This isn’t Mavericks and it doesn’t have to be…
The absolute best, the most fearless, and the slightly insane of the surf world came to Half Moon Bay last week. It was wait and see until the announcement was made. The waves have arrived. Mavericks is on. Buildings made of fast moving water grazing the tops of jagged rocks as they fly toward shore beckoned Skindog, Twiggy and The Condor, among other crazy dudes who must have the core strength of steel beams and a willingness to die. Thousands gathered to watch on large screens erected away from shore and away from danger as surfers chased dreams down the face of breakers.
Farther up the coast, bobbing in the water that cups the land of Bolinas, gathered a large number of much more sane surfers. Surfers who come to learn, perfect and enjoy the sport without having to be petrified. You can see over these waves. Unlike Mavericks where the backside is more frightening, to me, than the front. If someone had the nerve to drop me out there on a surf board I would grip that puppy, squeeze my eyes shut and hope to die.
My wish would likely be fulfilled.
I sat on a rock to the left of a yellow road sign that says END, where Overlook Drive meets Ocean Parkway, which is as much a parkway as Bolinas is a state capital, as swell upon swell rolled to the coast. I come to sit on this rock often after making the simple commitment to not let a day go by without acknowledging the beauty of a seaside life. Perched on the edge of a cliff, watching surfers bob and paddlers balance as they ride the waves is like plugging into an electrical outlet. Within seconds fogginess clears, nagging subsides, my breath flows in deeper and takes any doubts with it as I exhale out. I feel powered up. Alive. Capable. Strong. Grateful.
It was crowded that day. I could see a slew of surfers, many others were hidden around the bend, and a dozen stand-up paddlers. The sun turned the surface of the ocean into a disco ball. I put on my sunglasses and stretched my legs out in front of me. The mind chatter was saying, Lots to do, Cleo. Lots to do. My Observer Self countered with, Slow down, Cleo. Take stock. How do you feel? Can you feel? Every part of your body? I let my awareness roll down from my head to my feet like a set of waves coming to shore.
It feels so good to feel. For most of my life, until post Pocket Call, I didn’t feel my whole body. I lived mainly in my head. It would take a whole series of posts to explore the fallout of such an existence, an important exercise for another time. But I’d rather focus on the lady bug. The one that came to sit next to me on the rock that day.
She faced the ocean, just like me. If I could have seen her legs they very well may have been stretched out and crossed at the ankles. Just like mine. If we spoke the same language she would have shared her wisdom without ever taking her eyes, however many she has, off the water.
We sat, side by side, for several minutes. Me and the lady bug.
A car drove up the hill from town, coming to a stop on the other side of Overlook. A man and a woman emerged and crossed the street to stand on the dry grass that holds the cliff together, on the other side of the yellow sign that says END. They wrapped their arms around each other, her face tucked into the crook made by his shoulder meeting his neck. I could see their morning still clinging to them – waking in bed together in a room darkened by drapes, feeling so settled and warm and content after a night of love. Pulling on favorite jeans and cozy sweaters. Gripping coffee cups in both hands. Muffins shared. Still groggy, so happy, climbing into a car with the goal of finding the best view of the sea in a seaside town that hides its views.
I looked down at the lady bug with a smile. She had a whole side of the rock she could have occupied, but she cuddled up right next to me as if we were on a park bench, politely saving the other half for someone else to enjoy. She stared at the sea in deep thought. I followed her gaze and got back to checking in with my body.
Judgments and statements and questions were all present and accounted for – I’ve got to make more progress, I’ve got to clean, I’ve got to catch up on my training for Mt. Rainier, I’ve got to do my taxes, change my health insurance, unpack our suitcases.
Got to, got to, got to.
Maybe I’ll bake, make chili, can’t forget to take apple cider vinegar. Drink more water. We’ve got to conserve water.
I have to mop the floors.
The lady bug moved closer. If I was her I would have flown off to find a less frenetic chick.
I put my palms on the rock, my feet flat on the earth and focused on my root chakra, now that I know where it is. I twisted it like a top and watched it spin. I had stockpiled some good feelings for a time just like this, a time when I needed to be my own good friend and say, Break it down, baby. S’all good. You know what to do. And what not to do.
I conjured up the feeling I have when I look at freshly organized shelves. More relaxed, freed up to create, less confused. I remembered how quickly tasks get done when I don’t think about them and just do them. How I feel sexier when my floors are clean. (Weird, right?) I took a quick inventory of the stuff I need to do. In reality it’s a short list. And when I get them all finished, which can happen in a matter of a few days, I will then be able to focus on those exciting things I really want to be doing.
The lady bug was on the edge of her seat.
What do I really want to be doing?
I have big plans, really big plans. And big, long dreamy dreams.
