So sick this weekend. Actually it started on Thursday. By Friday morning, I called in sick to work, and then slept for 16 hours. And felt sick all weekend. As I do right now, right here in this moment.
But it's not the "sick" of the past year and a half. This is different. Like a weird case of the flu, but with no fever. Most likely it's detox, a healing crisis, what my body is going through as it begins to process out the funk stored in the fat that I'm losing (down 10lbs so far), and begins to clear itself out now that it doesn't have any incoming funk to deal with, and is supported by the influx of clean, vibrant nutrition it's been getting the past two+ weeks.
I'm living on green smoothies. Now ramped up to four or five a day. Not much else, though each day I seem to want something solid as well. Roasted broccoli is still in constant rotation. I crave it.
I'm having a difficult time writing about this. Still. I don't know why. I created a sub-blog so that I could do a dump of all the things I've tried, list what I did, and why, and how it failed. But I couldn't even bring myself to put up a single post. Why? I don't know. Just that it felt wrong. And I've been blogging long enough to know that if it feels wrong, there's a good reason for it, and so I don't even bother to push.
Maybe it's that I still feel so fragile, so dang vulnerable. And often so scared. Being sick and alone triggers deep sh*t in the psyche. But I trust the "alone", and on a basic level I trust the "sick" too.
I know that I'm not unique in how sick I've been, how I still am. Our food supply is so f*cked, and so many of us are horribly sick, with our brains so hard-wired for salt, sugar, and fat that it makes it almost impossible to navigate, to get well. And our current health care system doesn't deal with any of it in a realistic way at all - just pharmaceuticals to manage the symptoms, surgeries to lop off the body parts as they decay and break down.
I also don't think that I'm particularly unique in setting off on a solo path to find healing, but I have found there aren't that many of us, not that make it through successfully. And folks who are doing it on their own, without buying into someone else's "plan"? Very rare. Because it's really hard, really, really difficult.
Which is why I'm so grateful. I'm fortunate that I don't have much money, because it keeps me focused on What Absolutely Works, and away from a huge portion of the ocean of bullsh*t that's out there. I'm so very blessed that I've been so sick, because it's forced me to stay the course, to not give up, even with as difficult and painful and expensive as it's all been. If I had a choice, I wouldn't change any part of what I've been through. But even saying that, stating that truth, I'm so focused right now on healing, on facing the past that's stored in my physical body. Until I cross this barren f*cking desert of Unwell, I don't get to go any further on this journey of Waking Up. My digestive system right now is my compass. And I've discovered it's very, very accurate.
Maybe I'll never feel healthy and whole again. Maybe something vital in my body will irrevocably break down and I won't be able to recover. But there's a chance that I can heal, I can feel it, like the promise of sunshine in this painful dark night that's lasted for so incredibly long now. It isn't hope, this isn't about hope. It's that no matter how long the night feels, dawn is coming. I might die before daybreak. That's a possibility that I face every single day. But I just might live to feel the sunshine in my body again. And how can that not be a reason to do all I can to stay alive?
I just had an epiphany. One of the biggest players in terms of not just innovation but in money making is going to be the fast food industry. People still want - and face it: need - quick, inexpensive food. And that isn't likely going to change for a long time.
Everyone knows how horrible current fast food is, not just how bad for us it is with it's high fructose syrup and salt and cancer-causing and endocrine disrupting chemicals, but also how cruelly the animals that provide their eggs and dairy and meat are treated. But again: people want and need quick, inexpensive food. It's just that more and more folks know that it also needs to be clean, safe, sustainable, nutritious.
And I don't think it's going to be new fast food chains so much - new ones like Evos or Chipotle are amazing, but the chances that a flatlander is going to walk into one of them in enough numbers to warrant anywhere but big metro areas yet isn't likely. It'll be the ones we already know, because they have brand recognition and a gazillion dolllars to announce every single change. Most big corps are already listing what is and isn't gluten free and are playing around with words like "healthy" and "fresh" though they still aren't providing food that offers either one.
My psychic prediction? Slowly but surely over the next few years, the big fast food corps will phase in gluten free buns, locally sourced and/or organic produce, partner with more humanely operated meat producers. Why? Because it's where the money is heading. (thousands of individual fast food franchise outlets have closed over the past couple of years) And I bet the government will get hassled into offering fast food restaurants tax credits for healthier, genuinely healthier, fare.
My concept of food is changing. My experience of food is changing. My feelings and thoughts about food are changing.
I'm so grateful for the health issues I'm facing. The pain sucks, sure. But the waking up? The growing awareness? The falling away day by day, hour by hour, mouthful by mouthful, of false beliefs about food? Awesome.
