Lessons I Teach Myself
I am a light drinker, a 'cheap date.'
Despite my red hair - I got no speck of Irish bone in me.
When I have a drink or two, I lose my words quickly and my brain regresses to pretty much being non-existent.
So it is a pleasant surprise when my words jumble up into a life lesson of sorts. And that's what happened today...: I don't recall the exact context, and I won't bore you with the pointless details of it, but I meant to say something along the lines of - 'It's night and day.' Or - 'it's life or death.' Or...it's 'light or dark.'
But what came out was:
It's LIGHT AND DAY.
Who knows what my drunken self meant at that moment. But what I see now looking back at it - is that we like to live in binary terms: in a mindset of 'this or that', 'black and white', 'night and day', 'life or death...'
This year I have been learning about the vast ocean in between the two ends. That's where life mostly is, anyways. And how refreshing it is to break away from that binary mindset, even for a mere moment, in a silly drunken moment that seem to have forgotten any notion of 'night' or 'dark' altogether.
The night will arrive, and yes, it will be dark. but for now, I'll enjoy the day. I'll enjoy the LIGHT. Cheers!
There is a shift that happens in the middle.
The countdown changed from the start of the trip - when I was all taking in, and chewing and biting on future possibilites, to now when I am settled in and secretly counting the days back. Not because I want to return. Though in some ways - I do want to return to the peace and quiet I've gotten from my daily routines. But because I've hit the middle of my time here. In fact - there are less days for me to be here, than the days I've had behind.
I know a thing or two about the middle:
One - I am a middle daughter.
Two - If I could have it my way - I'd only eat the middle inside of a sandwich. Always.
But I have never noticed the change happening within me when I am in the middle of a trip.
I am simultaneously closing a chapter, and clocking in for a new day of work. Summarizing what was left behind, while leaving room to fantasize about the future. The middle of a trip is a balancing act, and give it to a middle daughter Libra - to wonder about it long enough to write about it.
How do you face fears?
Head on and jump right in? Tip toe slowly and gently...? Deny they're there altogether?
Sun is shining bright, humidity is as high as it has been here on the Mexican playa, and off we go into a small speed boat, venturing into the deep blue.
We go with more people than we were told in this tiny boat - so fear number 1 is ignited: Covid. The risks I've taking by taking a plane, by taking off my mask in the crowded street here at times, by entering stores where the staff doesn't wear masks... were joined by a new friend: a capacity bigger than expected on this tiny boat. After a few long moments of hesitation, we get up on the boat, turning back to see the playa disappearing as we speed away.
Enter fear number 2: Speed boat. This little machinery is no walk in the park. Now I see why the tour company sales rep mentioned we should have a LIGHT breakfast. I hold my hand on the railing for most of the ride, and my fearless mer-man suggests I should 'let go.' Sounds so simple, right? I let go for moments...well, seconds... but when the boat rocks back and forth on the fiery sea - I hold on to dear life.
I look at my left, trail the coast with my eyes, as if to not let go of the ground. When I look to my right, fear number 3 pops its head in: deep ocean. What's lurking there? Will it get me? Will we all come out of this fully formed? My mind goes quick with catastrophic thinking. I wonder if I have watched 'Jaws' one too many times. Oh darn you Spielberg! Great filmmakers leave their mark on ya it seems...
Lo and behold, the boat slows down. We arrive at Marieta islands and I come face to face with fear number 4: Snorkeling in the deep ocean. To my surprise the corals are far and between, and the fish are few and gentle, so I am almost impressed with my ease at this new endeavor. (Not so new - I've deep sea dived a handful of times and snorkeled, but every time feels new and equally as stressful for the fearful mouse that I am.) I follow my mer-man towards a rocky area, and a sudden wave appears in my goggles. I cannot see clearly anymore and for a moment - I think... this is it! No return from this moment. The wave will take me to the rocks and bash my skull in! It's not a pretty thought, but luckily I snap out of it and come to my senses. The ocean is clear and calm again and up I go in the boat again. Sigh of relief and even a smile of adventure.
And off we go to another stop, a beautiful playa to chill out in and take pictures in. Our last stop is at the 'Lovers Beach'. This is the highlight of this journey. A round caved beach you must swim under the caves to get to. This is what I thought I'd be afraid of, but after facing the last four fears... I breeze through the 750 feet of swimming against the currant to this wondrous beach where I can admire the surroundings and admire my journey. I lived to tell. I survived facing my fears today. I didn't see any sharks or sting rays (whew thank GOD) and only came out with a couple of minor bruises. And the Lovers Beach was indeed beautiful.
