I trust all of you who celebrated the 4th of July did so in red, white, blue and with gratitude for those who were so brave and confident in their abilities to create a new land built on the foundation of freedom.
To this day, as a world, we struggle with what it means to be free. Even in a free country we’re not free. Except, interestingly enough, one is free to be an adulterer. You need to get a permit to sell a popsicle to a parched sunbather, but you can break your marital contract, put your spouse and children at risk for any number of nasty outcomes, and experience zero consequences. Free to screw around. No permission needed.
Perhaps we should have built this land on a foundation of integrity and not freedom. If that was the value we held most high we’d all be free. But The Land of the Integritous doesn’t flow as easily as The Land of the Free. Not to mention Integritous is not a word.
How about The Land of the Fair?
It’s been a few days since my last post. Thank you for being patient. A fatal error, caused by me (I believe there was a Universal power outage as a result) shut down HGM for some time.
There are no coincidences.
In that time, I helped Bolinas win the tug of war with Stinson Beach, celebrated the holiday with some pirates, a couple Vikings, a judge, a jury, and a boy who taught me how to throw a football like a man. And I had several talks with myself about what it means to be free. My next post is going to take you through the streets of Bolinas and the lagoon of Stinson – you really need to get to know this place. But first I must tell you about the being that has taken up residence inside me.
She’s entirely too healthy. And totally unfair.
Why couldn’t I get a chocolatier? Or an ice cream maker? Or Thomas Keller?
No. I get the chick who over the course of 24 hours ditches coffee, wine, and buys chia seeds.
My body was possessed as it went through Whole Foods. I found the bulk aisle and weighed out dried beans. I knew Whole Foods had a bulk aisle, but I thought it was just for candy. I bought Kombu. (Why I don’t just drag it off the beach is beyond me.) And dates instead of chocolate. I (she made me) bypassed tortilla chips and instead bought masa flour. A bag of lemons went in the cart – my mornings would begin (I just typed be gin instead of begin! Hilarious!) with warm lemon water and meditation instead of a vat of jet fuel and 30 minutes checking out the Daily Mail. I bought raw nuts with no intention of turning them in to candy.
It was as if two of us were shopping. I’d put something in the cart, like lamb chops, and she swap it out for quinoa. Not that there’s anything wrong with lamb. Meat should be served at every dinner unless someone caught a fish. Sure, pasta is awesome – if you’re not gluten intolerant. If you are then the pasta must be served with meat. And wine. Followed by chocolate. Capped off with an 18 mile hike the next day to make amends for overindulging.
It’s a bit not gentle on the body, right?
That became clear to me this past weekend. If this body is going to carry me to the top of Mt. Everest I best start being gentle with her now so she can last that long. I’m not naturally inclined to be over-indulgent or hyper-vigilant. I like to zing back and forth between the two. A string of healthy days are followed by one or two not so healthy days, and then the resulting guilt that sets in from not making good choices takes up residence. I go back to hyper-healthy and then a day off.
As I pondered this habit over the weekend it became clear to me that it’s not working. And I’m super bummed about that because I like playing both parts. I’m pretty good at it, and it’s fun. But beneath the surface I sensed that it was making me feel fractured and not whole. It’s essential for me to anchor myself, to feel physically, emotionally and mentally balanced and grounded, as if my legs are a tap root sinking into the Earth.
I’m totally not there.
So the easy stuff got jettisoned. Coffee – so not grounding! Gone. Wine – love it, but after one glass I can easily push off tasks I don’t like for another day. Knowing that one glass will set me free of responsibilities means I’ll seek out that glass to insure I don’t have to do that which I don’t want to do.
I can’t do that anymore.
Two glasses means I can surf Craigs List looking for a desk for $25 for two hours and then buy nothing instead of devising a simple and effective way to manage my finances without making it too tech-ish so I don’t break out in hives.
Cigarettes are gone. That feels so very good. And so not good at the same time.
I can’t eat chocolate at night because it will keep me up now that the wine isn’t there to make me sleepy.
Man, I love chocolate.