Everything is perfect.
Even as I'm still screwing things up. It ain't a straight line. Still failing and flailing in a zigzag motion. But I'm also, wafer thin layer by wafer thin layer, uncovering the truth that lies underneath the sickening weight of stored past webbed inside a human body. I'm blown away by the things that are arising, lifting, then dissipating in the waves of time, back to wherever it is that the universal tides take the funk stored in a body, mind, heart.
Plus, food is actually beginning to taste good again.
It used to take a gluten free pizza with sausage and mushrooms and extra cheese, followed by a slice of almond GF cake with lemon icing to really do it for me. Now my eyes roll back in my head at kale and collards sauteed in veg broth, doused with cider vinegar and gomasio, or roasted broccoli, misted with olive oil, salt, pepper.
I eat a lot of greens. A lot. A lotta lot. As in lotsa lotsa greens. Observe:
Breakfast - romaine lettuce and dandelion green and honeydew melon smoothie
Midmorning - same as above but with a banana thrown in
Lunch - spinach and parsley and pineapple and grape smoothie
Midafternoon - peppermint tea or almond milk with chocolate stevia
Dinner - a huge bowl filled with roasted broccoli, sauteed greens, a raw salad of avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion with rice vinegar and umeboshi plum paste
Snack - blended: green powder w/ digestive enzymes/herbs, cardomon, water
I've been doing this for two weeks now. Every couple of days or so, I blend a scoop of herbified rice protein powder with some water and down that, too. But that's it. Any variation from this has brought back pain, swollen belly, buggy eyes, a very bad scene. Some nights I can add in one or two sesame rye crackers with earth balance olive oil "butter". But animal protein? Haven't had it in two weeks. Grains or beans, the same thing.
My body is clear. It wants plants and that's it. Just green stuff. Just beings that breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, that bathe a digestive system in sunlight they've transformed into chlorophyll.
We all know about power animals and guides, those amazing "beings" that show up in dreamworld, in shamanic reality, but right now? My power plants are running the show. And I'm in good hands.
Surrender, surrender. To whatever Life has up next for us. For me, it's plants. For you? What is Life asking, begging, demanding you to surrender to???
The thing about becoming more aware, about waking up, is that it's so dang inconvenient. When layers peel back, it doesn't necessarily happen when you're home, chilling on the couch. Sometimes it happens at work, and everything is different, and when you try and explain to your coworkers, they just think you've got a little mental illness going on, or you need a snack.
Every single person who comes through the Hiveworld door is jammed up eighty ways from Sunday. They need food, or shelter, or medical attention, or all three. It means they are hungry, and have been for a long time. It means they've been sleeping outdoors, even in the heat, the rain, and they have been for a long time. It means they've been sick, feeling really really crappy, or unable to really walk or use their arms, for a long long time. Not some of them. All of them. Every single person who comes through the door of Hiveworld is jammed up. It's why they're here. And in order to survive as a Hiveworld worker, in order to keep coming in every day, you have to create a bit of a seperation, you have to step back.
But today, for a few hours, I lost the ability to feel any sort of separation between myself and the folks that come in. For those hours, I sat with my brothers, my sisters. I gave money for the bus. I went home to get an insulin meter for someone whose meter had been stolen at gunpoint, and who was blacking out, on the sidewalk, on the bus. I almost invited a homeless man to sleep on my couch.
But that would have just been crazy, wouldn't it?
Baby Wallace has decided he wants to be a pop star. How can I deny Baby Wallace anything he wants?
Here he practices for his audition doing his take on "Pretty In Pink", that delightful Psychedelic Furs hit from the 80s:
Emmaline joins in as his backup singer, although Baby Wallace has stated firmly that she will not be allowed to accompany him into the audition room. Emmaline says we'll see about that, Mr. Pinkypants.
And then The Call of The Nap overtakes her and she's out, snoozing and dreaming of feline fame where canine assisstants bring her feathered snacks in bed and she tells the paparazzi: Talk To The Paw.
Jacinta says: f*cking kids and their f*cking noise. You little bastids and yer caterwauling make me wanna . . . zzzzz.
. . . f*cking kids . . . zzzzz . . . gimme snack . . . zzzz . . . drool . . . twitch . . .
Malcolm says: Who needs fame when you got all this lovinz so much lovinz and dinner is so purrdeliciouso?
