leaving.1: vigils and dreams, signs and portents
In something less than five days I will be leaving, and my new life will begin. I will leave this relationship with tobacco and my new lover, as L*** says, will be Fresh Air. Mmmhhh.
Increasingly over this last week I have moved into the Zone of Instinct. Without even thinking why, I reread the chapter in the “Wolf-Woman” book (Women who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés) on Vasalisa and the seeking out of connection with instinct. All my channels are set to RECEIVE now, everything that impinges on my consciousness does so for a reason: this course on which I’m set.
L*** said to me, “I am astounded at how centred and directed you are. You are like an arrow”. I have thought of being like an arrow. I have thought about being like Warrior One (I think it is), one arm pointed ahead like a directional sign, like an urging-on, like a beckoning forward.
I have prepared for this departure almost as carefully as I did for the one from N***, in the waning days of 1989, after some 15 years. I had stopped playing the piano in any serious way, for reasons that are not germane here, and had spent a lot of that juice pretty much running my then-partner’s business. (Which I did quite well: it grossed a million US$ the last year I worked there.) When I awoke to music again, and to my relationship with the piano, it was a painful awakening because I had to acknowledge that I’d broken faith with that relationship, the central one in my life. But mysteriously and miraculously, it had not broken faith with me. My decision to start practicing again made clear to me that my relationship with the piano and my relationship with the man could not coexist.
At first, it seemed to me that this was sort of a model for what I am doing now; and, in fact, it was quite useful in certain ways. In thinking about this I realized that a far better model was the relationship with R***, because it took Pleasure into account: the carnal part of that relationship was unequivocally the best ever. But the Helpfulness Quotient (HQ) was almost a Missing Piece there, in spite of the intellectual brilliance and the afore-mentioned sexual part. So this second model accommodated the profound and multifaceted pleasure I received from smoking for such a very long time.
In both cases, each of these men had started to leave me, in one way or another, long before I left them. Tobacco has been starting to leave me for a while now. Its HQ was going down all the time. It has been impeding me. I knew this over six years ago: it was why, after Solo Rumores, I stopped smoking at the computer and then inside my house.
Finally I had to decide that it was impeding more than it was helping or giving pleasure: as with R***, the pleasure was no longer worth the dragging-down part.
I realized just a few minutes ago, meditating on this, that in my life I have never put up with anyone restricting my freedom of movement. Sometimes it takes me a while –that first 15-year relationship took the longest time— but sooner or later I take a walk. Or a run!
There have been Harpy Attacks: How will you concentrate? How will you control your weight? Just you wait, the terror and anxiety will destroy you and you will run out and buy a pack of cigarettes and then how will you feel, you pathetic excuse for a woman/human being/artist?
I know from Harpy Attacks. And I think I know what to do about them: one of the most moving moments in all my reading is when, in Philip Pullman’s trilogy, the answer comes “tell them stories”. Even the Harpies are hurting inside, that is why they want to lacerate. So tell them stories. My stories are full of faith and delight: how I will have better concentration because my brain will be receiving more oxygen, my weight will be OK, in fact better, because now I will be able to run, run, RUN like my tocaya Ana Guevara, as far and as beautifully as I may wish. And panic and terror will not be present because they are not part of my being now, in fact just the thought of that in the cold light of day is laughable.
Remembering how it was in the waning days of 1989 as I prepared with such care to leave the relationship with N***, I actually went back and found a half-remembered journal entry. It is dated 26 December 1989 and says:
“These last few weeks, I feel emotionally the way I felt musically when I really had my chops up: every time I had a question or confusion, I would take a minute and look inside myself, almost in fear that I had finally hit the wall where there were no more answers – and lo and behold, spread out before me for the taking was the answer, the solution, or the thought that pointed me towards the changed mind-set that let me see the solution.
“I feel as though I have been gulping down great mouthfuls of learning about myself and about things: a collection of big and little wisdoms that put all together give me wings. Perhaps this is why I have felt so little hunger. I enjoy food, but it doesn’t have the desperate importance for me that it had in the past; now I am fed by other things, marvellous underground springs of music and awareness that have been struck by some staff and have emerged from the parched ground to sustain me.”
Yes, I have prepared for this. Little by little, over the last ten days or so, the ashtrays have been removed or relocated. Now I do not even look for most of them where they were. Little by little, my own auto-hypnosis is working: the other day I picked up a cigarette and it looked like some alien object in my hand.
