I glimpsed something I haven't seen in a long, long time, and I think the terror of writing about it has kept me away. Perhaps this is what vulnerability actually feels like - like being paralyzed. I have to remind myself to come back to the breath, instead of remaining in the magical thinking.
So one day, I was sitting at a table having dinner with friends, and the next I was orbiting the moon.
My friend Tania over here, reminds herself of the face of her beautiful mare and soothes herself with pictures from the Scottish Highlands, taken every day as she walks.
I try to stay connected to the earth. Every morning the dogs and I go out on the hill and breathe in the day. They rustle about in the long grass and I sit on the edge of the ledge with my cup of tea, near the pepper tree, listening to the faint hum of traffic, and wondering (as if there's a choice) what the weather will bring. Amusingly 70 degrees and sunny seems to be popular here.
There is a lot of work, for which I am grateful. And increasingly, early in the morning, out on the hill, I forget to watch the dogs and the birds because I'm engrossed in returning email. A really shitty habit.
Yoga is important. It speaks to me (for which I'm fortunate). If it speaks to you, I recommend it. For me, it's life-saving. It joggles up my cells and straightens me out, zapping the fear right out of my body, so that I can function in this crazy world we inhabit (not the world per se, but Hollywood, I suppose). I'm not particularly proud of how sensitive I am, how much I absorb the bad stuff and pretend to soldier on, only for it to come out in the middle of the night, like now, when I wake up at three with the owls hooting, filled with self-loathing, recounting the moments of the day.
I have experienced great joy and kindness, the kind that fills you up. And, ungrateful wench that I am, it isn't enough. I just want more of it. I say I only want a couple of days, but in truth, I want it every day, I want life to be like that, full of sweetness.
And then, as my friend Kay says, what's the point in playing it cool? What are we waiting for? Why play games. If something seems lovely then at least allow it to breathe. But how do we know anything? How do we trust anything? I suggest, humbly, that we don't really have a choice. That there is only one way to live and that is with love, and that is by taking great leaps of faith, big fat risks that may end you up looking and feeling like an enormous ninny. I don't think there is another way. For me, at least.
As I lay here now -- surrounded by the dogs who, surprisingly, aren't snoring, but providing furry hot water bottle warmth to my legs -- I have to force myself to remember that I am trying to do the right thing, to cause joy not pain, to put one foot in front of the other in the hope that there is a higher purpose, and that the choices are, somehow, the right ones.
This is a temporary crisis. It's the middle of the night. The dawn will rise. And in the end everything will be all right. But now, in it, in the middle of it, my voice feels hollow and small and reedy.
Maybe there is some connection here to Lou Reed's death. There isn't another artist I remember mourning this way. For Vivien and me, every step of the way was punctuated by a Lou/Velvet song. My friend Jeff Gordinier (author of "X Saves The World," a pop culture wizard and seems to have the same cultural touchstones as me, not least because we are the same age) wrote this on Facebook:
"I still remember when a friend first told me that the Velvet Underground could save your life. It wasn't an exaggeration."So this melancholy could be for Lou Reed and for the way the world will be without him it. By all accounts he was a dark guy, not always a very nice guy, but as an artist, very few touch him. Perhaps Bowie. I've posted some of his songs here. But, if you don't know much about Lou Reed, do yourself a favor and dig in for a couple of hours. Satellite of Love didn't make the list of ten most tweeted about Lou Reed songs, but it has sublime beauty.
Here's a little Lou playlist:
There's nothing to do is there? Can you be anything than yourself? Can you function than as your nature dictates? Once a ninny, always a ninny? Can you but believe in the benevolent nature of something higher that guides you? There is nothing to do but to work hard, to trust, to love.
I know. I'm wearing my daisy crown in Laurel Canyon. Forgive me.