Notes on the Journey

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Freedom, Control and Relationships

I've got a lavender cheesecake in the oven.  Yes, a lavender cheesecake.  I got the recipe at: case you'd like to make your own lavender cheesecake.

I've got visitors coming on Sunday and Monday and I wanted to make something special.  I'm cooking other things as well, but...lavender cheesecake.  I've never heard of such a thing.  I've also never made a cheesecake, so I've got my fingers crossed that it turns out.  I don't know if mine will look as gorgeous as the one in the photo, but no matter what it looks like, it should taste amazing.

I'm finally settled enough in my new apartment that I'm cooking.  Cooking is a very nurturing and grounding thing to do.  It's such a zen activity, all the chopping and stirring and measuring and combining.  I find it settles me and connects me into a deeper part of myself.  It takes patience, and it's so rewarding.  You get something that's filled with love and so nourishing for your efforts.  I haven't really cooked since my early twenties until I retired from script supervising last year.  And, I'm so enjoying cooking again.

I'm loving my new apartment.  It's got a kind of tree house feel to it.  I'm up high, so I look out over the roofs below me and there are lots of trees.  The only connection I have to another unit is the one below me, so it feels very private as well.  I can see four tall palm trees out my office window, which is so Southern California.  I grew up in San Diego and I didn't realize, until recently, how engrained this place is within me.  Even though it's been about 35 years since I lived here, there are places here that are part of me and always will be.  There are images and sounds and aromas that are part of this place that trigger deep memories from long ago.

Some of what's come up since I've moved here is joyful and happy, but some of what's come up is painful and sad.  The joyful, happy memories nurture me and help me to realize that I can create joyful, happy experiences now.  The painful, sad memories are grist for the spiritual mill.  I look at why they are so painful and sad, and learn from them as I can now, but couldn't when they were happening.  I recapture parts of myself.  I forgive myself and generate compassion for the part of me that was wounded.  I nurture myself back into wholeness as I integrate the lessons that I've only been able to learn now...better late than never.  But, the damage that was done, and the length of the effect it had, is staggering.  Coming to terms with the past, and integrating the lessons inherent in it, is an ongoing process.

I feel the veil of the past lifting, though.  I have moments of deep joy.  Not an exuberant, external joy, but a deep, quiet joy that surprises me.  This joy is peaceful and fulfilling.  It's not attached to anything, it arises from within for no particular reason.

Most of what's come up for me is in regard to relationships.  I'm realizing that I've had an overlay of control connected to a need to be free that was misinterpreted and that played itself out in my relationships.  I projected a lack of freedom onto my relationships, when in reality I am now and have always been free.  I made a decision that the only way I could be in relationship and be free was to be in control, and so I chose partners with whom I could maintain control.  But, this made those relationships very unsatisfying and unsustainable.  Because I now realize that my freedom is a constant, and that no one and no relationship can take it from me, I look forward to creating new mutually loving relationships as who I am now.

This healing would not have taken place had I not decided to move back to San Diego.  It took coming back here to trigger the old wounds so they could be healed and transformed.  I didn't know this until I'd made the decision to move.  But, such is the way Life works.  The inspiration to do something is always for a reason, but we often don't know the reason until we commit to the doing.  The commitment to the doing comes from faith, faith in Life and faith in oneself.  The value it holds starts to reveal itself in the living of the choice.

It's time to check my lavender cheesecake and see how it's transformed itself from what it was when it went into the oven to what it is now.  And, such it is with each of us.  We put ourselves into the fire of transformation by coming into awareness of those things that limit us, taking responsibility for them, forgiving them, and loving ourselves forward and applying what we've learned.  Life gives us unlimited chances to expand and grow.  And, as my lavender cheesecake will come out of the oven in a whole and delicious state, we come out of the fire of transformation able to live a more whole and delicious life.  My life is very yummy right now and I'm beyond grateful for the awareness that allows me to appreciate it.  I'm so grateful, always grateful. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A New Era

It's the 4th of July.  It's 9:00pm, and a huge fireworks display just started going off with a vengeance.  I've chosen to stay in my hotel room with my kitties because the fireworks explosions just across the street from where we are, accompanied by cheering crowds of people and police sirens, is not what they consider to be a good time.  The building is also shaking in response to the explosions, so without me here with them, they'd think all kinds of dire things were happening.

It's not my choice to be staying in a hotel across the street from where the fireworks are happening.  But, it's the only hotel close to my new apartment that would take me and my three kitties.  Finding a pet friendly hotel that will let me leave the kitties in the room unattended and not caged was a bit difficult.  We arrived this morning from Albuquerque after driving all night.  And, we don't get to move in to our new apartment until Saturday.  So, this noisy little cubby of a room is our temporary living space.