And as in that wonderful quote attributed to Goethe, providence has intervened. When I returned from the Fulbright interviews in the DF on Saturday evening, on my desk was the package containing my new balance ball!! Which I was finally able to order because of the Torreón concert! And the spare plug kit and the pump, that I’d ordered from the wonderful Balls’n’Bands place in one of the Carolinas. My body is working towards being fighting fit.
of Signs and portents: I dream: everybody dreams. But I rarely remember them, it seems, except in times of great crisis. Of threshold moments. I re-read Polly Carl’s wonderful post on Howlround ( http://www.howlround.com/notes-on-generosity-in-the-theater-by-polly-carl/ )
two days ago and that term came jumping out at me outlined in lights. Threshold moments. One of the moments, she says, in which it is most important to be generous.
In the worst year of my life –the Dreadful Winter of Ice and Snow of 1997, in which my only sister died after not speaking to me for almost ten years— I learned to Ask For News. And my dreams faithfully reported it, in a neutral fashion just like the news. Sometimes it was terrible. Often altho’ terrible it was weirdly reassuring. Like Haydn and Schubert and Ibarra, the Dream News reassured me that I was still alive and sentient.
So this time also I asked for news, just before drifting off. The first night I dreamed of blood. I was quite clear that it was menstrual blood, but there was no sensation of alarm or fear associated with it. The second time I dreamed that I was actually IN the Allen Carr course! It all felt so comfortable, so reassuring, so good. The most recent time was last night. It wasn’t until halfway through the morning I remembered it: the image of a Warrior-Woman, an Athlete-Woman, muscles toned, lean and sinewy and proud. It was half as though I was looking at her and half as though I was her. The Power of Intention is alive and strong.
I don’t interpret any of these dreams here: I am running on intuition and if anyone wants them explained she may have to wait; or engage the imagination-muscles and figure them out herself …
Ratiocination has, as I move towards this threshold, less and less to do with anything. This was confirmed in a long talk I had with A*** last week. She is the dearly respected friend and colleague who stopped with Allen Carr while she was smoking three packs of cigarettes daily. Without terror, without the famous withdrawal, without anything at all. It was --she said-- as though I had never smoked. Just listen, she said, turn off your intellect, just listen and absorb, open yourself.
Beautiful reading yesterday by Lirio Garduño: poetry of Efraín Huerta and Thelma Nava. Some wonderful observations –from Lirio and from her assembled listeners—about the renewing of the language. That we acknowledge and value lineage but we are open to the new.
This is the Garden: for something to be born something else must die. We must make room for New Growth, for new stuff to happen. Sometimes it can be difficult to bring ourselves to prune but it is only thus that a plant may bear new shoots. And if it is dead, well let it die, and plant something else in its place.
More than once, these last two weeks, into my mind has come the vision of the about-to-be-knight, who spends the hours of darkness before his ordination keeping vigil, in meditation, contemplation, and prayer, preparing himself –herself? we know there were cases of women who passed themselves off as men, who fought valiantly with the arms of men— for the rite of the morning. This has been such a time. I am preparing for My New Life.
The logistics are arranged. I will arrive to the DF on Sunday evening and I will stay in a nice economical hotel which, allowing generously for the insane Monday-morning traffic, should be only one hour from the place of the course. I have confirmed my place in the course. There is a Sanborn’s half a block away where I can have a good delicious breakfast beforehand –it will be six and a half hours, after all! So I will arise at 5:30, leave the hotel at 7:00, have my delicious sustaining breakfast, and move easily and lovingly into the preparation for My New Life.
I don’t know what I will do afterwards, particularly. I know I will immediately go back to the same breakfast Sanborn’s and have a wonderful comida! Then I have a date with Mario Lavista to go and FINALLY pick up his Monarca piece … two years late but oh well, still in time for the second recording session ;=)) … and then I don’t know. If it’s not too late and I feel like it, I may just come back home. Five hours on the bus but then to be here with Azabacha and Estrella and Zumo … could be! On the other hand I may stay with one of the friends I have on semi-alert in the DF.
The hotel is part of the vigil: I knew that when it turned out that the dear friend closest to the course would be returning from the LA Book Fair Sunday night and couldn’t be sure if his plane might be delayed. So much the better. Time for contemplation, meditation, prayer, and anticipated joy.
What am I reading? The Loba-Biblia, the Wolf-Woman book (Women who run with the Wolves, of Clarissa Pinkola Estés, you know it) … and Harry Potter. Magic, learning, high adventure, opening the doors which appear when we open ourselves to see them.
Much love to you all. From the bottom of my heart again I thank you for your energy, your love, your friendship.