I was going to let myself off the hook this morning.
After a two-day intensive writing workshop, I knew I hadn’t been slacking on my craft. With a holiday (in honor of one of my heroes, by the way. Bless you Dr. King!) and no work today, I announced to Jeb and the Bohemian that I would be officially sleeping in.
Yet, at 5:45 this morning, I could stay in bed no more. The keyboard called me.
This past weekend’s workshop, “Writing About the Extraordinary”, was led by the amazing Hope Edelman, author of several books, including one called “The Possibility of Everything.” We were invited to come with 750 words describing some remarkable event from our life. Despite the multitude of phenomenal encounters I have experienced in my 38 years, I was at a loss as to which one to choose.
In very uncharacteristic fashion, I showed up to the workshop, essentially empty-handed and (almost) late. Yet, over the course of two days, Hope’s practical teachings framed a foundation from which I could ground my extraordinary experience(s) into something that had meaning.
There were three very distinct events that called to be written. And what I discovered about them was that despite the phenomenal quality I experienced, first-hand with each, there was a gap. A gap between my logical mind that wanted to make sense of it and my feeling self that knew.
Between the realms of intuitive and intellectual knowing was a rift that was hard to navigate. Without the security of a bridge to the logical mind, doubt would inevitably creep in. It would whisper dissuading arguments. If I couldn’t understand it, maybe it wasn’t true.
Instead of degrading myself for being a Doubter, I realized that perhaps a strong thread in my extraordinary experiences was the doubt itself. The human inclination to question even the most vivid, when we cannot make sense of it.
With this revelation, my piece began to be written.
Dedicated as I am to chronicling here in the Archives, I’m including an excerpt from what came out of this weekend’s workshop. I sense that the experience I describe is framed by two more events, yet to be detailed in writing.
For now, I’m grateful for an amazing weekend, inspired by the possibilities.
~ Excerpt from a work in progress…”Writing About the Extraordinary” assignment, January 2012.
Standing at a stream crossing, naked but for my butterfly sarong, banana trees bowing beneath the weight of a fresh rain, I look at him and know I have a choice. I can say yes and surrender into loving him. Or say no and choose a different trail.
I choose yes and let myself fall deeply into love, though our next three years together are filled with a full spectrum: passionate pledges of abiding devotion and a series of dramatic break-ups punctuated by slamming doors.
We lived in this push and pull, housed in an old school bus up on blocks, our bed by the swinging exit door in the back. I was in my late twenties and feeling nesty, dreaming of a family. He was in his early thirties still hoping to make it big with one great song or simply resign to a life meditating in a cave. His photographs of saints, propped up on guitar amps, collected dust where the bus driver’s seat had once been, staring at us in faded wisdom, amidst ashes of burnt incense.
Uncertain of our fate and all my family yearnings, the Musician boarded a plane for four months travel through India. In his absence, I made a garden. Uprooted buffalo grass with a pick axe. Planted marigolds and basil in the front yard. Hung prayer flags at the screen door. Carefully journaled my dreams.
I signed up for a women’s workshop. A two day course designed to connect women with their wombs and sacred sexuality. Having lost an ovary when I was eighteen and undergone a second surgery on my remaining one, I was fearful that my dream of being a mother may never be realized. I attended the workshop with the intention of opening to fertility and signaling to the universe that I was ready for a family. My not-sure-if-he’s-still-my-boyfriend-but-maybe was still in India and I was clear that if he wasn’t the one for me, I wanted to make way for the one that was.
I sat in the circle with 11 women. We had done some stretching, breathing deeply. We followed the invitation of our instructor to allow tonal sounds to move through our throats. A cacophony of pitches wove through the circle, my ears ringing, my body vibrating. I was toning, too, with closed eyes, listening to the layers of sound when suddenly I tuned to the song of a bird at the window.
The call was like none I had ever heard before. Its delivery alien, not earthly, as though coming from some other planet. And as I listened to the bird my being was washed in a resounding truth. A transmission imparted that surpassed words. It was not language, simply an understanding. Cellular, clear and plain. I would, undoubtedly, have a child.