Neil Diamond has this great song, Coming to America, that keeps playing over and over in my head. It started innocently enough on a conversation with my sister about my coming to Massachusetts this fall for the fall. And instead of saying "coming to Massachusetts" when we were talking, I said "coming to America" at which she immediately started singing the song. And now I am here and it is wedged deeply into my brain and plays on loop over and over again throughout each day.
The song doesn't really have a lot to do with my journey east. There are lyrics in there about freedom and about following a dream but that is not really this. This is different. This trip back east has many layers and though I will be free - on my own - this trip to the east is more about going deep not chasing dreams.
I leave tomorrow. It is soon. And it is big. And I have not packed yet. I have visualized packing. This is the first step for me, To see it in my mind. Plan it in a visual way. Look - in my minds eye - at my shoes and my jeans, my dresses and sweaters and see what comes along and what stays here in the west coast heat.
I do this same thing with my things. My sewing machine will try to come along if I have room for it. My caldron will come, too. Unless it feels too heavy for my car once everything is set. My heart rocks are coming, and my favorite necklaces and rings.
And my dog. the most important companion and friend. She is coming, too.
She gets the entire back seat, because she is HUGE, and so my other things, they will all have to fit in the way back or on the floor or next to me as a passenger.
This last week before this day which is the day before my leaving has been a busy week. Filled with great things.
I got a new tattoo. I have been thinking about this. Getting something on me that has meaning in that way that all my tattoos do. A marking of my body with art that also has significance. Deep resonance. My tattoos are reminders. And they are connections. They stand for people that I love. And they signify paths that I have traveled. This last one - I am awake to the beauty of this day - is my mantra. It is a new mantra. It is the awareness of the greatness of every day. And I needed it on me.
Along with a song in my mind and a tat on my arm, I also shot a gun. This was fantastic. I had been wanting to do this for a while now. It is funny, it popped into my mind, in much the same way that Coming to America did, and played around in that loop of needing to give this a try. The lyrics of this I want to shoot a gun song were strong in my mind and so - with daughter in tow because I so wanted to share this with her and she thought it was a fantastic idea, too - we connected with this great guy.
His name is Aidan Noble and you can reach him here if you think you want to do this, too.
We spent over three ours with him! He is really thorough - and really fun - and taught us all about handguns. About how they work. And about how to be safe. And about their power. And he showed us how to shoot and then we did. We shot guns. 22's and 45's and 9mm's.
I loved it. The competition of it mostly. The wanting to make the mark. To do it well. To line it up and hit where I said I would. Honestly, I thought I would suck at it. I do not play video games, I am not great at throwing a ball where I want it to go - you can ask my dog about this, she knows - and so I really thought that I would miss the mark. But I didn't. I was good. I was, and my daughter was, too. We nailed it! Not like brilliant nailed but like this is good nailed it. Like we got it. And feel confident. And know we will do better but for our first time, we were awesome!
And so now I am here. Getting ready to go. My trip across America and into the New England fall. Feeling into the moment of this beautiful day and knowing that tomorrow is the start of something. When I am in it I will know what it is.
I am in Vancouver, Canada. I love it here. This city. It is a really good place. The vibe is good. The energy flows right. It matches me. At least right now, in the summer, when the sun is shining and the streets are full at night with music and life. I could live here. At least right now.
I was also in Whistler. Which is very beautiful. In that too-many-trees-kind-of-way. For me anyway. Now, don't get me wrong. I love trees. And plants. Foliage and fauna. But I need earth, too. If I'm not in a city. In a city I just need cool shops and cobbled streets and sweet music and great coffee. But in nature I need dirt.
And great coffee, too.
I don't have much time this morning, so thought to repost what I wrote a year ago. I do this sometimes. Repost. Either a favorite that seems to resonates and needs to be shared again because I love it so much. Or I look back to what a year ago was bringing up for me and I bring it up again in memorandum.
So a year ago I wrote about dancing with my daughter. I love this writing. I love what it captures about that moment with her but also about the evolution of our relationship as adult women and the beauty that is coming forth in this new dynamic that is being created between us.
I give her so much credit for the unfolding that is occurring. She, wise in spirit and deep in the knowledge of her own heart, as been the leader in much of what we are becoming together. I trust her in this and meet her as our paths merge together in a truly honest way.
