The Time Before Goodbye

5 and 1/3 years: that’s how long my feet have walked the streets of this particular town. 3 houses, 1 home: this is where my occasionally weary, sometimes happy body has rested, or at least tried to. 50 months, so far: this is the length of time I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of an amazing community of yogis in the sweetness of a studio I get to call mine. 11 dwellings and 5 cities: that’s where I’ve lived in my life, not counting the year of travel around the world. 136 to 157 days, roughly: this is how much time my heart has to explore and explode and experience and expand in this neck of the woods before I say goodbye and start over. Again.

f0e9ec0c795d690d0f04a3170186f289I’ve started over a lot. Sometimes I’ve done it because I wanted to, because my heart wanted nothing more than to follow the magic of beginning. Sometimes I’ve done it because my heart wanted nothing more than to follow the thumping of another human’s heart. This time, it is both.

The last few years of being rooted, un-rooted and up-rooted here, have been the hardest of my life. This is where I’ve known isolation and judgment, feelings of disconnect and insignificance, endings and beginnings, chaos and so. much. change. I’ve found myself face to face with demons and leaches, my own and other people’s too. I’ve looked in the mirror and seen morsels of decay left to fester in the corners of multifaceted rooms I didn’t know my body held. At times, I fought so strenuously against the current it felt like I was swimming in place, tethered to imaginary monsters of the past.

tumblr_nxk010GCRi1rpuw07o1_500And it has also been a period of standing over the cauldron of my own swirling light, marked by momentous leaps and bounds of growth, by love that managed to tear my heart open wider and wider and wider still. I’ve stepped in soupy messes with courage I didn’t know I had, leapt wild-heartedly into unknowns, and with a few scrapes and bruises to prove it, learned to fly. I’ve risked my significance in order to eagerly stand (with increasing patience and readiness) by my own genuine self. I’ve stripped down to the bone, shed my snake-skin, stood in the harshness of raw, achy exposure, and emerged a shinier, brighter, fuller me. I’ve been hurled by the universe’s slingshot into depths of knowing, remembering and re-membering.

To this community of souls that has witnessed my journey, that has stood by my side, that has taught me to be, thank you. My hands have been warmed by the strength of your hands, my eyes have been seen by the beauty and wisdom of your eyes, my heart has swelled by the expansiveness of your heart. To you who have had the courage to share of your selves, who have trusted me with your secrets, your joys and your struggles, thank you. It is in the witnessing of your blossoming that I have been given permission to bloom. And to those ones that have shut me out, shot me down, turned away from me and chosen not to see me, thank you. You’ve gifted me the audacity to show up, the grit to work through the muck, the determination to stand in my own light.

I have 3264 to 3768 hours left in this place. Here’s to thriving in each of those clock-ticks, to relishing the time left, to being in the untidiness of it all. Here’s to the turbulence of the next moments. Here’s to the not-so-gentle juncture of leaving, to us – you and you and I, in the chaos of parting. And here’s to the brilliant flame of beginnings that follows the disorientation of endings.
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(all photos found on tumblr)

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Inhale, exhale

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Inhalation, exhalation.
Bridges and rubble. Tall spiraling staircases and the after-math of bombings. Light so bright it hurts my eyes and dark, moldy, terrifying corners.

Transformation. Death and birth and death and birth and birth and death again. The full moon is in Taurus. Remember to remember, they say. Let that shit go, they say.
It’s the last super-moon of the year. Harness that creativity, they say.

Tap in or tap out. And it feels like chaos.
Inspiration, expiration.
Inhale, exhale.

It’s a whirlwind of destruction. It’s a fertilizing, a readying for the planting, a preparing to receive. Brush the dry skin off. There is beauty in the particles floating in the sunlight…and it is skin – old, dry, decomposing debris. I’ve got one foot (and perhaps half of the other) out the door. I’ve got two hands hanging onto the windowsill, trying to pull myself back in. I can hear the pitter-patter, I can hear the thump-thump-thumping, I can hear the unbridled-almost-ferocious-roaring of my heart.

