Grains of Sand (4X) photographed by Yanping Wang from the Beijing Planetarium, China.
Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.
We will never remember dying.
We were so patient
the numbers, the days,
the years and the months, the hair, the mouths we kissed,
but that moment of dying: we surrender it without a note,
we give it to others as remembrance
or we give it simply to water,
to water, to air, to time.
Nor do we keep
the memory of our birth,
though being born was important and fresh:
and now you don’t even remember one detail,
you haven’t kept even a branch
of the first light.
It’s well known that we are born.
It’s well known that in the room
or in the woods
or in the hut in the fisherman’s district
or in the crackling cornfields
there is a very unusual silence,
a moment solemn as wood,
and a woman gets ready to give birth.
It’s well known that we were born.
But of the profound jolt
from not being to existing, to having hands,
to seeing, to having eyes,
to eating and crying and overflowing
and loving and loving and suffering and suffering,
of that transition or shudder
of the electric essence that takes on
one more body like a living cup,
and of that disinhabited woman,
the mother who is left there with her blood
and her torn fullness
and her end and beginning, and the disorder
that troubles the pulse, the floor, the blankets,
until everything gathers and adds
one more knot to the thread of life:
nothing, there is nothing left in your memory
of the fierce sea that lifted a wave
and knocked down a dark apple from the tree.
The only thing you remember is your life.
From Flower Story on fb.
Which comes first?
For the longest time now, especially since I moved, I’ve been trying to handle unstructured time in a profitable way, and I think I’ve finally figured it out!
When I wake up, I usually have a good feeling. My bed is nice, my room is pretty, there are a couple of super cute cats to greet me, I’m alive again for another day, and so much awaits.
I putter around inviting the light in. I open the doors and the shades, leaving some just so, so the orchids don’t get burnt. I take a thyroid pill—still trying to discern whether that’s right, what it is, and how much, and does it really make the difference?
My home is expensive. It’s been fine while I’ve got money from the sale of my house, but without enough work, that supply is dwindling, this is what comes to my mind on these mornings. I’ve spent a lot of time creating a haven for myself, and I want to be here for awhile. But I am not sure how that’s going to work, and thus my dilemma. What do I do first?
I know the cats need to be fed, and even if I’m very hungry, taking the thyroid means I have to wait an hour. So, it’s all open after I do that, and thus my dilemma. Even getting dressed means making a choice, because it depends on what I’m going to do.
This should all be so simple as not to even merit discussion, or discourse, there’s only me here, I suppose, but then, there you are too. Which is why I write in this way. So I can consider things, and you might too.
The question I’ve been trying to answer is what’s most important. And that’s not easy to answer, because of course, you have to take into account what’s going on, and what’s required, other people, time schedules, etc. But the thing is, when I don’t have a regular schedule, I get all messed up, because apparently, I’m not that great at making the right choice about where I should start and what should come next. And I’m measuring how good I am at that by what’s resulting. I know, according to yogic philosophy, that’s not the measure, it’s always the process, the journey, what I’m experiencing and learning along the way. But I’m trying to achieve certain things, like being able to pay the rent and the bills, to advance creatively, to connect with more friends and family, both here at home where I now live, in LA of the sunny sunshine, and back at my old home in rainy Seattle, where there are so many beloveds about whom I care a lot.
The choices are many. I’m going to start grad school next week, and there’s a ton of understanding all the ins and outs of all the forms, the usernames and passwords, the organizing this, and the choosing that.
Then there’s the simple demands of what needs to be done here. Besides feeding the cats, I make sure the litter box is clean (although they go outside and barely use it except when I have to be gone for extended periods), making the bed, and tending all the many plants inside and out. I didn’t leave that behind after all. I have 3 outdoor spaces: a front porch, a back porch, and my rose garden down below. There are tons of plants friends that need so many different things: watering, of course, but also fertilizing, and bug removal- I know, yuck, right, but it’s just like giving your kid a bath, really – and moving because the sun changes its path and sometimes I don’t know that’s been necessary until someone’s leaves have gotten scorched in an afternoon while I was absent and then I feel bad. The rose garden I planted down below, and all the rest of the things I either moved around or added, like the hydrangea under the steps- perfect location because of the way the sun filters through- doesn’t get sufficient water from the sprinkler system, so I must make sure everything’s soaked. The temperatures have been in the 90’s and mostly high 90’s for weeks now, and if you miss watering, you’ll see disaster very shortly. So, there’s that.
