How could you not go in there?
Limantour Beach may be the most spectacular and therapeutic beach in all of North America. The sand cliffs protected me like a mother from the chaotic energy of infidelity and divorce as I walked the miles long beach with its gypsum-fine sand many times over the past two and a half years. Mama whales with babies in tow would extend their energy to the beach where I sat often, tear streaked and confused, and swim slowly along side, matching my pace on the sand, as I expressed gratitude for an epiphany or self-love for a brave choice or talked myself out of beating myself up. Wildflowers and wildly brilliant sunsets have delighted my senses, awakening in me an appreciation for the romance that lives within Nature. For how beautiful and sexy she is.
Limantour has been witness to the worst night of this entire journey – the Camping Trip from Hell, and the most tender moments with The Dudes, the heart-breaking moments with The Bird and the provocative moments I’ve shared with those who left footprints alongside mine. As I’ve said before, she is the birthplace of my soul.
Her majesty takes you slowly. First the meadow with its thousand shades of brown this time of year. Then the dunes, covered in grasses that remain just out of focus, like a watercolor painting. And on the other side of the rise the beach, deep and long, a massive arc of honey that on this day cradled a sea so calm it could have been Lake Michigan at her most peaceful.
The Magician was seeing Limantour for the first time, even though he spent years living in the Bay Area. (I’d love to know how she keeps to herself, a secret utopia surrounded by millions of people.) As is her method, she revealed herself gradually. With so much to offer, it’s the only way to not overwhelm.
We walked south along dunes that segued into sand cliffs where we spotted a gap and had to venture in. It narrowed from a few feet wide to just wide enough to pass through. The sand packed with small rocks, carved by winds, gradually rose to over twenty feet above our heads. Cracks were visible; a gentle touch enough to dislodge a few rocks and a handful of sand. A baseball bat and one could bring the whole wall down with a dozen big and expertly aimed hits.
We wove our way to the back, emerging from the narrow corridor into a round room. The remnants of a small waterfall from recent (and much needed) rains, a prelude to our Pineapple Express this past weekend, solved the mystery of how it gained such depth – carved out by the power of falling water migrating to the sea.
The Magician and I have made that same migration, both desiring a greater depth of understanding about our lives. The whys behind the events, the encounters, the experiences that we’ve characterized as good or bad. We’ve migrated to the sea, a return to what feels like a safe haven for us both, for reasons that go beyond being a beautiful place to live.
The energy of this land is transforming us. We’re not the first to make this pilgrimage and not the last of those who come to west Marin to heal. Our stories are not carbon copies. (For those of you who don’t remember carbon paper, you also probably don’t remember overhead projectors or The Carol Burnett Show.) But we seek the answer to this question, among others: Why, with so much desire for a different outcome, do a high percentage of our relationships disappoint? Or worse, break hearts?
As a society we spend an insane amount of time focused on the opposite sex. How to attract them, how to meet them, how to keep them, how to change them, all in an effort to fall in love with them.
Our Egos exhaust themselves by shape-shifting to attract what we believe we deserve. We succeed each and every time, although we are time and again surprised to find that what we thought we deserved is not what we truly desire. That what we want is not what we need. Lather, rinse, repeat.
A show like Sex and the City becomes a phenomenon. Every episode focused on finding love, understanding love and making love, all via vasty different means and ways. The show came up in conversation as we logged miles on the sand. The Magician acknowledged in no particular way the resemblance between Carrie and me. Which I batted back by pointing out the lack of sex and that Bolinas could not be characterized as a city. Also, she would be appalled by my preference for hiking boots over Louboutins, and I can’t come close to embodying her grace and sense of style. I never watched the show when it first aired; The Magician has seen every episode. But lately I’ve been playing catch up on the elliptical as I train for Mt. Raininer.
Like Carrie, I am determined to get to the heart of our obsession (Oh, the irony – I am obsessing over our obsession.), to discern the reason for our indefatigable quest to fall in love, and perhaps identify why the fires of passion go up in smoke, causing us to cough and hack our way out of one relationship after another, determined to give it another go. Sometimes way too soon. Often leading to the same results.
I’ve been able to resist entering into traditional relationships since The Pocket Call. Sure, I’ve had great moments, serious lessons and fascinating encounters, but not a single relationship. The humorist in me would love to give credit to my Mom who is praying daily, hourly even, that I emit not pheromones but friendomones. Her desire is being met, I believe, because it is what I need. And I’m not disappointed because I can feel the difference between what I want or desire as a human and what I need as a soul. A skill I am grateful for, which doesn’t mean I don’t consciously choose to satisfy a desire every now and then. In addition to the good intentions of my Mom, I also feel I haven’t entered into a traditional relationship because my Ego is no longer calling the plays.
