No fear of the depths
You know that feeling when you start to fall in love? The unmistakable winged creatures fluttering in your torso? A breathlessness, a heightened-senses-wide-awakeness while you're kinda drifting off the ground? Is it just me? (Cue Chet Baker singing "I Fall in Love Too Easily")
I learned that that other-worldly swoon phase is called "limerence." Sounds like the weird little sing-songy, often risque limerick--there was an old man from Nantucket, always Nantucket. lol But limerence is like the crumb-littered path to real love, the rose petal pathway, the cartoon pie scent carrying the wolf (always a wolf) to the window sill where an apple pie cooled, wafting its cinnamon scent out into the wild. In this metaphor, the apple pie would be love...I think I could get behind that. But we'll save me eating my feelings for another day.
Limerence is that dive into the soothing cool pools on a scalding day, where the heat is shucked away as the body glides in the buoyancy of blue, held, soothed, sighing. THAT is how I feel here today returning (publicly) to writing. Writing as a promise. Writing as a way to honor myself and my gifts. It's so easy to be in a life and not use what's right at the swirls of our fingertips. Why do we do that? Lately what's been at my fingertips is my cell phone--ummmmm an average of 14 hours a day last week. (!!!!) My phone slipped that little bit of info to me this morning just after I had reached over and opened my device to check Lord knows what...Instagram? FB? Pinterest? Email? It's such a habit that I don't even recall. (Any other email hoarders out there? omg!)
I'm tempted to give you my defense--I'm building a business or two via my iPhone, diving into
"Selling Sunset" because I want to see what fashion Christine is bedecking her Jerry Hall fabulosity with and I am obsessed with homes and love seeing the hefty commissions they get when these sexy homes find owners...an artist needs inspiration!...ummm...I needed a mental break, didn't want to face putting myself out there (I'm creating my first 30-day course and the necessity and excitement and desire around it overwhelmed me!!!); I'm working out the kinks of the stray specks of self sabotage that threaten to dampen my light. But excuses be damned, 14 hours is an insanely ridiculous amount of time to have my phone around. (Does it include music? I hope it includes music...then I don't feel quite so crazy.)
Enter the jolt of a new promise. While up in the Bay Area for 10 days at my mom's house, we celebrated the life of John Lewis together, tearing up as the pallbearers carried him, listening to Obama deliver his eulogy, reminding us of Lewis saying that as long as he had breath in his body, he would do everything he could to preserve this democracy. Then George W. Bush reminded us that Lewis "always thought outward, not inwards." Imagining him marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge at 25, for the right to vote, knowing that death may meet him on the other side. It hit my soul hard, thinking about this man who dedicated his life to racial equity, who held a better vision of our country. So deep was his commitment that he would walk headlong into possible death for it. It hit my soul this legacy he left, what a courageous, inspiring journey he braved.
I flung my hands into the air at the yellow formica table, that belonged to my Texan grandmother who I loved to the outer edges of my heart, but who had also handed me the heavy weight of her racism. (May she rest in peace, undoubtedly animatedly telling a story to the other spirits.) She taught me to treat everyone equally, to never act as if I'm above anyone else but when she found out that my best friend, my sister, my inseparable half, my singing "Songs in the Key of Life" in harmony friend and treasure was named Hassanah and what kind of name was that and you'd better not wear her clothes or you'll get lice. That kind of racism, stated as fact. I didn't know how to hold it. Felt too heavy for me to hold. Didn't want to.
I threw my hands into the air at the dining table and said, "What the fuck am I doing with my life? What's my legacy? I've been just sitting here on my privilege. Who do I actually think I am? What do I want to leave behind? What do I have to give?" My sweet mom took a deep, knowing breath and let it out slowly, in pained agreement. I can't just be in a state of ambivalence anymore. Too often I have let life swirl me into the distraction of too many ideas and not enough fruition. How could I best serve people? (I knew the answer.) How could I use my strengths and build my own legacy? (Yes, great spirit, I hear you! Like a hymn in my heart, I hear you!)
John Lewis's immense life and mission coupled with the words of the Queen of Coaches, Gina DeVee. She often declares, "I am no longer available for _____________." I could fill in the blank with anything from the amount of zeros in my bank account to spending damn near my entire waking hours on my phone. I am not available for mediocrity anymore. This moment felt similar to the moment when poetry found me, an eight year old girl, riding her pink Huffy home from school, needing to write down those first lines of poetry, inspired by the pink plum blossoms flittering like confetti from the trees. A fire bloomed in my belly then as it does now; this life is meant to be fully lived to the outer edges of its petals, to claim your place in the scheme of it all, to seize the fricking dazzle again, chase it with all my might.
Which brings me again to limerence. Sitting here with the summer twilight igniting the face of the buddha above my desk. Having rededicated myself to writing. To blogging every week (at the least), to offering you the blessing of a course that I have put together to soothe people's souls, simply, necessarily. This dedication is like a renewal of my vows to my own soul. I promise to honor and cherish. I promise to listen, to shut it all down and Listen until I can hear the thrum of my heart. I promise to show up. To be "in the arena," as Bren Brown so beautifully puts it. I blame her for reminding me again to stand up and say the words. I reached over in my "work in progress" office and grabbed "Rising Strong" from the top of a stack of books and began reading words about courage. They made me cry. She said, "We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can't have both. Not at the same time."
So all I can do is be willing to fall. Be willing to run head on in when my heart tells me to write, to not squander this miracle of stringing words together for the joy of it but also for the pain of Not doing it. Not showing up for myself. For the icky tangle of vulnerability that invariably comes from spilling my heart. I hope what I've said here today, in this fading light, pretty little dog at my feet, nudges you a little, knocks on a closed door in your spirit, flips a switch, lights a fire for you. What is it that calls you, that makes you feel that fluttering of invisible wings in your torso, gives you that dazzling feeling of falling, letting yourself fall and maybe light up the world around you with the glow of that limerence.