The latest has arrived:
The day of the anniversary party arrived with gorgeous sunshine and balmy air, gentle clouds leaning into the breezy sky, all waiting for the city dwellers to empty out of their urban caves and into the day’s magnificence. I arrived with an iridescent green bodysuit and snug black jeans on, leaning against the restaurant’s security gate at the ungodly hour of eight o’clock in the morning, awaiting Vito’s arrival so we could pre-make a vast sea of margaritas for the city dwellers to experience the magnificence of agave on a gorgeous, balmy day. It was essentially the middle of the night for me, and while my mood was as cheerful as the morning’s bright sun, my brain was not. Once Vito unlocked the door, I fired up the cappuccino machine, made myself a triple shot iced, kept ‘em coming til my cloudy head cleared.
With my hair piled high on top of my head, held in place with a couple of ballpoint pens, I helped Vito fill five-gallon buckets with margarita mix, and balloons with the helium from the tank he'd rented. As we worked I sucked some helium into my lungs, of course, squeaking things like: “my heart is filled with love for all sentient beings”, sang the lyrics to “Into The Void” like a vengeful chipmunk. Vito, AKA Senór Crabbypants, refused to even smile. He was less filled with caffeine and helium than me, so I forgave him.
By late morning we were ready for the urban masses to descend . . .
Day three of a green smoothie fast. Only feeling moderately sick today. But yesterday? Yesterday I thought that I was gonna die. Remember Redd Foxx staggering around and hollering: It's the big one, Elizabeth! I'm coming to join ya!? That was me, Monday night through Tuesday morning. Only minus the laugh track. Though the kitties did appear to be squeeking their support.
It just blows. It does. It hurts. It just does. But my choice is: pain now with the possibility of less or maybe even no pain later. Or pain pain pain that will most likely continue to ramp up until something crazy happens, like my pancreas blows a tire, or my colon throws a rod, or my brain slowly takes on water and capsizes, or, okay, I'll stop.
It could be worse. I spent the past few weeks weeding things out, whittling them down. Slowly shifted from leaded to decaf so that when I stopped drinking coffee on Saturday, the headache wasn't monumental. I cut out the millet bread, bagels, and rolls that I was eating so that the emotional addiction to bread would be easier to face when the other weirdnesses that come with a fast kick in.
I have to confess though. I've cheated. With collards. I actually made collards on Monday night and doused them with some hot sauce. And then I ate a cookie. A gluten free cookie. A single cookie with organic brown sugar. And I got sicker than I have ever been with this stuff. (See Redd Foxx reference above). I woke up a half dozen times times during the night in agony, all sweaty headed and bug eyed, feeling as if my guts were being liquified by some unholy combination of capsaicin, sugar, and fava bean flour.
And the emotional componant? Oh good lord, the feeeeeelings. Dread. Fear. Horror. Dread. Sadess. Fear. Dread. Fear. Fear. Fear.
And what about? My mother.
I don't write much about my blood family. And I don't because it's awful and f*cked up and mean and sad and still mostly unresolved. With the exception of my sister, who I only see about once every other month or so, I refuse to see any of them. I won't answer the phone or door. I don't talk about them. But the ghosts of them? The tendrils of unprocessed past? Alive and well and wreaking havoc in my guts.
There is nothing to be done to fix anything, of course, or solve anything, or make peace with anyone. I came to a very clear realization about them a couple of years ago: they like the way they live and what they do, and they will never change or even admit what they do. And so the only way out is to let it all go, let them all go. Period.
I can't tell you how many dozens and dozens of posts I've begun about all this stuff, only to leave them unfinished, and unpublished. I do not want to write about this stuff. For a lot of reasons. But because writing is my main form of autolysis, I have to. But the trick is to write about it in the way that clears it, not in a way that keeps it alive. And I'm not quite there yet.
But it's coming up, I can feel it moving, like how you feel right before you throw up. And there are horrible things clanging around in there- rage, violence, absolute despair. But the razor's edge of it is to see it all, really allow consciousness to open up and see it all, but without buying into it, without letting it take me over, possess me with its fear and shame and anger.
That's about all I've got right now. My body is shaking as it goes through detox. My energy is trippy and fragile as insulin and seratonin, liver and pancreas, nervous system and neuron connections in the brain all begin to sort themselves out now that the energy of battling "food" has been freed up.
I tried to make this light and funny, but I couldn't sustain it. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow my sense of hilarity about the whole dang thing will resurface. But it ain't happening in this moment. Inthis moment I feel like f*cking hell. But it could be worse. And I'm grateful for this moment. This one right now, as funky as it is. Because I trust that what is happening isn't punishment, I haven't done anything wrong. I did my best for as long as I could, and it was enough, and then it wasn't enough, and now the gig is up.
Enlightenment? Human Adulthood? Mental illness?
I don't know. None of us know. And believing, pretending we do is how the delusion stays in place. And maybe you're as sick of delusion, of bullsh*tting about what's true and what's not as I am. Literally.