This writing, a reflection on the merging of mother/daughter as sister/sister is a lovely writing for me to read on this trip away. Much shifting took place within the streets of Vancouver and the too many trees of Whistler. I feel into my body and know that my thoughts are aligning more with my truth. The power of my spirit is gaining clarity and there is a knowing of my path. I sit in comfort that the upcoming months will offer rest and resurgence. And I see that the relationships I share, with this dancing daughter, and with my sweet and wise younger daughter and gifted, loving and intuitive son will shift along with me. In ways that mingle the reminders of mother with the honoring of the adults that we all are now. Them, often, more so than me.
And so here, so you, too, can read the dance of mother and daughter, my writing from that Monday in August, 2015.
Resting On My Daughter's Back And Other Transitions Of Heart And Mind.
So dancing yesterday was amazing. Sunday morning Dance Tribe Santa Barbara is always pretty incredible but yesterday, well yesterday was just fantastic. That extra something that heightens the senses was there in the room. The collaboration of body and spirit that exists between the dancers extends outwards and we are all creators. The music is deep and part of the dance - a giving forth.
And in the midst of this, something sweet and good happened. I rested my body on my daughter's back. And in doing so gave myself over to this next stage of my life in a way that was both new, and familiar, too.
New, in that our roles are shifting. And I am transitioning along with this change that is occurring, a little bit each day. Still a parent but no longer parenting in that way where I need to be aware and invested.
Because now we are peers.
Partners in this place where mothers and daughters go as their relationship becomes that powerful connection as women warriors. Familiar because we know each other so well even as we learn each day something new about each other during this juxtaposition of roles.
And though we are truly in this present place, of being equal though not the same, I felt, in resting myself on her back - my weight fully supported by her strong spine and able legs, and full, kind heart - that I was nurtured and cared for. And I could see the future. Many years still to come, when there will be an even bigger shift and I will be cared for still. And cared for more. In that way that happens when we are older and need from our children those things we gave to them when they were young.
This is the vision that I saw. This is the feeling that I have, still.
We went to Sedona this past weekend. Just two days. To feel the intense spiritually energy of the vortexes. That word is weird in plural. A vortex, this sounds powerful. Vortexes just sounds alliteration-like-all-in-one-word and loses its mojo
Regardless, that is why we went. To feel the heat. The vibe. The swirl and whirl if this powerful place that many who have come before us swear by.
It was pretty. Yes very. Beautiful in fact. And lush and green which I so did not expect. I pictured red rocks and desert and heat. But there were trees. So many trees. I loved that. The trees. And the contrast between the trees and the red of the rocks.
We took a Pink Jeep Tour. It was fantastic and if you ever go to Sedona you need to do this. It was off roading, which is really fun, and we got to get way out of the town and surround ourselves with the beauty that is this landscape.
Oh, and I got to hang off a cliff....so that was fun. Message me if you can't figure out how I did that!!
On our second day that we were there, we got up really early and we climbed up a vortex to catch the morning sun. We stood above the day for a few minutes then took a path to our right and walked for a ways. This was my favorite part of our whole trip. The path was clear, the sun was warm.
Oh, and later in that day we ate the most yummy Acai Bowl!
My perfect and gorgeous and beautiful and smart and sweet and most amazing Doberman puppy who is not really puppy looking anymore but still a bit of a puppy is always working. Except when she's not.
But that's not often. Well, when she's sleeping she's not working. But other than that, she really is. It's her MO, her modus operandi. Her way of being. She is just this really focused, really intense, really in-it-and-its-a-job-that-I-have-to-do kinda gal.
We work a lot together. My perfect puppy and I. We play ball. Which is a job. The getting of the ball is her purpose in that moment and she is hyper focused. Vigilant. Obsessed with that ball. She's there, body shaking in anticipation, eyes focused on me - which way will I throw it, now or in a few seconds, hard or easy, high or low. She watches my body, sees my stance, observes the curve of my arm and the power in my wrist. And she is off, already ahead of the arc of the ball in light of her anticipation of my movements.
Off and running. Sometimes she catches the ball on the fly. Often after one jump. Just as often missing it completely. And always a deep growl or bark will escape from her. Its as if the power that is generating from her body is so great that sound has to escape from her as well or else she will explode.
And then she is back again. In front of me. Focused and alert for the next ball that I throw. Or she is looking in the grass with me, as we walk the length of the dog park on our tennis ball hunt. Grass and dirt covered tennis balls are hard to find, but we are diligent. We look carefully. And we find them. It is also part of the work. The work of finding the ball. Which she then takes in her mouth for a moment and then, with a small twist in her neck, tosses it back to the ground for me to lift up in my ball-tosser-kind-of-like- the-ChuckIt-thing that you can buy but mine is from Target and only was $5.49.
