Mt. Rainier on a sunny day…
2013 ended with me misinterpreting my own intuition. So it was comforting to have 2014 begin with an accurate sense of what my spirit was trying to yell over the white noise of my Ego and the surf that day on Stinson Beach. If I had a better understanding of physics I would put my spirit on one frequency and my Ego on another so that I could hear them like the conductor of an orchestra hears instruments – capable of picking out each one as they play, never confusing one for another.
Frequencies do have something to do with physics, don’t they? Humor me.
The last two weeks have been a time of deep reflection as I crossed the country and held the hand of a magnificent woman who is taking her own trip down memory lane. Making sense of all that is flooding my head and heart, causing me to feel things I haven’t yet been able to identify, has left me rather foggy. Perhaps that’s why I forgot the wedding anniversary.
Which is not the only thing I forgot.
During a family gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my Dad’s way too soon death, I reminisced with my brother’s wife, J, about a trip we took to Montreal. Razzle (of Mt. Whitney fame), being the most generous and thoughtful person on the planet, arranged for a private plane to replace our commercial flight. A seriously cool experience. (Customs consisted of a dude sticking his head into the plane while standing on the tarmac saying, All good here? Perfect opportunity to transport contraband if I was so inclined.) My brother flew in from another city. We met him in a restaurant with low ceilings, wood beams, brick walls and random width hardwood floors. He sat at one of a handful of tables set with wine glasses and white napkins, a wood fire burned. Snow flakes the size of truffles floated to the cobblestone street. We spent the weekend shopping and eating and eating and eating. I couldn’t get enough of maple syrup that weekend. I could have tapped and tipped an entire maple tree on my own.
Maple syrup does come from maple trees, doesn’t it? (Sometimes I wonder how I graduated elementary school.)
As we recalled the moments J looked at me with a slightly confused expression and said, You do remember that (your former spouse) was there, right?
I looked at her as if she said, You do realize that you forgot to put on your clothes this morning, don’t you?
I didn’t. The retelling of the weekend did not include one memory of him until she pointed it out. I didn’t laugh or celebrate or feel good about it. Actually, a little alarm bell went off and I thought, You must have really numbed yourself. Don’t you EVER let that happen again.
Normally (pft – there hasn’t been a normally in a long time), with the rains that accompany January and February, I hibernate and regenerate – a perfect opportunity to cocoon and ponder and knock the cobwebs out of my holiday rattled head. Alas, the disturbingly beautiful weather continues here in Marin. I feel compelled to accept that Spring has sprung and hope that an icy plunge in the Pacific will wake me from my eyes wide open slumber.
It’s become a ritual that the first day back from a trip is spent on the beach at Stinson. I walked north toward Bolinas fluffing up my insides like a pillow, encouraging thoughts and emotions to flutter about like downy feathers. Then, after moments on the edge of the lagoon watching the birds bathe and sleep and flirt, I turned back toward the city, leaving those feathers I fluffed behind, expressing gratitude for being able to feel love, pain, salt air, sun rays, contentment, sand on my hands as I bend into a V to stretch out my body.
The surf was full of bravado, building walls of water so tall they appeared to pause for attention before folding over into a bow, breaking up into freshly whipped froth and rumbling toward shore. Without encouragement tears sprang forth. Those new kind of tears, from neither sadness nor joy. Profound tears. The ones that know with each molecule of wetness how utterly magical this life is.
The ones that say, take nothing for granted.
Until this month, and since the Pocket Call, I’ve focused on being firmly planted on my path, okay with it being rocky or barely recognizable, psyched when it’s smooth and I can pick up the speed, curious when I can’t see around the bend or over the hill, all the while knowing that I haven’t made a wrong turn. A detour now and then perhaps, but not a wrong turn. Now I sense that I am at an important juncture, and I had zero advance notice that I would have to make a choice. One that feels like I’m choosing between planets, not between this road or that one. That the choice I am making is one I can’t reverse, and if I make the right choice I won’t want to. This choice feels different from all the others. It doesn’t have a good choice/bad choice vibe. It has a commitment vibe.
