For the last two weeks, Marika has been down in the valley helping a friend navigate a new phase of her cancer journey. I stayed up here in the mountains with the dogs, offering long-distance support and compassion during this very difficult situation.
I’ve enjoyed the time alone. I’m used to living by myself and I’m capable of all things with the RV. But it’s also been eye-opening to notice how often I’d complain about Marika, when really, they were things about myself that I was not liking. Living so close with another person, you become big mirrors for each other. Without Marika here 24/7, I was forced to look at my own self and claim some of the things that I had been blaming on her. Like my boredom. My weight. My lack of lust for life.
I journaled a little and cried a bit, but mostly I distracted myself with the first seven seasons of Top Chef, even though I’d already seen them. I took many walks with the dogs and found a new way to play with Cody and his ball while Mabel could enjoy sniffing.
And I had a breakthrough with the book. I finally found the voice with which to tell the story. I worked on it for a day or two, and then I put it aside again, telling myself that thinking about it is still working on it.
I’m pretty sure I know why I’m stuck, and yet, I’m not quite ready to work through it. I could beat myself up and focus on why I am not doing this one big thing that my future self wants so much. Or I could try kindness and compassion and think about all of the things I have been doing that are different than before.
I got together with the ladies for lunch and Mexican Train, and I went back to the dentist for my permanent crown. I put the awning up and down and up again, by myself. I cooked a few meals, and found the best pizza place in town. I checked out the Butterfly Thrift Store for a possible volunteering, and finally called the Love Kitchen and did my first volunteer shift there last week. I met my contact person at the library for my Heart Sparks workshops and put up the flyers in the RV Park office and laundry room.
After several failed attempts to hang my Prayer Flags outside (too much wind), I brought them inside and hung them over the office and in the bedroom. I made a card for a friend’s new business opening and a fun camping kit for another friend and her 9 year old camping companion. I’ve been helping the students in my online Mac class, and I even worked with an in-person Mac client with Photos on her iPhone. I washed the RV floors, cleaned the stove, washed the car. And I got my bike out of the car, put air in the tires, and rode to the end of the forest road that extends beyond the campsites.
Yes, I smoked every day and watched a lot of TV, but I made sure I left the house and connected with another human being at least once every day. Even if it was just to go to the office to check about the mail, or do the laundry. And I finally went to a yoga class. It wasn’t the mind-body-spirit practice I was hoping for, but my body felt open and alive afterwards and I was glad I went. And I promised myself I’d go again.
And when I didn’t go to class the following week and I started to berate myself, I said, maybe next week, and let it go. And every time I heard myself calling me lazy or complacent, I’d take the dogs for a walk, or text Marika, or offer up some big love into the world, for all of the people who don’t have this kind of time and space in their lives to do absolutely nothing.
Maybe this is a time of fallow fields. Maybe I need to get really uncomfortable before I’m willing to make some big changes. Maybe those changes are already happening, and I just can’t see them. Right now, all I can do is stay aware and present, and be kind to myself and whatever I am resisting. And to not make this be about Marika, when she comes home this week.
Meanwhile, I’m keeping the hummingbird feeders full, and scattering the sunflower seeds around the tree trunk, just like she asked, so that the birds will be here, along with me and the dogs, to welcome her home.