On the boat ride back I drink a couple of beers and suddenly the speed boat doesn't bother me so much, and the few other people that were a 'covid-hazard' before - seem harmless and actually even cool. Oh how deep the rabbit hole of fears go...
We get back to land, tip our tour guide, and head to wash the salt water off of our hair and slightly sun-burned skin.
It was a journey today. One of facing fears, and one of venturing into sea. For me - they are two of the same.
What fears will I face tomorrow? I wonder.
What fears will YOU?
TURTLES are a positive omen bringing 10,000 years of happiness. Or at least that's what the internet says, and we all know how filled with truths the internet is...right?
But in all seriousness, wether they are a good omen or not, we can all agree turtles are pretty adorable and harmless animals. Especially sea turtles... amIright?
So you may be as excited as I am about the wonder of seeing baby sea turtles make their first steps into the raging sea. Today I did exactly that: Every night in Sayulita, at about seven in the evening, the newborn sea turtles - the ones ready to make the leap into the sea, are getting a proper send-off with adoring crowds of locals and tourists, all taking photos and videos and smiling and cheering on the tiny turtles as they head on their way to the water. It really was a wonder.
Just like with the presence of a human newborn, an animal newborn takes off our guard and wipes a huge smile on our faces. I observed myself as I veered from a crappy irritated mood into being absolutely in love with the little creatures. I was glued to their little bodies making their ways HOME. No one had to tell them where it is. No one had to guide the way. They just knew: 'The ocean is our home.'
Us human complicate things so much. We use slogans like 'home is where the heart is', but we don't really relate to our hearts in the same unquestionable way in which the baby sea turtles headed to sea. Do you put your hand on your heart, to feel it every day? Do you know exactly where it is? Does it feel like it's truly your home? Do you keep it well maintained and cared for - as one would hope to keep their home tiny, neat and loved?
When I work out - especially after doing some intense workout - I place my left hand on my heart and feel its beat. I breathe deeply and notice that slowly the beat starts slowing down, spacing out. The vibration in my hand is so strong that I sometimes I want to move my hand away. But I stay with it, studying, noticing, learning. Making the slogan a truth I can live by. A home I can live in. A home in my heart.
If I don't really know my own heart, how could I expect someone else to?
The answer is: I can't.
But what I CAN do is get as acquainted with my heart and its rhythm as well I possibly can. So one day I don't even have to use a slogan or another, I'll just KNOW: Home is where my heart is., and that's where I am going. Going deeper into my heart, just as sea turtles head to sea. No hesitation, no turn around, no where else but THERE, no other time but NOW. Follow the big beating heart.
Some are ragged and rocky, filled with sticky sand and slimy seaweed.
Some are clear and clean of any rocks, of any wildlife, white sand glistening in the sun.
Some are tropical and the jungle dips its toes right at the water, as if kissing it 'hello'.
Today I visited two beaches. Two very different beaches in feel, in sound, in story:
One was the town's main beach - a lively small beach filled with people, small boats, fishermen, paddle-boarders, surfers, kids bathing with joy, warm water, palm trees, beach umbrellas, lounge chairs and anything else you'd expect in a lively beach town vibe. A great little beach, but nothing I haven't seen before in similar climates, in similar towns.
The other - up a hill from the main beach, tucked behind trees and behind an old out-of-a-story kind of a cemetery, is a sort-of cove with rocks on both sides, but a clear beach in the middle. It is called 'the beach of the dead.' And it is far away from dead. One of the first visitors I noticed was a bee-like flying bug. I say bee-LIKE because it resembled it's shape and buzz, but its color was dark green. Next I saw a shiny black colored crab crawling on the rocks on the side of this somewhat hidden beach. This beach was quiet, maybe two dozen beach goers and a handful of dogs. One dog in particular caught my eye. It was a lab I believe, or a golden retriver - I often get these two awesome breeds confused. It was so happy when it leaped into the water doing its 'dog swim'. It would come out and rub his face in the sand a few times, getting as messy as possible as if it needed a reason to go back in and wash itself up. It was overjoyed in the water, jumping, drooling, having the time of its life.
If that is a beach of the dead - why should we be afraid of anything death related?
Maybe that's the point. The Mexican culture know a thing or two about death. As all cultures do... but the way they celebrate the dead here is so pronounced, so epic, so.... ALIVE.
I was wondering all that as I was laying on my beach towel, staring at the changing skies that were shifting from blue-gray to being filled with red. BLOOD red. Is that way it is called the beach of the dead?
