My mom was kind enough to offer to buy me a plane ticket to go see my sister and family in North Carolina in a few weeks. I miss them terribly and am excited to see their new home, which they all seem very pleased with.
Also, despite a gnawing sense of loneliness that was drawing me to go out on the town tonight, I made my way home with the thought that I would resist a habitual tendency to avoid being present with myself in favor of distraction. And, as always, I ended up feeling more satisfied with the decision than I would have had I gone out, both because I saved myself some money that is much needed for another winter adventure, and because I watched a couple TED talks and learned some new and interesting things. This in turn led me to a few new ideas about how to continue to be more aware of the world around me, and some motivation in educating myself. While I’m still not feeling so hot, I feel alive. And very much looking forward to a brief vacation sitting poolside at my sister’s new place 🙂
Today my housemate had a bunch of beautiful women over for dinner. They started to trickle in around 6:30 p.m., all glowing and warm like sunshine coming in through every entrance. Reluctantly leaving behind the sound of laughter and the scent of deliciousness cooking on the stove, I made my way down the street to Yoga Sanctuary, where I had a subtly transformative yoga session.
It started out difficult, my hamstrings still wound tight from possibly overstretching during the previous days class, and I couldn’t straighten my legs in uttanasana for the entirety of the class. I was having a hard time taking deep breaths, my ohms fell short, and I had the sniffles. The middle of my back hurt and my paranoid brain told me it could potentially be a signal of some terrible disease. But midway through the class, as we transitioned into balances and backbends, I felt a familiar opening that can sometimes be elusive when my practice lacks consistency. Having been practicing almost daily the past couple weeks, it crept up on me unexpectedly, in the middle of a vasisthasana variation, a position which, I must say, was not one during which I would have expected to get to the place of easefulness where deep opening can happen. It looks like this:
As I found my balance and settled into the posture, I felt my top shoulder slide onto my back, drawing my arm wide and toward the sky. My collarbones widened, and the feeling of openness traveled down to my ribs, lungs, sides, and belly. I took a few deep breaths, the first one loaded with relief and a feeling of having arrived. By the time we got into our final relaxation pose of savasana, I was simultaneously relaxed and rejuvenated.
When I returned home, I was met once again by the sunshine women, who sang me a chorus of hello when I popped my head into the living room. I was then fed a nourishing assortment of homemade food, culminating with three different types of Herrell’s ice cream; chocolate pudding, mud pie, and raspberry sorbet. One of the women, glowing and pregnant, noticed my elation as I loaded my plate and voiced her recognition of the magic of the “eating an awesome meal right after a yoga class” moment, which was so right on. As I sat happily in my food coma, and listened to the cheery chatter of women, I felt contentedness creep over me. Strong, loving women + good, healthy food + a once again burgeoning yoga practice is a surefire path home ❤
I woke early enough to have breakfast with a friend, who was kind enough to buy me a smoothie. By the time I went to work at 10:45, I'd already had a wonderful couple hours tucked into my heart, and went into work feeling good. Something I already know, but continually forget, was reinforced: days are much better when they begin long before work starts. It's easier to feel the separation between life and work, and remember that in reality work is a relatively small percentage of my time (given my current choice of job, anyway). While I like the work I do, it's important for me to maintain a mindset of it being just one more enjoyable part of my day, rather than reason I wake up in the morning.
Today's magic was simple. I brought a chocolate cream pie with a candle in it to an elderly gentleman at one of my tables at work. He was pleasantly surprised when I showed up with the candle that his daughter had requested, and even more tickled when his two children and I started singing happy birthday to him. But the kicker came during the last line of the song when, almost as if it were planned, several tables next to theirs joined in the song, and when it finished, the entire restaurant erupted in applause. I was delighted, but not nearly as much as this man who was visibly glowing. Oh humanity, I love when you are full of pleasant surprises 🙂
Had the good fortune to spend a solid 24 hours with family this weekend. My uncle, two cousins, my cousin's wife (who I was meeting for the first time) and my other cousin's son, all of whom, due to geographic reasons, I rarely see, came into town at the same time. Not to mention seeing my aunt and uncle, mom, stepdad, stepbrother, grandfather and family friends all at once. The older I get the deeper my gratitude for my family becomes, and the more connected I feel, even though we don't all live in the same place. The magic in this visit is feeling evermore like myself in the presence of family; something that hasn't always come easily to me, given the all too common inner struggle to reconcile who I am with my perception of who I am as a member of this family. As the youngest of all my cousins, and "the baby" of the family (at almost 30 this is still, and always will be the case), it has taken some time to shed a belief that I am still a child. This has at times made it difficult for me to feel at ease being myself, especially if it meant showing parts of me that are vulgar, edgy, quirky, or just generally "inappropriate" for parents/grandparents. And as I have officially found myself moved on from that place, I am suddenly free to be who I am with my family, without a censor. Which certainly feels better for me, and I'm sure is more fulfilling for them as well, as I am engaging a lot more than I did in my youth. And my adulthood coupled with my new-found freedom to be whatever version of me is most genuine has lead me to relate with and see my family members differently as well. That they are also at times vulgar, edgy, quirky, and inappropriate. And damn if we don't seem to genuinely love and appreciate those parts of each other. I am really excited to see what new dynamics emerge as I continue to find my way into myself, both as an individual, and as a member of a family. I'm also moved by the acceptance that I feel in so many ways, despite periodic commentary on the fact that I'm not using my degree, that I can't be a waitress forever, or that it would be nice if I settled down and popped out some kids. As years pass and I mature, I'm finding peace in letting go of my own preconceived notions of how I'm viewed within my family, and trusting that such commentary is said with affection and acceptance of who I am. When I drop all my ideas about what anyone is thinking about me (family or not), and let go of analyzing things too much, all that's really left is love. And when that's what there is, there's not much left to feel except grateful ❤
The fog is lifting. Have been in some rough surf for the past few days, and it's starting to calm. I feel relief having weathered this particular storm, and excitement to feel serenity rolling over.
