I’m listening to the Bollywood station on Pandora, and have just finished the dishes and a lovely chat with Torie and Van, who had stopped by for a visit. I’ve had the house to myself for most of the day, which doesn’t happen too often anymore. Yesterday I was largely alone as well, and as I lay on the couch watching a movie this afternoon, I paused it to think about how Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, in her book Gift From the Sea, that she needs a good two to three days at the beach before she feels her ordinary everyday stresses slough off of her, until she begins to relax and move with the rhythm of the waves. I’m not near the ocean, but I know what she’s talking about. As I lay there, I suddenly saw myself unlayered of all the stresses and stories that had been piled on me over the past whenever, during the time I couldn’t have much solitude. I felt light and it was a great feeling.
Unfortunately, my longing for solitude then led me to say something boneheaded… ugh.
Torie and I were having a good talk, free and easy, when I started telling her to just be patient because the Spare Oom will be available in a couple weeks so she can move in there (she’s been on the couch). I talked about my idea to transfer the big bookcase from the living room to the spare room, where she’ll be, and she gave me a kind of rueful look, so I said, “Well, I know you may not like it, but it really isn’t your room…” I saw her face fall and realized what I’d said, so I picked up a shovel and began digging, because of course that’s always the best thing to do. “You don’t want to stay here forever…” dig, dig, “I know you want a place of your own someday…” Due to my amaaazing perception, I quickly realized that the point of no return had been reached so I carefully set the shovel down. Piss. She got really quiet and a little bit later I asked if I’d hurt her feelings (duh) and she said that yes, it had stabbed a little. (Maybe I was using a pitchfork instead of a shovel.) Part of that is her feeling homeless anyway, going through a separation from her husband, so what I said only added to her feeling of disconnection. I feel terrible and apologized all over myself, but still, I put it out there where it isn’t easily taken back. Again, ugh.
It’s just that, after this afternoon’s heart-warming and inspiring movie about a Mexican widower and his gay teenage son (La Mission, excellent, plus Benjamin Bratt is one beautiful hombre), I turned on the Bollywood tunes and danced through the house with my string of bells, to cleanse the air, and my heart grew lighter. Then I began whirling like a dervish, right there in front of the TV. I danced like crazy for an entire song, giving myself over completely to the rhythm and melody of the music, energy coursing through my entire body and out of my fingers into the atmosphere, and when the song wound down and I finally dropped my hands to my sides, I immediately burst into tears and couldn’t stop crying for about ten minutes. Even while I was doing the dishes, I cried. It had been too long since I’d been able to sing aloud, dance whenever and however I wanted, breathe the air of my home with no other bodies present except my cat Horatio, who sleeps through most of my antics. I have a very expressive kind of spirituality, and it’s been a challenge to keep it on the down low.
But challenges are good. I am coming to see challenges as friends. Anything that helps my soul grow = bff, because I know that life is not about getting all comfy-cozy and settled in, which is impossible anyway because life is inclined to toss monkey wrenches at us willy-nilly and when we least expect them. Instead, it’s about staring down the inevitable darkness with a face that glows with love and light and faith and joy, about feeding the good wolf. Lucy, let me ‘splain.
Last night I read an exchange between an author and his American Indian friend. The author had been complaining that he couldn’t get over a particular offense that had been done to him, and his friend told him that in each person, there are two wolves fighting–a good wolf, and a bad wolf. The good wolf is all that’s positive in a person’s life: the ability to release control of situations and people, to bite one’s tongue instead of saying something hurtful, to counter fearful situations with the confidence of love. The bad wolf is anger, bitterness, contempt, you name it, all the pain that’s ever been dished out to us or that we’ve ever dished out to others, all our scary stories. The author asked, “Which wolf will win in the end?” and his friend replied, “Whichever one you feed.”
He then went on to tell him about his grandmother, who–every time she crosses a body of water–blesses and prays for her enemies, releasing her pain to the flowing current and away from her. She doesn’t do it with the aim, even, to forgive them or forget what they’ve done, but so that their hold on her will finally be loosened. The author said he took that advice and has been feeding his good wolf and blessing his enemies for awhile now, and it’s working. Such excellent tools to tuck into the old carpenter’s belt, no?
This is a time in my life that happens to be chock full of people, but they’re all people I adore, so it’s only a problem when I make it one: not enough time for me me me. When I put it in context, I mean the vast panoramic context of my entire existence, it’s a big fat nothing-to-worry-about! Solitude will come soon enough. In fact, each life is so short that extra time with my loved ones is something to rejoice over, not bewail, and so I will. I’ll probably even keep the bookcase in the living room until Torie can get on her feet. It’s not a big deal. Here, wolfy wolfy. Come here, you big gorgeous hunk of an animal, and get you something yummy to eat. I know who I want my winner to be. Love to all! xo