I’m learning to laugh more. I’ve wanted more laughter in my life for a long time. But it’s so much easier to laugh with other people. I’ve been blessed with that, with people in my life who I can laugh with until I cry, until we exhaust ourselves, hands against our aching bellies, sated with hilarity. I had fun laughing in the audience at the Camelot theater and vowed to make a point of that more often, that shared public laughter an unexpected sweetness. But more and more I seem to find it by myself, that sudden burst of it while I’m alone, going about my day, or the quieter impulse to giggle. I’ve always been able to amuse myself, have been lucky that way, too. It doesn’t seem to matter to me that often I’m the only one who thinks I’m funny. But except for the occasional guffaw over a well-delivered line in a movie or a funny moment in a book, I’ve tended to be quiet about it. Or maybe I used to laugh more when I was alone, and I can’t remember. But now I find myself doing it more and more, alone in my trailer or out in the courtyard, some stray thought that catches me, that quick, loud bark of laughter, the bray and the snort of it. It makes me grin to be writing about it. I curl my toes, impish and shy, and eager for more.
My kitchen sink is angled in a corner, so when I stand before it to do my healing “toning” with the CD, the voices come to me from behind, engulf me, and my own meets them in the space between me and the corner, echoing, blending. Today I am toning my weakest note, the C, my birth note. I run the scrubbie inside a dirty glass and hit the note. “Jah,” I hold for eight counts, then “pah,” for eight counts more. I still run out of breath. My voice cracks and wavers, wobbly as I work to heal. But already I can feel the difference. Ideas for my blog flit through my head as I stand there, a series, maybe, about my health things, my German healers. The toning vibrates me. The dishes pile up clean and soapy in the left side of the sink. I think again about the power of belief, and just then the birds outside the window at my back bolt in a sudden racket of wings. I look over my shoulder, and the hawk swoops past and lands on the fence. I stand still, my fingers full of soapsuds, so I won’t startle him away. He moves to the other fence, and I turn around and bend my knees to see him through the window. When he flies off, I wish him well, send up a prayer. “May he have a full belly,” I whisper, “a little more often than he needs.” May he have a mate, offspring, a happy life. May he not go hungry. And then I cry, squatting on the kitchen floor, taken by that odd mix of gratitude and grief and love, aching for the small, beautiful, wild things of our world.
I sweep under the kitchen table and wonder about the power of our beliefs. I remember my dental hygienist in Sebastopol telling me she had client who didn’t believe in plaque. (He didn’t have any.) Meri told me the other day on the phone that someone (was it Deepak Chopra?) claims there is no physiological reason why we need to age. I believe it may be true. But could I stretch my brain enough to let it be true? I can’t even get myself to not believe in plaque. I maneuver the broom between the legs of the kitchen chair. It’s weighted down with books rescued from the swamp cooler in August, so I don’t move it, but I sweep with care beneath it. I think about all the efforts I am making to heal. Most people don’t believe in them–I know. I hear it in the things they do not say. Something tries to stir in me, some habit of futility, and I shake my head as I swipe the broom across the floor. I believe in my choices. I believe I can heal, that my efforts already bear fruit. I remind myself I have shed that old, heavy cloak, dissolved that terrible message that said no matter what I do it will never be enough. I have gathered all the endless desert dirt and the feathers from the leaking down comforter and the teeny Palo Verde leaves we all bring inside with us into a neat pile near the kitchen sink. “I am already healing,” I say. My intentions, my actions, they both carry weight, have ooomph, make me well. I walk down the narrow hallway to get the dustpan. I am humming now, and I feel the vibration in my face, my throat. I am already healing.