Which, of course, has shined the light on the fact that I’m not a natural at making a commitment.
Of course, I can’t leave it at that. I dig deeper. Maybe commitment isn’t the issue. Maybe I’m afraid of what happens once I commit.
But isn’t fear just my Ego at work?
Benching the Ego doesn’t mean I’ve vaporized it – it still has a voice box. Which is cool, because it reminds me to be vigilant.
Maybe it’s not fear of what happens once I commit. Maybe it’s fear of being disappointed. Fear of being let down.
That’s not it. Starting with the decision to move to California every commitment I’ve made has been worth the risk of being disappointed. In hindsight. Many of the commitments I made were made in a state of complete upheaval and emotional chaos. Choices were made out of absolute necessity. I was beautifully guided by you kittens.
Maybe it’s fear of not being able to satisfy the commitment.
I let that thought sit. It sits inside me still. This one isn’t a thought I can unravel on my own. It’s a thought-in-waiting. Waiting for someone…
I continued along the beach, which now has a new mini sea cliff. The surf must have been significant while I was away. It may feel like Spring, but the ocean still thinks it’s Winter. It carved an upper deck and a lower mezzanine out of the sand. (I commit to come down to Stinson on Valentine’s Day when the moon is full. I want to feel the sea alter the landscape.)
As I made my way south a series of encounters lengthened the journey. Each one touched on making choices and taking roads unknown and all had an academic bent. One conversation was with a woman wearing a Princeton University shirt. We spoke about being okay with making a choice that goes against one’s personal grain (not morals or values) so that future decisions can be made with a more complete understanding of life, issues, feelings. And perhaps so that one can fine tune the moral compass. The next encounter, a few hundred yards down the beach, was with a retired librarian and math teacher and their two beautiful Vislas. Married, I believe. Like the conversation before, this one sped along covering lots of ground. Numbers and the fear of them, words and the love of them. Outdoor adventures and the need for them. Sabbaticals and travels and choosing roads for no other reason than because a choice needs to be made. Climbing mountains came up and my imminent and intimate meeting with Mt. Rainier.
When’s Everest? says she.
I allowed myself a pregnant pause to acknowledge the winking of the Universe.
I’m going to try and wait as long as possible so my children are as old as possible. But I won’t wait so long that my body can’t climb her.
Before we parted ways we exchanged nuggets of information, including HGM. So, if you are here, thank you. You gave me things to ponder. I hope the whales greet you at the lighthouse at Point Reyes.
Before I left the house for my walk at the beach I committed to be more social after a long period of quiet. My beach walk showed me that I’m capable of manifesting that which I seek. So it seems that this new choice I’m being faced with making will swiftly manifest once I figure out what the choices are.
2012 had me joining forces with those I love to climb mountains and swim the bay and rise like a phoenix through the ashes of my marriage. I became confident in my abilities to endure, to push on through pain.
2013 was a year of maturing, peeling off the armor of my Ego and developing a relationship with myself based on trust and love, and settling into life in Bolinas. Discovering what really makes me happy. Grounding myself. Acknowledging the signs and trusting them. Embracing the rules of energetic vibrations. Learning that my sense of peace comes from my spirit, my soul. And my Ego is the force that I use to build my spiritual muscles.
2014 kicks off with an expedition on Mt. Rainier, led by guides I have not met. I hesitated just before the final payment for the expedition was due.
I don’t have to do it now. It’s okay if I wait. I can always do it in October.
But when those thoughts swirled in me I felt empty. I need to do this. I’m intimidated, but it’s the right kind of intimidation. The kind that busts open cages holding fears against their will, making them stronger, feisty, mad. Once I set them free they will prefer to run off rather than taunt me.
2014 may also be the year I, as a child of my mother, continue on without her on the planet. Without her holding my hand.
So perhaps the choice I’m being faced with making is to be fearless or to be safe and unfulfilled.
To take chances or avoid making choices.
To realize that anxiety and exhilaration are really the same thing with different names.
To avoid a commitment to make it to the summit out of fear that I will fall short.
To STOP or GO.
I choose GO.