How funny is it that we're all in this together, and yet every single one of us is alone?
In terrible pain this morning. Woke up with my face more swollen, my respiratory system more congested than in a long time. And so very f*cking tired, and sick, and discouraged. Even though I had the foresight last night, when the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction started coming on, to load myself up on every single thing I could think of that would help whatever substance I'd ingested make its way out of me quickly, as well as help my poor body with the fallout. Over the course of the three hours before I went to bed I took:
And I realized this morning that this is why I don't post much about the thing that is the most impactful movement in my living right now: the actual practical steps of what I'm doing to deal with this health issue. Because it's failure after failure after failure. I try something, research it, invest money and time and effort, and then, plop. I'm down on the ground again, writhing in the dust as I clutch my belly and sob piteous tears of pain, both real and egoic.
It's insane. But it's what an inordinate amount of my days are filled with.
So as I woke up this morning I remembered what an amazing day I'd had the day before, amazing until around 7pm and the sh*t (allergen) began to hit the fan (my small intestine).
Money is tight, but I'm committed to eating clean, organic food grown as locally as possible. And now that I'm drinking three or four green smoothies a day, I buy a lot of produce. I dropped over a $100, but it was all totally clean, totally nutritious food, and the name of the game these days is get healthy, so I felt dang good about that c note.
I visited a new produce store, Oleander Produce, and although small, it's promising as their whole deal is to purchase from local "transitional organic farms", which means that they haven't been through the five (seven?) year process it takes to be certified yet, but are feeding the soil and tending to the plants much as they always have - with very little pesticides, etc. I left the store loaded up with veggies, and then went to the coop to round out my produce with things Oleander didn't carry or were out of - greens, greens, and greens.
And while at the coop I decided to finally take the plunge and bake something gluten free. I'm not a baker, and the stove in the apartment I rent is horrible, one of its many failings being the oven part is a small convection oven that habitually burns the outside of whatever I cook, leaving the inside undercooked. But I had a recipe for quinoa choc chip cookies from Karina's blog, and I decided I would make the cookies in small batches, to try different things with the oven. And so I spent the cash to get started:
To make a batch of cookies, I invested $35. Insane yes, which is why I've been putting it off for so long, buying a piece of GF cake from the coop for $4.79 a piece, even though they use soy pan spray and I get sick from it, because the store bought packaged GF stuff SUX SUX SUX, every single $9 for four muffins, $7 for three big cookies one of them. But yesterday I'm on a focused, intense, joyful roll: take care of your sh*t girlfriend, and if you want something sweet, make it yourself so that you know that's it's clean. I vetted every single item, for wheat, for gluten, for soy, and even for dairy.
I got back to the house, snuggled kitties, then made a healthy late lunch. Quinoa with stir fried veg, GF soy free fish sauce, a shaving of asiago cheese from the coop. Then: the cookies. First batch, burnt but still edible. Second batch, less burnt, more edible. Third batch slightly burnt, but cooked in the center: downright tasty!
But two hours later, hell began make itself known. Whether it was the cookies or the asiago or the fish sauce or who the heck knows, the good time slammed shut. My belly swelled up to a third trimester, pain ripping my back with steely sharp claws. My sinuses flooded with funk, my head pounded. Emotions roiled with No. Yep. Party over.
Which brings me to this morning, laying there in a haze of snot and self-pity, kitties all up and in my stuffs, including Jacinta who'd had a number two malfunction (which if you've got kitties in your home, you know exactly what I'm saying here). And as I lay there for the ten thousandth day in a row, a puddle of sorrow masquerading as a human, I remembered a dream I'd had. It rushed back with vivid intensity:
I'm talking on the phone with the Pioneer Woman (ie famous blogger with best seller cookbook, a memoir coming out soon and destined to be another bestseller, good looking cowboy husband, adoring children, legion of fans). We're chatting and I glance up at something that takes my breath away. It's a full moon so huge, so detailed it fills the sky. Think of the largest full moon you've ever seen. Now quadruple it. And place it squarely in front of you. I reach out to touch it and a flock of birds goes by, a dozen white and grey birds passing over the enormous brilliantly lighted moon. A single bird stops mid-flight, turns and looks at me. He's suspended in the air, right in front of my face, and he's huge, his fierce gaze boring into my eyes, down my brain stem. His snowy white head, the grey stippled body so beautiful, unlike any bird I've ever seen. And then a single cry, so loud, piercing, my hairs stand on end.
