I am feeling very tender-hearted today, in the best possible way. My sweet eldest daughter Jenny was in town this last weekend from Chicago with her lovely husband Andrew and my darling 2 1/2 year old grandson Pierce whom I just absolutely adore with all of my heart. And Jenny is 7 months pregnant with her second baby boy and we are all SO excited.
And involved in the whole weekend were my darling daughter Rachel and her sweet husband Jeremy and my 10 1/2 year old grandson Lucas who is one of the stars in the firmament of my life. My only child that lives here with her family and that is so precious to me. Also my ex-husband Kevin with whom I am still very close — we sat together and beamed with pride at our children, and children in law, and grandsons — and Jeremy’s dad Jere who lives with Rachel and Jeremy. We are a family, all of us together, and it was one of the most extraordinarily special and love-ly weekends I have had in a very long time.
When I picked Jenny and her family up at the airport on Friday wee Pierce was smiling and so happy to see me and when he said, in his tiny voice, “Grandma Maitri,” I was just a puddle on the floor, overcome with love. And to put my hand on my daughter’s belly and feel my newest grandson kick nearly sent me into outer space.
Today I woke up teary, so sad that they left today. It is so hard to have 2 of our 3 children out of town, but it is the way of things today, and we ourselves left the midwest for the south in our 20’s to look for a new kind of life.
Today I knew that I just had to sit with it all, softly, and with an open heart, that I had to breathe through the pain, let the love flow in, sit with it all, be very present in the moment and let it all come, slowly, and gently, and let the feelings wash over me like sitting at the edge of the ocean and letting the waves wash over you and out to sea again. In and out, in and out, until finally you are just floating in the water, no longer a separate thing sitting on the sand. You are part of the vast sea of life where we are all one, where we feel it all, where it is all a part of us, where we are a part of everything. And the vast ocean holds it all, birth and death, tragedy and ecstasy, and we must be present to it all, must feel it all, must let it wash over us, and around us, and become one with it all to lead a full, human life. No one part can be had without the others. The flowers need both the sun and the rain to grow.
I wondered in the last post who I could be, who am I now after a terrible year of losses starting with the fire on February 5. It was followed by so many losses in one year that I could barely breathe. I ended 2014 feeling so broken and so fragile that nothing within me could see my way into a new life, but then came this weekend of love, and this morning I sat here with the pugs, my soft, loving little babies, and I felt the pangs of Jenny leaving again, and I realized that I can’t possibly know what my life will be, and really, none of us can. No New Year’s Resolutions, or goal setting can do that. I have to simply sit down as comfortably as I can in this moment, I have to open my heart, have to allow myself to be very soft, and very vulnerable, I have to be patient, and kind, and love, love more than anything, loving everyone, and every little thing as much as I can, and the life that I am to live will flow into me and around me, it will lift me up, it will let me fall, I will stand up on wobbly legs, and I will walk into it with faith, in an act of Grace, and that is all I need do, it is all I need to know.
I looked around me as the new year came at all of the people busily filling in their planners and setting their goals, and some people are on a race throughout the year to do more and be more and plan more and accomplish more and, and, and… And that is just fine for those for whom that is the path that works for them, but I wonder how many people are rushing past their own lives, “making” things happen instead of “letting” them happen. For some people that is a negative concept as if to “let” is to be passive and not try hard enough. Perhaps it would be better if I said “Allow.” And I don’t mean you just sit around painting your nails and eating bon bons and wait for life to happen to you. No, I mean you get up every day and approach life and the people in it with an open heart and as you give may you also be ready to receive, and as one door closes don’t just open a window, open every single window in the house, and all the other doors, better yet go outside, and close your eyes and let your head fall back, feel the sun on your face and lift your arms to the heavens and be ready to embrace it all, because it will all come anyway, and as we embrace things as they come, awake and aware, and with love, we allow life to rise up to meet us where we are, and we stand in the middle of it all, and, rooted in the earth, surrounded by the flowers, and the trees, and the birds and the bees, and every form of life there is around us we will be supported, we will feel the physical support present for the hard times that will surely come, and we can dance in the meadows as we experience the joys. This is life. This is the life that I want, this is the life I shall have.
One of the things I love most in the world is Jack Kerouac’s “Belief and Technique For Modern Prose.” It is the best guide to life I know nevermind writing where it also works fine too. The second essential on the list is….
“Be submissive to everything, open, listening”
That’s it, that’s right, that’s what I must do.
And then numbers 10 and 20 kind of round off the whole thing…
“No time for poetry but exactly what is”
Which to me speaks to embracing all of life, in all of its colors and textures, hard and soft, dark and light, and not trying to pretty everything up with positive speak which frankly, though I appreciate the intent, is wearing a little thin with me these days.
“Believe in the holy contour of life”
Now I’m getting excited. Now I have hope for what can be in the years ahead. If I remain submissive to everything, open, listening, and if I embrace all of life and don’t just try to float through on positive affirmations turning a blind eye to the real, hard stuff that comes up, and if more than anything else in the whole wide world I believe in the holy contour of life, the light and dark, the grace and grit, the sorrowful and the joyful, all of it, every bit of it, then I think I will get somewhere. At least this is my plan.
I have had a terrible time writing here lately because I thought I had to have a plan, goals set, and a workbook filled out with everything I want and need to do for the year ahead. No, I am just going to be present here, like an oyster, naked and quivering on it’s open shell, soft and vulnerable, a little afraid, and yet in every moment knowing that I have the ability to make a pearl, and I will shine on, soft, present, awake, aware, open, patient, kind and most of all in love with it all. This is all I need. Here I go.