hearth · safety · vacation

What does vacation mean?

10.16.18.jpgIn today’s meditation, we were asked to listen to our “heart-felt” answers to the question: What do I want?

My answers came easily at first: Stability/Hearth; Adventure; Expression; Community/Friends.

We were then asked to probe more deeply into our answers, even if they were material!  (Deepak said those answers are “perfectly wonderful dreams(!). Dreams that may also contain further insight about your inner truth.”)

So, I asked again: What do I want?

I want vacation.  Adventure means novelty, discovery, marrow-eating, gratitude for abundance — Taking advantage of/making use of the abundance of this, my lifetime, it is my gift back to G-d!

Vacation is an expression of awe, gratitude, humility, wonder, deep appreciation, and sparking intelligence/thought and creativity.

Damn!  And I thought it was just a tan and no email! 😉

love that this is what I think vacation means.  I love the values of mine that it underscores.  I love that I want to pursue these things, suck marrow, dig the f* into the banquet of life.

I answered the question again, going further into what my dream of “hearth” meant, and came up with a soggy conclusion this morning:

Hearth, means nourishment, nurturing, dependability, rootedness, trust, foundation, place-ness, seen-ness/recognized (Oh yeah, That’s Molly).  I exist

This is my home, these are my neighbors, this is my tree. 

Also, control over this tiny world. 

No monsters. 

And then I drew a sad face with a few prison tears.  Because then, I was crying real ones.

“No monsters.”

That this “want” is in service of leading me to a life, a home, with no monsters is heart-breaking.

That one of my ultimate life desires is to craft a small world where no one is going to harm, betray, frighten, or ignore me.

Darn, that one hurts.

To acknowledge that what I am building or hope to build is based on a fear of being hurt?…  Well, what then?

I suppose it goes back to my little “I am Safe”/”You are Safe” cloud, and wouldn’t you know that as Deepak gently intoned his guided meditation this morning, he in fact said to imagine yourself enveloped by a soft white cloud!

So I did.  “You are safe.”  I drew my little kindergarten cloud in my journal, raining coins with only hearts on them this time.

I don’t want to live my life in reaction to or in service of a fear.

So, as with everything on this journey, I’ll be continuously called to notice and release, notice and release.  But first, I think I have some reckoning to do with some monsters.

 

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awareness · dating · fear · isolation · safety · self-preservation

“I Hate to See You Go, But I…”

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I will never stick around long enough to watch you leave.
Like a forest animal who senses the seismic shift before an earthquake, I will
run to high ground before you even know there’s trouble a’comin. Where’d she
go?
I heard that a lot in my drinking days: Where did you go last night anyway?
I was always leaving. I left because I was antsy or bored or
horny or wasted. I left because I could sense the swell of the evening had
reached its peak, and I don’t stick around for the lull. I left because I knew
you couldn’t give me anything more, and so I went elsewhere to seek it.
It was a different kind of dragon I chased, but one
nonetheless: The perpetually up moment. The height of hilarity and connection.
In relationship, I am becoming aware, I do the same thing.
Because relationships are never “Safety Guaranteed,” I try to figure it out:
Will this “work” / will this not “work?” I will look at the barometer and try
to figure out if we’ve reached our peak, and if it’s time for me to bail.
Before I do, however, I will engage in a lovely sequence of
emotional aerobics: If I am standoffish, will you chase me and thereby prove
you like me, and I’m safe? If I am more attached, will you reciprocate and,
here, prove that you like me, and therefore I am safe?
Somewhere in the distance between initial connection and
“the end,” I have attached my personal safety to this “working” or to my
assurance that it won’t. Either way, certainty, I have believed, will keep me
safe.
And if, through all my calculations, I still cannot devise
whether this will work or not, or if I begin to spidey-sense that your interest in me has reached its apex, I will high-tail it so fast, you
won’t remember the color of my eyes.
What a lonely way of being.
Particularly, because I won’t just leave: in order to
ensure that I am doing the “right”
thing, that I am following our projected course, simply in a truncated fashion,
I will likely nuke the relationship first. This way, I know there will be no
questions, and no “What ifs?” because it’s dead. I killed it. Hard.
And therefore, I am safe. Because I have certainty about
things. About everything.
The horrible variable in this equation is humanity. The
uncertainty principle.
Human relationships are not quantifiable by my fear-brain.
The flaw in it, too, is that I have attached, long ago, my
feeling of safety to assurance in relationships.
I know where this cycle comes from. I know that having a
formative environment that was unstable is not the foundation on which to build
ideas of safety and trust. I know what it feels like to love, and have that
love turn, viciously and swiftly.
And so, I have learned to turn first.
If I can only figure out the exact moment when we’ve reached
our groundswell, I can outrun your abandoning me.
But sometimes, dear self, rain is just rain, and it doesn’t
mean anything more. Sometimes you stay in the shallows while it storms, because
after it passes, you’re witness to god’s great rainbow. Sometimes when you stay
put, you learn how to sway in the storm instead of to rail against it or
crumble beneath it.
I don’t learn these things if I leave first.
I want to. Believe me. In the simplest of encounters, like a
phone call even, I want to be the one gone first. Because then I’m safe.
But, as I posited in “Safety Guanteed(?),” perhaps I can
begin (again) to test the theory that “I am not in control, and I am safe.”
Perhaps I can begin to root my personal sense of safety
somewhere within, instead of without, and then I never have to try to figure
others out, manipulate my behavior, or believe I’ve predicted an end. If I can
seat my personal safety in trust of myself, maybe I’ll become willing to see
what happens when I stick around.
Because maybe the party isn’t over after all. 

