I started writing this one earlier in the week but I kept getting derailed by at least two of the following three things: kids with lingering fevers who just wanted to sit on me all day, deadlines that would just not go the hell away, and/or hot, late-night phone sex with mysterious gentlemen who use phrases like “vim and vigor.” Please write your guesses in the comment area and send them to me. If you guess “phone sex,” feel free to be as descriptive as possible. I’ll take my thrills where I can get ’em.
So let’s jump in here and see what’s goin’ on in this baby … wait here. I better straighten up a bit before you all come tromping through.
[Times passes.] OK. It’s a little disjointed but there’s some good stuff here and there. Watch your step.
I had a dream … people won’t you listen now? Crazy dream …
I’m exhausted and just leaking Zeppelin. It happens.
So I did, actually, have a crazy dream the other night. It was so weird that I woke up and tried to dictate it into Dragon Dictation on my iPhone. I think the underlying goal of that app is to take whatever you say and turn into Led Zeppelin lyrics. It’s entertaining. It’s totally trippy. It’s not so farking accurate. (Random thought: a toilet paper app for the iphone. I’m a genius.)
So the gist (jist? I never know) of the whole thing was that there were all these people whizzing by on the highway and they were heading like mad to the exit ramps. They didn’t know which ramp they were taking or why they were taking it, they just saw a ramp and they went. It was loud — highway noise, chatter, radios, what-have-you. And I was watching all of this from the side of the highway and trying to figure out what my route was going to be. I wanted to have a plan so I pulled up some old documents from my computer (which I had handy, apparently) and found a bunch of old files in which I had written out goals for myself. They were full of good information — and they were pretty accurate for the time that they that were written. But now all of that was outdated. I needed some new plans. And I couldn’t figure it all out on the side of the road. I needed some quiet. I needed to get off the highway.
So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the metaphorical meaning of that one, huh? And it’s close to a lot of thoughts in my waking brain, too. I think I need some silence. Some quiet.
I have been crazy busy. I have been crazy awake. I have been holding the shit together. I have been making things happen. But now it’s time to take care of myself a bit. Problem is, I honestly just don’t know how to … stop.
So a few nights ago the kidsters were going with their dad. My plans got canceled at the last minute and my first thought was, “Who else can I call?” And then I went, “Hold on there, Trish. You don’t have to call anyone. You can just hang out … alone.” And this bothered me a bit. Because I’m a person who NEEDS alone time. I crave it. It sustains me. But I’ve barely been able to take a pee alone in the past seven years. So now that the prospect having some time to myself was staring me in the face, I was uncertain what to do with it. And it bothered me that it bothered me, because I just wanted to be all, “Yeah, I love hanging out with myself. I’m comfortable with it and I gots noooo problem with this at all.” But … I had to talk myself into it. I knew that it was time to quit frantically filling all my kid-free time with socialness and busyness and learn how to be with me again. So I mentally closed my list of peeps who might be available to hang out and I asked myself what I wanted to do. Turns out, I wanted to go for a bike ride.
And the evening turned into such a lovely little date with myself. I rode my bike aimlessly and forever and found all kinds of cool things I didn’t expect and got to completely explore every little twist in every path in the woods without anyone complaining about where we were going or how long we were taking. I rode until it was starting to get dark. Then I went to the grocery store and I bought food that only I like and I came home and cooked myself a lovely dinner and had a glass of wine. And it was … really nice. So I’m getting those sea legs back.
I’ve been living with a certain amount of precision for the past few months. I’ve been constantly assessing priorities – what needs done v. what would be nice to get done, sloughing off things that are weighing me down, packing light — filling my backpack with only things that I can carry. But now I’m starting to set up camp. I have to remind myself that it’s OK to relax a bit. And now I need to think about … joy.
What brings me joy? Because that is the only thing that’s going to get me through the lonely — or alone –times. (I think we can agree that those can be very different things.)
The theme of the early part of this year for me was self-discovery. I was on nothing short of a vision quest. (And now let’s welcome Hippy Trish to the party … ) I had to dig down and see what was going on in with the foundation of my soul, rather than keep decorating the rooms upstairs — filling them with useless crap — as a distraction to the nagging truth that something was really … wrong. So I read a lot. I took some amazing classes that taught me how to meditate and how to get to know myself — which can be really, really hard. Eventually, I had to drill down further and further to get to the heart of what I was seeking. And I found that what I wanted was one simple word: Authenticity.
So now that’s my watch word. It’s more than that. It’s my verbal talisman that I pull out and ponder when I get a little too caught up in whatever is going on. But these last few months, I’ve been so caught up in doing that I forgot about being.
As I go forward with the idea that I’m going to live an authentic life, there a few tricks I’ve learned to help keep me on track — to help keep me completely honest with myself.
The first is to ask myself this question: If this were true for me, would I be more free? That means something different to everyone and freedom comes in many forms. For me, freedom feels something like joy. Now I understand that I’m not going to be free of many of my less-than-glamorous responsibilities in life unless I completely dump my life and cut out on my family — but then I wouldn’t be free anyway because I’d be miserable. So I need to find my joy within that framework.
The second question I ask is: How does my physical body feel about this? This is a good question for me, because I tend to spend a lot of time living in my head. This question helps me move all that chatter down to my heart area. I read something earlier this year that said your body won’t lie to you. So when I’m picking and choosing directions, I like to tune in and see what the old bod is saying — do I feel energized by the thought of something — like I could take flight — or do I feel tired and sluggish when I think of it?
I was thinking the other day about the way that some music can bore right into your body and soul and pluck one specific nerve, similar to the way a brain surgeon can touch a certain part of the brain and cause a physical response. But music can cause a whole hallucination of something that happened before or hasn’t happened yet — a recognition of a truth that you didn’t know that you knew. I guess in some ways that’s what I’m looking to do here. It took a long time — years — for me to find my truths and to talk about them in a way that other people could understand, but I know that a lot of other people are on similar quests. By putting my truths out there, I guess I hope that other people can more easily recognize their own.
Sometimes I like to sit down at this computer keyboard and pretend I’m playing it like it’s a musical instrument. Words are clunky, clumsy building blocks for art compared to musical notes and paintbrush strokes. But my goal is to take all these cinderblocks and turn them into something soft, feathery — that can take flight in spite of the massive weight. I may be building a long time, but I welcome you all to come back and check on my progress. Because someday this bird is going to take off.
Have a great weekend, peeps.