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Each of us has our own unique GPS system... Truth-telling is the most thorough navigation tool.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

THERE BUT NOT THERE


Full of emotion or inspiration is when I write best, not when something is ailing me. Not when a relationship is irreparable or someone I love is dying. Not when I hear that Billy Crystal’s mother’s essence was “stolen” by Mr. Stroke and sitting there in that grand theater on Wilshire Boulevard, my head was already pounding. In the first act it was just gas. I’d cooked what I thought was a healthy lunch with less than fresh onions. Billy had me laughing until he started in on baseball. That’s when I could barely hear him because I was wondering how much more my middle region could expand before bursting.

At half time I walked around the block with my Dad. We’ve been getting so much closer lately. I feel tenderness for him I haven’t felt for decades. I love this man like I once did. I almost can’t remember all the harsh words we’ve spoken to each other, all the pain I feel he’s caused me, all the agony I didn’t mind causing him... Now I only want to comfort him, rub his neck in the way I know brings him peace. He’s always appreciated my hands, but these days the minute I squeeze my fingers gently around his occipital ridge, I know he calms down in a way that is quite foreign but pleasing to him.

For the second act, I shrunk down low in my seat, thinking if I rested my head on the back of my seat I’d feel better. Slowly inching down the zipper on my Liz Clairborne black suit pants, which I wore so I’d look appropriate for the occasion in Mom’s eyes, I was all but demonstrating the “otherness” Billy talked about when his father died, how he was there but not there.

Driving home I found that spot on Louise Hay tape I’d listened to earlier that had shifted my caffeinated anxiety into a more confident hopefulness. “When we really love, accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works. It’s as if little miracles are everywhere. Our health improves, we attract more money, our relationships become more fulfilling and we begin to express ourselves in creatively fulfilling ways. All this seems to happen without our even trying.”

Just before the show started I saw one of those miracles happen. Dad ran into a short middle aged brunette who’d been teaching his Opera Appreciation class. Just yesterday, Lynn Sherman asked the class to research where and when Turendot would be playing in California next. Dad went home and immediately googled the information but had no number where to reach her. I thought this woman looked surprisingly like my father’s sister who passed in 2000. I was moved upon discovering she’d been in Italy two day’s prior and at the Queen Mary just this morning. That's a woman who gets around... I can't imagine her jet lag but she was up and energized. She said, “I was supposed to meet my group at a restaurant which is no longer in business. I chose not to have a cell phone so I could spend my money instead on my love of travel and my book addiction.”

I can look at her not having a cell phone in both positive and negative ways. She gained more of the world by giving up what ten years ago was impossible and unavailable anyway. But what was positive about cooking with old onions? The pearl of an experience that manifested after much irritation caused by not loving myself enough?

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