I’ve spent a lovely, peaceful weekend with my Sister Lynda, sharing good wine, great food, and deep, thoughtful conversation. (And, by the way, it’s difficult to introduce Lynda, who I often call my “new” Sister, without sharing the story of our family- it is one of love and angst, and shrouded in a thin layer of devout sadness that lived within our mother for the entirety of her adult life. But, you’ll have to click subscribe- just a couple inches Northwest of where your eyes are now to hear the whole story. (And, besides, all the cool kids are doing it.) That, my friends, is another entry entirely. Stay tuned.)
Today Lynda is introducing me to Bikrahm Yoga, which should be interesting, to say the least. I will probably be the girl who pushes into a pose and farts loudly as I relax into it. This aside, I am eager, and ever enthusiastic to participate in something I so wholly expect to be a cleansing and meditative experience – in spite of the fact that I may pass out from the ridiculous heat.
I’m so excited, and in that excitement alone, I have felt more positive today than I have in weeks. And, in this frame of mind, I felt the need to write- maybe, to put it in the cheesiest of ways, to cleanse my soul. I wanted to purge something- anything from my life story, by which a morsel of learning- a hint of eureka, could be found. I wanted to be the teacher and the student, leaning on my own experiences to guide me in my future.
With this intent, I entered the guest room where I have been staying, where the linen drapes were drawn closed and the overhead light was on. I drew open the window coverings to reveal the early afternoon natural light, struck by the beauty- the normal, everyday beauty. It may be 14 or some such degrees outside today, but guess what? It’s bright and beautiful and real. The sky is a sea of puffy clouds, spotted with bright blue patches, the blue that always exists somewhere behind the scenes, even on a stormy day. I found the need for the artificial light was gone, and when I snapped it off, the room transformed to a haven of real, and artificial had no place in it.
I crawled into bed to begin writing – topic unknown, and trusted something would come, and the agonizing fear that often keeps my hands hovering above the keys was nowhere to be found. Instead, the overwhelming need to let go of the artificial in my life and to cultivate the real bubbled its way to the surface, and my TLN side kicked in, shifting my focus dramatically.
TLN is my Dad – Hi, Dad! – and the meaning that stands behind his initials encapsulate him in all of his ways. Dad is as much a philosopher as he is a businessman, as arrogant as he is humble, as egocentric as he is altruistic. He is caring, kind, charismatic and fun. He is handsome and he is charming. He’s a deep thinker, an historian, and a story teller. And anything at all that relates in any way to any of these things is a TLN-ism, making this a longstanding term of endearment in my family.
So as I sat down to write today, I pulled on my TLN cap, diving into the deeply personal philosophical side of me. And here I am now.
Who am I? Do I represent the person I want to be? Am I pursuing the things I want to pursue? Does my life- and absolutely every part of it, represent who I am? Am I happy? Am I becoming or just being?
Over the years, my adult psyche has allowed me to live in averages. Sure, such-and-such part of my life may have sucked, but this other part over here somehow made up for it. I have accepted- quite happily, at that, a 60/40 average. If I compartmentalize things- my marriage, my children, my friendships, my familial relationships, my career, my hobbies, my needs, my soul– could I say I’m at least 60% satisfied with these things as a whole? I came to accept that I could handle being 40% unhappy, if I understood that I was 20% more happy than not.
Recognizing how much of a load of bullshit that truly is, is a huge first step to changing it. And so today I recognize. And it’s time to clean out the damn litter box.
Of course, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, right? Life isn’t about being happy 100% of the time, and the expectation of such is as crazy as is the idea that I should accept that nearly half of my life is dissatisfying to me.
And with both of these thoughts in mind, I ask myself the questions, formulating answers on my tongue that push up against the back of my teeth in their resistance to be openly expressed- whether aloud for others to hear or not. I’ve lived in the world of 60/40 for so long that I can’t push out the idea that I’m unhappy with it. It just is. And calling on myself to accept – and change this fact is no walk in the park. After all, victimization is so much easier than responsibility.
But when it comes down to it, I want to be real in my life- true to myself and what I feel, believe, and desire. This means less that I need to change the circumstances in my life than it does that I need to change my attitude toward them- although admittedly, it does mean circumstantial changes are necessary as well. But, I recognize when the one trumps the other, carrying the belief with me as I make decisions considering my life ahead. Artificial has no place in my life. I want real. And, more than that? I deserve it.
Post Script: I am publishing this entry upon returning from my first Bikram class where, I’m happy to say, I did not fart while stretching into my poses. Further, as I expected, I walked away from the studio invigorated, and excited about pursuing the real in my life, and shedding the artificial. Besides, as a pretty cool kid said once, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
And me- almost 42 years in? I don’t want to miss a damn thing.