Hello again from Mountain Mecca & Hippy Heaven!
How many places, how many towns, have I lived in since the spring of 2003? Abaco (The Bahamas), Key Largo (Florida), Jaco & Golfito (Costa Rica), Mulege (Baja, Mexico), Port Coquitlam (BC – Casa Roney), Coquitlam & Ucluelet (BC), Port Coquitlam again, Mulege again, back to PoCo, Las Vegas, Surrey (BC – Kozak mansion), and now…Nelson.
Whew, I’m tired just writing all that out! And that’s just the places we lived in for more than a week. The list doesn’t include all the road trips and “visits”.
I’ve become so blasé about moving now that my pulse barely changes at the thought of packing up everything we have and relocating to the unknown. My expectations have changed, or, rather, I have let go of my expectations. In the past, each city was a promise – this will be the spot, now we will start moving forward (as opposed to just moving)! And yet, when we finally made the big move it was as if we arrived at our destination only to find a huge billboard with an arrow pointing onward: “Looking for contentment? It’s just one town away!”
So when people asked me if I was excited about our latest trek to Nelson, my response was underwhelming to say the least. “Ya, it will be nice.” I’d sigh. A far cry from the heady, party days of pre-Bahamas. (How many going away parties did we have?! Ugh, I even wrote a song about that move I was so thrilled. A song. How many people write a song about moving?)
And now a strange thing has happened…I really, really like it here.
No, I mean it. Not the usual honeymoon effect of new geography that wears off soon after you figure out it’s too: hot/cold/wet/dry/expensive/dangerous/boring/loud/quiet/crowded/empty/etc. No this is a weird, deep, soul soothing kind of like. Since I’ve been here I’ve felt my spinning mind coming gradually, gratefully, to a stop. And I need you to understand, this is a good thing. A very good thing.
I don’t know what most people think about during the course of a day but my brain usually feels like it’s stuffed full of crickets. The hopping and chirping can drive you bonky. All these thoughts bounce around my cranium demanding attention, interfering with my sleep, distracting me at work (just ask the Prez). And sometimes (often) the crickets become locusts, swarming and feeding, destroying what’s healthy in there.
I brood. I replay imaginary conversations I’d like to have over and over and over with only slight variations. Many a person who has wronged me or a loved one has felt the sting of my wit and offered up sincere and heartfelt apologies…in my head. I’ve even decked a few of the more stubborn ones; a nice right hook in the chops! If you’re someone I love and you have been treated unjustly by another person then you can rest easy knowing that I have used my imagination to avenge you. Call me The Imaginator!
It was only two days ago during one of these one-person dialogues that something bizarre happened – another voice appeared in my head, completely uninvited (the nerve). The voice, which was both me and not me at the same time, spoke…
New Voice: “Why do you do this? You have so much creativity, why do you waste it on arguments you know you’ll never have with people who don’t matter anyway?”
Me: “But I like doing this. What’s wrong with what I’m doing?”
New Voice: “It’s a bad use of energy, that’s what’s wrong with it.”
Me: “But this is an important imaginary discussion. This particular person has said some nasty things about someone I love and they need to be taught a lesson!”
New Voice: “As long as you keep having these conversations you will always be angry inside. Who cares what they said? Who cares what anyone says? You keep re-opening old wounds and then wondering why they never heal.”
Me: “Oh ya, well what do you suggest I do Mrs.Smarty Pants Uninvited Voice? Huh?!”
New Voice: “Forgive them. Forgive all the people you feel angry at, wish them peace and then let them go.”
And so I did. Just like that. The anger which has been rocks in my stomach for all my life turned into a handful of balloons. I let go of the string and watched them float off into the sky. The crickets grew silent and I experienced a much needed moment of peace.
Now I’m not naïve enough to believe that I won’t ever drift back into that bad habit or that my crickets are now under complete control, but I know I have the power to stop myself. And, more importantly, I now realize that I should stop myself.
I blame all of this metaphysical mumbo jumbo on Nelson. And on my friend Terri.
I’ll deal with you later Nelson, first I’ll talk about Terri’s part in all this. (By the way, I’m still trying to come up with a nickname for Terri. Everyone within the ClubFred sphere gets a nickname whether they like it or not and it just seems wrong for Terri to go without). The aforementioned Terri gifted me a book titled, “Eat. Pray. Love. One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia.” The author writes about a year she spends abroad. I’m addicted. I read feverishly to and from work, ignoring poor Prez as he drives. What struck me right off the bat is how this woman writes as if she lives inside ME. Sometimes I come across a piece and laugh out loud because I know that I would have been thinking the exact same thing. Anyway, I babble.
So I’m at the “India” part of the story where the author – Elizabeth Gilbert – is spending time in an Ashram. And she starts talking about how much she BROODS on things and can’t let go of past hurts and BANG, I realize, Oh my god, that’s me. That’s me! With a little help from a Texan guru (read the book, you’ll laugh), she eventually learns how to get her brooding under control. And what’s really funny, somewhat creepy but mostly funny, is that I read that part of the story on the drive home from work where I had just, two hours or so previously, had my own little brooding epiphany. For someone who doesn’t believe in much that is not tangible, it sure seemed like the universe was sending me a loud message.
Thank you Terri. Or should I call you Guru Terri? Hmmmm. I like the sound of that.
And Nelson you have to accept responsibility for your part in all this too! Since I’ve been here, as I told you, my mind has been slowing down…in a good way. Maybe it’s the trees, or the beautiful mountains, or the lake that’s so glassy in the morning, perhaps it’s the chalet with its solitude, or waking up in the middle of the night and looking out the skylight and seeing stars, maybe it’s having lunch and chatting with Becky every day and soaking up her calmness, maybe, maybe, who knows?
Prez and I came here knowing we already liked the town a lot but we’ve liked other towns a lot too and they haven’t stuck. The deciding factor as to whether we would stay or go was work. Could we get enough work here? Will people pay our prices? Well, so far, response to our newspaper ad has been sssssllllllloooooowww and folks we’ve quoted seem gun shy when we mention our fees. So we should call it quits right? That’s what we always do when things don’t go our way – cut our losses and run. Except my little voice paid another visit to me the other day and said, “You like it here, you want to be here, so make it work. You know you can make it work.” I know we can make it work. Prez agrees, we’ll make it work.
Thank you Nelson.
Returning to the book for a moment, while the author is in Italy, Rome to be precise, she has a conversation with an Italian friend in which she confides that she knows she couldn’t live in Rome, it’s not her city although she’s not sure why. The friend tells her that every city has a word “that defines it, that identifies most people who live there.” Rome’s word was SEX. I started thinking about the cities I’ve lived in and their words. In every case, the word I came up with just didn’t bond with me somehow (with perhaps Mulege being the exception with PLAY). What was Nelson’s word I wondered?
Oh that’s easy said you-know-who.
You’re right I replied.
Question: What is the word of your city?
"The moment I let go of it, is the moment I got more than I could handle.
The moment I jumped off of it, is the moment I touched down." – Alanis Morisette "Thank You India"
Until next week, I hope this finds all of you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
p.s. – I’m trying a new font, let me know what you think!