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#59 Love Letters to My Life
Dancing with resistance and adventure
(This is my 59th experience of this monthly ritual of acknowledging my inevitable death by writing a love letter to my life. — Joyce Wycoff)
As I get older, I grow a bit wary of my enthusiasms and more gentle with my cravings. Teach me, I beg, wanting their age-earned wisdoms.
Housebound for several days with a minor health issue, boredom leads me down an untrod path, opens a green door to enthusiasm which floods me like sunlight on a sparkling morning. The energy of adventure fills my shrunken cells, and I plunge in, making plans, taking notes, spinning a yarn of travel and stories found and novelties met. The to dos of yesterday fall away in a glorious free flight of imagination unfettered. I am soaring.
Then, I eat two not-very-good cookies, pour fake-sugar onto odd foods, open the refrigerator door looking for something … longing …
An invitation to a poetry reading by Joy Harjo pulls me outside, into real sunshine and onto a dance floor where my friends Adventure and Resistance fall into a familiar routine: Adventure tangos dramatically, flourishing a blood-bold rose while Resistance fiddles with the sound system.
Walking home, filled with the melody of Harjo’s buttery voice wrapped around stinging-nettle memories, my companion and I fall into a discussion of a new opportunity that has been presented to her, one she accepted, then rejected, and then promised to think about. Anticipation and fear weave in and out of her telling and suddenly we are at her car.
As if that destination demands a resolution, I pronounce: “resistance” as if it were written across the sky, and then proceed to my refuge in search of sugar that I know isn’t there. Only when a charley horse splintered sleep in that fabled 4 am hour, did it occur to me that the external conversation with my friend mirrored an internal one of the past few days.
Stonehenge. A random email dropped a bread crumb; YouTube grabbed it and led me to a rabbit hole where five thousand years disappeared and I was in a green landscape of mystery and legend. For days, I wandered there, wondering, imagining myself walking through land I didn’t know but which felt familiar, as if invited to a family reunion already in progress.
Salisbury, Airbnb offered. Medieval cathedral city. Portal to neolithic Britain. I calendared an autumn month and set off on a mental journey into an unknown future bound in enthusiasm’s grip, a new project aborning with the idea of a writing experiment.
The honeymoon was short. “Insane!” resistance cried. “Too much money! No credentials. Get real. Just another passing fancy.” Then, the knock-out punch: “Too old.”
I caved; erased the castles in the sky, pulled out my to do list, and settled back into my comfy comfort-zone chair and reached for sugar. Of course, there was none. The closest I could come was some sliced coconut which didn’t satisfy so I went to bed only to be painfully awakened by a leg cramp. I didn’t want to get up; I wanted to go back to sleep, but words started flowing and I knew I needed to pay attention, write the words.
Part of me wants the adventure of spending a month in Salisbury, England, exploring the neolithic world etched into the land … the 1300 henges, the hill forts, the ancient tracks, and the endless indications that once there lived a people capable of creating monumental structures, a people whose voice we may never hear or understand.
The resistance part of me wants to stay in my comfort zone here by the peaceful ocean, to be grateful for finding my perfect nest, amidst friends and extraordinary beauty and to know that what I have … what I am … is enough.
Of course, wisdom comes in finding harmony in both. There is no reason I can’t spend my month in Salisbury. It’s not like I’m moving there. It’s just an adventure. My comfort-zone chair will still be here when I return. However, not listening to this call for adventure, ignoring these cravings, could be a form of giving up on life, accepting a small world when boundaryless possibility still beckons.
More to come, I’m sure.
This is most likely a familiar dance for many of you. What do you do when adventure calls but resistance says “get real!”
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