own after M and I split (I ended things just about one year from when we purchased it) but partly because it was the longest I had lived anywhere in my entire life. 18 Winslow Avenue was my home for nine years. It's hard to remember but I think the next longest I lived at one address was four, maybe five years. I have moved over thirty times but here was this ugly duckling that I made into a cozy nest and I didn't realize it until I needed to leave it. In the last few months I lived there Chris and I worked round the clock to fix it up; finally I had wood trim in my living room, my new countertop in the kitchen, the sweet wood brackets to the wide gaping doorway to soften the look and so the chi would flow better.

Before I knew I was leaving, I finally had the front garden the way I had pictured, immature but on it's way. Tears streamed down my face as I picked lettuce knowing I would not be there to do it next season. Every day for three weeks once the decision to move was made I cried. It took all my energy not to deck the realtor I thought was amazing when she told me I had to change things.

Now it's gone. My first thought when I heard was about sheet rocking the living room. January 1994 Chris and I were adding quarter inch sheet rock to the measly, dented, ripped wall that existed underneath the 70's wood paneling I had finally ripped off after attempting to paint over at least twice. It was the early days of our relationship and I was terribly happy, still feeling burdened by having a house I could not afford but glad I was able to make it nicer nonetheless. In a fit of giggly romance I grabbed a bottle of red nail polish and wrote our initials with a heart on the old wall - it was a silly thing that would never be seen. And now that wall, the symbol of my past is a pile of rubble.

Each summer when I pass through I visit my neighbor, the one right next door. I cannot imagine what it will feel like to be there and the little, nondescript white house that held no charm but that I nurtured into a home filled with my own kind of magic, made into a place where people felt welcome, that often could not hold all the laughter that was created there will be gone. There will be a hole in the ground that only I can see, that will make only me weep with knowledge that I have moved on.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

In which our heroine enjoys solitutde

I've been alone in this house for a week, and what an awesome week it's been. No seriously, I am loving being alone a lot, a lot. Joe left last Thursday morning, that night I built my first fire. Sure I use a half of a started brick but it still takes attention to make these things work. Every night I have lit the stove, some night going easier than others but I love it.

On Friday I started doing the morning pages from The Artist Within book and already I have made some good insights, venting, it's just been good practice. I never did get around to the artist date, and today I finally finished reading the first week chapter but I did do three of the exercises from the Workbook. I call the week a success.

Later on Friday I picked Greg and Janet so all of us could visit with Alex and Allyson Gray, where we also got a personal tour of CoSM their amazing project, community hub in process. After a lovely visit we drove to High Falls to have a fabulous dinner at Northern Spy, a restaurant that Greg thinks I should introduce to BC. We stayed up way too late chatting, given that we had an early morning hike scheduled with Matt and Chris LaBarca. I confess that I was hesitant about the walk given the forecasted single digit temperatures. Given my commitment to not be defined but presumed limitations I headed out with the boys (Janet decided on quiet time). I am so glad I went, even though I haven't looked at the photos I took yet. The cold was not so bad and I was proud of myself for not giving into my negative voice.

We swung by so Greg and Janet could pack up before we all headed to the Egg's Nest for a hearty brunch. While we were still at the house I had a moment of panic because I was enjoying the company and knew I would soon be alone. Instead of giving into fear of solitude, of feeling lonely I decided to be in the moment - another common mantra of these last nine or ten months. It turned out I loved it, and have cherished every moment alone since.

In addition to writing every morning, I have gone for a walk, one with a significant incline every morning, except yesterday because I headed out early for a day with Sunny. Once I return I often do push ups or weights or stretch a bit. This morning I toyed with not going, instead I changed my route to a more challenging one. During the walk back (down hill how I love you) I realized that I had not truly answered one of the exercised from the work book so I pushed myself so that when I returned home I amended what I had written. Once back at the driveway I was smiling, feeling good, glad I pushed myself to head out. I have been eating extremely well since being here as well.

I am loving finding my own rhythm and feel incredibly blessed to have this time in this lovely place (I will post photos soon) to dig into myself deeper, to make friends with myself. Instant messaging earlier today with BC, she wrote "I love you" and I realized that I was close to being able to say that to myself. This is amazing. It feels so tentative, moreso than with a lover or close friend. It is terrifying and exciting to think I might say that to myself and really mean it, without a codicil of 800 pages of except for, only when etc. Peace within is something that cannot be overestimated but is hard to achieve.