We open tonight - have two shows - and I am both excited and exhausted and wonder how I will feel once all of this is over?
It hasn't been a long ride but it has been an intense one. All the requisite ups and downs only the downs have been deeper, I must say, and have flooded over a variety of aspects of my life - not only my theatre life.
There is something special about working with women - to tell stories.
That's what the Vagina Monologues are, after all, stories - and we are using these stories to both raise money for the Alliance Against Family Violence and also to raise our awareness around changing the story for women overall.... in a large sense... and also changing each story that plays over and over and over, often times beneath our consciousness.
I asked each woman not to get into a character, but instead to play her own most authentic self... and I love what I see happening.
Some women are... having a tough time with it - but most of them are forging ahead beautifully.
I thought I got there too late. My feet were placed squarely on the blacktop parking lot at one of my favorite soul places, a space I have been to recently but haven’t been to, ever, to simply be and write.
Sam and I used to come here during his home school day to collect wood and explore and we still come here so he can ride on the tire swing and we can throw rocks into the river. We have explored the area fully and know it pretty well from those moments, but I wanted to come to know this place intimately by connecting to it quietly, with my body connected to its body, my soul connected mindfully to its center.
The autumn-colored leaves I would kick away from the foot path were long gone, returned to the Earth. Their crunchy selves had surrendered completely and I had missed that process.
Then I stepped into a spot off the path, by a small stream to sit and write and I realized I hadn’t missed the process at all. I stepped onto what looked like Earth and instead, I was stepping into a pile of leaves that was choosing to merge with the soil. My choice to take a moment or two or sixty to be in a space of quiet soulfulness was graciously allowing me to become a part of the process, too.
I discovered how deeply they had piled themselves up, creating a soft sofa and pillows just for me so that I could sit upon them and experience them, their luscious returning-to-dirt-scent. They seemed to giggle as I sat down with my paper and pink notepaper and trusty black mirado warrior and started to move it, contentedly, along the page.
In that moment it was as if the leaves hugged me, welcoming my reality to rise up and meet my longing, leftover from months ago when I was in a time of profound sadness, a time when I wasn’t able to settle into their crackly, crisp newly fallen selves. Instead, I got to sit upon their softened not quite moist selves.
It was then that I heard the unsurrendered leaves, the ones still on the trees that pushed against one another, applauding my return. It is like those leaves held on, bravely, past their amber-golden time to their withered crusty selves so I could hear my message.
Divinity says, “Be with me. Trust. Follow my lead. Don’t try so hard, but do know the strategy that works best, beloved one.”
I felt an exclamation point rise up as two trucks rumbled past and the wind blew and suddenly I was aware that my stomach was telling me of its hunger.
The exclamation was part celebration as I heard the words “Beloved one!” and knew Divinity meant me.
I sat, still, for a moment, just being with the leaves and the trees and the water. I heard a frog singing her song. I smiled in gratitude.
Sometimes surrender comes quickly and sometimes the holding on, like the crusty withered leaves held on, is the surrender. It is in the unknowing of whether or not its right or wrong and being ok with it no matter which way the judgment or comparison lands that holds the power of truth.
Today, do I go deeper? I asked. Do I go further on the path, closer to the larger parts of the river, or did I get what I was supposed to get here, on my leaves-turning-to-dirt sofa.
I smelled the leaves below me, supporting me. I heard the wind play my ears like a drum and the grass and leaves pirouetting and doing a grande jete or many grande jetes. I watched a plane use the air as a mattress. A man with a grey covered hood covering his head and speckled deck shoes covering his feet walked silently behind my surrendered leaf throne.
SUVs and pick up trucks a stone’s throw away rumbled past, separated by steel from all this wonder right here, oh so close.
Did any of the drivers or passengers capture the bright pink of my shirt out of the corner of their eye, strikingly out of context in this place I sat, deeply entrenched in awe?
It doesn’t matter whether they do or do not, but I prayed for each of them anyway.
I realized then that although I hadn’t gone deeper on the path, I had gone deeper.
Or happy for Valentine's Day with him. I am not the world's biggest Valentine's Day fan. At all. But... his excitement was positively adorable.
Yesterday's meeting with the Psychologist from Kern Regional Center was tough, I needed something like a heart balloon from my little boy today.
It has been a relatively short amount of time since Sam has been diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum somewhere. I am still grieving over it - the loss of what never was but that I thought was... and it is intriguing to watch my own responses to what has happened.... and what continues to happen.
