Many apologies for the delay in the post. My hands have seen better days…but let’s not start there.
For all the beauty and strength and freedom the Falcon represents, I felt more like a caged animal this past week. I am not a pacer, yet I found myself wearing out a path all over my domain. Outdoors, indoors, even while laying in my bed, I felt as if I was beating out a groove in the blue marble with my flipper feet. All the while my mind was racing. My core felt agitated. I had butterflies in my stomach, but not the good kind. I had the ones you get before testifying in front of a judge or climbing the rope in gym class when your arms have the combined strength of a single piece of linguine.
If I had been a canary in a coal mine, disaster was imminent.
I found my mind wandering up ahead, taking center stage, wanting to be in the spotlight. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Not feeling, thinking. And not about what was in front of me, but about what MAY come at some point in the future, maybe. Not what is a certainty, but all that might happen. Hence, I started screwing up the things that needed my attention in the present moment.
On Tuesday, I woke up 15 minutes before my son’s end of school year picnic began. I was assigned to walk a group of students to the park where the picnic was to take place. I made it, but it wasn’t pretty. I kept my sunglasses on to cover up my wrecked eyes. I drank three cups of Peet’s caffeinated coffee (I mention the brand because it is rocket fuel.), when I’m an 80-20 girl, 80% being decaf. I ate corn chips for my breakfast and lunch. My mind was ricocheting all over the park. While I was watching the face painting and parachute play, I wasn’t experiencing it. Because I was elsewhere.
I never kicked the unsettled feeling I had knowing that I overslept and could have caused my son to miss the fun of walking to the park with his friends. Sure would have been a great time to check in with my Observer Self. Shoulda, woulda, coulda…had I not allowed myself to become so upended for no definable reason we would have been in close contact.
The next day, at his end of school year concert, I filmed the performance on my ‘kind of new’ iPhone. Not new enough to not know how to use it. The one I got to take pictures for a gallery that I promised you many weeks ago. A promise I haven’t yet delivered on. I filmed the little munchkins singing their hearts out…with my iPhone vertical. Hence, I am the proud owner of an experimental film of the upper wall and ceiling of the multipurpose room, complete with a soundtrack comprised of Proud to be an American and The Chicken Dance. (Cheep, cheep, cheep, flap, flap, flap, wiggle, wiggle…you get it.)
I promised The Genius I would send him the video. No need now. I blew it.
The late nights were adding up, and it was starting to show. I was easily distracted, unsure of my emotions, not grounded. I was forgetting to drink water, tea. I was eating unconsciously. I don’t think I sat down for a meal all week. I was criticizing myself – my stomach seemed bigger, I’m not balancing my diet, I’m not breathing consciously, I haven’t meditated in a week, the floor is dirty, I’m living out of my laundry basket, I haven’t baked bread in eons, I’m not training enough. What if I don’t summit Whitney? How can I swim the bay if I haven’t done a mile in the pool since I was in my 20s? My skin looks like hell. I forgot to call Mr. Simplicity. Have you ever seen so many split ends? When was the last time I took a vitamin? I haven’t cooked a hot breakfast for the boys all week. I’m starting to look my age. When was the last time I thanked my stars? My throat hurts. Oh, god…a zit.
Know that the above is simply a SMALL sampling of all that was flying through my brain. It went on and on…until Thursday night when I couldn’t take it anymore. The wind had picked up. I sat on the patio and watched a long stroke of a cloud drift against a yellow-purple sky as the first stars descended from the heavens. Feeling edgy, uncertain, I rose and began to pace. All the progress I had made was eroding like a sand cliff as I drifted somewhere up ahead, on a part of my path that had not yet been created. No wonder I felt like I was walking a tightrope over vast nothingness. I was.
I thought of my son’s upcoming birthday. The Genius will be returning for Father’s Day. We’ll celebrate both as a family. (Ugghhh…I didn’t water the roses.) I want to make this a special day. Both of them have been experiencing sadness over being separated for so long. (pacing, pacing) Thinking about that made me sad. I started to cry. I would have done anything to spare them the pain of seeing their Dad and Mom part ways. Well, except remain married in spite of a four year affair. I failed my children.