Then he's gone. And I remember that Pioneer Woman is still on the phone. I apologize for the dead air, tell her what happened, and she goes silent, totally weirded out. And I remember that this is what the world of the masses is like, it talks about how much it likes weird, how weird it is itself, how nerdy and geeky and strange it is, really, it says, it is, so odd and different and weird. But how it really isn't. And how it fears and judges anything that isn't flatlander, of the norm, though it says over and over how not normal it is, how it likes the unique. How it says: don't be like everyone else. But how it smacks down anyone who dares to be different. And how it hates magic. How it fears and is horrified by a message, a transmission, from the moon and a gyrfalcon.
The allergic reaction. The dream. The digestive pain. Falcon, food, moon. Pain, tears, No.
I know that dream is a message, that the moon, the falcon were telling me something. I've spent the entire day researching it, for a clear action to take, a clear picture of it. But really, who knows?
I can't make this blog anything other than what I feel to write about, whatever the passion du jour is, the pics I happened to snap, the thing I need to tell you about.
I don't know how else to deal with the health issue other than what I'm doing, even though I fail and fail and fail and pay for the failures with decreasing vitality and increasing pain.
I know I'm at a crossroads. I know that I can disrobe out of the remnants of this old me, the me of alcoholism and abuse, of drugs and a blood family of deranged wolves, of rape and fists and abandonment, of trying and fearing and failure, of lost and gone and flee, of guilt and embarrassment and shame, of poverty of purse and heart, of sickness in body and mind, of saying yes when no is what I need, of saying No when Yes is right there shining in front of me.
I'm at a crossroads with no discernible signposts. Just three ways to go, three directions, three paths. And no idea which one to take.
So I wait, much like I have been for so long now, and do my best to interpret the signs, figure out what to eat to stay alive. Alone, just me and four weasels, all of us wounded and a little f*cked up, but still snuggling and finding joy in naps in the sun. Grateful that the crossroads come with wifi, so that I can keep posting. And tomorrow, Monday morning, Hiveworld, whatever comes next . . .
It's wild to ride both worlds simultaneously. To move back and forth between them, sometimes sliding gently, sometimes by a hard blow of some experience, sometimes a rhythmic clicking back and forth, as if on a timer. If I were only in one, I'd never see both worlds for what they are, because when you're in one world only, it becomes normal, and eventually unseen, like when you're driving to work and you no longer even pay attention, and somehow arrive at work not much knowing how you got there.
You see this as you cruise through your living. These people living extremes out of just one world. The spiritual folks who can't remember to eat, who can come across as gumflapping wackjobs, or spacey and out of it, or naive, the kind of folks who are so lost in the concept of God you feel sort of sorry for them. Or the flatlanders, the people who are consumed with breeding and shopping and monuments to themselves and endless chatter about their feelings and their desires and plans and actions for More, who see the earth as something to extract survival out of for themselves and their own, no matter what the cost to earth or any of its other inhabitants.
But to move back and forth between worlds, that's the kicker. Because you can never get comfortable, never take anything for granted. Or rather you can, but then it almost always feels like a kick to the head and heart, disorienting, a little scary, with lots of judgmental emotion and anger swirling. Much better, smoother to stay alert, watch closely, laugh as the realizations roll in.
Each world can look completely foreign when sitting in the other. When I'm sitting in Material, it's so easy to see how the Spiritual could be delusion, and that pulling away from Material is about nihilism and sour grapes and mental illness. When I'm in Spiritual, it's easy to see that the Material is pointless and illusion and a time waster and sad and beautiful.
Yet they both have their place. Serve a purpose. At least as I see it in this living I'm in right now.
The Material is the reality of living in the world, on the earth, of dealing with people and their personalities, of the practicalities of socializing, of food, of soil quality and hygenic handling, of the time and energy it takes to keep a roof over one's head so that human and kitty can be out of the rain, snug under covers so that sleep is restful and healing. When in this one, emotions are stronger, thoughts are more intense. It knows that going out on the lawn and just laying there would ultimately lead to death, and since it doesn't want to die, it gets up.
The Spiritual is the embrace of the Yes, an effortless feeling of being a giant eye that sees everything, and loves everything it sees. It experiences the flow between people and trees and situations and actions as a relaxed perfection. It sees no No, only Yes. It sees backwards and forwards, through time and evolution. It's happy to just lay on the lawn, is looking forward to death, grateful to be so conscious of the cycle of all life.
But I think one of the most useful things about moving back and forth is how much truth arises, a puzzle piece of Truth about the other world rising and spinning slowly before my eyes so I can see where it fits, what it's purpose is. Sitting here, I can't think of a single one to tell you about, and I get it's because they're like bubbles of delusion rising up from inside of me, glistening in the sun for a minute or two, before POP.
