August 8, 2017
I’m here at Emandal, our family camp. It’s our seventh year here. One week of August in total bliss; farm-to-table meals, stellar community of friends, the rhythm of the natural world.
My friend, Bonnie, just gave me a tarot reading - a yearly tradition. This week of the calendar marks my new year, when I process what’s behind me and ponder what’s ahead. The cards lead me.
Today I asked the cards what I need to know about my heart. There’s been some grief this year, some trauma in the deepest caverns of what I care for, and my heart has craved novocaine. The last month or so I’ve been working on waking it up - opening to the experiences and people around me - feeling even though it’s scary, even though it’s painful. And in that opening, that conscious unraveling of my own ball of string, I’ve felt a change coming. It’s a little like that stillness right before an earthquake; the strange sky, the death of wind. Something beautiful is coming my way. Or maybe I’m simply opening my eyes and ears and spirit to the magic of what’s around me. The rustle of air through leaves, the chuckle of water over stone, the deep delicate light just before sunset.
Today the cards said that in the past I have lived on the surface - or at least not to my depth. That I am a snake, Mother of Wands, fierce, powerful, warm and charming. That I fear total upheaval even though it’s my nature to turn everything on end. That I fear failure, which in terms of my heart, if not in other aspects of my life, is one hundred percent true. I think of myself as brave - I think I am. But I’m also afraid to risk myself completely - to dive in beyond my usual depth.
The last card of the reading, the card that predicts the future, was the world. It represents the successful completion of a long cycle, the fulfillment of dreams.
Since the break-up of my marriage almost four years ago, thoroughly chronicled here, I have dreamt of love. A great love, a true love, the person I could meet with my heart completely open, who could receive that heart and meet it with their own. It hasn’t happened yet. I had no idea it would take this long. But, for whatever reason, at this moment, I feel it’s imminent. It’s traveling towards me and me towards it.
The longer I live, the deeper my understanding of love, romantic or otherwise. Friend-love, mother-love, it’s all the same love. As I deepen my capacity to feel, as I drop my defenses and brave uncertainty, I have more love to give, more love to get, more love.
August 9, 2017
I have a personal tradition here of composing haikus on my daily early morning run. Our last night of camp is a self-organized talent show - two or so hours of high entertainment; original songs, circus acts, comedy - it’s like “Cats” - you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. I read my haikus aloud.
Today as I ran (mostly walked), I thought about how this week is a time-out from my daily life. The key to summer camp is tradition, things staying the same every year. Here, it’s always late summer, meals are always at 8:30, 12:30 and 6:30. The mornings are spent under the apple trees at the farmhouse, afternoons on the river, evenings at the campfire. Something about that sameness makes me feel like I’ve stepped into my alternate existence - I forget about the other one for hours at a time. When I return to the other life, the other fifty-one weeks, I’m refreshed. I see it with new eyes for having been away.
Running, walking, thinking in haiku this morning, I came up with a few metaphors for this phenomenon.
Metaphor number one: I’m stepping out of the river - my river. A week goes by. When I step back in, it’s an entirely different river New water, new fish.
Metaphor number two: My life is a movie. I hit pause on the action. I play a different movie - a short. When I finally return to the main feature, when I finally hit play, I’m looking at it with different eyes, informed by the intermission.
Metaphor number three: Meditation. You pull out of the busy-ness of your day. You sit. You let go of everything but your breath, your presence. When you re-enter your day, you’re clearer, you have perspective, inner stillness.
August 11, 2017
I’m sitting here in the library, gazing out at the rows of vegetables, the barn, the pines, the flat light of midday. There are the sounds of the kids on a scavenger hunt; squeals, shouts, the thump of small feet in dirt.
The day before I left for camp, last Saturday, I ended a relationship I’ve been in for most of the past year. The relationship was many things; flexible, honest, fun, sensual. What it wasn’t was love. We knew it, we talked about it - in that way I was breaking new ground. But what I finally came to was the realization that while he was occupying my heart, my mind, my body, in whatever limited capacity, there wasn’t room for a deeper love to enter.
Nature abhors a vacuum. I’m of the belief that you have to create a vacuum to draw to you what you need or want. I’m most likely to find satisfying work when I’m unemployed. Mostly likely to find a home when I don’t have one. And so, I’ve created a vacuum in the sex/love department. I might end up bored, lonely, horny. I might call up my friend again in a few months. But for now there is a lovely feeling of wonder, of possibility, of honesty. For now, that’s enough.