From Manjusri and me.
These are braids Riv made for me the morning I left. I sat on a stool and she carefully combed coconut oil through my wet hair, then braided it, weaving spells of happiness, peace and success into the tresses as she bound them up. I’ve just pulled Julie Doxsee’s Undersleep, Peter Markus’ Bob, or Man on Boat and Olivia Cronk’s Skinhorse out of my summer to-read stack and I am drinking radioactively-caffeinated french press coffee and sorting through all the junk emails I ignored while I was in Santa Fe. Most of them are the most depressing OKCupid messages I have ever read. I should probably just get rid of that thing; I can count on one hand the number of people I know who are careful with my heart–who love it because/like it’s my best thing, and I didn’t meet any of those people on a fucking dating website.
I am thinking about a conversation I had with d right before I left–I told her how much I love to stay in her house, what a serene and healing place it is. When I am out in the world, working, I am full throttle, she explained, so when I come here, this place is cultivated for optimal relaxation. I call this the house of permission. You want to take a bath? Go ahead! You want to prune the flowers? Be my guest! Feel like taking a nap? Bed’s in the other room! I am thinking now of my firm warm happy body in my soft bed; and my clean, orderly house crammed with books and candles and photos and art and magic charms and and typewriters and plants and fish and thinking that this is what my home is, too: the house of permission.
Now excuse me while I take off all my clothes and go read in the living room, where the overcast morning light is better.
Was so, so sick on the first flight this morning. About a half hour before descent, I became extremely light-sensitive and nauseous, and, feeling a migraine coming on, wandered around the Love Field terminal trying to collect myself. French fries, tylenol, an overpriced fleece blanket (because they either keep if -4 deg in the airport or I was unable to regulate my body temperature–I suspect it’s the latter, since I walked around occasionally muttering, “aren’t you guys FREEZING? Is anyone else FREEZING?” and everyone shook their heads, perplexed) I wrapped the fleece around my already be-sweatered sundress and sandals combination and PUT ON MY SUNGLASSES IN THE TERMINAL. I took a couple of klonopin before I got on the plane for good measure, then passed out for the duration of the flight. By the time we landed in Birmingham, I feel righted.
B picked me up and we had the best time catching up on what we’d missed, shooting the shit and making jokes on the drive back. When we got home I dumped my stuff on the living room floor, grabbed my pocketbook and my cigarettes and all the mail I’d received in my absence, and we went up to the bar to have exactly one beer and exactly one cigarette. Then I came home and took care of the fishies and watered the plants and cleaned out the fridge and gave the toilet a good scrub and unpacked nearly completely and drank a couple of cups of tea and now I am trying to wind down, because tomorrow morning I am retrieving Rabbit from the airport, and she is going to be with me for the next week. We are going to go swimming and stroke each other’s hair, murmuring stories to each other until we fall asleep and we are going to go to Jeopardy and we are going to lounge on the patio and we are going to sleep in and write over coffee and make art projects–and and AND, we are going to finish our book.
I barely let people into my house at all –literally, AT ALL. But my intimacy with Rabbit is such that nothing about my space might offend or put her off. We will share it so effortlessly, because we move through each other’s physical space so effortlessly. We calm each other.
And so, I am looking forward to it.
More change, change always afoot. Mysterious change. Widening horizon change. But sleep first.
Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They’re always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.
You know what she said? She says nobody gets a nervous breakdown just from the war and all. She says you probably were unstable like, your whole goddamn life.
il faut que je parte aussi.
J&Shufs and I went out for breakfast and I got eggs benedict YET AGAIN because I never get to have it in Tuscaloosa. I think I have probably put on substantial weight since I’ve gotten here–it was weight I could stand to gain, so I’m fine with it. Like the new sundresses and the books and the Virgen candles and the hunk of quartz and the small wooly bunny, my curvy, soft, generous womanly beating thrumming body is just one more beautiful thing I get to take away from this place.
Back at their house, we redid our manicures–I went back to Jacques Cousteau, the color that started it all–and then went to the Museum of International Folk Art, where we had the kind of hilarious whirlwind time we always do there. It is hard not to have an amazing time looking at huge roomfuls of tableaux of strange dolls and masks.
Dinner at d’s, where we lounged around and talked for a great many hours, between episodes of the second season of BBC’s Sherlock. Woke up with a backache, severe tension in my cervix and and general feeling of bound up-ness in the second chakra area, which means I may finally be getting my period–of COURSE, right before I travel. I am drinking coffee with caramel gelato stirred into it because there is no half and half and writing postcards and about to pick up Nine Stories again.
A few days ago I threw 50.2.4 (The Cauldron) –> 50 (Meditation/Keeping Still). The cauldron, one of only two actual physical objects in the 64 hexagrams, represents the body and spirit, the physical vessel of self. I was mystified by the changing lines–one suggested that all the resources I need are already at my command, that I am poised for great prosperity and success and while I might encounter hostility, these pose no real threat; the other suggested meager talent, character and resources do not render me prepared for the task at hand and disaster is imminent. I passed the reading along to d, who asked what will you throw into the well? Perhaps only in stillness can you align yourself with the first changing line and save yourself from the nightmare of the second. It would be quite easy to fall into a sense of abandonment and overwhelm because that’s where your mind goes when stressed. You have to cultivate more stillness and act from that place now, rather than acting from the reactive nightmare.
I thought about all of the inadvertent practice I have gotten over the past year at being alone: alone in my house, in my artistic vision, in my opinions and tolerance, in my head (which becomes every day a brighter and easier place to dwell.) And about the serious mindfulness I have paid the idea of distress tolerance–yes, upsetting thing, I see you there, and I can sit with you quietly and let you have your say without panicking and sending an email or getting drunk or falling to pieces in order to get away. I thought about how much work next semester is going to be–learning how to teach! And putting together my thesis! And the reviews I’ve promised to write! And still more essays as I delve deeper through EMDR and dreaming into my internal landscape and its origins! And football season!
I am sure as the day goes on, my anxiety about traveling/coming home to Tuscaloosa with all its messy memories and scary social interactions and perilous sense of safety might build, but right in this moment I can’t feel anything but grateful for the things this place–Santa Fe– gives me every day. Even on the worst days, and the ones I am not here. Most of all, the understanding of family, and of home.
Speaking of which, I also get to see my wonderful, wonderful girldog.
The capacity for love I feel for this dog is absolutely endless. We walk through life together. We could not have chosen better than each other–we are so perfectly, perfectly matched. How lucky is that?