Time is such a strange thing. It really is made up, this concept that we are moving forward. That time is linear in that way. That what is past is really far behind us and where we are going is in this distance place that we strive for.
I am knowing that time is made up because my memories, they are not old. They are not far in the past. They are right here with me. They are yesterday and right now and I think (I know) that they are right in front of me, too.
When my son was born, this was big. This was that once in a lifetime paradigm shift where in that one instant I went from being not a mom to now a mom. I did not think about this at that moment. What I thought was thank god this baby is out of me. The birthing experience of this, my first born, was not a pretty thing... a writing for another day :-)
And so I did not take in, in just this moment of his birth, that this was as huge as it was. But it was. And over time (whatever that is) I began to grasp the enormity of this. The shift in me caused by his entrance into this world and into my life.
So here's the thing. When I think about this now, when I write about it here or reflect about it over these years that he has grown from small sweet boy to kind and great man, it is not a reflection back. It is all right here. The twenty-seven years that pretend to fill the space between when he was first here and the here that he stands in now, this space is small. So small that it does not exist.
The freshness of those rough and tumble images of my son when he was a boy merge into his journey as a man. I see him run from room to room, a cape around his neck just as clearly as I see him walk kindly around a hot and full yoga studio where he shares his wisdom and light, class after class. Where one image comes from years ago, in the clearness in my mind it stands hand in hand with the newness of the other. There is no time between the two and so no time between what is.
It is all right here now.
And so, just as my son grows forward my perspective changes as I, too, move forward. Or is it back? Or to the side just a bit so that things look different? Because this is what I mean by time not being real. If those things that happened before feel just as new as the things that will happen soon then of course they are all just what is in this moment in time (that word again).
I think I need a new vocabulary. Instead of reflection back to what seems to have come before, I will now say that I am reflecting in on what has always been. And in this way, the image of my son on the day of his birth and my son, today, on this, his birthday, will just be one moment encompassing many.
Happy birthday, to you my wondrous boy.
Written by Elizabeth Rose and Jen Karofsky.
A friend of my father's who is now a friend of mine - well I wish he was but I never get to see him but when I see him I love talking to him. He's great. And funny. He's especially funny. And I've been to his house, once, and so I am deciding that this constitutes being friends and I was going say that we are friends on Facebook but I checked and he never accepted - ^#*$*@& - but I am friends with his wife there. So she and I are really friends. Facebook makes it so.
Anyway, this friend of my dad's who is my friend - except not on Facebook - he has a snail problem. Not personally but on the pond that his house sits next to. It's a major problem and is ruining the pond. I know this because he explained it to me and my dad when we ran into him in town last week.
We were coming back from a quick shop at the Co-op which is this very cool and healthy store in Great Barrington and there he was, also coming out of the co-op though we did not see him while we were there. And we spent a few (a bit more) minutes talking about his snails.
They are very small snails and are taking over the pond and the problem is that it seems they may not be able to do anything about this. Because there is an organization that protects them. In that very narrow and isolating way that organizations focus in quite often where they only look at that one thing that they care about and do not pay attention to all the other things circle around their priority.
And this got me thinking.
And so I shared this snail challenge with my sister, because we are together again for yet another Monday writing as I am still on this east coast visit to my family and so we are writing this writing together, too.
We were talking about our parents and the challenges they face and how, when you focus in on just that, the challenge of illness or memory loss or age or snails, you often miss the bigger picture of who they are and who we are, too.
We can choose to stay in the muck of it, stay focused on just the snails, or we can pull back and take a meta-view of things. We can see our parents not just as the struggles they are facing now which forces us to then just be in our response to that – our problem solving and strategy generating and reacting and fixing - and instead take that step back and see the fullness of our parents and begin again to experience the trueness of ourselves. As daughters and sisters and friends.
When we chose to step away from the microscope we regain our perspective. And we are then in choice of exactly how we want to see things.