And I’ll keep focusing on not getting the things done on my list of boring tasks so I don’t have to face the real question about my big, dreamy dreams.
Am I enough?
The question I let sit from the other day stood up and stretched.
Maybe it’s fear of not being able to satisfy the commitment.
That wasn’t quite it. But this is:
Maybe it’s fear of not being enough to satisfy the commitment.
One question focuses on skills and one focuses on worthiness. I have the skills to do what I want, to make my dreamy dreams a reality. But there still lingers a question as to whether or not I am worthy.
The lady bug was at attention. I imagined her saying, That’s it. C’mon. You’re almost there! Don’t stop here!
Worthy? Exactly what does that mean?
…good and deserving respect, having enough good qualities to be considered important, useful…admirable, desirable, having merit.
I have that. I am that. I’m worthy!
Worthy of what?
I gently stroked the back of the lady bug and rose from the rock. I felt refreshed like a thirsty plant after a cool rain shower. I left her to sprinkle her magic on the blissed out couple that was now leaning against their car making out.
Instead of lamenting how long it’s been since I did that I was genuinely excited for them. There is so much to celebrate about being alive; being in love is one of the very best things to celebrate.
When I arrived home I didn’t pause to think but started pulling my pantry shelves apart. I may not be the most efficient organizer or the smartest organizer, but I’m worthy of organizing. A pile was formed of things to be donated to the Free Box. (That’s our little Bolinas version of the Salvation Army – a shed full of stuff to take as you please.) I discovered that I have not one but two bags of powdered sugar. And that it’s okay to get rid of the martini glasses I will never, ever use. When I needed to breathe I diced onion and garlic and started a chili. And then became distracted by the dirty windows in the kitchen. I grabbed the paper towel.
The two large windows that are the focal point of the living room needed attention, too. Inside and outside.
Then, for the first time since I moved in almost one year ago, I swept the cobblestone patio outside the front door.
Halfway through my day each room in the cottage was turned upside down. I needed a break.
And a plant.
I went to the nursery next to the farmer’s market and purchased a basil tree and an orchid, vowing to the owner that I would not kill either. Technically, I was not worthy of making this statement because I have killed every plant I have ever owned. But a girl can dream.
She offered to sell me a cactus.
I pleaded with my eyes.
She relented and pushed the gorgeous orchid toward me.
I felt like I was bringing a baby home for the first time.
The table upon which the orchid would rest needed dusting. I put fresh candles in the candelabra. Yes, I have one. The last time it was lit I was still married. I dropped my dust cloth and went in search of a lighter. I found one next to an unwrapped candy cane on the top shelf of a spice rack in the kitchen.
Somehow, as I whirled to and fro among the five rooms in my cottage throughout the balance of the day, I brought order to chaos. And a massive amount of loot to the Free Box. Which I exchanged for a DeLonghi cappuccino machine.
As the night sky moved west over the hills and across the Calmmune I climbed the stairs to the single room that gives me the right to say I live in a two story home. My bed was made. The floors cleaned. Clothes put away. I climbed onto my bed, laid on my stomach and looked out the little window that slides left to right and serves as a head board to the bed for the first star of the night. Star light, star bright…
There, on the glass, stood a lady bug.
I got up and jogged down the freshly mopped stairs, past the framed and just hung pictures I took of a mermaid’s bouquet tossed up on the sands of Limantour, a view of the ocean obscured by dense fog and framed by black tree limbs dripping with moss and the Eucalyptus lined path to Bass Lake, and into the kitchen to grab my laptop from the clutter-less table. Back in bed, with the lady bug looking over my shoulder, I looked up her meaning.
She brings good luck and protection.
I could feel her beaming. Uh-huh. I do.
Higher goals and new heights are now possible.
She nodded. You’ve been preparing for this, Cleo.
Don’t go too hard or too fast. Let things unfold at their natural pace.
You don’t have to choose the locomotive speed of Mavericks. You’ve already picked easy-going Bo.
The arrival of a lady bug signifies that your wishes are ready to be fulfilled.
I read that three times. Star light, star bright…
And accepted it. I accepted it.
I am worthy of having my wishes fulfilled.
Without trying I saw immediately what that very first, most important wish is and it involves all of you.
I’m not going to Maverick it. I’m going to start slow. I have already begun. But now I actually feel worthy of higher goals and new heights.
I haven’t yet won the HGTV dream house that will become The Open Rose – a retreat for those blindsided by infidelity and facing divorce, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start making a difference now. Until today I’ve been doing it with words and working one-on-one with a handful of people in an informal fashion. Tomorrow I will put some structure to it – just enough. And with a lady bug on my shoulder I am going to let it unfold at its natural pace.
This is my dream. My wish fulfilled.