I’m in a spin, and it strikes me there’s some magic in the disorder I feel. That perhaps it’s not as bad as it seems. That I’ve gotten caught up in unmet expectations, my daily to-do’s and intentions that don’t get addressed, and the oh-no’s that come with that. And this morning, realizing I’ll be recreating 4 hrs. of work I lost late last night, work due an editing client I’m getting paid for, and the redo will put me behind on other things, it dawned on me what this spin is about. Being present! Letting go of my stories, including what’s next. Including what’s down the road, even steps away. And my real work is what’s the next right thing in front of me. Trust the process. Shock. duh
I write about this in my book – trust the process, observe with awareness, let go of expectations. I know the present is all there is. That life is both/and, good/bad. I’m an empath. I’m present in experience. Don’t put a camera lens between me and an encounter (animal, bird, sky, person, whatever). I know to listen, that my superpower lies in hearing between the lines. And dang. Caught.
Looking at how I got this, kinda mind boggling how extraordinary the ordinary when we’re present.
On the morning Mercury turned retrograde on a full moon, the string on the blinds covering the huge picture window in my living room snapped. My shelter from the world sagged open on one side. The hot sun streamed in, instantly toasted the room and everything in it. The landlady took the blinds for restringing. But we couldn’t get them to snap off, so she unscrewed the brackets. Left me with nothing to hang a sheet or blanket on. And told me it’d be a week or two because she’s having a medical procedure, is unavailable. I offered to pick them up when ready, but she didn’t respond.
It’s a really big window. My soul depends on the sky I see thru it. It’s a challenge I could spend time on to meet everything I think matters to me. But I didn’t. I taped ugly black plastic yard bags to the window in my beautiful room. Anyone who knows me knows this is not my style. But, they were what I had on hand, offer privacy, block the hot sun, leave me the sky. And I can manage them with tape. Only a week, maybe two, I thought as I gazed across the street at the neighbors. ugh.
But the next day, pulling into the driveway, I noticed they don’t look as bad from the outside as they do inside. The reflection on the glass softens them. My spirits lifted. Not as bad as I thought. It’s not forever. Another layer I didn’t know I held let go.
Friday my sister arrives with her 9-yr. old granddaughter I’ve never met. Here’s the thing. We’re extremely different – politics, language, worldview, lifestyle. We have history. I’ve only seen her once since 1993, when our father died. It was a short visit in a lobby at the Houston airport, on a short-but-long layover I had. I remember her toes most from that visit (another story). We do talk on occasion, tho. And I held space for her grief the morning her best friend of a husband died. We chatted up plans for her visit Friday, too.
But it feels like a time warp, this visit of hers. Like I’ve jumped to a loop on Life’s spiral that’s been spinning upward without me. I don’t know her. And it’s only one day. I’ll simply be present with open heart and mind. What we can do with everyone we meet. And yet, it’s not random. Not her. Not this visit.
Last week someone I haven’t talked to in 30 yrs. called, too. Our leaving was complicated, and hurtful. I lost one of my longtime best friends, her then husband, in the event. Our conversation was a wonderful catch-up filled with remembrances of how much we liked each other. She’s coming to visit, too. Boom. Two at once. I’m paying attention.
What I know, it’s time to allow myself to be bigger. And tho every thing that’s happened to me makes me who I am – every single thing I didn’t want to share, every relationship I let go, every gift given and received – each moment holds a choice. Like ugly black plastic bags to solve the problem for now or darn, I don’t have blinds or a pretty room. Where do I put my energy and how do I value my time. Like darn, I lost because I didn’t get done what I planned, or yea, own the moment because this here in front of me is what’s up and it moves me forward. Or like what details do I pay attention to.
The jumble in the picture above is a section of the dining room table that’s my desk. My past and relationships are in those items. The monkey on the tape dispenser, an Easter gift from my husband. The slab I use as a trivet, from a stop in some obscure rock shop in the desert on some road trip I once made. The little shells, found on a morning my sparkly grandson slept in the spare bedroom of our rented condo in Florida. I love their delicate and seemingly indestructible perfection. The Disney mug, from another time when he was with us. Drinking my morning tea from a “cup of magic’ vs. my current fav beautiful handmade mug what I need some days. The tiny fuzzy bear, from my son’s house after he left for China ten years ago. I don’t know it’s history, but it reminds me of his tender heart, and sometimes breaks my heart. The angel with the book, a gift I gave his first wife long before I wrote a word as a writer. She was a voracious reader. She left the angel when she took off, and when I found it, I realized it’s really mine. The flag with the bird, sent me by someone in my writing community I left in Asheville when I moved to Florida. I never saw her again, because she died.
I love the bird and its message ‘Believe.’ That bird reminds me who I am. Like the bamboo watercolor paint brush from Taiwan in the pen holder. And the purple glittered star with a furry feather collar on a glitter pen that wobbles, catches the gaze often. And what you can’t see, a painted ceramic dish that reminds me of my mother-in-law. Who she was, home & person. She and I were so different from one another, and we loved one another bigtime. Sometimes I think part of her love was that I fascinated her. Inexplicable to her. I know my love for her is inexplicable, and it runs deep.
Every one of these things on my desk hold could hold pain. And in this moment, I realize I subconsciously made choices, that the pain was the part of the stories I’d let go. That I’d embrace the true good heart of each relationship with others and to myself. I could’ve chose differently. And Yes, these things wouldn’t be on my desk if I had. But the point is I got ‘it’ without thinking. And these things and what they represent support me. And I can make conscious choices the same way. That’s the spiral I’m on now.
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
Tell me. . .what parts of your stories do you hold on to?
I’ll tell you a secret. . .the challenges are still there for me, even knowing I got the message.
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