Today's adventure is getting his thirty (now on actual day thirty seven) IEP scheduled and wondering why the School District doesn't have someone overseeing whether or not these IEP's happen, because by law.... they are supposed to happen.... yet if I hadn't called and made it happen, would it have happened?
Or would Sam just keep marching along in his Special Day class getting no services geared towards actually helping his individualized developmental needs?
This is my frustration.
I had an interesting chat with my friend at State Senator Roy Ashburn's office. I decided, just now, that she needs to watch the last lecture of Randy Pausch.
And I am looking out for what is exceptionally good about her, Randy. I was listening.
So - happy Valentine's Day, one and all.
We have managed to float through Marlena's birth/death day anniversary and Marlena's burial day anniversary... 18 years... and now, just the first anniversary of John's death hangs in the soon-to-come balance.
Visited with many of my friends this morning on a Conference call lead by my friend Adela which was sooo incredibly enjoyable.
I could feel the love coming through the phone line.
As I tried to say a moment ago and never quite got there...
I am working diligently to get VDay all settled - at least the who is doing what and are all the monologues decided and when can I meet with everyone and there are times when I feel like my head would spin off my neck.
Today God made me lose my keys so I would just slow down and do what I am supposed to do - right now, its sit at my desk and write. Wash dishes, sweep the floor, do one measly load of laundry - make phone calls but mostly DON'T GET SWEPT AWAY in the worry of it, sit in the wonder if life that is here, always.
I loved the way I kept a divine conversation going the entire time my keys were missing.
I try so hard not to bargain with God. I try so hard not to make childish promises, "If you help me find my keys, God, I promise I will..."
Today I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Ok, I will stay put, even if I find my keys. I will stay right here."
I decluterred, I lit candles, I breathed, I made connections, I breathed some more, I did some of my spiritual practices, I decluttered, I through some stuff away and lo and behold, guess what appeared out of "nowhere" in exactly the spot they were not in just a moment before?
I wrote this last October, right after this event took place, so a couple caveats for you.
First, I write of kit foxes here. I assumed, at the time, the animals howling with us were kitfoxes since I had seen their dens in the area. On further contemplation, I realized the animals we were "hanging out with" were actually... coyotes.
So - read on... and perhaps I am meant to write more about this experience... and the photo? It is a self portrait of me... in the full moon that night. Such a precious night.
I am still processing this moment. I just need to share it, so incredible.
Last night it was the full moon, so my friend Coryn and I met in a River bed (there is no water there, it is very dry here and there was not enough water this past winter to keep the water flowing). We meet there occasionally during full moons in order to "Howl at the moon."
Here, in Bakersfield, there is a species of fox, called the San Joaquin Kit Fox. They are endangered... also in the dog family but smaller than the coyote with a different yet just as soulful howl. I don't hear it very often and I consider it a blessing when I do get to hear it.
Last night was extra special.
At one point in the evening a kit fox started howling and Coryn wondered if she could speak kit fox. She could do chihuahua, we knew this, but kit fox? Why not try?
It turns out Coryn speaks fluent kit fox. I was certainly impressed, having never attempted to speak kit fox myself.
They sang back and forth several times and we laughed and laughed... and otherwise sat and talked... and drank wine and ate some munchies... and reclined on the sand. I even brought a blanket this time... and it was getting close to one a.m and time to go so I had to take some photos.
It is practically a rule for me to take photos out there.
I was having a joyful moment and laughing unabashedly and there, heard… the howl. Coryn and I gasped and went silent. The kit fox was apparently attracted to something - the tinkling of Coryn's belly dancing belt? Our giddy laughter.
I don't know what it was, but Coryn encouraged me.
I howled back, this time, not laughing but howling. Imitating the Kit Fox call.
She howled back at me.
Coryn and I looked at each other, amazed, our eyes got bigger than saucers and we giggled hysterically and I howled back. And she, the kit fox, howled back, and came closer. We looked into the darkness and we couldn't see her.
I howled. She retreated and howled.
I howled. She came into the river, across it… and so close to us. Respectful, honoring, watching us in wonder as we watched her in wonder.
Right in the middle of Bakersfield, slightly past midnight and into today.
I am still almost speechless about it. I want to share the story with everyone. I have never had such an incredible experience with wildlife... and it happened right here.... not in Yosemite, not at the beach, not in a big national forest but right here. In the city where I live, on an "ordinary" night with my friend, sitting under a full moon.