Beginning: I am a strong, capable woman with affirmations, layers, and a mind that knows a beach where I can fall softly. I am endlessness and light, and I have a mental audio tape that takes me to the beach. You know the one. We all know the one with waves peaking and crashing with every breath that keeps you breathing. I think of seagulls until I start to hear them, and by now the smell of sea salt brushes through my hair as I fall deeper into my body. I trust myself harder because from every other time in this place, the pattern tells me that the sand beneath me must also be soft like it has been every other time. I know the sand is soft, so I sink deeper into my body that sinks into the soft sand. Sometimes in this layered, imagined place, I hear Carol coaching me about ballet arm positions. She lays down on the sand next to me talking me through it. Just swing them up there. It’s like a day at the beach. You’re just laying on the beach, and your arms are just there easily. She always took extra time with me. I imagine my soft halo arms in a broken 5th above my head like my Mary statue. All three of us in one: Mary, Carol, and I at the beach with our easy arms. Breathing.
My mom comes on Friday. I cannot wait to see her. The pressure of needing to know more and opening myself up to all opinions on the internet has me longing for easy arms. Quiet down, cut off these layers and breathe. Easy arms hang along the walls of my mind like Waterhouse paintings in a stuffy Victorian house reminding me, calling me back to the sand and sea. You are dreaming in the glow of your own dharma, not someone else’s, so you need to learn how to take care of yourself. The internet cannot be your main layer of upkeep, and this is another lesson in staying grounded in sobriety while living nomadically. Begin from within and extend out, always.
We are in autumn. I read somewhere recently about roots and giving yourself time for rooting like root vegetables with the harvest season. Tonight is the new moon. I feel like stepping back and taking a day on the mental audio tape beach, or possibly, today, that just means day dreaming on the couch. Slowing down is difficult, but I fall into the couch anyway saying to myself with easy arms in fifth, Just fall into the couch. It’s just another day at the beach. Wrapping my body in the down comforter from our bed, I manage an amateur version of what I imagine gentleness and tenderness for oneself might be. It looks like falling into a mountain of pillows right now. My eyes hang heavy, and Michael cues Beethoven lightly in the background. Just a day at the beach, and somewhere along the line I drift away peacefully to distant seagulls and salt air. I drift back into myself with the same ease and easy does it. Peeling myself together from both ends, I rise. My legs and shoulders rise to the music, like kundalini rising. Rising like orchestral strings are meant to animate my every movement. Classically and naturally this music takes me on like a marionette : opening my eyes to a layer cake view.
The frame starts with two clouds covering my knees, layer one. Sitting up higher and eyes opening further, I peer out over the tops of my flower vases layer two. They stay lined up along the windowsill because fresh flowers are the best we have until 10 years from now when we have a house and a garden. I do not have any catch phrases for now. What day at the beach? With the clouds, the flowers and the Beethoven bordering my world of giant windows everything right now makes sense. Right now is a peaceful place to be. There is no place like the present. I day dream on through the window, and then there he is. That’s him. That is my husband. I like watching him like this from far away like a secret. It’s like I have never met him before. I keep this day dream going from inside the frame of pillow clouds and flower vases. I see a handsome man with a brown paper grocery bag in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in another. If I didn’t know him I would wonder who they were for and admire him for it. The rain hangs in a cold, mist. It is cold and misty enough to wear a coat. He looks even more impressive in his seasonal wardrobe debut. No scarf yet, but this is the fall edition Michael. That’s him. He makes his way down the slick, reflective sidewalk, holding those bright orange dahlias. I know some women do not care for flowers, but I am not one of those women. I am in the middle of the wedge that wedges itself in between sometimes, and then I breath and see flowers. I sit up and hold easy arms in that soft halo above my head watching my husband cross the street. I smile and float my head back onto the tower of pillows to make sure he does not see me. If I still hear Beethoven when I place my ear to a seashell, if I hear him through the waves and gulls then I know we are all the same. We forget what it means to be alive sometimes now, and we forget how precious freedom from agony really was in the beginning of sobriety. Sometimes I see girls who remind me of what it means to have 3 days of sobriety, and I remember what it means to have 12 days of sobriety and how precious it was to have 24 hours of sobriety. We forget how we got here sometimes, and I find peace in the wild things with stories greater than the ones we tell ourselves about what happened, so I am a keeper of flowers, a listener of Beethoven, and a firm believer in easy arms.
Note: Imaginative girls can either learn to dream themselves on into creative freedom, or they can learn to stop imagining completely and stay crammed and stuck inside of someone else’s box. Sometimes this feels like the safest place for you, but it will never be enough. You are not ridiculous. You are beautiful. Dream always. . I love you. You are perfect. You can do this.