October 10th, 2009:
While I was at dinner this evening, my friend Mimi called and left a message on my cell phone in the form of a poem titled The Layers. The final line was, "I am not done with my changes." Well, yes, I had to agree. I'm not done with my changes.
I've felt a lot of bubbling and churning just below the surface for the past couple of days. I've ascribed this to my impatience that the apartment get cleaned out, keys handed over, and that I fully move into Maitri. I have so enjoyed spending day after day here at the residence. Yesterday, I started anticipating working in the apartment today with dread. "Can't it just be over?" I asked myself. When I woke up this morning, I felt crabby and distant from my old eagerness to pack and move. Then I burst into tears while still in bed. I didn't want to work. I didn't want to be sick. I don't want to die. Every direction felt oppressive, mean, heavy.
Then the great fugue of the day began. Feelings of sadness and drear followed by a friend reaching to connect with me. Down then up. After a darkness through getting dressed and eating breakfast, I returned to my room for a phone call with my friend Laura who lives outside of Chicago. Within minutes of hearing her voice, I was engaged in our conversation, delighted to hear the sounds of her voice, eager to know what she was doing with her interesting life, reaching to clarify my answers to her questions that centered around, "How are you?" By the end of the call, we were both excited from the quality of our communication and the joy of knowing each other.
I've been conscious of remembering to say yes when people ask if they can help out with my moving and other tasks. A couple of weeks ago, Chris Harris volunteered to help me pack the boxes that would be sent around the country to people who couldn't come and pick up their gifts at my apartment. Today was the day when her expertise was needed. And wow, did she show up in many ways. She retrieved me at Maitri, went to the box store to buy shipping containers, and then, with the help of Ken and Gaetano all the various packages were filled, insulated, sealed, labeled and prepped for their journeys to the various directions. I was so grateful to know that they could do a great job. This time I didn't need to say goodbye to the contents. Rather, I let them be handled with skill by other people. I trusted that it would all be done. And it was. Again, my discomfort at being in the apartment was eclipsed by the reassurance from friends that I would be helped, supported, taken care of by their love.
And then, the frosting. My friend Adrienne had come to the apartment from her home in Mendocino. I don't get to see Adrienne often, but today, after retrieving her tansu and two beautiful kimono, she returned me to Maitri and we had lunch followed by a lovely, reassuring visit in my room. What bliss! Another fine time with a person I love. "I am not done with my changes."
These are the touchstones in my life these days. When I visit with my friends, whether on the phone or in person here at Maitri, I am settling into my next phase of life. There hasn't been a visit that lacks a significant revelation. With each person, some gleam of wisdom, some new facet of knowledge is revealed. Of course, I never know what it will be. But it never fails to appear: the nuance or fact or opinion that gives me a new view about my life or the other person's truth. Forward. More. Rearranged significance. And the time to enjoy it.