The trip from Albuquerque was thirteen hours, driven at night to avoid the heat that's been high across the Southwest.  When you drive at night, it's just you and the road.  There's no scenery to enjoy or distract you from the monotony of endless hours of driving.  There is less traffic to deal with, there are less trucks to pass, but there are more blinding headlights--in front and behind.  And, there's the body's desire for sleep because, normally, you'd be comfortably in bed dreaming as the night passed.  But, my desire to get to California was strong, and my desire to keep the kitties cooler and more comfortable was my main objective.  I drive very fast, and even with that, the hours of the drive dragged on endlessly.  But, as the morning dawned, we managed to pull in to our hotel in Ocean Beach at around 6:30am.  Another plus to the hotel is that they agreed to let me check in at this hour without an extra charge.

When we left Albuquerque, the kitties were in their carriers perched above piled-up luggage so that they could see out the front window of the car.  They were not happy about being trapped in their carriers and the prospect of time on the road, so they yelled at me incessantly.  About 15 minutes into the drive, my older female had an unfortunate attack of nervous diarrhea in her carrier.  At this point, the kitties escalated their yelling to all out screaming.  We were no where near a gas station, and all I could hope was that one would appear soon.  About 15 minutes later, thank goodness, I pulled off at a gas station attached to one of the numerous New Mexico casinos.

I took my cat into the travel services building looking for the bathroom.  I was horrified to find it and realize it was not an enclosed space at all.  It was one of those bathrooms that you walk around a wall extension into without a door.  And, all the stalls opened into the room.  I stopped in my tracks and tried to think how I'd be able to remove my upset cat from her carrier and clean her and it without losing her into the depths of the huge travel services building.  I finally proceeded into the handicapped stall, put her carrier on the floor, opened it, and lifted her out.  She tried to escape, but I managed to capture her with my lightening reflexes.  Adrenaline does amazing things to the body.

She was covered in feces as was the carrier.  I plunged ahead.  She's my child.  What's a little shit?  She allowed me to wipe her off as best I could.  She then, thank God, decided to allow me to hold her with one hand while I wiped out the carrier with my other hand.  I removed her soft carrier pad because it was not salvageable.  I'd brought a plastic bag in with me into which the soiled pad went and then into the trash can.  Once the carrier was cleaned as well as I could clean it under the circumstances, she went back in...willingly.  At this point, I realized I had shit on my t-shirt and my pants.  Deep sigh.  I did my best to clean it off so I didn't reek the whole rest of the way to San Diego.  With both of us a little worse for wear, we then trudged out of the bathroom and headed for the car.

I put my dear, semi-traumatized cat back in the car.  The other two kitties were happy to see her and to realize that things had been cleaned up.  We headed out again.  Take 2.  My cats continued to yell at me for most of the thirteen hours of the drive.  There were times when they were especially loud, other times when they whimpered softly, and other times when they meowed in indignant, staccato bursts.  It was horrifying.  And, because of the previous diarrhea event, I prayed that the continuous meows would not result in further messy incidents.  My prayers were answered.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am now in the part of San Diego where I lived in my late teens and early twenties.  It was in this place that I first lived when I moved out of my parent's house and was on my own.  It was in this place that I first fell in love.  The joyous part of my youth was spent here, and now I return.  I've been gone for almost 40 years.  A very long time.  Lots of water under the bridge.  And yet, the joy of my youth remains and colors my perceptions of this place.  I am ecstatic to be at the beach again.  I am ecstatic to be near the ocean...specifically, to be near this beach, and this part of the ocean.  It is a beautiful place and I feel nurtured by it visually and energetically.

We can't repeat the past.  Things happen and go by and new things arise in their place.  My happy youth and the love of that time are long gone.  I am not that girl anymore.  The woman I am now is very different from that carefree girl.  And yet, it makes me feel hopeful to be here.  I've been in a bit of limbo since I retired from script supervising a year ago.  But, I now feel another chapter starting.  I'm not yet clear how things will go or what shape they will take, but I feel hopeful about things in a way that I haven't for a very long time.  The other benefit of being here is that I get to be near my sister.  We weren't that close for many years, each of us living our lives and going our separate ways.  But, in the last year, we've become closer and we've talked to each other more frequently, and I'm so happy to now be living close to her.

So, I start my life again, as I've done many times in the past, but with more hope this time.  And, this time, I'm looking forward to settling and creating a life that nurtures and sustains me with its continuity.  I'm tired of constant traveling, and of moving over and over.  I'm wanting some stability at this point.

I soak in the essence of this place and allow all the memories to flow through me.  I enjoy them and thank them and focus on the now and what I want to create in this moment.  I embark on this new chapter quieter than in my youth, with a heart that's more open, with more subdued expectations, and with a greater ability to accept and enjoy the now.  And, once again, and always, I am eternally grateful.