My Winter Pause

From notes I wrote on Jan 14th, 2015

Joy and Momo

Joy and Momo

7:49am with Momo and Joy on Laura’s patio, Miami, FL

I’ve been at Laura’s since Saturday, when I drove in with a rental car, lugging all my stuff. It’s been 3 full days. Yesterday we made a plan to do two sessions, so it was a real working day. M took his study to the fish office, so Laura and I had the ‘garage’ all to ourselves. That’s what they call it. I call it the Healing Center, or Laura’s office.

The first session was approx. 3 hours. It was a re-assessment and going over and creating a new ‘charged area’ list. The second session was called ‘unblocking’ ~ you pick a person, place, or thing, and the therapist asks you a series of questions about it. For example: ‘Concerning ________, has anything been supressed? Has anything been revealed? judged? concealed? validated?’ It’s a process of opening little holes in the tangled web of our most difficult relationships. It’s like chipping holes in a block of ice so air can circulate. It’s work, and often exhausting, although you’re just talking and sitting on a couch or a comfortable chair.

Today I did a little clearing of my favorite part of the house~ the back patio. I hosed it off and scrubbed the floor and washed down all the outdoor furniture. I like things to be clean, clear, and beautiful, and the patio is where I spend most of my time. I can see the sky, feel the breeze, watch the wildlife on the lake, and be surrounded by beauty. It’s funny, I don’t want to go to the store with Laura to shop, or to the restaurant with them, or to the movies that’s a 40 minute drive away. I said “No, thanks” to all the invitations, and just stayed here at home, most of the time on the back patio with Joy and Momo (the elderly German Shephard and her cat friend). Momo’s lying here on the little table next to my chair. The tip of her tail is flicking, so I know she’s ‘feeling’ my presence. If I just make a tiny humming sound I can activate it. We’re tuned into each other.

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I like it here. I can think. I don’t want to get into a car and go out into that world out there. At least not right now. I’m enjoying the space just to be. I’d rather get into a kayak and go out into the world of nature. It’s peaceful, and quiet, and I connect.

Laura's lake.

Laura’s lake.

People pay good money to be in 78 degrees in January, sitting somewhere with their feet up looking out over water and sipping a cool drink. A huge added bonus is that there’s a cat here right next to me keeping me company. She’s a real companion, and I’m not alone at all. Even though it feels so much like a retreat, I’m calling it a ‘pause.’ Laura comes ┬áby, drops in, and brings me a hot tea, or a Vicks Vapo Rub for my neck. We sit out on the davenport together watching the early morning light or the night sky in the evening, sharing stories of our lives. Then I close my eyes and drift off. She heads back inside, and I’m in my space again.

Sunset on the patio.

Sunset on the patio.

Today’s been our ‘day off.’ She made her own schedule, and I made mine. We crossed paths briefly when she was in-between yoga and a lunch date with her husband and a client. “Wanna come in my room and talk while I get changed?” she called through the open door. We touched base, had a good laugh about how well the arrangement we made is working out, and then she was gone again.

Tomorrow is another ‘work day’ and I’m enjoying the unscheduled-ness of today. However, I still made a to-do list. Structure always give me a framework to hang the time on. It wards off the feeling that I’m wasting it, which always bums me out. It also reminds me of jobs that I need to do: writing to my daughter and her husband, repairing the bra I gave Laura, filing down my new partial, making a pot of lentil soup, washing out my handbag and repacking so as to be ready for my next step. I like the feeling of being on top of things. Maybe that’s part of what I need to let go, but for now it serves me well.

On the patio looking out at the lake, I love the sound the coots make when they run across the top of the water, or dive beneath it. There’s always somebody chasing somebody out of their territory, and I never get tired of watching their antics. It’s hard to imagine anything better than this right now. In exchange for some cooking and cleaning, I have a bed with a pillow and blanket, a good book and a lounge chair overlooking a beautiful lake in sunny south Florida. Meanwhile, everybody else is experiencing a cold front, freezing temperatures, and other inconvenient truths. I’m glad, very very glad, to be here.

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Then why do I keep worrying in the back of my mind about ‘tomorrow?’

“Leave tomorrow for tomorrow,” says Patty. Think about today instead. It’s a blessing. Don’t be so quick to run off. There’s work here. And sometimes that means just listening to your own breath.

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OK. That sounds good. I’m taking a pause for some fresh air…

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Saying Goodbye to Liege

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I’ve been saying goodbye to Liege today.

I had soup with a good friend, and we talked about the changes going on in our lives; It’s good to be on a parallel journey with someone. She’s leaving for Brussels, I’m leaving for the US, but we’ll be connected wherever we go, fellow travelers and seekers after the life we know we were meant to live.

Telling myself that I don’t want to see the inside of any more department stores, I took the river road home, avoiding the shops, and saw the sun glistening on the Meuse, the tree-lined park, and the bridges crossing the water. From up on the bike, I couldn’t smell the urine on the sidewalk. When I noticed it while we were walking, she said, “It’s the smell of LIege!” I never noticed it before today.

I stopped at the Quick for a coffee and a beignet, and thought, “This might be the last time I sit out here. How strange. How nice!”

At the corner SPAR, I greeted the manager, and told her I’m leaving. She told me she is tired, and wants to get out of the grocery business with her brother, but hasn’t found a way yet. We smiled at each other, and she took my card. “You’ll do well. I have a good feeling.” “You, too. Let’s keep in touch!”

My little village of Angleur. Jean fits here, but I don’t.
Life isn’t always what you expect it will be. I wonder where we’ll be in two years, or five?

Today I’ve been saying goodbye to Liege, and packing up my things. It will have been 2 years, 8 months, and 21 days since I arrived here. It feels longer, and at the same time hard to believe that so much time has passed.

I have to ask myself, “What is the lesson here for me? What have I done, and what have I learned?” It’s better than I think, but longer than I wanted.

I round the corner and ride up our street. The sun is bright and the day is warm. Belgium, showing off it’s best self in honor of my leaving? Maybe. Or trying to entice me to stay? Too late for that.

I take off my scarf, and look at the road in front of me. Our apartment is a good place for Jean. I’m happy that he is near the woods where he loves to run, and near his father’s house, where he often visits. Our windows face the path running up into the trees, and look out over the park. We’re on a street that doesn’t go through, so it’s always quiet~ except for the trains. I love the way they sound at night. They remind me that there are places to go. We can stop treading water, and jump on.

I’m saying goodbye to Liege, and I’m glad I’m still alive, and that I have somewhere I want to go. My mother is counting the days until I arrive. She has cleared out her other closet, and emptied half of her drawers to make space for the things I bring. She is waiting with anticipation. She’s getting old now, and tired. I can hear it in her voice. I am glad to have someone who is longing for my return, and to have the time to be there for her. We have many things to share~ two adult women, getting to know each other again.

What else should I write? I still have people to say goodbye to. To embrace and wish well. I saw another friend last week. We met in her front yard, her two small boys excited about their first day of school. She clasped my hand and sighed. Yes, she understood. Japan is her hometown and she is dreaming, too.

I still have an open suitcase staring at me on the floor, but my heart has already started moving. It’s pulling out of the station. A little rusty from having stood still for so long, but I can feel an engine revving somewhere…

I’m wondering if I can still fly…

Let me arrive, safely, with my body, mind, and heart intact.
Let me be ready to discover my SELF on this journey called LIFE.

Goodbye Liege. Thank you, and I wish you well!
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