I let myself cry out the tears I had been trapping inside all week, and quieted my mind so I could feel the sadness. Hear what it had to say.
I miss The Genius.
That’s what it said. That made me cry harder. Tears spilled on my jeans. I didn’t want to feel that. I tried to push it away and attribute my crying to being so tired from a bat-crazy week. Not surprisingly that didn’t work. What would work was to let it go. To sob. So I did. Into my hands. After a few minutes, I picked my head up and watched a pale, tear drop shaped piece of fog drift away from me. The deep sadness passed like a rain shower on an Hawaiian island. I sat perfectly still. More stars had descended.
Why are you feeling this way? No answer. I took a deep breath and asked again. Why are you feeling this way? Again, no answer. The line to Ease Me had been disconnected. For all the progress I had made over the last several months, I had slipped effortlessly back to judging myself, focusing on what’s not working, and missing the magic that was happening all around me. I failed Ease Me. I failed me. I felt depleted. I went to bed without brushing my teeth.
Instead of swimming the bay on Friday I took to a little mountain (Don’t tell her I called her ‘little’.) in northern Marin called Mt. Burdell. The cows wander freely on Mt. Burdell, mowing the grass as they go. They are so peaceful, so content. I had to force myself to drink in their gentle nature. I made my way up the fire road to a trail that ascends the steepest part of the mountain. It’s not for those who suffer from vertigo. It’s a short but tough climb. As I made my approach, I asked the Universe to give me a feeling, a message upon reaching the summit. Something that would help to quell the mind and open my core back up to the joy that had not suddenly departed, but had retreated because I was not being grateful.
At the very top of the trail I walked smack into a flurry of butterflies dancing around a tree. They were small and creamy in color. They fluttered haphazardly, bumping into me, themselves and the tree branches that made up their playground. I laughed, and though I couldn’t see my eyes, I knew they were sparkling. Ahhh…deep breath, deep sigh…this was just what I needed.
I decided my legs craved more of a workout and, for the first time ever, I made my way back down the fire road, but instead of turning right to go to the car, I went left. I headed right back to the near-vertical trail and began the climb again. I wanted to do this trail twice. My legs felt stronger than they did the first time. I wasn’t breathing as hard. I even picked up a trot, placing my feet in the steps created by many feet that came before me, including the hooves of cows.
When I came to the top, to where the butterflies had been frolicking, most had moved on. I was grateful they greeted me on the first pass and I was grateful that I was able to do the climb twice without issue. I was starting to feel a little peace, some joy. A feeling that disaster was not imminent.
I felt buoyed by a sense of achievement and the sense that I was coming back into myself, grounding myself. The wind whipped around me, kicking up the dry dust, making my nose run. I let the wind pull from me thoughts that didn’t need to linger anymore. Thoughts of not being ‘enough’ – not being organized enough, or fit enough, or accomplished enough, or pretty enough or joyful enough.
Not 10 minutes further down the trail I approached two men forcing down the pedals on their mountain bikes as they navigated the rocks and gulleys on the fire road like an obstacle course. They looked up as I came into view.
Did you do the steep trail?
It took me a moment to answer.
Twice, I said, with a smile.
Wow, said one.
I could still hear them after they passed me.
She must be in great shape.
I felt them staring at me as I bounced over rocks I could barely see with the late afternoon sun making a mockery of my shades. Not so great, I thought. My hiking pants feel a little tight, I haven’t done planks in two days, and my ass still moves like a 46 year old ass and not that of a 30 year old, which is my goal. I’d say 25, but I’m not foolish. I should have been swimming in the open water if I’m ever going to complete the journey from Alcatraz to Chrissy Field, and…
My right ankle turned, my foot caught a rock and I flew to my left with just enough time to stiff arm the planet with my palm. I landed so hard on my hip that I bounced. I was covered in dust. I couldn’t feel my left wrist and hand. As I was falling I was thinking, I’ll recover from this trip; I haven’t made contact with the Earth in the midst of a wipe-out in months.
Yea. Not happening. No recovery. Just an absolute face plant on the blue marble. Falling uphill is a pain. Falling downhill is painful. I was stunned. Literally.
