This past Wednesday I took Mr. Simplicity, a former client and dear friend, to the top of Mt. Tam. He was gobsmacked. The marine layer was thick over the ocean, obscuring Stinson Beach, spilling across the Marin Headlands into the bay. The Sutro Tower poked it’s arms through the white fluff giving us the only marker that the city of San Francisco was just over there.
While driving to the summit (not something I am used to doing…I felt a little guilty about not sweating it to the top), with Mr. Simplicity following behind me, several thoughts flew through my brain: the view!, oh, yea, the sun is bursting through, sweet – he might get to see the city, I have to remember to ask him about procrastination, maybe I can squeeze in a hike before I have to head home, clams at the Sand Dollar…maybe I’ll watch the sunset at the beach.
Those thoughts disappeared when we got to the parking lot near the summit and began our brief climb to the top. Mr. Simplicity was awed by the scene that lay at our feet as we sat on rocks at 2,572 feet above sea level. He snapped photos and took a 360° time lapse video of nature’s motions. I was a proud mama.
Isn’t she gorgeous? This is what fuels me. Being on the top of a peak, no matter the elevation, nothing beats it.
Mr. Simplicity is not a small-talker. Our conversations tend to chip away at life’s big questions. So it wasn’t surprising to me that we dove right in to discussing the challenges that life presents to us, the desire we both have for adventure, quests, and bold living, both physically and spiritually, and how our relationships with others support or stymie those desires.
I focused my attention on the marine layer. A vast atmospheric sea of matte white that stretched to the western horizon, disorienting if you’re seeing it for the first time. Given that Mt. Tam is under 3,000 feet, it’s an unexpected sensation to be ‘above the clouds’. The massive cloud moved with such determination, only to be swiftly undone by the hills of Marin; coming in thick, only to melt away like cotton candy in the mouth of the bay. It seemed to never make any progress, but I noticed how valiantly it continued to try.
(Much like how I feel right now. Before my Mom gets on a plane to come be with her little morsel, I want to state for the record: I’m okay. Raw, yes. Full of tears, yes. But okay still.)
Mr. Simplicity came west for a conference. He coupled that with a trip to see his daughter in Los Angeles, drive up the coast, and then visit his Uncle and me in the bay area. As we lounged on boulders we chatted about his drive north, the Hearst Castle (I am so swimming in that pool), the need to pull over every other breath to take a picture of nature being nature – all proud and worthy of respect, adulation. We spoke about my love affair with Northern California, how people relish the outdoors, how the food seems to still be alive at first bite, the seemingly endless amount of open space in the north bay, and the joy I experience seeing the boys romp and catch lizards and get all earthy and dirty.
Then he said,
I’m looking forward to this conference. A colleague of mine turned me on to this guy Jeffery Combs. I was hooked after hearing his seminar on procrastination.
My head swiveled like a barn owl smelling dinner at close range, from the bay scene I was taking in to Mr. Simplicity sitting behind me on his own Tam stool in one second flat. I smiled at him. A knowing smile he’s seen from me before. Simp, I said, (he has another nickname that sounds way better but in the interest of anonymity…you get it), you have got to be kidding me. Did you just say that? I told him about my ricocheting thoughts on the way up the mountain. How I knew I needed to discuss procrastination with him. How the need to come to understand the root of my tendency to procrastinate was making itself known. In a loud and large way. And not a moment too soon, for I was beginning to realize it was more than just not wanting to tackle divorce paperwork.
Some thing is clamoring for attention inside of me. I have been preparing for this moment since the winter. The self-excavation, the climb of Whitney and the swim of the bay and all the training that led to those successful endeavors were in preparation for a game-changer. Said game-changer is in my gut caught in the glue of procrastination. A word I’ve spoken more of in the last 5 days than at any time in my life.
Since my encounter with Mr. Simplicity I have been pondering hard. So hard it hurts. I’m still in a place where I’m together one second and crying the next, but I’m making progress. The tears are not in vain. I’m grateful he was here to kick off what I will call The Implosion. Of all the people I know, he was the perfect fit.
The excavation I’ve been doing has stripped off the metal, pulled down the walls and cleared away the shattered glass. The implosion is the final blast to my building, taking it down to its foundation. Exposing the structure, sound or otherwise, beneath. That implosion began Wednesday night. When the dust cleared this morning, I peered into the gutted hole, and over there in the corner, covered in glue, sat my self-worth.
The self-worth I had worked so hard to build in my late twenties and early thirties (unfinished business?) was stuck to a wall, depleted quietly over the years. And here I thought a file system and a weekly calender would clear up this funk, this battle with procrastination. Not gonna cut it.
My self-worth got kicked in the teeth by The Genius. And I’m mad as hell about it.
(Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.)
While I haven’t felt this raw in a long time, I’m stoked in a ‘this still sucks’ kind of way. After painstaking debris removal, I have stumbled upon what very well may be my holy grail. The key to sustained happiness, success and clarity.
As for how I’m going to tackle this? I don’t have a long range plan yet, and I feel it’s best I start in the moment. That means no more laying down, shutting down, standing down. That whole creepy scene with The Genius bringing the Happy Dance Chick into my house would be handled a lot differently were it to have happened tomorrow.
But beyond those measures, which are all important aspects of the rebuilding plan, I have to get to the heart of my self-worth. What’s it made of? How is harmed? How is it best cared for? What do I rebuild it? How do I make amends? I want to grab that little schmuzzie and love it up.
When I came into this world my self-worth was as perky and healthy as my bum. What happened? And how do I make sure that it never happens again? And can we figure this stuff out kinda quickly?
Man, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Good thing I’m all in for the long haul.