Ahhh, I remember one, or rather I remember a theme from this week: what a f*cking idiot this personality is. I'm lightly, gently flowing between Material and Spiritual, so I phrase it that way. If I were more in Material I'd say: I'm a f*cking idiot, I have been since as far back as I can remember, and the fallout from the past and the generating of new idiocies makes me f*cking miserable. If I were more in Spiritual I'd probably express it like: the patterns of delusion and illusion that come out of the web of fear grown from the relics of stored unprocessed past are arising in consciousness so that before they are released, they can be seen for what they are so that more isn't created and/or they can be written about.
Of course neither is an absolute, just looking at living, the world, existence, or whatever this is, from two different energetic sides. Because in my experience, the absolute is that space of Nothing, that place of silent inaction that opens up, that I fall into, that arises seemingly never out of will or trying or effort. It comes after enormous amounts of letting go, surrender, facing mutherf*cking horrendous sh*t until the ghosts and demons and buttheads don't scare me anymore, until the fear is seen, acknowledged, and walked into, straight on, no dodging, just open arms and: howdy fear, I'm here, have it me.
Then, after the battle, everything is so quiet. After the slaughter, where I stood there as I was torn apart. So quiet. So gorgeous. Gratefulness, so much gratefulness, for the bloody battle of before, for the battles to come, because oh my god the space so much space so very much Nothing . . .
What else but onward?
It's up. Party on. TGIF. Seriously.
I stayed in bed all the next day, deep inside the freshly stirred up funk of the previous evening, the emotional garbage turning over and over in my head. I slept, woke, watched the wind drag dirty clouds across the sky, slept again, sliding off into blessed grey oblivion. Around three, I forced myself out of bed and into the shower, standing under the fiery spray until I crossed the line between a little and a lot late for work.
As I smoked a cigarette and drank my third gigantor mug of coffee, I threw on a forest-green cotton bodysuit and a pair of jeans with enormous holes in both knees and half the seat ripped out. A quick look in the mirror showed the bottom half of one butt cheek on display. Excellent. My current attitude wouldn’t garner me a heck of a lot of tips, but my ass just might. I headed down the stairs to take the subway to the upper west side and the wonderful world of bartending.
The restaurant was busy for a few hours, and my jeans delivered as hoped, the tip cup filling with fives and tens. A couple of suits passed me their business cards, cell numbers scribbled on the back. The cards all found homes in the trash as soon as the guys walked out the front door.
Later that night, the skies opened up again and we found ourselves in the midst of another torrential downpour. The bar emptied out and stayed that way. Right before closing time, the cop from last night came in again, shaking rain from his clothes, wiping fog from his glasses. . .
Read on: Chapter 6
I'm taking a few days off from Hiveworld. Last Friday through Wednesday. It took until yesterday afternoon to begin to really relax, let go, be gentle and soft and surrendered with kitties, and with my living.
I've been drinking three green smoothies a day. They sound gross but are actually startlingly delicious. It's just greens (as in some sort of green leaf) and fruit (anything, as long as it's fresh) and water. Blend it on high for a few minutes, or blend for 30 seconds using a Vitamix. That's it. Some of my favorites:
Over the years I've done juicing, which never agreed with me, making me either spacey or gassy or both. The past few months I've tried blending, as in veggies like collards, carrots, cukes, celery, ginger, cilantro, maybe chunking in a banana or some agave syrup to try and mask how truly vile it all tasted. Not only did it taste funky, but after weeks and weeks of drinking them, I couldn't feel any difference. Then I happened upon a book about green smoothies, tried it, and hot holy dang, this sh*t actually works. I've got a long way to go, but green smoothies? They're the jackpot, baby. Alternate them with rice protein shakes made with coconut or almond or rice milk and a couple of tablespoons of plain whole milk yogurt, and you've got a party in your belly. Mmmmm, deliciouso!
I also gave myself a mini soul retrieval with the shaman I've been working with in California. I've done three full sessions with her over the past five or so years, but this go around, I got that it was about getting assistance rather than laying down and having someone heal me. She totally understood, really got it, and it's exactly what I needed. I'll give more details as it goes on. It's a process that's going to take some time.
Because a great deal of this time off has been waking up in the morning to really sit in, really experience how sick this body is. To feel the fire along my spine, the inflammation that expresses itself in puffy dry skin, swollen patches in my mouth, the ache and pain in belly and gut, lips so dry they're always chapped, aching joints, eczema and a colon that is currently very unhappy with its station in life. Not about trying to pretend it isn't occurring. Or play with kitties to take my mind off it. Or run for another few acetaminofen or ibuprofin or rescue remedy or herbs or hot baths with eight different kinds of aromatherapy and epsom salts and mineral bubbles and cider vinegar and honey and Emmaline squeaking rock-a-bye-baby as she gives me a scalp massage.