adventure · change · courage · fear · hope · isolation · love · recovery · relationships · risk · romance · safety · terror · trying

Changing Underpants

“It’s like he really likes me & I’m not running from
it,” is what I wrote in my journal this morning.
In fact, on Wednesday, I’ll be heading toward it, at 500 miles per hour.
I have my heels dug firmly into the ground below the plane
that will carry me there, and I have compassion for the terror and fear that
insists I stay in my cozy isolation.
It reminded me of a story I’d written in college (A Perverse Act of Gentility), although now,
many of the details have changed. Most importantly, the part where I’m actually attracted
to him, and that he’s never fallen into the deathly “friend zone.”
But, the final sentence of that story, about having
humiliation and disgust for someone who “held me like an angel” — that’s what
sparked the memory this morning. That I anticipate being held in the same way by the Boston Cupcake, but I that anticipate feeling in polar opposite to
how I did then. In fact, that I
already do.
The number of years I’ve spent avoiding true connection is vast. I’ve written extensively here about hiding from, running from, being
suspicious of love, but if you’re new to reading me, trust me: Intimacy … 
Well, here’s the vicious Catch-22 I’ve found myself in for
as many years:
I am terrified of being loved; and it is also the absolute
thing I hope most to be. It is where I know healing, change, elevation, joy, enlightenment, growth, revelation, and alchemy will occur. 
So, there is something different this time (no matter what
the “outcome”) with the Cupcake: I am
actually heading toward it. I’m not listening (wholly) to the fear. And, I feel
different. “Even in my underpants, I feel different,” to quote Elizabeth
Gilbert.
But, less in my underwear (though, yes…), and more in my chest cavity, in my guts, I feel different. At the same time that I have this electric fence
around my whole body, I have a magnet within it too. And one is fading.
I want to be loved
more than I want to hide, and I can feel the shift. I can feel tectonic plates,
long-ago formed in the tundra and tumult of my creation, beginning to ease. A
slight release in the tightness of my guts, and mostly, an excitement. Not just
the titillation and anticipation of getting to spend time with someone I really
like, but also, the opening of a door that for so long hung a sign that said,
Do Not Enter: Radioactive Waste.
Years ago, I wrote a poem about a dusty “Back in Five
Minutes” sign on the massive-shipping container that is my heart. About
brushing the caked dirt off it, but not needing to open it then, just being content
to know that it’s there, “secure, intact, existent.”
I think some of what is occurring is that I am finally opening up
that shipping container, and taking a look inside. That I’m allowing the door
to be open for a few minutes at a time. That I’m allowing myself to
dream about what it would be like to unpack it all, to discard the fallacies,
and engage and indulge in the luxuries.
Moreover, I’m letting myself do more than just dream about it,
and I think that’s where the true change is occurring. I am heading over a continent, through years of
flirtation, through a lifetime of resistance, toward possibility. There is a
willingness to step into the unknown that hasn’t been there before, and after the willingness is actual
action. Call it
cancer, call it recovery, call it straight-up flouting of boredom and
stagnancy.
I still am terrified, I know that. But I also feel
different. In my ribcage and in my underpants, I feel different. 