Or is it because it is guarded by the dead? The cemetery at its entrance greets every visitor with its presence. As if saying 'You too will be buried in the ground one day. Or turned into ashes. Enjoy your life until then. Don't live your life as if you're dead already. Live it fully. Live it well. Be overjoyed.'
The dog got the message. It sure did.
Us humans? We still have some catching up to do...
When one visits a place they have been in before, she begins scanning each place in her mind. 'Here is where we had that amazing taco.' We walked down that narrow street and got lost in it, remember?' 'That rooftop has a chill garden vibe.' It is a scan of one's memory. Sealing the experiences of the past - to clear room for the experiences of the present.
We boarded a plane off LAX and made our non-stop three hour way to Sayulita.
We double masked our faces - was actually surprisingly comfortable but a longer flight would surely be a drag - and we put our stress away by watching 'Knives Out' on the plane. Before we knew it, we landed in Mexico and were about to begin the journey into traveling to another country during a global pandemic.
As the plane was making its way down to land, I looked at the landscape and the small miniature homes from a bird's eye view, and was reminded of the importance of PERSPECTIVE. How crucial it is sometimes to step outside of one's self in order to see better.
As I made my way through customs, through rental car companies, through the town and the beach at sunset - I noticed right away: There is a lot less fear over this virus here than in the US. Is it because there are less cases? Is it because there is less political drama? Is it because the tropical jungle and the warm waters puts people at ease...? I wondered as I started examining my own senses of fear and stress, and allowed some sense of relaxation to creep in. And just then... the night came. And with it, my hopes and dreams for my upcoming week: Relax. Rejoice. Relief. Revisit.
To be continued...
No, I'm not going on a cruise ship.
Or a yacht. Or a boat. Or a speed-boat. Or a paddle-board. Or a jet-ski. Or a surf-board. Or a.... I ran out of words. But what I AM doing - is going on a trip. Why not quarantine in nature!? Inspired by palm trees and coconuts and tropical weather!? Why the hell not. This year is stressed out and stressing everyone out. And if I learned anything this year it's:
*TIME goes fast.
*DO what the fuck you want. (just don't hurt anyone 'kay?)
*SELF-CARE is the actual form of self-love everybody loves to talk about and yet not many ACTUALLY practice...
*TRUST your gut. (and do what you need to do to strengthen it! That includes rigorous ab work for me)
*INVEST in your DREAMS, in your HEALTH, in your RELATIONSHIPS, and in CRYPTO. ;)
So all aboard to my next adventure!
Four letter word
And a whole lot of feeling.
I met it when I first arrived onto this world
Roaring at the faces glaring at me
Crying for mama
To put me back
Safe and sound.
It taunted me in nature
Teased me with snakes, and spiders, and roaches
I would point at insects
Searching for a savior.
At school it was more vindictive:
It shut me up
Put a muzzle on my mouth
Numbed me to the point of terror.
At war, it made me think it was normal
It was my every day
It was everyone’s every day
'Such is life' it said with a cruel Smirk.
It showed up on stage
It perked up with boys
It shook its head in tests
It blossomed in parties
It pounded at me on the news
It was present at funerals.
Today it is airborne
It is in our lungs.
It is in our blood.
It is in our bodies
All one point eight million of them.
Four letter word.
And a whole lot of feeling.
What would FEAR be if we hadn't named it?
The problem with travel, is that it leaves you with a taste for MORE.
I've been back in Los Angeles, with the fiery skies and streets filled with homeless people. (well both are exaggerations but you get the point) for over a week now, and all I want to do is be AWAY.
Away from home.
From the familiar.
From the mundane.
From my laptop.
From my ZOOM world.
From my bed.
From my closet.
From my cats, even. (Shhh....don't tell them)
As life and work is becoming more virtual, more physically remote, I am tempted to find myself a beautiful inspiring scenery somewhere in nature with a comfy bed, reliable internet and a good cup of coffee. What else will I need!? Oh, sure - some vegan food options won't hurt. And maybe a pool or a beach. Especially in hot weather. And maybe good air-conditioning. And a patio or a deck. And a.... Know what? I don't need all that. Just the top four please: NATURE, BED, WIFI, COFFEE. Winning foursome right there. Boom.
Stay tuned for another travel log / road trip in the very near future. It's coming.
Soon...I'll be AWAY.
Hope leaps to her feet (aka skates) and reaches to Mickey's BACKPACK.
HOPE: Holy shit, that's heavy!
MICKEY: DON'T touch that!
HOPE: What d'you have in there, rocks!?
MICKEY: No. Give it back.
HOPE: What, you have water there? Don't tell me, it's a twelve pack of Guinness!?
MICKEY: It's...PRIVATE. Leave it alone!
