Thursday, July 31, 2008

Let Me Count the Ways

I am writing now from Ireland (that's Co. Wicklow in the distance--the view from our apartment). Months of preparing to come, in the name of Love, by the way, ticked down to weeks of preparing when July hit. It was a character-istically, unavoidably (I am convinced) stressful time. Complicating all this was my mother's health crisis. But Love, I promise you, has ruled over it all. Even when I "lost it" to the point of being rude to the Pet Express courier agent, and being unreasonable with my new publisher to the point of his wanting to "cut bait" after months of work together, it wasn't long before I saw my error and moved to correct it.

Sometimes, simply, an apology is in order. And always, for me, it is a matter of integrity if one is due to deliver it. I believe in living in Love, in giving Love Its way. I don't always behave this way, but it is never okay for me to leave it at that. I believe rudeness can harden us. If I often meet with a rude world, I take the world for rude, and begin to expect it to be rude. So I think it is supremely important to return, to apologize, which acts like a soothing, healing balm for the sting of the slap.

When I received the "It's okay, I understand..." email from the Cat Courier, I felt the shift that is energies resolving. Or in other words, the boulder that I had thrown in Love's way had been cleared. It matters. It really matters, to go back, to "right a wrong" like this. And it's this type of ministration, I know, that opens the Way to more and more Love. As long as I keep the channel clear of boulders, of blocks, the flow continues to freely flow, and the "miracles" just keep on coming. I say "miracles," in quotes, because that's what many would call these countless ways that Love naturally loves me.

Here is a ladleful from the well of them. Each deserves its own entry, but I think there is value too in seeing them together, all occurring at this whirlwind time of transition in my personal and professional life.

~~The best career move for my partner was to Dublin. So I would rent out my house and come. I remember I was sitting in my office at my desk when this concept turned reality: "I need to rent my house." That same day, on a call with a close friend, I talked about it.

"You should try sabbaticalhomes.com. And maybe Harvard Housing," she said.

She's lived bicontinentally between Paris and Boston for over 15 years, so I knew that she knew. That night, I looked up the sabbatical website, and responded to a couple of listings. One in particular sounded especially promising, posted by a woman in Pennsylvania. A little more than three months later, she has taken up residence in my home. Which is to say that within about four hours of my saying "I need to rent my house," I had found my renter. And not just any renter: the perfect renter. Finding Coralynn and handing my house and its cats and contents, along with their care and enjoyment, over to her is nothing short of a grace: a privilege and a gift beyond measure.

~~Even after it was clear that I would be the one going, it wasn't at all clear when. My life, with its daily demands large and small, just kept on coming. It was just as if nobody told IT that I was going. Classes kept getting scheduled; clients kept making appointments. I knew the thing to do was to cause an interrupt: I had to pick a date. Little did I know (although it was immediately apparent) that that one act would set so much in motion, would keep so much in motion! Would cause the earth and stars it would seem to arrange themselves in such a way as to make that deadline. The date? July 28. I flew out of Boston early evening on the 27th. I arrived at Dublin Airport just after 5 a.m. on the 28th.

"So what?" you may be thinking. All I can say is this: when I sat in my mother's hospital room--her second stay in a month--waiting to go toe to toe with the Psychiatrist, wrangling with her attending physician, coordinating with her Case Manager who couldn't find a rehab for her anywhere because of her 'crazy' behavior (for one thing, imbalances in her system had sent her off kilter, but ultimately it was keeping her in that hospital against her wishes that she just could not abide: "I was very angry, not nuts"), it didn't appear likely that come the end of the month I would be or feel free to depart. I knew throughout the ordeal that postponing or canceling my ticket was an option, but I never gave it consideration. I always assumed things would somehow work out. And sure enough they did.

~~I received an email from a writer-client today. She wrote:

"You probably wake up each morning with: Where am I??"