I looked at my left palm. The skin was scraped off, blood was coming through the dirt that had been forced in to the open wound created by the impact. The car keys I had tucked into a zippered pocket on my lower left leg were extracting themselves from my calf. My water bottle sailed down the trail.
I felt the urge to get right up. Fast. I didn’t want anyone to see me splayed out like a poached rhino, writhing in pain.
It didn’t take me two seconds, only one, to realize exactly why I wiped out. I laughed as I held my left hand to my chest and tried to smack the dust out of my pants with my right.
I have come too far to get a free pass from the Universe. While two young men felt moved to compliment me, I felt moved to take their compliment, twist it up and turn it into a dark shower of personal doubt. I’m spending my valuable time thinking of all the things I am not doing, or not doing well enough. My mind is out there, up ahead, where it doesn’t belong. My heart isn’t at peace because it’s been passed over.
I asked for a sign from the Universe and got butterflies by the dozens. They reminded me to feel joy. To be playful. To laugh. 20 minutes later I’m questioning the firmness of my ass. The Universe was not impressed. I got the message.
As I consciously ate my beet salad, after a long hot shower to remove the dirt and ease the aches and pains from my tumble, I asked myself again why I was feeling so upended. I got an answer this time.
No real reason at all. You chose to go there. You stopped walking the walk.
I lost sight of me. I wasn’t treating my body as a temple. It wasn’t the end of the world. I just need more sleep, better balance, and as many reminders as needed to remain joyful. Because there is no reason not to be.
I wasn’t dreading Father’s Day anymore. I was looking forward to it. To the opportunity to be a loving mother, a mature woman, to being graceful in the presence of The Genius.
And I didn’t miss The Genius. I missed the man I thought he was. Can’t do anything about that, so let it go.
Everything in my world is moving at the perfect pace. It will all get done. Unless I reside too far up my path, where no path yet exists.
Then the most important feeling of all surfaced: I am worthy of a magical existence. In order to live it I have to create it. In order to create it I have to be present and love myself. And my myriad of imperfections.
I felt a nice kind of emptiness inside. The kind that can be filled with love. And then I felt joy. And the sense that something great was about to happen.
mary allison says
Thank you, M. As are you.
i’m sorry you took that spill !! but you know the saying, sometimes it takes a swift kick in the a** to get you to follow the right path. and you did. i’m so glad to hear you compliment yourself for the tremendous woman you are. you have always been you, and you are beautiful inside and out. i agree on the missing the genius, you hit it on the head, you were missing the genius you thought he was, you don’t need the genius that is. try to be patient in a world that is filled with so many emotions, your head is in the right place but it always takes longer for the heart to catch up. love you, continue to soar
Oh! Such kind words. Thank you. It’s been a challenging few days, but coming here and receiving such support is, well, it’s beautiful.
And this nugget of guidance: “Try to be patient in a world that is filled with so many emotions, your head is in the right place but it always takes longer for the heart to catch up.”
Sheer magic. Like you. Thank you, love you, owe you.
It seems the big blue marble smacked some sense into you, literally! What a great moment of clarity.
She sure did. And the lingering pain (it feels way worse than it looks) is her way of saying, I’m going to make sure you focus on you. Don’t get distracted from your path. Now is the time.
She means business. I don’t say no to the blue marble.
With your help, I realized what I was doing wrong in my divorce. I encountered a major road block – he doesn’t care if I move, just doesn’t want me to take the kids to be where my support system is…my TRUE friends, my family. Not far. An hour away. Less than 50 miles. I panicked. I wanted it to end. Wanting to rush everything. To be over. To move. To be divorced. I was spinning. Couldn’t breathe. Wanting to go so fast that I was missing out on everything sweet that was coming my way. Suddenly someone directed me on a different path (a new idea) and it felt right again. I read your post…it was another sign. A heard a song (Slow Me Down by Emily Rossum)…another sign. I need to slow down. “Rushing and racing, and running in circles. Moving so fast, I’m forgetting my purpose. Blur of the traffic is sending me spinning, getting nowhere.” Everything happens for a reason…just breathe!!!