Weird how some days are light—busy, maybe, but easy to move through. Nothing jars you. Nothing weights you. Nothing rattles, jangles, presses too hard against your skin. And some days weigh more. Things you can take in stride on any other day push at you, jiggering your insides, everything crimped, all sharp angles. Sometimes I think the universe is toying with me. How many things can she bear in one day before she explodes? Small things, I mean—nothing serious. The cat tracks poop across the down comforter, sprays it against the white wall. The qi gong class you rushed to get to is not the one you were hoping it would be. The wind comes in the late afternoon and chases you inside. You fight with the curtains. They have sprung free from the weights set to hold them, and they are billowing against you as you work, pushing into your space. Your annoyance has no rational tie to the smallness of this invasion. But some days it is the steady press of small things that pisses me off, makes my body feel too small to hold my anger, unjustified though it may be. Was it only this morning I saw the hawk leap from our fence to the sky? Only this morning I followed his flight with my eyes and found the waning moon nestled against the mountain ridge? Was it only this morning I stopped, then, looking at the pale curve of moon and remembered how lucky I am?
Wednesday I wake up because I need to pee. It’s 5:20 in the morning. After, I lie in bed, my thoughts loud and incessant, all filled with anxiety. Will I be able to keep up with the students who need help logging in? Can I find a doctor I like through UHC? Can I make time now to even look for a doctor? Will I be able to figure out how to wipe the Nook of all Mami’s account information before I give it to Susana? One thing after another, always the next thing ready to step in, my worries all queued up like actors backstage. The clairaudient told me if I wanted to change I couldn’t let my fear and worry come between me and this chance. I trust the universe, I think, more than I trust myself. Most of my anxiety stems from being afraid I won’t be able to get everything done. I make myself nuts, use up my energy, add bricks to my shoulders. “I am enough just as I am,” I say, my lips moving against the cotton pillowcase. “I am enough just as I am.” Again, and again. I cry, then, eleven seconds of tears. It eases something inside me, and I fall asleep.
These past two years I felt like I made big strides but then fell back again into old bad habits. I am not certain if I ran out of will power or the cumulative stress of my effort took an inevitable toll. Last year I did my yoga, my qi gong, wrote and went for a walk every single day into May. Then I collapsed. I am so tired of the pendulum swing. For years, I’ve had this feeling things won’t last as long as I’m approaching them from the outside-in, willing myself to tend to my temple. I sensed I needed to change from the inside-out, to learn to want to take care of myself. So my focus now is on being kinder, not pushing in the same old way. I want to move forward, grab that chance at “once and for all.” I don’t want to fail, and a part of me insinuates I might. But I shed that heavy cloak two moons ago, two hours on a Saturday morning. I let that terrible message that no matter what I do it won’t be enough fall from my shoulders. I no longer need to keep pushing with all my weight against the brick wall. The barest touch of my finger, I remind myself, the wisp of intention. I silence the whisper that tells me I might not make it, send the doubter away. “I can do this,” I tell it. “I can change.”
I asked the woman who was doing a reading for me about her gift. I didn’t think she was clairvoyant, someone who sees things about us. She told me she’s clairaudient. I looked it up later in the dictionary:
But in the moment I asked her if what she heard was actually audible. “Do you hear it with your ears?” She said she wasn’t sure. She was just so used to it, I think. She’s been doing this for over fifty years.
“I just hear a voice,” she said. And she told me we are in a key time for the ability to change. It seems between the winter solstice on December 21st and the summer solstice in June, we have a chance to truly change, to “flip the switch” she said, “once and for all.”
It’s good news–of course it is. But because of who I am the first thing I did was worry I might not succeed in spite of this rare chance. “Are you saying,” I asked her, “that if we don’t manage to change now we may not be able to later?” She said no, but it would be much, much harder.
She talked about how the universe is set to support us now. I balked, the disgruntled child, still stuck on worrying about failing. I told her it seemed to me the universe always supported us. “Not like this,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” During this window the universe is poised to support us like nobody’s business.
So. I wanted to be sure to pass this on. It feels big to me, capital B big, as though we might each step into who we want to be more fully than ever before. Happy new year, everyone.