Also, I think I am ready to make the choice to be an adult. As much as I have been resisting this transition, I sense it's going to be a liberating one. There is a life game that I have never particularly wanted to play, but that I am going to choose to accept as necessary. It's not gonna be pretty for a while, but I'm hoping it makes life more beautiful in the long run.
A good ending to a day is walking into a bar after an exhausting work day, expecting to have a solo drink, and finding two wonderful friends, happy to see me and willing to jump into meaningful conversation. An evening spent overlooking my cartoon town with a lovely lady, snacking on childhood treats, hula hooping in the dark next to the garden, making a big jar of lemon mint tea, rigging up a pretty new lampshade, and talking about life, all after midnight. MAGIC.
Starting to play with photo collage and, surprisingly, already noticing a possible story starting to emerge. Not sure yet where it’s going, but I’m being taken back to the trip when I took all these photos – Road Trip 2011, and noticing a re-emergence of themes I was interested in then – life created by destruction. It feels good to start to play with my pictures. I spend a lot of time taking them, and very little time doing anything with them after. Also, I found myself transported back to my adolescence, when I spent a lot of time collaging and taping things to my wall. It doesn’t look like much yet, but the feeling of going with this artistic instinct, as well as reacquainting with a previous version of myself, definitely holds some magic for me today, a day when I was feeling initially lost, disconnected, and just blah. Another victory for the little voice telling me that there is a very important, albeit currently vague, reason that I feel an increasingly desperate urge to create. Regardless of whether or not the outcome is beautiful, the catharsis most definitely is.
After almost a week away I returned home. I walked inside and inhaled the scent of familiar comforts, for the first time aware that there was a distinctive smell here, and that I loved it. No one was home but I could feel them anyway. I am grateful for the solitude as well as for the inevitable return of my home-mates, whenever that may be. I left a love this morning, and this evening am reveling in home. In solitude. In the love of a life good enough to miss after only a few days. And also in the small ache of missing a love that grows continually, unexpectedly. The two, I think, cannot exist without each other. All this time I thought distance an unappealing thing for two people who want to love each other, never thinking that it might be the key, for this girl at least, for beginnings, at least.
So the magic in today? An appreciation for the delicate balance between solitude and togetherness. For the gift of a home that feels just as good empty as it does with people. For a love that feels just as good at a distance as it does when near. An appreciation that each inhalation in this space is of the scent of belonging.
There exists an honest love.
Not perfect, and not necessarily forever, but willing to be present and witness to an organic unfolding of relationship between two independent souls. So what do we do if neither of us is made to follow? If we each have our own paths, from which we refuse to depart, but which are not meant to run indefinitely parallel? So you say, we do nothing? It is what it is, and we can choose to take a shortcut together. There is no need for promise of the future. There is no need for one or both to abandon our respective paths yet, at the same time, or paths have crossed for an as yet unknown reason. I do not need to know the reason to know it’s worth fighting for. My determination speaks for itself, and your heart speaks a truth I’ve not yet heard. Despite our certain end, or perhaps because of it, we find a refuge in the impermanence. But has there ever been anywhere else to find refuge? In our acceptance of our fate, we’ve found a freedom to love without imposition. To love and allow for love. To say we’re not sure. To say we don’t trust. To say that every compromise we’ve ever made has been catastrophic, and yet, maybe we are willing to compromise, for a short while. To say that, regardless of everything, we promise to be forever in each other’s hearts, to love so purely that our love will extend to all our future loves, because they love us, who love each other. I am free in expressing my truth and in hearing yours, in your acceptance of what I can offer, and your honesty about what you can offer.
There exists a love that needn’t be defined by conventional standards of relationship. A pure love. An honest love. And it is in my heart forever, if not forever in my future. And while it may sound naive, I trust that this will remain true. Love may be one of those rare things that, if ever true in any moment, may continue to be true for eternity. We’ll see I guess. But for today at least, it’s magic.