We talk about this a lot. My sister and I. About the choices we have. About the power we really hold in all this. We think, when we are narrowed in on just the snail that all there is is that. But there is so much more.
Or maybe they were and just never posted those pictures on Facebook. Oh, and it's Cave people because we want to be all inclusive here.
Here is in Massachusetts. At my dear sister's home. We started this thing that we do when we are together, we write my morning blog and so, in keeping with the fact that we have done this the last two times - here and here - when we were together, we are doing it again. Except that we are actually not, because I am sitting here at her kitchen table and she is on a work call.
She is a coach. A mighty fine one, too. And works with people all over the country. You should check her out here.
So, she is on this call upstairs and I am here, at her kitchen table writing this piece that we came up with a week ago when we were on the phone - because I was not in Massachusetts at that time but instead home in California with my beautiful and perfect Doberman and my equally Navalicious husband.
Anyway, we were on the phone and we were talking about the effort it takes to stay fit and lean and healthy in this current day climate we live in and that it has a lot to do with the fact that we are so sedentary unlike .... wait for it ..... the caveman (person!) They were never fat. Because they were moving all the time, forging for food or fighting for their lives in the rough and tumble environment that they lived in.
Life was movement and there was a constant flow of it. They did not have time to get fat and out of shape.
And so we thought we'd write about this when we were together. So here we are. Kind of.
Now, speaking of fat and out of shape, this lovely feline photograph that is gracing the top of this writing today, this is my cat nephew (canephewt) Albus. He is definitely having trouble maintaining the sleek stature that his cousins the tigers are able to exhibit. Because ...drumroll... the tiger - like the cave person - is moving. Constantly. Out in the wild forging for food and causing other - smaller and more prey like animals - to fight for their lives in the rough and tumble environment that they live in. While Albus here...
Well, he does not forge for food. He gets it daily in a small yet sufficient bowl. Now my sister, this one that I am writing with though not really because she is still on her call upstairs, she has mindfully and lovingly put this rotund kitty on a diet. Which does not make him, or anyone else in the family, particularly happy. But I think it is working. He looks sleeker to me. And I also want to make note that this is not my sister overfeeding him as he has a svelte and sweet sister. This is genetics or general kitty malaise.
But a tiger he is not.
Do you know those times when you feel you are being your most authentic self. Your words are heartfelt, true and honest. And then, something gets said in response to your loving ways and the mirror is held up once again for you to see. And what you see is not quite right because it is not quite true all of a sudden.
It was true a moment ago. I am not saying that you were insincere. Because in that before moment you were standing in the realness of your feelings and your words. And then, in an instant, what was true changed to what is true now and you see things in a completely different way.
And now the place you are standing in is clearer still from where you were. Because you can see yourself through this new understanding that you have about something that you didn’t even know was not really a truth but – yet again – a coping skill developed over time and brilliant in it’s result. This happened to me last week.
Let me start at the beginning.
I have recently joined the board of this amazing theater in LA – The Echo Theater Company. Check it out. I love this place. And I received an email referencing an upcoming Gala/fundraiser for the theater, asking each board member to invite at least three other people to attend. And I wanted to invite people who I felt would connect with what the theater was presenting during this event, and in turn would want to support the artistry that was coming out of this company. And so I sent three names, but had been thinking about a forth person, too.
The thing was, this person – not yet a friend though more than an acquaintance and someone I just intuitively like – this person was in a place in their own life that was challenging. I knew this even though I did not know them well. The power of Facebook.
And my thoughts went like this. I know this person has just had a major professional crisis but I don’t know how he’s doing and I know that I would like to invite him to this event but I don’t know quite how to do that and should I ask him really how he is when he might be fine and wonder why I am thinking that he is not or that I am crossing a boundary and being invasive and too familiar so should I just wish him well and is the timing off for this invite or should I extend the invitation?
And so this rambling that is basically insecurity led me to this place of keeping it light and, against this deep instinct that this was not the right time to reach out, I reached anyway.
Hi I said. I hope you’re doing well. And then went on to pitch this Gala event.
