Sunday, July 12, 2009

red beans. white bowl.

At the moment I am eating a bowl of red kidney beans with a spicy tomato sauce and Indian spices. I have a cup of French press coffee by my side that I have yet to taste. I got home earlier today from a short camping trip with my dad, siblings and family.

I keep writing sentences and then deleting them. I am trying to get at the essence of now, but the only thing that seems to be able to contain it is this steaming, bowl of bright red beans.

Vinny headed out to "the farm" with a load of stuff. I hung back at home with 2 extremely tired dogs and the intention of getting some painting done. Instead, I've spent the past couple hours unloading kitchen shelves, washing fine china, and preparing to move. I think it's starting to finally sink in. Although we've been slowly packing and moving stuff for the past few weeks, it finally dawned on me today that we are, in fact, really moving. We rented a truck and will haul the majority of our stuff, including the furniture this coming Sunday. One week!

Here my last post is all about optimism and yet, over and over, I keep noticing an irritating feeling of apprehension dull my excitement every once in awhile. I think of all the people I've heard say that they don't want to get excited about one thing or another until it actually happens. They hold back, using this delayed sense of excitement as a buffer, a safety precaution to ward off possible disappointment. They tell themselves not to get excited until it has become a tangible reality--and, even then, they sometimes hold back. I never understood that. It seemed a little bit absurd to me to pass up on any sort of opportunity that presents even the smallest morsel of hope or happiness. Why not get excited about the possibility of something good happening?

But now I understand. I guess getting hurt will sometimes do that to a person. I hate to admit that there is a little part of me that is afraid of dreaming too big or, sometimes, even at all. There's a wee little lingering part of me that is afraid that someone will pull the floor out from under me again. Afraid that I will set myself up for stupid failure.

And yet I am grateful for the awareness of this fear. It is, after all, a vague feeling. It is a feeling that is always accompanied by a sense of hopelessness. I have been truly feeling like this move is an opportunity for me to change some bad habits, explore new opportunities, and to finally follow through on some lingering desires. When I get into the center of those thoughts, all of my doubts just disappears. Quickly, magically, immidiately. POOF! Everything is possible. There is no need to give up. There is hope...yes, even for me.

This weekend, while my family was all out hiking, I laid in the tent alone and cried. Big, fat cleansing tears. I realized how absolutely exhausted I was. I remembered how powerful I am, how powerful every single one of us is...if we chose to believe that. I thought about how small exhaustion makes me feel. How powerless I am when it takes hold of me. These days I am learning how to bring my life back to center. I have a lot to learn, but one thing I know for sure is that to continue to work at the pace I have been is insane.

Lately, I often imagine myself walking through the vineyard with all three dogs running along side me. That feels sane. I imagine myself going for afternoon hikes in the woods and letting my mind wander. That, too, feels sane. And I think about how I will manage my time between computer work, painting, and meeting with people in the city. In the haphazard current of these thoughts I am beginning to understand that there is only one way to change anything and that is to


Yadda, yadda, yadda...I read about letting go over and over and over. It makes perfect sense. Right? Of course it theory.

It seems that I'm taking the long way around...writing myself to some sort of deeper understanding about all the mixed thoughts that bumble or blaze through my head during the course of a day.

Here's the deal....
I have to let go of the feeling of apprehension that something is going to go wrong and that I am going to feel stupid, naive and let down because of it.
I have to let go of the belief that I am always going to have to work hard to get by.
I have to let go of the idea that I am lacking some magical quality that other successful people possess.
I have to let go of the fear of "not enough"(especially when it comes to time and money).

I mean, I really seriously, deeply need to let go of these things. Belief in myself and the universe has been tested pretty thoroughly on a few occasions these past couple years. Once when I parted ways with my dreams of teaching university level writing and again when I walked away from last winter's partnership and studio space. Both were, in their own ways, necessary experiences. Both taught me the necessity of being true to myself. And yet, in those moments before letting go, there was a very important ingredient missing. I can't quite put my finger on what that ingredient was, but it had something to do with alignment. The most worthwhile part is that I literally feel myself growing from these experiences--like the thick-stemmed tomato plants I planted in our new garden last week--I feel myself growing from the inside out and the outside in.

Anyway...this is just me rambling, trying to capture this time of in-between. When I relax I realize how much I miss writing, how much I miss this blog, how much I miss those little moments of connecting with the thoughts that run through my brain.