Thank you ~ sending you love and strength! ~V
I’m so grateful you took the time to comment. You’ve captured how I felt after the pocket call and, to a degree, how I felt this past week. I’ve seen the sweet. I’ve been given a reprieve for a bit. And now it’s time to do some not so fun work. But magic is still happening all around me. So, it’s as if the Universe is asking me to put it all together. I’ve experienced the ugly and the sweet, and now I have to figure out how to remain balanced regardless of which I am experiencing at any given time.
Let’s figure it out together. Thank you for nudging me to stop and breath. It felt so very good.
Hi Cleo – the universe sure works in mysterious ways! I needed to read this blog just as much as you needed to write it. Thank you.
We both won! Thank you.
Bravo. One of your best posts.
Reading your blog has been my personal encounter with a falcon
Thank you. SO much. For your words and for reading mine. I’m so grateful to have you here.
Oh man – that looks painful. So sorry that you took that tumble, and relieved that it wasn’t more serious.
Spending Father’s Day with The Genius. I’ve debated addressing this. But do you really have to? Are you doing this for him? For the kids? Because you want to be gracious?
I set out in my divorce making promises of shared holidays and trying my best to contort myself into being the magnanimous gracious woman I wanted to be perceived as. It caused several face plants. For me alone. I had to stop and accept that divorce for us meant splitting the family. (He wanted it, but wanted to share everything as well. Freedom + continued shared events. Um, no.) We couldn’t do the joint thing without serious unease (being generous here) or worse creeping into our interactions and without my coming undone emotionally in the lead up days to such events. I would have horrible stomach pains, nerves, dread, etc. I finally tried to find grace within myself. I realized I could only be the best mother I could be to my children when they were with me and the best woman I could be for myself and try desperately to not try to control how our “family” looked at holiday times. The children came to prefer spending time separate and focused with each parent. They were sad, of course. They are still sad to this day and loathe having to trek from one house to the other, but they feel more at ease not having forced interactions between Mommy and Dad. Just a thought. I know you’re in your own journey and each situation is unique. I just wanted to share mine because I was unable to be all things that I set out to be and the realizing that it was okay was surface breaking relief for me.
Today we share custody 50/50 and are finally in a spot where we can share the good and bad bits of each week spent with the cherubs that need to be shared to be useful parents. But. We do not share holidays or birthdays. Those are celebrate twice and that is our sweet spot.
Much love to you and hopefully much more ease will come your way as you get back into your self-loving groove.
BTW, you HAVE to be in decent shape to do as many hikes as you have been doing for months. Give yourself a break and realize the beauty that we all see oozing out of the screen weekly. I guarantee you that your ass is mighty fine. Today.
Love that ass my dear.
I just kissed it. Twice. Once on each cheek. Not bad.
Thank you for your sweet words and your questions worth pondering. Twice tonight I have been told/asked the same thing. The Genius doesn’t have the regular contact with the children that most parents have due to his travel. While the children are used to it, it’s really hard for a parent to be away from their children for that long. So, I want him to be able to see them whenever he can. I’d also like to attempt this type of gathering a few times to see if I can work towards liking him as a father so we can interact in a healthy manner around the children, together. It’s no fun to be around people who don’t like each other. It’s taxing. And I want the boys to see us working together as a family. That unit is still alive on one level – theirs.
Lastly, I’m giving this a shot to see how it’s done. I want to see if I can walk the walk. I’m on a mission, m’lady.
Next week I’ll be grooving to The Parlotones! That’s self-love, baby.
Jane and Cleo,
Ditto for me. As Jane did, I found on my journey that the divorce meant we could not sanely hold events as the family we once were. Separate but equal works for us. Cleo as long as you hold on to your grace, if that means alone or as co-parents, you will work out what works for you and yours. You’re smart that way.
We’ll see how it goes this weekend! I’m taking the route of the optimist. And I’m going to keep my eyes out for magic.
…and my wine glass…;-)
People CHANGE but it’s the MEMORIES that we hold on ever so grudgingly than we’re unwilling to let go of…both of us r going through the same long challenging ride n as for me i learnt that by “GRIEVING OVER the death of Genius” will u then find urself in peace.The most Important Relationship you have in Life is the Relationship u hv with urself n ur boys. God bless ♥ ♥
And the next most important relationship I have is with Nature. The feeling of inspiration is returning, T. Thank you for your comment and for being here.
