Friday, June 15, 2012
Calling all Grapplers!
Ahhhh. That first cup of coffee. There is nothing like it. Actually, the perfection is in the first sip of the first cup. Yum. I could not, would not, live life without coffee. Today we head south – to southern Colorado, that is. We pack up Flame for her maiden voyage with us – she was born in 1967 so has been on many trips with many people over the years. We only know some about the trips with her previous owners. They shared photos of Flame in front of mesas and great vistas around the desert. Their love apparent through the multitude of shots. I would love to know of all her jaunts around the country. What sights has she seen? Who have been her passengers? What were they like? What were their hopes and dreams as they took to the open road?
Yet instead of packing up, I am sitting here. David knows that I need to write before anything, so he will begin packing and I will join him after. After how long, I don’t usually know. Typically, I sit for about an hour. Settling back in bed, hair in a pony tail, pillows propped up behind me, coffee cup to my side, I position my laptop opening the lid with anticipation of what’s to come, never quite knowing what I will say or who I will be. I have tales to tell and they seem to keep coming. I am going with it.
Writing is my practice and my therapy. I won’t skip more than a day in a row and don’t skip many days at all. It’s my quiet time. For so many of the early days, being quiet was a bad thing. Being alone with my brain was not something I wanted to do. Yet, by beginning to write about it, I had an outlet. I could write the confusion, the darkness and the angst and not feel alone while doing it. I was speaking to you, you were listening. I am still speaking to you – and you tell me you are, in fact, still listening. This means the world to me. It is what matters most in my life – writing this journey and writing about ALL of it.
This has been the place where I formulate who and how I am being about all of these changes. I can vent the yuck here, share the moments of beauty, cry and rail, laugh and write my truth. This process has cemented something that has cried for formulation for many years.
Another well-meaning friend offered wisdom as I walked through the doors of Fox news to be on live TV – in the studio, next to the anchors, watching the teleprompter – all of that. I have been on TV a few times during this adventure but it has been taped interviews that are later picked over for the nuggets and my lengthy narrative has been reduced to short moments that illustrate a story. This was different. And, they had read my blog and knew about my book, so I was going to be able to speak about that. My friend said, “you can share how you are dealing with this so differently after writing your book about not waiting”. I felt myself brace, “No. That’s not true. I want to share how it’s messy and not linear and unpredictable and doesn’t have to be anything other than it is, and yet, still, there are moments of beauty.” I think I went on a short rant about expectations of how we should be, our cultures discomfort with grief, how we celebrate the empowered, etc.
I am about the messy these days – and may be forever. I bare my soul, share my ugly and angst as well as telling you I can see a flash of green on my tree, or a hawk flying low, or when I pat the velvet forehead of my dog my heart breaks with love. It is ALL of that. The concept of a straight line where you neatly move through stages and emerge victorious – is bull hockey. The idea that you create an empowering context and always, unwaveringly live from that. Gag me. I am not going to say that, no how, not ever ever.
And by now you know, I am not purporting that people stay in the muck forever either. If you know what I am talking about, you know what I am talking about, capiche? Let’s just embrace messy, write it raw – disrupt the ordinary in that way. I am committed to not knowing, to letting myself not figure anything out, to be where I am and not come to “the other side” a moment too soon. I will not emerge from the cocoon before I am ready. The permission I have given myself is freeing. On some deep level of my psyche a small, quiet voice whispers, “finally”. It’s a full deep breath and a level of acceptance I craved before but never quite knew. And, when I am completely in an obsessive loop of negativity, it’s strangulating. But if you dance in your darkness, you know what I mean. You know the paradox – the relief I of letting yourself be in it yet not always of it. And, you know equally that “this” state is not a fixed state. It changes too – with the wind, with the bumping up against another angsty human or even with a bad case of gas.
Some might label this as a lack of choice. Not at all, I say. I am choosing to be here. I am choosing to ride the wave as it carries me to a soft sandy beach to be bathed by the sun. Or as it tosses me against a jagged rock jetty and I am bled dry. I will see where this ride will take me. This ride where if I truly let go, and can stay in this place, and not try control the outcome – where might I end up? I’m not even describing curiosity; it’s more like plain vanilla willingness. Nothing fancy, just wanting to see.
Did I communicate any of that live on air on Fox news? I hope so. I spoke what was there to speak. I spoke from my heart to the hearts of those who are beginning to ride the ride in the High Park fire. Now, I speak it to you, perhaps a little more lucidly since cameras are not rolling and I can go back and edit a bit for more clarity. Yet, as I re-read my words, I am not sure I am communicating what I want to say. I think if you know, you will know. Otherwise, it might not make sense. Part of being willing to be in the unknown is the challenge of recounting it. And, I can’t be separate from it right now, so I am describing the experience from down in the trenches. I am telling you about the blood and the guts and the mud and the bullets whizzing overhead with glimpses of the blue sky. I am not telling you about the battle that was fought 20 years ago and the wisdom I gleaned and now want to pass on from a place on high… No. I am not doing that.
What I want to provide is peace of mind and heart for those who grapple with life. I want ease for those who struggle. Not to get to “the other side” but to embrace being in the midst. Then we can meet each other there with knowing looks and a warm embrace. We will see the flotsam and jetsam of darkness and recognize a fellow traveller. We won’t brush things over but we will know what deserves our grapple and what doesn’t.
Are you a grappler? Well, then I write for you. Do you thrive when you see the rich fabric of the world? Then, I call to you. Do you scream to know you are not alone in your angst? Then, I scream back.
Let’s grapple together – grapplers unite!