The kitchen was the first room I unpacked when we moved into this house. I remember that first morning. We were so exhausted and yet the sun was so beautifully bright. My world sparkled. The ivy covering the windows glowed an emerald green. I made 2 cappuccinos--one for me and one for my husband--and they were the most beautiful cappuccinos either of us have ever had. These days, that same kitchen is dimmed by dust. Ivy has not graced the windows since it was torn down by the painters last summer.

And so...I am happy to be washing the comfortable cups and saucers brought from Italy by Vinny's grandma. Now that I've given them some attention, I like the way the ice cream bowls handed down from my mom have regained their glassy sparkle. It makes me feel good to carefully fill a sink of soapy water with fine bone china and then, one by one, rinse them and set them on a white towel to dry in preparation for something new. I thrive on new. And yet I hold dear those old things that make me who I am.

Red beans in a white bowl. A cup of coffee. A sleeping suckling dog. Funny how such simple things possess everything I need. Funny how often I need to remind myself that everything is as possible as I allow it to be.



Jane_hates_Dick said...

Wow, Jessie, this is a really beautiful, moving, and thought provoking post. Thank you for putting it out there. I enjoyed reading every word.

Sharon said...

I lost your blog for a while, so have been reading several posts... You continue to amaze me with your optimism, bravery, and beautiful soul. Good luck in your new place. It sounds wonderful!

bella said...

The other night, I had a huge crying session. Big, fat, oily tears streaming and the sighing/breathing that I couldn't control... yep, but for different reasons. I just had to let go and while it messed me up for a couple of days, I found myself feeling more at peace with my decision.

I never wish for you to be in that state of mind, but there you found yourself and in hindsight, maybe you needed that release in the tent to start the process.

I know that it's personal and your feelings are truly valid..but can I tell you something that I know? You are good enough ~ talented beyond what you may think ~ and you work (in everything you do) from your gut and from your heart.
The process of letting go is difficult but I've found that deep into that process, something else sparks into shape. You gain strength and enthusiasm and see things in a whole new light.

I wish for you peace while you come to terms with your fears. I greatly admire your sharing here ~ because that's difficult enough. I'm always here for you should you need an unbiased (ahem.. I love you and your work too much to be unbiased, huh? :)
But know what I mean, right? I'm a big supporter of JM, so if JM needs me, I will be here for you. xo

ps.. an a totally different note, I am so glad that you are enjoying the unpacking and setting up your dream place.

Pia f. Walker said...

You've said it all.

Mary, Olive's mommy said...

You are so cute. I'm so our glad black dogs have brought us together!

Kate Iredale said...

Jessie, I sooo understand where you're coming from and what you're expressing here. I've been "working/focusing" at letting go of anxiety and allowing myself to let things flow with more ease in my life, for the past two years. Self sabotage with worry, the belief that I have to struggle to get's been my "story" too.

I drew a line in the sand last year and catch myself now when I start to go down that slippery slope but it had become such an ingrained habit that stopping it is the hardest thing I've ever done.

A quote that spoke to me from Pema Chodren and found on Jen Louden's blog today...

“It is possible to be free of your neurosis and endless stories. It really is.” Pema Chodren

Oh, those endless stories we tell ourselves...I'm completely bored with mine!

What a ramble this turned into but I just had to jump in and say that I really do understand what you're saying.

TaraDawn said...

Your thoughts here are quite similar to so many of my own thoughts lately...about letting go, just being with what is in front of us, allowing hope to enter, and simple pleasures. I love how I can so clearly picture you sitting there with your bowl of beans and the dogs lounging...the words give me the images that reality (or geographical distance) prevents at this moment.

Sending big hugs and lots of love friend!

Amber said...

Beautiful post, friend. I love your heart showing here, even with a little fear. And, um, I GET it, lol.

I hold good things up for you. I don't want you to get too usd to that feeling that things could go wrong-- push that away. I hate to think of you crying in the tent.:(

Good things will come, and the rug will stay in place. I believe it.
But slow down, if that is what you knw you need. Listen to it. Walk in the vineyard.

;) oxoxox

kj said...

dear friend, there is an award waiting for you on my blog. please come....

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Seeing art in everything - even a bowl of beans. Moves can be stressful. Moving house is in itself a letting go and at the same time a moving forward. We so often forget that we are human and so everything goes. The photos you have shared with us of your new place are beautiful. You can see that part of you knew letting go of the teaching and the partnership meant opening up the possibility of what is happening now. Ain't life grand?!

Connie said...

After I read your beautiful post this morning I tried to write you a comment. My intention was to be insightful, but everything I wrote seemed forced.

So I hit delete again and took Nyla for a walk.

Truth is, my dear wise Jessoe, you--your words --your courage to be honest, is a huge teacher to me.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Peace & Love.