Exit strategy says
My Dearest Cleo,
I wrote months ago about needing to leave my husband – I finally had the courage to do it. Fixed my house, sold it, got an apartment and moved out, then in, last week. I tune in for every post – for me, it is the therapy I can’t afford. Last night as I sat in this lonely empty space that has no internet or TV yet, that’s covered in boxes, I found myself missing him. I hated myself for it and went to sleep in this awful frame of mind – how could I miss someone that put me through that kind of pain? I building everything in my life so I could face forward and my heart was just starting to turn around and look behind me.. WHY???
When I got to work this morning and read your post I heard that perfect pop when the ball connects with the sweet spot on the bat..
“I missed the man I thought he was.”
And the ball soared over the fence…
I think you saved me weeks of torment over this lost emotion that drifted into my life. I am not happy that you are going through what you are… but I am so very grateful that I don’t have to feel so alone in my journey.
Thank you for saving my life one post at a time..
I am so proud of you. I am SO VERY proud of you. This is a powerful time and you are in it. I’m happy that my words resonated with you and helped you sort through a real unsettling feeling. You are not alone, and I am going nowhere. Well, let’s hope I’m “going” lots of places, but I will always be writing. We’ll continue on this unpredictable journey with humor, occasional grace, and lots of self-excavation.
I’m very grateful you found HGM. Stay close…
I love Exit Strategy. She’s a winner.
Yes, she is. A gloriously beautiful soul!
You are on the road to your best life ever. I went through that phase of missing my ex about a month after I moved out. I was missing “my best friend”, but then I realized that that person doesn’t exist anymore and so I grieved like he had died…because he had. The grieving process is cyclical and it tends to repeat in lesser and lesser degrees until you have worked through all of the emotions, and there are many. I’ve had my moments of clarity and pure joy followed by moments of doubt (usually precipitated by me attempting to hold onto a new relationship like it was a life raft). I then realized that everything I’m looking for comes so easily and effortlessly to me when I just let go. As soon as I start to grasp, suffering soon follows. So, I have been trying to remind myself to let go and just go where life takes me. There are times when I am successful and other times when I am not. But it’s all part of the journey.
Your ability to center yourself and observe when you are spinning out of control will be your guiding force. This amazing openness, honesty and trust that you have in yourself is so inspiring…you are a gift to so many of us tripping our way through similar circumstances. Rock on!
Big hugs to you and wishing you a speedy recovery on all fronts!
Thank you so much for your kind words, yet again. And for reminding me that letting go leads to spontaneous creations of magic. Which is why I experience so many on my hikes. I’ve been working on capturing that feeling and bringing it off the mountain with me.
My trust in myself has grown considerably since last week. I’ve taken some steps that have required courage and the reward is a feeling of security. That I can handle whatever comes down the path without getting derailed by it. If I stay centered, grounded, trust myself, my intuition, and most importantly, be true to myself, I will be creating magic out of my ears. And various other places.
So grateful to have you here.
Long Time Married Man says
I believe your spill was both figurative and literal. The literal part, of course, is the result on your hand. The figurative is the bumpy road you appear to be on at the moment. I know it would be nice to have clarity and have everything smooth from there, but, to quote Jason Robards from the movie “Parenthood” (one of my favorite movies), “Life is messy”. I know doubts will creep in, be it self-doubt, doubts about the road you are on, etc. It is great to hear you have no doubts with The Genius, in that you miss who you thought he was, and not who he *is*. Hold onto the latter. Life is indeed messy, but you will get through it. I think of it like a plateau that one reaches when someone is trying to lose weight, or trying to train to scale Mt. Whitney … It sounds like lately you’ve hit that plateau, both in your trip to Yachats, and your latest entry. The good thing is to recognize it for what it is, and know that if you keep moving forward you will pass the plateau to scale your next mountain. I wish you all the best on the journey.