We spend so much time pretending we don't feel badly, covering it up with distractions and drama and pastimes and spiritual seeking. And so much of it is a basic lack of nutrition, and a toxic load on the digestion and elimination system that is causing a systemic breakdown. Soul Retrievals help. Writing as autolysis helps. And as the heart and mind and spirit empty out, so must the body.
I've failed a hundred thousand times. Each time, somehow, someway, I get back up. But now I get back up and leave my sword on the ground. Now I get back up and raise my arms and say:
I'm yours Life, burn whatever you want to, all I pray for is the grace to say thank you, the courage to remain in the flames, and the strength to keep getting back up whenever I fall.
Green smoothies, fire ceremonies, writing, facing the awareness of this inner a*sshole, this f*ckwit of a self.
Fall down. Get back up. Shoved down. Roll to the left, get back up. Punched down. Roll to the right, get back up. Fall down. Get to my knees. Fall down. Get to my hands and knees. Fall down. Get up. Fall down. Get up. Fall down. Get up . . .
I thought all my pics and vid from when they were babies were lost in the harddrive crash a year or so ago, but look what I just found in my typepad blog archives:
Emmaline is just wild about keeping her intestinal flora and fauna partying with happy friendly microbial friends:
If you took me out for a frozen margarita, with salt, and fresh lime, this is what my face would look like too:
Yogurt should come margarita flavored. Though Emmaline is still holding out for tuna. To each his own.
Chapter 6 is up . . .
Late that night, after I'd come home, wearily washed my face, and popped open a cantaloupe juice, my phone rang. I knew even before it started ringing who it was.
“Hey, Rufus,” I said, knowing also he'd been drinking again.
“How do you do that?” he asked. “How do you always know it’s me when I know dang well the only thing my number says is ‘private’?”
“I don’t know,” I sighed, knowing also what was eventually coming.
“I sent you a present,” he said in that North Carolina nasal drawl of his, what my voice used to sound like before nine years in the city kung-fu-ed it out of me.
“C’mon, not another one. You've gotta stop, Ruf. You’ll get busted mailing that stuff.”
“Yeah. Uh-huh. I got bigger fish in the fire than a little slap on the wrist for mailing liquids.”
“Calm down, sis. I got to feelin you needed a little taste a home. You feelin homesick, Ellie?"
Click on over if you're in the mood to hear about Rufus, the ecovillage, and whether giant spleefs pair better with homebrew hooch, beer, or scuppernong wine . . .
Went to the town in the middle of nowhere. Got there an hour early for the interview. Drove around looking at all the shut down businesses, the empty buildings, the houses, even the big ones, all in varying stages of neglect. The downtown area was a ghost town, not even a single restaurant, bar, or coffee joint. The main strip was a couple of miles of low rent strip malls, some of them as empty and dead as downtown. The people I met, every single one of them, had an angry energy, and not afraid to show it, and layered underneath, a kind of blaming, self-pitying depression.
The interview went well, and I got a sense I'd at least be in the top few for a possible hire. As I left the office I noticed that every single staff member was over the age of 55. This would be the staff I'd serve. This angry crowd of folks nearing retirement age. I tried to keep an open mind. I even called my Hilarious Coworker from the road and told her I thought I could work there, thought I could do the job, be okay, rent a house with a big yard for $450 a month and just keep to myself, much like I do now. Yeah, I told her, I could do this.
I can hear you groaning and shouting warnings all the way from over here.
The issue is that I'm alone in the world. Maybe we all are, but I no longer even have the illusion of friends, family, mate. Even the kitties, as much as I love and adore them, are only passing through, and beyond the awesomeness of their existence, and their ridiculously high snuggle factor, they don't contribute much to our ongoing survival. Think of it: I was diagnosed with cancer last year, and if it hadn't have been for the kindness of two relative strangers, I wouldn't have been able to afford the surgery.
Maybe if I were a different person, nicer, more upbeat, less dramatic, a snappier dresser, I'd be surrounded by loved ones. But two years ago I faced Who I Am, and also who I am not, and this alone gig? This is the one Life signed me up for, and things are much, much better since I surrendered to it.
And none of this is complaint. Just the facts of my living. So the reason is more clear why I spent the two and a half hour drive back to Wilmington mulling the possibilities of moving to that town, breathing that air, being in the energy field of those folks. And also because when I woke up the next morning, the first thought was around that town, that job, those people, and what I felt was . . . sad. And not just sad, but filled with the futility of it all, the failure I've been feeling seeping out of my pores, my subconscious, reflected back to me by the world around me. How I'm f*cked no matter what I choose, because the choices I'm presented with, that I can generate for myself, are all variations on No, of Not Me, of crawling into a hole in that godforsaken town to die.