Inspire, expire.
Space and sweetness. And gasping too. And just a hint of fear. Fear is good, they say. It keeps you moving forward. Fear is bad, they say. It freezes you in your tracks.

And then there are the trees, breathing and reaching, simultaneously shedding and quieting and getting ready to sleep. Earth and metal. Salts and ores and quiet streams. Water so powerful it’s about to break the dam.

Don’t you dare hold back, they say. Be wild and true. Create a container, they say. It’s not polite to be who you are.
Inhalation, exhalation.
Inspiration, expiration.
This room is too cramped. The walls are too tall.
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(top photo by Christopher McKenney, bottom one here)

the art of getting lost

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the last few months have been a rollercoaster ride, a series of ups and downs, hair-raising turns at breakneck speeds. she gave me a few moment of quiet but i couldn’t fully trust them.
it started to settle. it always does. it’s a cliché, but time takes care of it all. we should trust that more.
the ride left me worn and a little disheveled, windblown hair and a few tears in my jeans.
just when I thought I had landed safely, she picked me up one last time and threw me around.
perhaps she thought it was fun?
or maybe she was testing me?

i found myself driving home toward something i knew would be beautiful. a celebration of the heart. i caught my reflection in the rearview mirror. my face told the tale of the day: one moment a sparkle in my eye and a flash of pearly whites; the next, floods on my cheeks akin to the rising banks of the mississipi. (ben howard makes a great soundtrack for emotional drives on the highway, just so you know.)

it isn’t quite over yet, this i know.
i’ve come to learn how she works. i’m a little more prepared for the next change in direction. it takes practice. i wasn’t planning on it, but i’ve been getting a fair bit of it.

stepping out of the car felt good.
once i trusted my feet, the ground gave me some steadiness.
i touched the earth, admired the tulips on my short walk to the front door.
the wind chimes welcomed me home with their sweet song.
i willed myself to shake it off. there was nothing I could do about it, not for a while in any case. i needed to put on a happy face, we had guests coming after all!

and so we celebrated. i marveled at how smoothly i transitioned from the dark to the light. little babies in cute dresses and glasses of bubbly certainly help.

Another transition still, the bottle now empty and the baby fast asleep next door. we packed our bags, ready for the early morning flight.
there is something magical about going to the airport, regardless of the nature of the trip.

“Playing games with the faces.
She said the man in the gabardine suite was a spy.
I said ‘be careful his bowtie is really a camera’.”

as we boarded our flight, i had already landed. i felt right at home, immersed in anonymity and the smiles of strangers. the sudoku puzzles are always more entertaining when you’re 10 km above ground, sipping on salty tomato juice, trying to touch the clouds.

lostincrowdand then the humidity wrapped its damp arms around me like a clammy hug as my curls retracted by a few inches. we wandered the streets, perfectly organized in that checkered-shirt kind of way. we walked hand in hand, we wore each other’s clothes and admired our freshly painted toes.

at other times i wandered the streets on my own. they asked me for direction, mistaking me for a local until they heard the missing southern drawl. i was as confused as they were, the only difference is that i welcomed it.

wrought-iron balconies and narrow streets led me to the dark room where i held a snake for the first time. She curled up in my hands, warm and silky smooth in her brand new skin.
she woke up the sorceress in me.
i wrote my name on a piece of paper, wrapped it around a quarter and dropped it in the old trunk of the cypress.
i knocked on the wood nine times. 1-2-3. 1-2-3. 1-2-3.
i saw myself standing over a swirling cauldron. i prayed to the gods of rain and thunder.
i walked out a little more alive.
i held my old secrets, and new ones too.photo (5)

Sometimes the best thing you can do is get a little lost.

i know we are magic – all of us. we are the universe gift-wrapped and neatly packaged in bones and sinew.
we don’t need gris-gris bags or voodoo spells.
we can choose to let the heartache break us open.
we can choose to feel the ragged surface of the tree bark and take in the musty smell of the mud.
we simply need to remember to kneel down and kiss the earth, to look into the infinite expanse of a stranger’s eyes and trust that we still know how to love.

“there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground,
there are a thousand ways to go home again.” – Rumi