And I like things to be clean. My daughter firmly believes that I’m kindof a pig, I think, just not aware of details like a refrigerator that could use a more thorough scrubbing, or the fact that my car needs to be washed, again. But she’s not a mother yet, and she hasn’t owned a home, so she doesn’t know the responsibilities I’ve taken on and had for years and years, and how tired you can get, and how, no matter how hard you try, there are only so many things you can accomplish in a day, and so many that seem to slip away repeatedly, either because they’re easy to forget or overlook, or because they’re somewhat out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Or they’re not easy, or they’re particularly time-consuming, or they’re just the kind you want to avoid, because they’re too hard, like repairing a fence gate, or hauling stuff away, or moving something that’s too heavy to do alone. Around here, I have less of that to deal with, and thank God, because I’ve needed a break from it for years. But certain aspects of that equal home to me, so I recreated them here, and I gladly do what’s there to be done, to enjoy what they offer, like the beauty of the mandevillea blossoms, that have just the right light, and the fragrance of the roses that are not getting too much light and heat. So, I’m not a piggy householder at all. I’m awake and aware and it can be overwhelming, just sayin’.
What I’m really dealing with is, though, is: body or mind or heart?
I don’t lose weight easily. I don’t overeat either. I exercise constantly, daily, and do I lose weight? No. Not really. Am I fat? Not very. Am I comfortable? No. I resist aging and the facts of my particular anatomy, because I feel that to surrender is just not one of the options. I’ve got a lot of pain from various injuries, and I know that I must keep moving, but I have to careful about how much I push. And so I have the things that I know work: swimming, and yoga, and weights and walking. I haven’t returned to Pure Barre, although I bought a month unlimited, because that’s how I injured my knee and although it’s been months since I did that practice, it’s still an issue.
What I know is that I have to move. And if I don’t, then, around here, I can get static, especially if there’s no appointment, no session, no class, no demand. If I don’t move early enough, then somehow, I get stuck. For me, there’s this middle-of-the-day doldrum that comes creeping around, and if I’ve not moved, then I’ll get caught in it, and need to lie down, even though I never let myself, because I don’t feel I can afford that luxury.
Then there’s the fact that I’ve woken up another morning alone. I’m used to it, but a bit numb. It used to hurt. I used to miss particular people I’ve loved, and even the ones I’ve hated, and I used to feel ashamed, like there was something wrong with me, that I—as that one popular card, with the pixelated cartoon of the tearful woman on it, said – “forgot to get married.” How could I forget this essential choice of American life? How could I have prioritized mine so differently that my path has been full of twists and turns that don’t look in any way normal? How could I let the best men go, or, in one case, die? And somehow keep around the destructive, harmful ones much longer than I should have? How? This remains one of the biggest mysteries I still have to solve. Because according to Daniel Giamario, the esteemed shamanic astrologer I consulted with, partnership is one of the main tasks I’ve come to learn, that I came in with what I know, which is the pride of doing things myself, and proving my worth by not needing anyone. This time around, I’m supposed to find a way to do it with someone, and God only knows, I better not get hit by a car or something, because there’s probably less than half of my allotted time here left, and if I don’t find him soon, then I won’t have fulfilled that part of my purpose. And it’s not just my need to understand mutuality and cooperation. It’s to know love, of course. Which is why I get stymied in this area, too. I cannot seem to bring myself to the now accepted way of finding a partner. I can’t stomach the idea of “shopping for people.” That’s how I view online dating, no matter how normal it’s become. I still have this old-fashioned notion that you could actually encounter a person in person! How quaint! I know that. Since, obviously, that hasn’t happened yet, or when it has happened it hasn’t panned out—panned out! Like gold-mining, no? How bizarre that we say this. Anyway, I know this is something I either need to take some action about, or not, and I keep choosing or not, basically, and here we are. Well, there is one person I am hopeful about. But I’ve done what I can do, and we have to see what we shall see.
