That everything is actually okay – that your life is practically charmed; You’re not sick, are surrounded by people who you love, and who love you. You have work that is built on words, a career you conjured from air, feathers and wood smoke, a schedule you made yourself, a dog in the yard – buried yes – but a true and loving companion for years.
Sometimes you go to exotic places to share your work with others, and every day you sit in circles of women, knee to knee finding new words for sadness, for joy, for grief and love. Your students are generous. Human beings who crack themselves open right in front of you, which you find startling even after 25 years. So much of the time you forget how precious this life is, and you rush around thinking that you have to do even more to be noticed and loved. And then these people you work with unzip themselves and step out of their human casings to show you what they’re made of – same stuff as you – all of us just longing for connection, so many of us believing that we should be more. They think you’re the teacher, but it’s always the other way around.
You’re lucky. You have children who are just enough hoodlum to make them interesting, but responsible enough to get to work on time. They’re healthy, they know how to love other people, and even when you broke up their family of four, they kept coming home and loving you both. You’ve got, not just a roof over your head, but a jewel box – yes – you live in a jewel box at the end of a lane, and which is protected by trees. When people walk through the gate they are changed, and it has nothing to do with you. It’s true you have that raccoon problem, a large, furry fellow who comes in through the cat door when you’re sleeping, and who you’ve run into twice in the hallway as you headed to the bathroom, but you’re working on that.
Your mother is still alive, and since she had that knee surgery she’s home a lot more and picks up the phone when you ring. She loves you unconditionally and she might be the last person on earth to do this. Your father, a sweet narcissist, gone 9 years now, loved as he was able. That he stooped down to pick up trash and put it in his pocket in every country he visited was one of his most endearing qualities.
The stuff you talk about in therapy is standard fare. It’s true you sometimes still dance for love, that you’re not certain of your goodness or your beauty. You catch yourself dangling glittery things to get attention; the house in Hawaii, the great, great uncle who owned a brewery in Salt Lake City and whose most popular beer was called Beauty. Your therapist keeps saying, “swim in your own lane,” which you think means that you should anchor yourself, pay more attention to what’s moving through you when you’re with others – especially men – and be less focused on who you think they want you to be. You’re getting there, one stroke at a time.
Your face is changing. Your eyes show your age and one breast has grown larger than the other – your mother told you so last time you saw her. You can work that tummy all you want, but its soft, and in a way, so are you – softer as you age, all over. It turns out that surrender is not a sign of giving up, but of making real peace. It’s not easy, but it’s happening.
You don’t have a sweetheart, but you’re friends with every man you’ve ever loved, and sometimes you think you make a better friend than a lover. Your ex-husband is one of the kindest people you know, a man who brought blankets to keep you warm on dates and who regularly pulled socks off your feet to massage them. That you let the words, “I don’t think I want to be married anymore,” fall from your lips on a car ride five years ago, makes you wince. Were you being greedy, too idealistic, hoping for more than you already had? What’s the fine line between accepting things as they are, and imagining what else is possible?
You’ve been sleeping alone for a while now, and you wonder if you’ll ever share this bed again, though the cat – the one who doesn’t like to be touched or held – started sleeping with you months ago – something that shocks your family and has encouraged a new found respect for you. You have no idea why the cat is suddenly your friend, but you’ll take it. He’s a quiet companion, and isn’t that what you’ve been looking for in a partner, someone you can be peaceful with?
And here’s the thing, you woke up happy this morning for no good reason except that you’d given yourself some time to wander into the morning without rush. Two cups of coffee, music, incense, and you opened the front door for the wind and the light. That’s pretty much all you need. Standing at the kitchen window looking out, you thought, “I’m happy.” It was simple. It wasn’t about what you had or didn’t have. It never has been.
Friends, would you like to sink your teeth into the most simple and delicious writing practice on the planet? I have gotten so many love letters from people telling me how much they appreciate my 27 Wild Days video class – 27 short videos delivered daily to your inbox helping you to get ink on the page in 15 short minutes a day. One of the best things I’ve ever made.