Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 131: Being

I am on vacation, staying in the most comforting, charming, soul-soothing house in the countryside that you can imagine.  I am incredibly blessed to have chosen-family who offer me the use of this house (and their car to get there) when they are off teaching at opera programs.  I am sitting on a lounge chair on the deck, over looking an expanse of green fields and trees and the catskill "mountains" (having lived in California and Colorado, these earth-pimples will never be mountains to me), listening to a cacophonous symphony of birds.  I'm on my something-or-other-th glass of wine.  I've been here just shy of 48 hours, and I've already finished one book and plowed through most of a second.  I am trying, desperately, to relax, to shake off the wonderful and painful and grueling and exciting and disappointing and satisfying craziness of the past few weeks.  The doing nothing is helping, the wine is helping, the best-boyfriend-ever is helping, visiting the guy with the chicken-duck-rabbit-pigeon-guinea fowl-pheasant bird farm who sells fresh eggs practically straight from under the chickens butts is helping, seeing the deer in the grass at the edge of the property is helping, watching neon-yellow finches feed from the bird feeder 5 feet from me is helping.  But there is a knot in my chest that still hasn't loosened.

As I relax, and my engine revs down, and I continue to push the incessant to-do list that runs non-stop in my brain far enough into the background that I only barely hear it screaming at me, other things start to come up.  Emotions, longings, fears, dreams, doubts.  Some of it is good, some of it is uncomfortable.  And I am made aware again of something I learned about myself long ago: I keep myself so busy in part so that I don't have time to stop and feel things.

Ah, but I want to feel things!  The good things, of course, but even some of the bad things.  I know I can't have one without the other.  As wrenchingly painful as the first 6 months or so after my separation were, I also had never felt so alive in all my life.  I felt a range of emotion - from grief to excitement to anger to happiness to love to loss to fear to liberation - that I had never allowed myself to feel before.  It was horrible and wonderful all at the same time.  It transformed me, and I know I am a greater person -- and a much greater artist -- for it. 

But unfortunately it is a life-long habit for me to suppress and avoid my feelings.  I am trying to learn to just sit with where I am, to just be sometimes; to have a day where I'm feeling off and be ok with that instead of trying to fix it.   But voices in my head fight that.  My tendency is to view everything as a problem to be fixed.   That doesn't always serve me as a person, especially because not everything can be fixed.  Though, it suddenly occurs to me, perhaps I can put that habit to good use in my writing, as every scene and character in a play needs an "action": something they want or a problem they need to fix.  No one wants to watch a character who is content to just be where they are, that doesn't make for good theater.  But my life isn't theater, and I'd like to learn to be content where I am.  Sometimes.  Not always, as I want to continue to grow and change and learn and better myself, but sometimes I need to just -- be.

On that note, I think I need to go "be" with some Vermont hickory smoked maple cheddar cheese and another glass of wine.
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