Which brings me to the last category. My mind. I love to read. And I’d do it so much more if I only could. It’s now become something of a guilty pleasure—reading! when it’s so basic and necessary, we need it, and yet, I only really do it before bed, when my eyeballs are falling out from fatigue and my retention factor is greatly reduced because what I really need to be doing is sleeping.
But even more than that, and that’s a big thing, because I’ve loved loved loved reading since I was 5-year-old, I love to write. And I’m writing this today, because I finally came, after much trial and error in this still rather new location for me, this new home, to the conclusion that THIS is the first thing I need to be doing in the morning no matter WHAT else the day may hold. I’ve known this before, that no matter that there were miles to drive to dress that set, or that I had rehearsals to prepare for when I was at the Academy, I wrote during those periods, and you know why? Because I had that schedule. I knew when I had to be where, and it allowed me to choose my time wisely, to plan, to leave enough of it, to sleep enough, and to get up early enough, to keep my eyes open and be open to the ideas about what I wanted to say. It’s been since those jobs ended, and the subbing has been almost non-existent, and the private sessions have been few and far between, and I’ve not quite known what to do to scare up the work I must find, because I need to create income, somehow, somehow, that I’ve not been writing. And it’s bad.
Choosing to go back to school has been a mixed bag of emotions for me. Because I tried it before and I didn’t get in. And it made me question whether or not I was “supposed” to. But I am driven to teach, and teaching yoga, while in my rare previous scenario of working for a state-funded college offered benefits and retirement and all that, that’s not usually how it goes. However, teaching actual school is different. And part of why I’m doing this is that I don’t want to land on my daughter’s doorstep sooner than later. I don’t want to be dependent on her at all if I don’t have to. There it is again—this need to do it myself. But seriously, I’ve got to give her all the space she needs to flourish for as long as humanly possible.
And so this choice is motivated by several factors. I have always wanted to make a difference. I just want to do it as a director. And because I don’t know how, I figure this is a way there. It’s a bit round-about, true, but why not work with kids? All my directing is academic anyway. And I love school—being there, working there, the whole thing. I do believe that my greatest contribution is to tell story. And helping kids find the ways to tell theirs is part of that.
AND this brings me back to the relief I am feeling this morning to have, at long last! arrived at what needs to come first. It’s not that my body isn’t important—but I’m going to jump in the pool at some time of day no matter what, and I’ll drag myself to yoga in the evening, even if I’m much better energized for it in the morning. As far as finding the man of my dreams, well, much as I know I’m supposed to take action and get on those sites and pursue something, I just have to honor my way, and work more on opening my heart than spending time online.
No, what I have to do, what I must do, every morning regardless of whatever else is going on, is to take care of my mind and WRITE. Because when I do, I feel real. I know I’m here. I have a chance to articulate my thoughts, and to connect the dots, to consider things, and to place them before others for their consideration.
I think I’ve known this for a long time now. But, as guilt and shame are the major areas of healing that I have to work on, as they are my biggest life lessons, I have forever and ever and ever, let them get in the way. I’ve felt that I must make sure to be practical, and get that money coming in steadily, that I’ve got to do certain things to ensure my success on all kinds of levels. But the truth is, unless I do this, none of that will happen. Because I won’t be connected with myself. And if I’m not connected here, with me, first thing in the morning, then it’s no wonder that the rest of the day can unravel so easily. It’s no surprise that I lose steam and momentum and energy. I need to be tapped into the creative self, or nothing else is even worth doing.
And so! School begins next week, the blessed scheduling factor will be there helping me to plan and I will be writing each day. It may not be long, like this—longer than anyone apparently has the patience to read, perhaps- but it will be steady. That’s what I’ve come to, thank goodness! And I know, in my soul, that that’s how I’m meant to proceed… that that’s how I’m meant to live.
©2012 Annette Romano