Does this sound dramatic? It does to me too. But only because I'm on the other side of it. Because that morning I got up, went to work, and immediately called the Big Boss and said: how do I withdraw my application? It wasn't easy, he wasn't amused, and I've definitely not upped my stock with that move. But in the wake of the conversation, when that job was shut down with no chance of a reopen, a sensation of relief, of spaciousness, of Yes, opened up inside of me, like Life herself was giving me a standing ovation.
Nothing is solved, though, of course. I still face all of the things, the situations that were in place before I made that phone call. But at least I said No Thanks to that obviously bad time. I would have been fine with it if Life wanted me to go, if I would have had some practical real sign. But there wasn't one. Just the presentation of the many different aromas of hell I'd be breathing in each day, then the choice to say yes or no.
Did I make the right choice? Maybe going to that place would have been exactly what I needed to finally let go of seeing No as No. Did I act from fear or love when I made that choice? Was it fight or surrender? Who knows?
One of the things I most enjoy about Hiveworld is watching my Hilarious Coworker operate in the world. She's twenty-four, educated, happy, beautiful. She has a tight social network that numbers in the hundreds, a dozen close friends she can call at 2 a.m. who will literally be by her side in the time it takes them to jump in their car and get to her. She has parents who love and respect her, who love and respect themselves, who vet apartments and cars and jobs for her, that have the money and influence of the solidly upper middle class, who are practical, energetic, emotionally sound.
She cut her finger a few weeks ago, a really deep cut, and she said only half joking that it's the most traumatic thing that's every happened to her. And to spend as much time with her every day as I do, it's amazing to witness what this lack of trauma is like for a human being, how a person operates when they feel safe, taken care of. Of course she's got her own fears and disappointments, but her default is Yes, and it's such a gift to be around a person who makes choices out of that.
Because the truth of it is that what I've been moving into the past few years, what Life has seasoned me for the whole of my living, via all the trauma and drama, has been this letting go of everything and everyone outside of me. So that all ties to the Outer are severed. So that I have no choice but to turn to the Inner. So that the doubt gets completely, utterly weeded out, understanding at the deepest level that the Inner will reflect out, so that what happened last fall, where two people, one I'd met once for a few minutes, the other I'd never even heard of, both sent checks for $1000, on the same day, for a total of $2000, which is exactly what I needed to pay for the cancer surgery and the follow up.
Because Life is my friend, my family, my mate. Which means that everyone, everywhere, are my friends, my family, mates.
Because sometimes saying No is saying Yes.
And as I build to this, this understanding, this trust, this surrender to the Yes, all doubt has to be faced, offered up to Life to burn off. Like the fear in this moment, how all of this might be only The Crazy, signs and symptoms I'm ignoring of nihilism and anxiety, anger and isolation, of delusion and denial and depression. Maybe it's true. Maybe not. All I know is to keep turning away from the mind, and toward the sun inside.
And to keep chanting my mantra:
Thank you Life, for taking such good care of me, for always providing me with what I need, for always always showing me love, even in the face of a thousand judgments, of what appears to be cheating and lying and manipulation, of ill will and selfishness and blindness to the truth, for always always providing me with at least a single friendly face, a face of love, a possibility, a lone path through the woods.
Thank you Life . . . thank you for my lovely lovely life . . .
It's up . . .
It was a half hour before closing time. The bar was deserted. It mostly had been since Scooter left. Vito, Bucky, and I were deep in the heart of a game of dirty word Scrabble so pointless Billie’d finally packed up her things and gone home. As the night progressed, our game turned into a mini-marathon. Our zeal to create a little entertainment had us cheating, searching through the letter pile to construct “cooter”, “meatwand”, “phatpooty”, get that coveted triple word score for “zespeedoworm.”
The front door was propped open to save Vito a few bucks on air conditioning, and the rain was coming down so hard it made ear vibrating noise as it hit the awning. A guy walked in out of the night, shaking the rain off, greeting Vito and Buck by name, nodding curtly in my direction. He had strange eyes. My hackles climbed the back of my neck, seizing soft tissue. I bet myself a million bucks he was a cop, an evolutionary throwback, a man who busted heads for a living and liked it. I hated cops.
I reached into the cooler and pulled out a light beer, plopped it on the bar in front of him. He looked at the beer. He looked at me.
“Looks like my reputation precedes me,” he said.
“Lucky guess,” I answered.