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.