acting · authenticity · letting go · life · receiving · safety

I Came In Here For An Argument

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I’ve been recalling the above-referenced Monty Python
sketch. In the first moments, a customer walks into a room and the man behind
the desk there begins to berate him. The customer stops him, and exclaims, I came
in here for an argument! – At which point, the man behind the desk apologizes
and says, Oh, this is Abuse. Argument is down the hall. (It’s a very funny
sketch, and I do it no justice here – please make liberal use of Youtube.)
I’ve been thinking about what kind of lesson I think I’ve
been signed up for. What ideas I have about what I’m supposed to be learning in
this life, at this time, in this moment. And how maybe the room I’ve thought
I’ve walked into isn’t that room at all. That although I have some ideas and
hopes/generalities about the parts of myself I’m supposed to be working on
right now – the fact is, that I’m not actually the one choosing my courses.
I’ve had enough experience to learn that I have to let go of
what I think this lifetime’s lessons are for other people (that they should learn self-esteem,
compassion, ease, or forgiveness), and I’ve had mild success at that –
understanding that what I would have this person learn this time around may not
be what the Fates or Universe or Gods would have them learn. That although I
very much and fully think that this person ought to learn how to be softer or
to be more resolved, they’re apparently not here on my course schedule, and so
I have to let go, or else be in the pain of trying to manipulate my will into theirs.
However, it hasn’t yet ever occurred to me that I need to
let go of what my ideas are for my
lifetime. But it is now.
Because some of these lessons I’m learning aren’t ones I
would’ve consciously signed up for.
Last night, at my callback for this play, I was asked to
read a scene as the mother to a teenage girl who stood on stage with me. We
read the scene, and the director said it was good, but to slow it down, and
really find the emotional connection in it. We ran it again, and I was pretty sure
I didn’t do that.
I see this morning that I didn’t really trust that I could
convey that kind of emotion, and so I barreled through it again. I didn’t trust
that I could be good enough, or believable enough, or hold the emotion of love,
care, and concern enough to portray it.
So the lesson becomes “trust,” instead of “follow my dreams.” Trusting that if I
slow down, I’ll be okay. That if I allow myself to be seen (a lesson that’s
been on my syllabus for a while), I’ll be okay. Trusting oneself is not an easy
lesson to learn. Trusting in the safety of being oneself is not an easy lesson
to learn.
There’s a phrase I’ve been mulling on this morning: There
comes a point in your recovery when you stop backing away from alcohol, and you
turn around and start walking toward G-d.
Whatever your thoughts are about “god,” the idea, to me, is
that eventually, we move beyond being motivated by fear, and must begin to be
motivated by love.
The idea that I know what room I walked into, what lesson
I’m supposed to learn, is a manipulation based on the fear that I can’t be
myself, that I’m not okay with whatever “is.” To accept the fact that I don’t have the syllabus for my life and that
the Fates will steer me toward whatever lesson
they deem necessary for the goodness of all, means I have
to be willing to let go of my expectations for my life and myself. For all my
aspirations and intentions, in many ways.
To let go, doesn’t mean to abandon. It means to release
control, or perceived control. To let go doesn’t mean to not audition, pursue,
or practice what is in front of me. It doesn’t mean to reject or eject
anything, in fact.
For me, this morning, “to let go” means “to allow what is.”
To allow what is in me, in you, in the cards, in our hearts to BE.
I’ve never had the greatest relationship with the phrase,
“Let go.” It feels like falling. But “To allow what is” feels like releasing
and accepting in a warm way.
So, I will walk today into the classroom of life, and I will
allow what is here to mold and shape me, and I will allow that I am cared for
and need not brace for it, and I will allow that I am safe in the care of these
lessons, and I will allow myself to shed one millimeter of armor between us.
I will allow the idea, just the idea!, that I am actually
totally and completely held, and therefore be able to turn my attention from
clenching and bracing to opening, giving, and receiving. 
Bonus quote: “G-d steers the boat; all you have to do is row.”