Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The only thing that matters

You know that feeling when you're getting sick and you feel like you're on the precipice of another world? When you slow the hell down and tuck in to bed and try to remember what's important on the earth? I'm here now with three dogs, covered in a big white fluffy duvet and listening to the wind chimes on the fig tree. It's dark and cold in the canyon as it's November and once the sun goes down behind the hill, a dry chill comes in.

And I thought that Joni explained it very well, but sometimes we're just up against our own demons. Sometimes when things are really sweet and perfect and all is well in the world, you find yourself unable to tolerate a situation. It's a bit like having an allergy. Imagine sitting in a big field, full of tall grass and poppies, listening the birds, watching the larks, blue skies overhead, puffy clouds, and suddenly a histamine attack. All is well. All is sweet and then you realize your eyes are streaming from hay fever. And so it is, I have discovered, with life. There's a glimpse of a possibility. A tiny light, just flickering a little, a wee bit tentative, just needs some warm hands cupped around it so that it can take hold, a tiny bit of nurturing and it will glow. And then you burn your hand.  There was a moment, a small, clear moment, when everything in the world felt connected. Your feet are attached to the earth and your head is soaring through the universe, and everything is full of abundance. There is a real human connection and every single cell is zinging with it. And somehow, through old neuroses, or fear, or lack of trust, or not believing enough, or just plain damage, you can't hold on to it. It just slips through your fingers.

It's raining now. The first big rain we've had in Los Angeles in weeks, maybe months.

I know this is temporary. I know it will go. I know tomorrow everything will be brighter, and there will be yoga to jog the cells and open the heart, and there will be walks and dogs and a new kind of greenness that always comes after the rain. But tonight my heart is heavy because I've closed a chapter on what could have been because I didn't have enough faith and I hope that I have made the right decision.

I dreamed about my father the other night. It was the first dream I've had about him in a very long time. He was lovely. Gentle, kind, and sewing. I don't know why he was sewing, but he had a needle and thread in his hand and he was hemming an old pair of khaki pants, surrounded by his dogs, and my friend and I spoke to him and he was old, but not infirm, and he was wise, and filled with light and glowing, angelically. And we were at the old house where we grew up, the house that felt like another parent to my brother and me. And it was was warm and there was a fire in the grate and my father was smiling.

Nothing really changes. We age but we still desire love, we still don't want to be abandoned, we still expect miracles. We wish we could change other people so that they think like we do, but we can't. Human beings are frail, paralyzed by their own limitations.

"I look at the world with abundance," said my friend C on the phone this morning. And that is the only way to look at it. It is beautiful, and bountiful and it gives us what we need. Kinda the opposite of the parasitic island in Life of Pi. So by that definition, I've made the right decision, because it is the only one that I can make, bound by my own limits.

There are hours in the early morning spent on the phone to London with two friends; one my oldest girlfriend with whom I do a killer a capella version of "Sorrow" by Bowie, and the other an old male friend who is having girlfriend issues. We vent to each other and he advises me with the male perspective. I rather enjoy it when I hear him, panting from riding his bike, complaining about the latest text from his love interest. We are all in this together.

But I leave you with the words of my friend Wendy, who is about as elevated a human being as you can get:

"The only thing we can do is give love. It's the only thing that matters."

 It's the ONLY thing that matters. Fight everything else and stay with the love.

Can't you tell I've been listening to George Harrison?

Sleep well my lovely ones. xx


Katherine C. James said...

As you said, "So by that definition, I've made the right decision, because it is the only one that I can make."

Once, years ago, I was agonizing over a decision. In retrospect, given later, more challenging, days, it was a simple decision between two jobs I was being offered. I called my dad to explain and ask for help. "What If I make the wrong decision?" I said. He said, "There is no such thing as a wrong decision. You make a decision. You move on. You make another decision." It comforted me and put what I was doing in perspective. I made a decision. Then I made another. I moved on. And while I did that, life, not always fair, kept happening whether I said yes or no.

I agree with you: Love is all that matters. Connecting to each other. Finding the courage to say yes and to say no, with love. There was a time, not that long ago, when my ideas of what constituted happiness and who held it in their hands to give or withhold from me were confused. These ideas are clearer for me now. The world seems bigger, brighter, funnier. There are so many opportunities for joy. I understand that I will fell like hell again, and then I won't. Again. I understand that I am not only capable of love, but I am lovable, and I can risk letting people love me. That, for me, is a big leap.

Have I posted my James Baldwin quote for you? "The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out."

It's chilly here too, against the East Bay foothills now busy turning green after our day of downpour. I'm under linen blankets piled in stripes and weaves, and cozy too. I wish you a good night.


Lady Liberty said...

I love Joni and Geo. Harrison - haven't listened to either for years - I shall do so immediately. Thank you - I enjoyed your post very much

Marcheline said...

I listen to George Harrison every week, because his music is featured in my favorite movie, "Withnail & I" - George was also one of the producers of that movie, and probably one of the main reasons it got filmed at all. Yay George! That movie is one of the things which gets me through the times you're talking about.

LPC said...


Lucy Campbell said...

I too have been making difficult decisions and you write so beautifully and because I am bereft of Janelle's writing (temporarily I hope) I am going to have to make you my nbf (even though you are much younger!) .... I agree with you and lovely post - I'm going through a very similar situation but we must hold out hope and live laugh love Lx