Mickey holds on to his backpack for dear life.
HOPE: Okay. Fine. Thought we were... friends.
MICKEY: We are. Friends trust each other.
HOPE: Friends don't keep secrets.
MICKEY: Friends don't leave each other behind.
HOPE: Friends accepts apologies.
MICKEY: Why do you want to burn a man?
HOPE: Why do you want to know?
MICKEY: Why are you answering with a question?
HOPE: Why... are you so fucking annoying all the time!?
MICKEY: Why are you so angry?
HOPE: Aaaahhhh! Why are you so.... Why do you get under my skin like that?
MICKEY: Where are you from? You never said.
HOPE: Why DO YOU KEEP ASKING!?
Hope skates away. Leaving Mickey to trail slowly behind her.
Mickey turns to the audience:
MICKEY: (to the audience) My old man always said God appears like an enigma. Shows up unexpected to restore our faith in him. Some people see it on a toaster, or in a cloud. Some in people. She is no doubt a messenger. Why else would she be so enigmatic? Why would she leave me so confused and stranded, trying to hold on to my mind. I am falling for her. Like, for real. I am falling for her heart. For her secrets. For her anger. For her... freakiness. But how do I stop pushing her away. I don't know. I don't know.
Hope stops in her tracks. She spots something.
HOPE: What the hell? D'you see that? Like, that's for real right? I'm not imagining this little blue cabin in the middle of nowhere...am I?
MICKEY: Must be abandoned.
Hope removes her skates and checks out the cabin. She circles it twice.
HOPE: Where's the door?
MICKEY: In the back?
MICKEY: Huh. No windows?
MICKEY: What about the roof?
HOPE: Sealed shut.
Hope TAPS on the cabin. There's an ECHO of the tapping sound.
HOPE: What the hell is this thing? Isn't this area 51!? Is this covering some spaceship or something? Or is this like a portal to another dimension? Or a time travel machine, holy fuck!
MICKEY: So... you don't believe in God but you believe in UFOs and time travel?
HOPE: NOT the same thing.
MICKEY: You either believe in what you don't see, or you don't.
HOPE: Okay, well I believe... I don't know. Okay? All I know is that we are in the middle of nowhere and some cabin or whatever this is shows up out of the blue without any way to access it. So it must be hiding something inside it or it's some UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT or I'm losing my mind completely.
The Burner, dressed this time in an Alien costume, appears suddenly, seated on the unidentified cabin.
BURNER: Yoo-hoo! You called?
HOPE: For fuck sake you scared me! What, why are YOU here?
BURNER: Ask yourself. You summoned me. I am entirely YOUR doing. And this whole thing is getting quite old, if you ask me.
HOPE: So ask YOU or ask MYSELF!?
BURNER: Now you are confusing me. Oh, I get it. You must be confused right now. That's why I'm here. To get some clarity in that thick of head of yours. SO HERE YA GO BEFORE I'M GETTING ROASTED IN THIS HEAT AND THIS OUTFIT: You are not losing your mind. But you are gonna lose that sweet man behind you if you keep being a fucking bitch to him.
HOPE: Do you have to use a sexist word?
BURNER: I'm in your mind remember? You might be more sexist than you think. Personally I prefer 'jerk' or 'dummy', but 'bitch' its what you ordered, so 'bitch' it is!
HOPE: He's following me like a puppy, nothing I will do will make him dislike me.
BURNER: You sure about that? You sure you know what is in that head of his? He is hiding something in his backpack, you know. He must be hiding other things. And he's following you because he wants to get out of here as badly as you do. But who says he'd stick around once you get to town? He and his dog may go off and leave you all alone to figure out how to get to Burning Man without a truck and without a penny to your name.
HOPE: I can fix the truck. He said it can be fixed.
BURNER: And who's gonna pay for it?
Mickey comes closer to Hope.
MICKEY: This could be an art installation or somethin' like that. Every once in a while some artists from Hollywood drive over here and do their 'art' things in the desert. I don't know the point but it seems to be a thing for those people.
HOPE: Yeah, that could be it. Totally. You're right.
BURNER: Now THAT'S a much better way to talk to a man.
HOPE: (to The Burner) Did you really just say that?
BURNER: Told you. You are a sexist bitch.
HOPE: (to the burner) FINE!
MICKEY: What's that?
HOPE: Nothing. I was just talking to myself.
To Be Continued...
Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog that may, or may not be, of any significance to anyone other than herself. If you found her lil' life lessons, stories, poems and blurbs meaningful to you, well that's f**ing amazing! Comment and share so she can pat herself in the back - she doesn't do that nearly enough. Cheers.