The surprising thing, considering I've awakened pretty much in the same place for the past 14 years--or 20 or 30 years, depending upon how I look at it--is that I do not feel lost or out of place at all. The apartment is very modern, part of a large complex--unlike any place I have every lived, or ever wanted to live. My cats are still in Boston (to avoid the confinement of quarantine), and I have almost none of my earthly possessions in my midst. This, I think, is the funny thing about following a "Yes," a dream, a 'right' path--following Love's way. I know it is right to be here. I don't even know a lot of the details about just how and why it is right that I be here. I do know that when my beloved looked to me across a candlelit dinner table last night and said, "It means so much to me that you are here," it was immediately, truly, simply, there to answer, smiling through and through and with tears in my eyes, "Where else would I be, Love?"

I am beginning to think it is possible--more than possible, probable--to feel completely at home in any part of the world. The only way I can make sense of this is like this:

As long as Love is my home, I cannot leave it. It goes with me always.

In the early stages of planning for this Life adventure, I thought I would sorely miss, among other things, my gardens. Then I started wondering about that "my" thing. And with a simple shift of perspective, I realized that all the earth's gardens were "my" gardens. I arrived to find, outside our bedroom, a terrace with pots of pansy, lavender, African daisy, rosemary, and with pleasure I have already begun to tend to them as my own. One large pot had suffered a loss, and on that bare earth, I sprinkled the packet of wildflower seeds I had brought who knows why with me. They were packed for planting in the American Northeast in spring. And although it is August, the weather since these seeds hit soil has very much resembled a Boston spring. We'll see!

~~What I call "declaration," to declare, is such a powerful act. I declared my departure date, and so it was. I declared that I would have the perfect help at the perfect time, and so it was. Take my passage to the airport, for example.


My sister was the first to come to mind when I thought of who I would ask. I'd be gone for many months; this was no ordinary departure. And years ago, I had similarly delivered she and her cat to a similar--in that case, Parisian--adventure. But I couldn't bear to ask her; she'd been doing so much for my mother, on top of her already plentiful demands of work and home and family. So I dashed an email off to my friend Mario, whom I hadn't even seen a lot of in recent months , with a tentative inquiry. Quickly, the reply came back: "Of course I will take you to the airport!" I wanted to cry. That swift and wholehearted yes, that ease: I felt so cared and provided for. And as soon as he said yes, I realized how perfect it was that this friend in particular would be sending me off. Mario is a living embodiment of generosity, of play, of living large, of reliability and integrity. Leave it to him to greet me with a brand new, "spare" Brookstone neck pillow for the overnight flight. Thanks to it, to him, I had my first phase of rest on the plane, after a very long sprint.

~~Such a leaving could have me thinking I am severing myself from so many, from so much. It could have me concerned: how will I sustain myself? My dollars won't last very long against the Euro. What about my cherished clients and students? But I haven't given such thoughts much airtime. Again, the rightness of this has fueled my assumption that all will fall into place.

Technology permits us all to stay connected--without breaking the bank, even. And in fact, I have five sessions in queue already, and I've only just unpacked! Furthermore, I have never received as much encouraging feedback from readers as I have in the past week. I have come buoyed in part by a strong intention to expand Love's Freeway, and it is clear that intention is powerfully drawing toward its own fulfillment. How extraordinary, to be a channel for, a witness to this!

~~All along, I had been intending to use an old piece of luggage for my second suitcase. I would strap it onto an equally old collapsible luggage cart, and away we go. But just days before my departure, I had a final trip of errands that put me in the orbit of Marshalls department store. "I oughta see if they have a suitcase for me," I thought as I parked the car. I ran my planned errands, and proceeded to forget the idea, coming close to leaving the shopping center without acting on it. As....intention? declaration? would have it, I spied the perfect bag just minutes after entering the store. At the end of the long aisle, I saw this tall, handsome, daisy-covered 42" pullman with (of course) built-in wheels. Everything about it suited me and felt like "my bag" so with that, and a two- versus the expected three-digit price tag, I wheeled it off to the checkout. How smooth and simple was my passage to Ireland with this bag in tow.