None of these pleasures is abused, but I noticed they were habitual, patterned. And all of the sudden that felt very wrong. Now the idea of eating chocolate doesn’t appeal to me. Coffee seems so harsh. And I don’t want the wine because I’m afraid it will make me eat the chocolate which will make me want the coffee in the morning because I will have stayed up too late the night before drinking wine and eating chocolate!
Get this: I don’t even want to have sex. Nor do I desire the relationship that leads to sex. Wasn’t it just a month or so ago that I couldn’t think of anything else?
A walk on Stinson Beach at sundown didn’t answer all my questions, but it did bring clarity to these big swings I’ve been feeling lately, and my natural tendency to get all anxious. For the last year and half I’ve been on alert, in ready mode, a warrior at times and a puddle of tears at other times…often, like regularly. I had a mission 24/7. Get the dudes through this relatively unscathed, love myself, sell the house, DO NOT let The Genius mess with me anymore, and create magic.
It’s not go, go, go, protect, protect, protect anymore. Now I’m on my own and that old rhythm isn’t working. At all. It’s preventing me from being grounded and content and able to accomplish the things I want to do in life. So I need to shift.
I hate this part.
The familiar, no matter how uncomfortable, is easy because the muscles (physical, emotional and mental) have the memory of what it takes to survive. Walking on eggshells becomes easier over time if it’s the only way you walk. In my marriage I walked on eggshells. Post Pocket Call I walked on eggshells. Now I need to figure out how to not walk on eggshells.
Isn’t that crazy?
I imagine it’s like winding down on vacation. It often takes until the third day to chill. That’s why I turned my back on all that I find delicious and sexy. As the sun beamed through a thick marine layer, and the fog spilled down on the hills of Stinson like whipped cream on an emerald, earthen sundae, I felt a deep need to purify my body. It’s not unlike the sensation I had just moments after the Pocket Call.
I need to be free of the routines of my past because they are preventing me from celebrating my present. And from creating the future I need. I need to be free of this marriage, which will require me to accept things that aren’t fair. But doing so without caving in and being a martyr will set me free. I need to exercise self-discipline in a holistic and loving way. So that I can be free of anxiety and free to congratulate myself for overcoming that which is challenging to me in life. I need to be rested and well-nourished. My being needs to feel that I love it by how I am treating it.
I watched a man play with his two young sons on the beach. Vacationers. Maybe they built the sandcastle they now frolicked around. It was an elaborate residence, complete with crab sentries and jellies mounted atop each tower built from the drizzling of wet sand. The house just beyond the dunes had its lights on. I imagined his wife cleaning up after dinner. The boys would soon be in that perfect state of exhaustion, one only sea air can bring about. They would tuck them in and then sit on the couch, listening to the waves. Maybe they are deeply in love, or bored, or disenchanted or perfectly content. But they’re together. A sense of security exists, even if it’s false.
My heart pinged. I’ve come to take note and believe that when it does that it’s directly related to what I just thought. I looked away from the house and right into my heart.
I feel at a disadvantage not being coupled up at a time of such great change in my life. How ironic. When big life changes happen that’s when we turn to our partners. But, of course, in divorce we can’t turn to our partners. I feel unprotected.
The pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. I’m purifying myself to protect myself energetically, and to demonstrate that I do have self-discipline. I started with the body because it’s more important than a great filing system or a fully thought out daily schedule that will make sure I never waste a second. (uh-huh.) It’s not a warrior move, but a gentle and loving move. It’s really about home and family. I’m nesting.
I’ve fallen in love with myself, and now I guess we’re moving in together. My ‘single days’ are behind me and I’m growing up, again. I’m learning that I am enough. I am capable. I can change. For goodness sake, I cooked a pot of beans (not opened cans of beans) and then made something with them! Something tasty! With spices I’ve never used before! I even roasted the chicken the night before so I’d be ready to use it instead of making excuses and bailing on the beans.
But just to make sure I don’t turn into a house frau, two dolphin broke the glassy water twenty feet in front of me to remind me of the importance of play and to breathe. We traveled three miles up the beach together, past surfers who had the gift of being within a few yards of them as they paralleled the shore, stopping on occasion to tumble with each other in an impromptu game of catch me if you can.
At the entrance to the parking lot I blew them a kiss goodbye.
I may not have a human partner to help me to be brave as I stand on my own two feet, but I have Nature. And she sets me free.