She never brings me back the ball. She sucks at retrieving. She is so not a retriever. I suppose I could teach her to be. And then retrieving will become part of her job in this game of ball that is her work. But I like it this way. As she waits for my throw. As she flies into the air those times the ball is high and she catches it before it lands in the dirt. As her graceful body compensates for speed and height. Or as she runs, full out across the park, that deep growl escaping.
And the comradeship between us as we ball hunt together.
I go to this fantastic beach. It is up a bit north of Santa Barbara...well, still considered Santa Barbara but not the city part, more the suburbs part. I could live here. Near this beach. For many reasons. It is very beautiful. And it is never crowded because it is a long walk from the road that I can park on and then I have to walk for probably another mile thru this lovely grassy area and then down a really long embankment that is very tiring to walk back up. But then I am here. On this beautiful beach.
And I can take off my clothes!
This has been a favorite thing for me lately. There is really nothing so wonderful as having nothing between the sun and the sand and the rhythm of the ocean, and me.
But this writing is not about this...the nakedness of me. What this is about is what happens at this beach with this nakedness of me and all the other lovely souls who make the trek up the path and down the steep slope to shed their layers, too. Most specifically what happens when we meet each other here.
I had a conversation with my daughter the other day, about conversations. And how usually, when we want to get together with someone to connect, we have coffee or let's get together for a glass of wine, or lunch or something. But it is rare to say, I want to talk to you today, let us sit and talk together. My daughter and I do this. As does a friend that I dance with who can bring that depth of connection that shows up on the dance floor to the honest interaction that we both desire. And I do this with a girlfriend. Just meet to talk. To catch up. To support and to share. To go deep. We sit, usually outside on these beautiful and warm summer days. And we make this connection that we seek.
So this conversation with my daughter, about the activities that we surround around our conversations, this is what I think....I think that these things we set up to hold space for the interactions that we are having with each other actually take away from the connections that we desire with each other. When we talk to each other and have the ability to drink that coffee, take a bite of that meal, hear the relationships that go on around us in these structured spaces that we are in, pause in the dialog to answer a question from a waiter, or hook into technology when our phones buzz or vibe or ring in funky and creative ringtones that mark our caller or our taste in music, we are constantly disconnecting for just that instant.
I am not saying that we all do this. Or that every coffee date is inauthentic. What I am saying is that, looking at the totality of this, when there is something going on that pulls us away from each other even as we sit in this space that we created for the specific reason to be together, it prevents us from really being together.
I think it is a defense mechanism. Because I think we are afraid. Of each other. Because we are afraid of ourselves. Of how we will feel when we are really present in this connection with each other. When our true selves show up and stay in it - in the conversation - without the ability to pull back when something else pulls us to disconnect for an instant. When we are vulnerable because there is nothing between what is going on between us, except us.
When we are stripped down.
Which brings me back to my beach. My lovely no clothes beach. When we are naked with others as the first thing that we are, we are messing with the correct order of things. In a really good way. Usually, we create our persona with the clothes that we wear, the hair that we style, the place that we go to eat and drink and meet - and these things feel like they are protecting us until we get to know each other better and trust each other more and can, maybe, let some of our layers go and dip our toe into the ocean of intimacy.
But here, on this beach, the trust comes first. The trust to take off our layers and be fully just ourselves in our wonderful bodies on this beautiful beach. Wet from the ocean swells and hot from the sun and full in our bodies, we are just us. We are doing this backwards, we are seeing each other fully. It is beautiful. You can feel it. The fullness of it. The wonder of it. There is joy here. And honesty. And a complete acceptance of each of us.
I am believing that the correct order of things is to come to each other stripped down and open and present.
And so when I leave the beach each time, I consciously hold, against my heart, the trust I feel when I am here. So I can take it home to my life away from this beach. I bring the image of my stripped down self back up the steep slope at the end of my beach day. I hold myself like this in my minds eye as I walk along the grassy path towards the place where I parked my car. I nurture the strength of who I am when I am here in this place where the order of things is backwards and we see each other fully before we even know each others names.
And then each day, when I am with those in my life away from this beach I keep the image of my naked and full self with me. And I can then meet you in trust and truth. Which is what I strive to do. Every day. Because I do not want to be separate. I want to dance naked on this metaphor towards the connections that I seek.
Would you like to come with me?
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Dog and Cat lover.