And then, to my I hope you’re doing well, this person answered honestly that he is not doing well at all. And the conversation became real. Just like that. Because he was.
I was surprised. I expected to be met, like with like. My light reaching out with an equally easy response. But instead was met with a realness that touched me but that also made me sad. And I felt shame because I knew – in that deep way that we experience knowing if we would just listen to it – that this shame came from this place of not honoring my intuition and not being genuine in my reaching out in the first place.
I felt embarrassed.
When you ignore your intuition your ego washes in and coats your words. Ego coated my initial contact with this person and then continued to dictate to me. And so I did this thing that I don’t like very much. This self-serving thing dressed up in nice clothes. And I said I didn’t want to invade your space as an excuse for not asking genuinely how this person was doing in the first place. I said I didn’t want to invade your space and it felt real and honest at that moment that I said it. Because the ego is smart and tricked me again.
I came up with a way to justify what I did and make it all good. For me. But not good at all for the possibility of friendship and true connection.
Yet through all this drama between my ego and my self, a friendship did begin to grow in a conversation that was honest and beautiful. And at one point he said I am interested in the idea that by asking me how I was you would invade my space, and I was called out even though that was not his intention. The mirror was held up again. And though I could not quite get my hands around all this while the conversation continued something was lurking that I knew felt not right while it sat in my head and my heart trying to become clear.
I took my unease to bed with me that night. And woke up to the morning light and finally saw it all. Saying I didn’t want to invade your space is really about not wanting to invade my own space. Saying I didn't want to invade your space is a defense mechanism for my own insecurities and fear of vulnerability.
An excuse for not connecting out of fear of being seen.
When I come to you – or to anyone – without my cover (whatever it may be in any given moment) that is scary stuff. And so I put up a boundary without even knowing I was doing that. And I reached out while I stayed separate. Because vulnerability that comes with honest interactions is often hard for me.
It's hard for many of us, which is confusing as we are here, in this human experience, for connection and intimacy - to each other, to ourselves and to the universe - and yet we sabotage it over and over again. And then we wonder why we are lonely.
Until the mirror is held by a now new friend and we see our self clearly.
This is Nava. In case you don't know who she is - how can you not know who she is? She's perfect! - she is my sweet and perfect and smart Doberman dog who I just adore. She is in her I am waiting for the ball to be thrown because that is my most favorite thing in the world pose. You can see, by the pose and the intense facial expression and the healthy and strong way that she holds her body in anticipation of the ball being sent flying in the air that she is in great shape. Strong and sure and feeling fine. This is a good thing under the circumstances of my morning this morning.
Because this morning, Nava got into a fight with two coyotes.
Now Nava is coyote proofed. I wrote about it here. Coyote proofing is not the same as rattle snake proofing. She is rattle snake proofed, too. With the rattles, they introduce the dog to the snake - yes a real one - and then send a blast of air from a collar round their neck and the dog learns pretty quickly not to go near that rattley thing. Nava learned in about three seconds. The trainer does this with the appearance of the snake, the smell of the snake and the sound, too. It's a brilliant method and gives me great peace of mind that I can hike on the riverbed of my lovely town and not worry about her. The riverbed is filled with rattles. And mountain lions. But that is another story.
So coyotes. She is coyote proofed in that we walk with a very long leash so that she is attached to me and not wandering around the orange grove that we spend our early mornings in.
The coyotes have a seasonal rhythm - or so I thought - and are very busy in the grove with me during the winter months. But in the spring they are busy with their babies and in the summer and early fall, when it is really hot here, I don't see them at all. That is when the rattle snakes come out. It is always something.
So these last few weeks, with the weather warm and the coyotes nowhere to be seen, I have started leash free walking again. My dog is safe, from snakes (those pesky rattles come to the grove, too) and coyotes and she is free to wander without a worry.