I’m not attracting someone who wants to run off into the sunset as One because, commingled, we would drown.
With the arrival of The Magician, not in any way happenstance or good fortune, but because we agreed to be here for each other at this time, I am being schooled at the doctorate level in matters of the heart. It’s as if he pushed the ball in the Rube Goldberg machine that I’ve built within me since The Pocket Call and a series of chain reactions have been triggered. Perhaps the cascade of events, once finished, will lead me to a theory that will stand the test of a relationship. Or the theory will prove that we are placing way too much emphasis on coupling up, instead of being brave enough and fulfilled enough to experience life as a solo journey with cameos by a myriad of characters, our thrist for love quenched by the Universal flow.
Imaginably, our evolution as a species may involve less reliance on close, intimate relationships and become more focused on living the life of a recluse out in the open, empathizing and supporting others from afar, loving humankind instead of just a few people. Certainly, modern technology is paving the way for such an existence. However, while we accept and embrace the role it plays, we are defiant, on the whole, when it comes to being alone.
We just don’t like it.
The Magician and I turned north as the sun demurely hid behind the cloak of clouds that neutralized her flashiness The lack of a vibrant sunset was not anticlimactic; we were both able to appreciate the intense beauty of a monochromatic atmosphere. And while the thrill of whales 30 yards offshore remains to be experienced this season, we were joined and entertained by a small school of porpoises (they could have been dolphins, I didn’t see their faces) that fed and frolicked alongside us for the majority of our return trip.
Limantour, she never, ever disappoints.
We extended our time together with a stop at the Coast Cafe, Bolinas’ only restaurant. It’s a cozy place with a seaside version of a midwestern vibe. Wood, everywhere, including wooden long boards hung from the ceiling and large wooden tables that were mostly empty on this midweek, winter night. The Magician and I sat at a square table for four, side-by-side, continuing our deep thoughts style conversation. Without the sand and sea to hold our gaze I focused more on his eyes. We were able to look into and not at each other. It’s a sign that the Ego has been benched on both sides, at least in that moment, and isn’t obscuring the view. (I’ve been experiencing this more often lately, with various people, known and unknown. It’s a blast. You must give it a try.)
We used our past experiences with relationships as the foundation for our thoughts and theories about love. At one point, and I nearly missed the significance of this, he stated succinctly his theory with few words and one finger.
With his index finger drawing a long, straight line from one end of the table to the other, he said:
We go along happily like this…
And then he moved his index finger up, over and down, making a square.
…and then we box ourselves in like this and call it a relationship.
As soon as he completed the box I saw two people inside bouncing off the walls and each other and then the entire box blew apart.
Perhaps it’s part of our evolution. We can’t keep procreating like we’ve been doing. The planet can’t bear it. We don’t need to partner up for survival. Our enemies aren’t outside the cave anymore. Society is moving in the direction of extreme independence and we’re battling back by engaging in co-dependent relationships, afraid to go it alone, preferring the chaos of the box to the endless possibilities of an extemporaneous existence. We’re holding on for dear life, but grip by grip, marriage by marriage, soul by soul, we’re realizing that the box does not hold the key to everlasting love.
Totally not by chance, as I was reading for the first time some early posts last night, (A task that will not be a “Top Ten Most Fun Things To Do on a Sunday Night” nominee) I came across these words from a kitten, who spoke about his experience with infidelity and divorce and how he has changed:
“. . . an experience like this does offer an amazing opportunity for growth. I’m forced to take stock of life—who I am and who I want to be, especially as a dad—in a way that oddly didn’t seem possible before. We let relationships become a big distraction from the personal work we should be doing, and we let them disguise our underlying discontent.”
And then he said this:
“Just continue on your journey, keep asking yourself the questions and figuring out what it is that you truly want in life and try to make sure it is grounded in what you want and not in fear or hurt or insecurity.”
Historically, the drive to couple up has been fueled by fear. Today we can survive as individuals. So, now what?
I had the strangest thought the other day and haven’t thought it since, until this very moment. Nothing preceded it. I wasn’t staring at a UFO or watching Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. It just burst on the scene.
Why do images of aliens have no discernible sex organs, or anything that could be perceived as sensuous, erotic or titillating? Unless, well, you’re into aliens. Is coupling up less important to them? (I’m in the camp that thinks it’s quite egotistical to believe we are the only beings in the Universe, with its bazillion galaxies.)
I left the Coast Cafe, and the company of The Magician pondering the future of love. You best cram in a lot of romance this Valentine’s Day – it seems to me that we are evolving out of the fairy tale, complete with angst and drama and rapturous highs and destructive lows – all delicious, and into a more soul-centered and independent existence, our thirst for love quenched by the Universal fountain. At first blush it seems a tad boring, but I can tell you from experience that these nomadic relationships, or nomances, are very, very potent.