Remember last year when I said I couldn't see my life past 33? I still can't, and I'm on the precipice of 34. Next week at this time (assuming the world doesn't end and I'm not eaten by a shark), I'll have circled the sun 34 times as an independent being.
I'm in awe of my body. It breathes, even when I try not to. Its heart beats as fast or as slow as it must and never faster or slower. And yet, for the past three (ok, thirty) years I've been at odds with it, questioning its wisdom, pushing full throttle like I'm in a three year lease and I'll just get trade this one in once the contract is up.
(Which I will, but that's another story).
If you've met me, you know a few things about me. I have a quick wit, an impeccable memory, and a feverish desire to learn more. More than a few friends (and enemies) have noted my apparent brilliance (and humility). This is tricky, because this 007 mind is trying to pull Gs in a golf cart. The truth that I've tried to lose on the twisty Alpen roads of my imaginary movie life is catching up, and no amount of maneuvering or diversion or innovation will get me free.
My temptation is to ask, WWJ(B)D? And the answer is the same every time: jump ship. Or, more accurately, jump onto a train or call in a helicopter or motorcycle until he finds the shoe that fits, circle back onto the heels of The Truth, defeat him, get the disposable female sidekick, and have a martini #theend.
Thankfully, my life is not a two hour feature. Nor is it the director's cut.
This is where I tell you that I live with thoughts of death. For as long as I can recall I've taken comfort in the cyanide tablet issued to all of us at birth: this suffering can end. US law calls it a crime, but nature? Nature has no objection to dissolving the iceberg, or gently returning your stardust to the great composter. It offers no memorial, no headstone, no judgement on a life well lived. It simply says thank you, and dissolves.
Western Medicine says nothing is wrong with my body. Well, that's not entirely true. My dermatologist says, "Aside from the obvious signs of sun damage, you're perfectly healthy." Which I'll count in the "Nothing Wrong" column. When I was married I took full advantage of the "health" "benefits" I was entitled to and spent an obscene amount of time and money hearing the same message from allergists, reproductive endocrinologists, and other assorted -ologists.
But I knew something was wrong. Or better, wasn't right.
Both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine agree, I'm an energetic mess. This governor on this golf cart will simply not allow speeds above 25 miles per hour, no matter my persistent jumping on the pedal. They each have their own ways of describing this "not-right-ness," but my favorite is that my pitta mind is driving my poor vata body into the ground.
It's screaming at me, as evidenced by the gentle way it erodes my spirit. Unfortunately, this seems to be the part of me you like the most. The "realness" that comes across in my writing is from spelunking mind, body, and spirit into the darkness.
And coming back to tell you about it.
An anthropologist of the heart.
Every time I tie the cord a little looser and dive even deeper into the hole of despair, the dark side of my soul, I get an inch closer to the bottom. Or the other side.
I accomplished my goals for 33 in a big way. Not only did I get a passport and successfully travel outside of the US (twice), I let go of nearly everything that defined me. I've cut the cords that tied me to who you thought I was. Who I thought I was.
(Recap of Things I've Let Go Of: marriage, money, businesses, holidays, the internets, friendships, vices, motherhood, my name). I seriously considered shaving my head last week, but I'm apparently still holding on to a small amount of vanity... sorry.
This year I will see my own skin as perfect (hey, it keeps the rain out). I will revel in awe that my body keeps time with the moon and the tide and doesn't need an alarm to wake up. What remains of me after this grand renunciation I will drive carefully, mindful that it needs copious rest. Love. I may still spelunk and tell you of the darkness, but I will also look for the light.
Write from a place of love, devotion. Both sides of spirit.
Peace within me
Peace surrounding me
Peace from me
By Thy grace, let there be Peace
~ Yogi Bhajan