So good to ‘see’ you again. Thank you for pointing out that plateaus come and then vanish as we continue to ascend. I’m on a vertical path, with no fear of heights. Next week, though, I will get horizontal with the sharks. I aim to not fear them either. I also aim to make sure my wet suit doesn’t make me look like a seal, my mop of long red hair making me appear wounded.
In the words of Mr. Simplicity, Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. Something happened last week that I can’t yet put my finger on. Either it was simply getting carried away with all that is on my plate and not being grateful or I was testing myself mid-semester. I didn’t do so well on the test, but the retest? I aced it. No cheating, either!
Stay close…you are such a great source of support.
Cycles and cycles. If nature speaks and you can hear, love the moments. If nature seems still and silent, well, I dunno. I’m in that space now, waiting. I hope it is the tense calm before the storm. As for the missing the Genius, yes. I allow myself to miss what once was. I allow that my poor brain has this person inside me, my thoughts, my emotions, a script we wrote together that plays along even when I don’t notice. It misses the input. The very neurons I spent years connecting need that input to survive, and without it, they long, for they know the little death that comes. The patterns which may never come again. They release that piece of their life only grudgingly.
Just as a child’s mind evolves in cycles and layers, so too do we. We are ever those children, as the child is the adult they will become. Linear only as much as we cannot view the entirely of the spiral until it grows distant. Gentle to ourselves for those things we have built into our lives, and miss. Gentle to ourselves when we seem to slip, and allow ourselves the humanity of our flesh.
I look forward to when the universe speaks again to me. The last time it screamed, but so loudly I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to understand. Lately it is far too quiet, and although I work towards my own goal, I am not finding those doorways opening.
I have traveled your journy in an afternoon. In so many ways like my own, and yet also different.
Sometimes I tire of repeating the same thing over and over to my children. Eat over your plate. They drop a taco on the floor. Why did the taco fall on the floor, boys? Because you didn’t eat over your plate. While I am saying, Eat over your plate, they are interrupting me to tell me what they want for breakfast in bed on their birthdays or that they won’t share their new pencils or…or…or…EAT OVER YOUR PLATE! Another taco drops to the floor. The dog is fed. The boys are not. Rinse. Repeat. Tonight I said EAT OVER YOUR PLATE 13 times in a row. I would have kept going but their was no food left for them to eat.
I kept talking but their brains shut it out. You know the phrase “give an inch…” – the brain is a perfect example of the bat-crazy s…tuff that can happen when it has free rein. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brain. But after last week, I am more certain than ever that it requires a task-master.
The Universe is still speaking to you. But I’m sensing that your mind is blocking the messages because it so wants to be in charge. That’s how it insures its survival. Your insides will open in the stillness. The quiet. With your arms wrapped around yourself, creating a safe haven for all those emotions to come spilling out. And we’ll be here when they do.
I found your website while on fieldwork in the Philippines. I’ll be returning at the end of the week to an empty house – I’ve asked him to stay at a friends while I work out what to do next. My equivalent of the pocket call came one week before I left the country…and two days before I was bridesmaid at a wedding he was playing the ‘aisle’ music to, but that’s another story…
Your words provided immeasurable comfort during lonely nights far from my friends and family.
I laughed when I read about your iphone video, as I just wrote this to a friend:
” Almost captured an amazing perfect scene between a fisher and his ‘suki’ – buyer – but ended up with 17mins of my hand, none of the buyer, then an hour of the inside of the video case.”
My counsellor friend calls those thoughts warpy thoughts – warping what people say and do and twisting them up into a nasty knot inside us. When we don’t need more compliments, but more an internal iron. Or something warmer, softer, a rose-coloured filter.
with love and gratitude
I’m so glad you found HGM. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and from such a beautiful place! I roared when I read this: ” Almost captured an amazing perfect scene between a fisher and his ‘suki’ – buyer – but ended up with 17mins of my hand, none of the buyer, then an hour of the inside of the video case.” Hilarious. S…tuff happens.
Ouch. I hope this time away for you was as beneficial as having two months to work through the Pocket Call was for me. I sense it was. You seem very grounded to me. I’m thinking of your flight home – what a perfect time to take advantage of being nearer the stars, and meditate your way home. I’ll be thinking of you. Stay close…