I had morning head when I started this post sixteen hours ago. Aviva came home from a Very Merry Theatre rehearsal a few minutes after 6:00pm last night and went straight to my bed, clothes and all. She didn’t wake until twelve hours later, rested and hungry. I fell asleep with Pearl at 8:00, got up at 9:15 to close up the house, and crawled in with V. Around midnight, Pearl woke up coughing up a storm. And at 5:30, my alarm went off. It was time to sit. Time to settle. And yet all I felt was stirred, drinking yesterday’s coffee.
I haven’t been writing much and I’m missing it, feeling that vague emotional sluggishness that comes with not flushing out the words, the crowd of experiences and feelings and changes and highs and lows that have gathered themselves together in the past weeks. Volcanic ash cloud. Bouquet of fall color. Yes, and.
Space between thoughts. Between dreams and the day. The space between trapeze bars.
In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go? -Siddhartha Gautama
It was my beautiful friend Jennifer who first turned me on to 37 Days. She also has an uncanny knack for emailing me just the right quote or post or poem. Two days ago, she sent me this entire post by Patti Digh about letting go of the monkey bar.
Today I saw a client, one of my last as I am about to re-enter the world of full-time employment (more on that eventually, I’m sure). This is a woman whose courage could be perceived as, well, insanity. She has risked everything – not “seemingly” everything but in fact, everything – to launch a business. But it’s not just about the business, it’s about her purpose on the planet. It’s about her vision, her values, who she is as a mother and as a woman. This afternoon over Vietnamese iced coffee that had me way too caffeinated for the late afternoon, we looked at each other and shook our heads, talking about women like Lucretia Mott who we call “before their time” but were, in fact, right on time. Who would have thought, almost ten years ago when we met, that we would have taken the whole trapeze act thing so to heart.
How well did I love? How fully did I live? How deeply did I let go? These questions lead me into the night. They guide me back to my breath when I think I might hyperventilate or simply buckle, an animal in a barn, weak, unfit. They anchor me when I’m moving too fast and release me when the vortex threatens to spin me away from everything real in my life: doing flying yoga with my girls in a friend’s living room tonight, or hugging Greg in front of the library this afternoon, clearly seeing and deeply recognizing his beauty. Lavender and sea salts in a glass jar, waiting to dissolve in a hot, hot bath. Unexpected laughter. A message from a friend, a perfect red maple leaf.
To sit with absence and fullness all at once. To let the paradox of this life unfold, puzzle itself out and put itself together again. Waves of grief and contractions of birth. The earthly and the cosmic. The chocolate ice-cream and the man and child and the front door opening and closing and opening again, like the letters we all used to write.
I’m signing my name still. Learning what it means to move around inside of these letters, the ones I chose and the ones I let go, the ones I vowed to keep and the ones I gave my girls, the ones I wrapped in rubber bands and the ones I never burned, the ones that encircle my head, a crown of tiny stars, each name a safety net, and the ones that are unutterable, the name that is breath, that is life. I am telling you, it’s easy to start getting all religious when you really start letting go, living fully, and loving well. Because no religion that claims to be about anything but those things can be a trusted source of sustenance, guidance, meaning, or comfort.
So, I miss writing, I’m going back to work full-time, life is changing fast, the seasons are changing fast (although what’s up with the warm weather, people?), the kids are all right, the Universe is a mighty river, and dear Lord, if the choices are to stay in the light or go to the dark side, then really there’s no choice at all.
What’s more, I shamelessly admit to reading several Free Will Astrology horoscopes every week in addition to my own. Several of my most beloved people are Leos, and this quote from their horoscope struck me today:
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, wrote philosopher Eric Hoffer, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
I like the sound of being “beautifully equipped” in times of change, which really, if you are awake, is all times. Now to live as if I really believed it — that is the task.