It’s July …. which, as my teacher friend said recently, feels like the “eternal Sunday evening” to those of us in academics. You know you should relax, but August is knocking with a noise louder than you’d like.
I have two solo weeks in July, and I am in the midst of one now. It doesn’t feel the least bit itchy like it did last summer. It feels comfortable and real.
On Sunday, I dropped the kids off and returned home to make my own dinner of chicken, garlic, mushrooms, and onions on toast. I sliced a fresh tomato and sprinkled it with basil from my patio. I poured a glass of Chardonnay and took a linen napkin from the drawer of the china cabinet. I sat down to a table of one.
I feel naked, metaphorically speaking, in a way I never have before. Not ever. The past years of my life have chiseled away at any facade that was ever present, but the past few weeks have melted away anything what was left in a way that felt soft somehow, not as hard and painful as before. Is this what it’s like? After an initial breaking, does everything feel softer forever and ever? I hope so.
I’ve been purging my house of so many things I no longer want. The kids aren’t here to object or distract, and I am assessing every object, every piece of clothing, every item. There is so much in my life that I don’t need now and never did. I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the summer that I wasn’t going to spend a dime on anything this summer that was not an experience or a consumable (food, for instance). I’ve only broken this rule once in order to buy funeral attire for my kids to wear, but I have been so surprised at how easy it has become to buy absolutely nothing. I’m seeing how little I truly need. Everything is perfect. Nothing is permanent. And I have all I need in each moment.
I’m seeing that it’s all the same – all the things people do to fill up – the co-dependent relationships, the drinking, the buying, the distracting – it’s all the same. I thought I was already at a place when I wasn’t leaning on that stuff. But a clarity is cracking open for me in the best way. I remember that weeks ago when I wrote about my grandmother’s last days, I said sitting with a dying person will teach you how to live. It did and it has. I think I was broken and fractured so many times in the past two years that the unimportant has fallen away, and what is left feels so light.
I took a dance class tonight, followed by a restorative stretch yoga class. I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I’ve spent in those environments. Thousands? But my awareness felt so different tonight, so much sharper. The feeling of my own bones and blood, my own beating heart. I can’t explain it, but it’s just that it is mine in a way that it never has been before. All mine. And lacking nothing.
We listened to music during the yoga hour, and Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” was playing at one point. They sang, Hey, let your honesty shine, shine, shine. … Here I am as I felt the steadiness of the floor beneath me.
It feels good to be here. Light as a feather as I move from one place to another.