Except obviously she is not. (don't judge me)
Because this morning, as we were walking down my driveway, she took off. Fast. And so I took off after her. This was not an I see a bunny and love to chase them run. This was something else. And as I made it down the driveway I see them, maybe one hundred yards away. Two big and full and healthy and unafraid coyotes. And my dog, angry and surefooted, is heading right towards them.
Now Nava and one coyote is not an issue. They see her and they run. And she is knows this and I think she just assumed that two would run, too. But they didn't. They turned and met her where she was and they are in it. And I am yelling, first her name and then a deep and guttural and filled with rage sound that pierces the early morning air as I run towards them. No-one messes with my dog.
Nava comes to me before they run off. She left the fight pretty quickly once she heard me call her name. And because I am running towards them, they did not chase her but instead looked for a moment at me and then took off into the protection of the orange trees.
All the hair on Nava's back is up and she is panting hard and ready to head back up our driveway. We were both are panting and ready to be back safe in our home.
I have seen Nava fight. She was in it at the dog park once. Which is why we only go when it is empty now. She does not start things, but will not back down. And she is scary. And strong. And so powerful. As she was today. But she was no match for this two on one battle.
She has two, small punctures on her hind legs. This is how they do it, these smart and scary almost dogs but not. They surround their prey and while one works the front, the other works the legs until the animal is no longer able to use them, And then it is done.
Except today it was not. Today they met their match in me.
We took a warm shower together and I soaped up her legs and cleaned out her wound, small but deep and worrisome. And so I took her to the vet to make sure she did not need a rabies booster and they gave her antibiotics and something for the pain. Though we played ball soon after this encounter, she is now a bit sore and feeling tired, too.
These coyotes threw me off my game, they changed the rules and invaded my morning space during a time when they should be staying cool up in their dens. Was it that we were out just that bit earlier this morning and so the night had not yet become dawn and safe for us to walk? Or is it that they are always here, even when I think that they are not, and it was just a matter of time before my brave and good pup would have found them at the edge of our land? Whatever it is, I will walk my morning walk in the grove leashed up. Even on the warmest of days.
Speaking of warm days, there are now many of them. Not as warm as summers past - our mornings have been sweatpant and sweater cool as I walk Nava to the rising sun - and our nights are prime for sleeping still, but the days are hot on the skin and the sun is bright in the sky and so it was time to fix the canopy that covers our upstairs porch.
We decided - my dear husband and I - that we would do this ourselves. And so he went to the hardware store and bought the supplies and then watched a how-to video on how to put a grommet in. I would have just started putting holes in the fabric and winged it. We have very different methods.
So he watches the video and then I do, too only because he asked me to. And we are ready. And we go outside, and make that first, small hole and go to grommet it up and everything is backwards. The grommet is on the metal grommet holder thing wrong and the top of the grommet is on the bottom and... well you get the idea. And I - Yes me! - I suggest we watch the video again.
Now, for anyone who knows me, I have absolutely no attention to detail (unless I really care about something like my kids or dog or clothes and shoes) whereas my husband does....in relation to me but not really. And so my wanting to watch the video again is completely out of character. But watch it we did. To get it all right.
And then out we went again, to the porch and our do-it-yourself mending activity.
This first picture gives you a sense of our porch and our canopy with the lovely ripped section in the back.
It's a bit dirty, too. Not sure how to clean that. Not sure if I want to.
I thought a close up would be good. And here is proof that my husband is involved.
We've got our tools set out on the table.
And our first grommets are in!
I know, it kinda sucks. But it's cheap and does the job. For now. Like until the next big wind maybe. And it doesn't protect from the rain but it does protect from the sun. And will hopefully prevent further tearing. And so we will continue with this makeshift attempt at doing it ourselves. Like a grommet or two a week. We'll have this done by August!
And finally, it's our anniversary today. Twenty-nine years of married - not always - bliss but a timeless love and a deep friendship and a commitment to always doing our best. Because that is what it takes in love and life. Alll we have is the best that we can give.
Happy anniversary to my husband. And happy holiday weekend to you all.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.