I missed a post deadline last night. So I spent the morning thinking up the things I could do to make amends.
1. Eat a spider.
2. Go into the crawl space under my house and make one round trip before exiting.
3. Eat a spider.
I’m going to leave it up to you to choose the proper consequence. But, before you do, please know that you would have totally supported my decision to delay the post till today. Also know that if I have to eat a spider I am cooking it. In a crock pot.
The day before my hike I received a comment by D. This is what she had to say:
“Just continue on your journey, keep asking yourself the questions and figuring out what it is that you truly want in life and try to make sure it is grounded in what you want and not in fear or hurt or insecurity.”
I took this golden morsel with me as I embarked on a hike from the sands of Stinson Beach to the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. I needed to make it a mantra. I repeated D’s words from sea level to the summit, and all the way back down again. And while doing so I discovered something big. My very being, my human self, my spiritual self, my emotional self and my intellectual self are being rewired. They are changing, shifting, becoming more and more alive with each brave step I take on this journey. And when I revert back to an old way of being the downward spiral is accelerated. I lose ground faster than Alice in the rabbit hole.
What was so fascinating about this discovery was that it crystallized in a way in which I could actually feel it. Let me try to explain. But first I have to tell you about my day and night.
It was epic. Waterfalls surged and wildflowers bloomed. A wild turkey escorted me for a 1/2 mile through patches of wild irises and tiny, yellow orchids. I passed a banana slug on the way up, and not surprisingly, at nearly the exact same place on the way down, 5 hours later. With the same ball of pine needles stuck to his bum. A two foot long garter snake with yellow stripes down his grey-green body patrolled his section of the trail, looking for baby bunnies I imagine. He, too, greeted me on the way up and down.
Then I passed two women who excitedly told me of a mountain lion sighting that morning. On the very trail I was taking to the summit. Did I tell you I was hiking alone? I immediately tried to make myself look bigger, hoping to both see and not see the kitty. I looked in spider webs to see if I could find the resident, I wrapped my arms around redwoods, and breathed in the myriad of forest, brush and water scents of Mt. Tam. 20 miles of sensory overload.
And then I met Mr. Jackpot for dinner at the Sand Dollar. I could not shower. I changed in the backseat of my car. At least I had a baby wipe to clean off my face. My feet were red and sore, my thighs ached, and my knees threatened to call it a day well in advance of their quitting time. I pulled off my pony tail holder, flipped my head over and and shook sweat, dirt and hitch-hiking bugs out of my hair. I was a sight, for sure.
Mr. Jackpot was the first person I saw when I entered the tiny restaurant with it’s 8-person bar, 2-person band (piano and an upright bass) and the perfect amount of charm for a seaside cafe.
“You look gorgeous. You’re glowing.”
I don’t shrug off compliments anymore. I lap them up. But this one I had to question.
“Seriously?” I had just spent 5 hours on the mountain on the first real hot day of the year and all I did to freshen up was change my clothes. Wow. Glowing. Maybe he confused sweating with glowing. Or maybe he didn’t.
We moved to a table in front of the window and spent the next two hours bouncing from topic to topic, pausing to stare into each others eyes deeply. Not in a soap opera kind of way, but with real intent to see the soul of the other. To let our souls speak to each other without our minds intruding.
Mr. Jackpot excused himself at one point and the bartender came out from behind the bar, walked over to me with a gentle smile and said,
“Your bartender approves.” I broke out my Julia Roberts laugh and felt the Universe laughing with me.
We wrapped our dinner and walked across the tiny two lane Route 1, down a path, across a bridge and to the beach. I have been in Marin for over a year and can you believe that I have not walked the sands at night? Not once have I strolled along the beach looking out at the black water with its frothy white trim and then up to the stars to lose myself in their endless glimmer. This was the perfect night to do so.
At one point on our stroll Mr. Jackpot cut me off in mid-sentence as I was trying to express to him the words of D. The need for me to question my feelings to make sure they were coming from a place of truth and not created from fear or insecurity. When he stopped me I let him. Right at that moment in time I felt part of my physical being shift to my right, out of my body. I observed her there. She had her head down. She felt flimsy and forlorn. She felt cast aside.
I was looking up at the stars when Mr. Jackpot cut me off. My gaze remained there for some time as I felt her separate from me. Without moving I sucked her back into my being and took a deep breath in through my nose and slowly exhaled through my mouth. I turned to Mr. Jackpot and said:
“Please don’t cut me off without letting me finish my thought. I doesn’t feel good to have that happen. And when I want to say something it’s because I really want to say it and I really want you to hear it.”
He smiled such a gentle smile at me, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me to him so my face was lifted to the sky by his shoulder, upon which my chin rested.
I looked into my body and there she was. Glowing. I know you understand that my request of Mr. Jackpot was a simple one, but its meaning was so much more potent. I stood up for her and she was elated, grateful, delighted and moved to celebrate.
So the Universe sent me a shooting star. And that’s how I wrapped my night. Much too late to post, but changed for the better in so many ways.