I flew to Maine for Christmas. My brother came too, from Bellingham, WA. My sister is already at home, since she goes to College an hour away from my parent's house anyway. This is the first Christmas in 3 years that the whole family is together and it is wonderful. There are great meals galore - hungarian mushroom soup and polenta made by my sister yesterday, romatoff chicken and vegetables, Buffalo meatball stew, French Toast, brussel sprouts and kale from my parent's garden, and we are still a few days from Christmas.
It is snowing today. We were supposed to visit my grand-mother an hour away, but we will go tomorrow instead when the weather is better. It looks like we will have a white Christmas!
Today is Friday. I spent Sunday night in Albuquerque at Teresa's the morning before flying to Maine. I am grateful to live near one of the interns from my 11-week spiritual retreat this summer. I went to dinner with Teresa, and Andee - another friend who works at The Center for Action and Contemplation where the retreat/internship happened. We ate at Baily's on the Beach, my new favorite restaurant, voted 2011 best new restaurant in Albuquerque. The food is eclectic and affordable and the coconut cream pie is so delicious. Despite all of this goodness, I couldn't quite summon my normal, cheery happy self to the table because of a very recent and kind of unexpectedly quick ending to a relationship I was more hopeful about than any other I have been in. There is a saying though, "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." I've had relatively little experience with relationships and I have suffered from them less than most people my age. There is a certain flatness that permeates life for a while after a disappointed ending like that, maybe its due from chemical withdrawal in addition to the severing of emotional and spiritual chords that have been formed invisibly between two people.
I know that the best and most dependable healer is time and the ability, with time, to willingly give all those negative emotions: disappointment, anger, sadness, self-sabotage, confusion, pain, all over to whoever you relate to as your spirit guide. It just seems to take time to relinquish all of that, realizing in the process of letting it go, the clarity and resolution that were invisible when you were still attached and clinging and trying to explain it all to yourself, the other-no-longer-half, or friends.
The plane ride, I knew, could either be a time of peace or a time of obsession and the choice was mine. I chose peace, meditated, read healing books and wrote poetry. I love traveling and it has always made me remember and feel that I have no control, that control is an illusion, and that my life is in the care of larger hands than my own.
Monday night, my oldest friend from my first year of kindergarten, Jenni, picked me up from the Portland airport. It was wonderful to see Jenni in a really great, happy, stable place in her life. We still have such a soul connection after knowing each other a good 23 years. She is a counselor now, so it was especially helpful to process things with her. On Tuesday, we went shopping together in Freeport and Portland. I am pleased a Trader Joe's came to Portland this past year! Then, Jenni took me to the Concord Trailways bus station and I took the bus from Portland to Bangor, ME. Mom picked me up in Bangor and drove me the final leg to Mariaville, to the same house I grew up in. Pop, Vivian and the dogs welcomed me. My brother, Joe, and his girlfriend Lauren, arrived the next day, Wednesday.
Last night, Thursday, I met up with six friends from high school in Bangor. I see a few of the friends once or twice a year, but a few of them I hadn't seen since high school. We concluded the evening at a cute and cozy piano bar downtown called Nocturnum where they serve pear cider and coffee mead. It was very good to see everyone and to feel the kindness and bond we still have for each other. And it was good to get out and be refreshed with different perspectives of living and looking at the world.
Lately, I've been feeling, for the first time in my life, the desire to put down roots instead of wander. I will always love to travel and I know I will do it throughout the rest of my life, but it has ceased to be the priority and motivation for my journey. Something else is taking shape and I can feel my life being redirected. I am open and excited for the redirection and I believe that, as John O'Donohue says, "There is an unseen life that dreams us. It knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize and we need have no fear of change."
I woke up today feeling the abundance of good friendships and loving, wise family in my life. The world looks bright again. Last year, I didn't have a word starting the year, but looking back, the word could have been "Experience." My word for 2012 is "Guided."
Friday, December 23, 2011
To write through this haze,
It is winter, the darkest days,
The soltice in three, then brightening,
To stay with any object, thing,
That reminds me, charged with emotion
Until it holds no charge over me.
The book lent, in my hands,
The keys still in purse pocket,
The couple kissing in line,
I choose peace on this plane.
There is only engine hum sound.
We are above cloud-compressed ground.
I hold it gently, lightly
In the palm of my hand,
Maybe if I make a wish,
And blow my will like an eyelash,
Love will land somewhere quietly
And sprout into reality,
Feathers taking roots,
And growing down,
And roots taking feathers,
And flying forth unbound.
- Jeanne, on the plane home