. . .This morning, waking before dawn, a litany of lists pulling at your sleeve,
you wandered through the quiet rooms of your house, waiting for the coffee to brew,
for something to take shape in the dark. You realize, often, how your movements look
a little on the shifty side, your path fashioned by a compass few can recognize or follow.
And yet here you are, covering ground nevertheless, leaning into the instrument of your heart,
building the map song by song, even when the notes toss you somewhere you never intended.
Especially when they do.
~ Maya Stein (from Tuning In)
My word for 2016 is Balance. In fact, Balance and Success (my definition, my terms), if I can have two. Because my life’s been seriously out of balance, and I am over it. fine. done. no more. whew.
I wrote those words Sunday. I have not been enjoying life. It doesn’t matter the place we moved into Jan. 2 has nearly everything on my List for Next Home, including a responsive landlord who cares about our experience here. Or that I call my own hours, can drive when traffic’s light, love what I do. I see the good stuff, acknowledge it, but I’d tunneled into the space between my Ideal Life vision and where we are now re. work and income. I churned to fix things, fill in the holes. Felt behind, that perhaps the work I’d done the past months was useless. The wheels inside screeched in their spinning. Fear crept to my edges. Truth is I look so normal, and I don’t feel normal. My husband shared an article. I have the classic symptoms of a body overly stressed. Exactly how I was when I went to Santa Fe.
Saturday at the post office a small woman with no teeth walked toward me. You’re so pretty, she called, her smile big. I didn’t want to deal with her. Didn’t want to reach into my bag, pull bills from the wad of one’s and five’s I carry for people who ask. I questioned my coldness a mere nano-second. Not today, I said. And yet she came, stood 12 inches from me. Not now, I said. She opened her mouth to speak. Don’t beg, I said. We stood a full minute, maybe longer, looking at each other. I noticed her mouth heavily ringed with white crust, how thin she was. That her skin was clear. Don’t beg, I said again. I was in despair. Once in the car I grabbed a dollar, went after her as she left the parking lot. Buckling up, I saw she stood with another woman at the next car. The woman’s expression looked like mine. I was bothered. I knew what happened was something about me I had to figure out. It came right after I’d just spontaneously paid for a stranger’s chiropractic visit. Driving home I heard 38* that night. I thought, her out in it, me all warm. Gratitude. I’d forgotten Gratitude. I’d gone to where I had no room for another person.
The Universe was nudging me. A Facebook friend offered help to retrieve pics of Hawaii and little boy grandson lost in my iphone upgrade. A message to my mind I am not alone. A neighborhood newsletter I’ve never seen online got in front of me. A friend’s response to the prompt ‘Using one word, name something significant about your life today,’ her answer Balance. The word stuck in my chest. I’d been looking at people making art with the thought I’d once felt joy in creating art, felt no guilt of time wasted. I’d been looking at people in other places thinking I once traveled. As if all that was over. I’d forgotten there was still room for me. That night I dreamt a policeman carried me to his house in a car, gave me tiny bottles of liquid medicines – Bs, and one called Kwan Yin that was leaking into a plastic bag. I have to get back to my husband, I said. Stay, rest, heal, he said.
Next morning I did not turn on the computer upon rising. I cradled my teacup in my palms, tasted the tea instead of mindlessly sipping as I sat online. I read an article in print instead of on-screen. I decided mornings I wasn’t out before 6:30 traffic, I’d walk the streets here for sunrise. I’d miss the heart-stopping color and light and birds on the bay, but I’d hold meditation and first breath with the day close rather than distract in a car. I decided I’ll retire earlier, too. Read before sleep like I do when I’m alone, like I did before my husband and I started living together full-time four years ago. Read like a writer. And I’ll still take a chance on doing things by my terms rather than succumb to what I can’t imagine me doing. I’m changing my word from Balance to Center, though. That’s where I need to be. Rewinding to center.
How do you find balance when you need to?
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: Same spiral, different place. We can only begin where we are in the moment.
A favorite: I can see the full moon clearly, for a very long time, from our upstairs bedroom window. It took a few nights to realize the reason the room looked brighter was her fault.