Do you feel it? The flow, the ease? Mind you, I was in an unusually sustained stressed state over this period of working my way through several long lists of To Do's. But still, even with all that turbulence, all that potential interference, the power of intention, of declaration, of clear direction held sway. It is a beautiful thing to see, to be!

~~I cannot say it was easy leaving my mother, even though she had stepped decidedly out of the woods, had apparently ceased tempting the spectre of death by the late 20's of July, just as I approached my finish line. She had been to hell and back, had lost 10 pounds from an already lean frame, had just earlier this month left her home of 35 years to begin a new life at 80-something in a lovely one-bedroom apartment, and was still in a vulnerable place. It's really not at all clear how much longer she will stay with us as solid matter. The thought of her dying while I was away was crushing. Still, and yet again, I proceeded. Out on the edges of things, I sense something. Thoughts the likes of "How can you? How dare you!?" were usurped by this something, which gave rise to another thought:

"She'll never meet anyone if she's always with me. No one will talk to her if she's always talking to me."

It was Friday, the 25th, that we had our very emotional farewell. By the close of Saturday, she had made her first new friend in her new community. I could hear the promise in the tone of her voice, the expectancy. It has been years, decades that she has wanted to find such a friend. I choked up hearing her message, and marveled at the exquisiteness of this other thing that I love: what is right for one is right for all. To think: had I retreated, kept myself back from the life that has been calling to me, I'd have been keeping my mother from hers as well.

There is such peace in knowing--not just believing, but knowing--that all is well.

I could go on. Tell about passing breezily, on a few (comparatively) friendly questions and answers, through Immigration. I could tell of the sweltering sun of day one here--an anomaly in Dublin--and the two sunny days that followed. I could tell of the link of the trains: the train that passes here, the train that passes, at just about the same distance, my Boston home, the train that passes, at about the same distance, my mother's new home and the "coincidence" of that. But instead I will close, end by sharing what I found when I stepped foot in my new (if temporary) home here. I can't help but smile inside when I look across our light-filled salon de sejour and rest my eyes on this image, when I receive this embrace by the earth by way of Yann Arthus-Bertrand's photograph of a naturally occurring heart.

What comfort it gives me to know that the earth, that Life just keeps on speaking, that Love just keeps on loving, in eloquent ways and with a grace I could never have imagined.
links to this post

Friday, July 18, 2008

It is enough, morning

July (and much of June as well) has been all about crisis and critical care. It's been a Job sort of "how-much-can-you-take?" period, watching my mother as good as teeter precariously between life and death, at the same time that I am stretched thin by the preparations, the tearing through at a breathless clip the seemingly endless details that companion a Transatlantic (temporary yes, but still relatively long term) move--transporting my life and work from here to a there I have yet to even see. I don't know why these times, when you feel "I can't take another thing," and you get ten more, must be. But last night, sprung I think by the relief of my mother's sudden turn for the better into a state of 'overjoyment', I found myself spontaneously and suddenly at the bottom, the bedrock, the essence under it all. I found myself, so I say, in Love. And I wrote:

It is enough, the yellow sun, the ivy flower. It is enough, the surprise of moon in my room. It is enough, my feet on macadam padding the lighted path to the T, first crickets softly sounding. It is enough, the light in her eyes after so much dark. It is enough, this happy tear, this breath, this sweat on my brow and lip. It is enough, his regard, deeming me worthy. It is enough, this train taking me, that plane taking me home. It is enough to know you are happy, waiting. It is enough, the forgiving sky embracing. It is enough, morning sun
pulled through yellow and white. It is enough: the sun. The sky. Morning.

For sure the words don't capture it. But that doesn't make them any less true. Suddenly everywhere I looked I saw only Love. Because all at once I was Love. I could say I was restored to Love. Just as if the avalanche of circumstances had struck me blind, and now just like that I could see again.

What did I see? What do I see?


Elegance, harmony, artistry, choreography--a Life Symphony, when Love sees through me.
links to this post