Lessons I Teach Myself
Welcome to the world new human.
You are small in figure, very small.
You cry a lot and you only see fragments of what's in front of you.
People pass you around, tending to you.
One even feeds you. This one feels familiar.
You hear things, people, voices, sounds.
Some voices are familiar, some are not.
It's a lot to take in.
So you cry some more.
The familiar one holds you.
You feel home in her arms.
And you are breathing.
And she is breathing.
And you calm down a bit, in her arms.
And you hear a familiar voice.
And you like that voice.
Welcome to the world little one,
Meet your mother and your father.
Today is a birth-day to someone very special to me. I don't know this someone yet because he was just born. In fact, I doubt he knows much about himself since he has only existed for about ten hours. But he is already special to me because he was born to two wonderful people that have gone through a years-long challenging journey to bring him into the world. An infinite pool of will, love and belief carried them to this day and will continue to their next stage at their journey: parenting.
I can't wait to meet the little one and to hug his mom and dad. (air-hug of course. It's still 2020 y'all...)
This is a re-do.
A mantra I pointed out a few months back and it popped in my head again today and has been buzzing at me ever since...:
I DON'T KNOW.
Three little words that open up a sea of possibilities.
It is in the beginner's mind that we explore our creativity,
It is in the unknown that we form innovation,
And it is in the vulnerability of the self that we nurture relationships.
The more I repeat the words "I don't know", the more relief I feel and the freedom to explore.
I was greeted by seagulls on my fifth step on the beach.
Not a lot of shore in this cove and the seagulls knew it and took their space flaunting their beauty. I got their message and walked where I belonged - a few steps away on the entry of the cafe. The world of Take-Out has blossomed during 2020 and this 50s style beach front cafe is no exception. I can spot the manager from the corner of my eye, counting his customers, and hence - his register.
I faced my first dilemma: A milkshake or... a milkshake? The choices are limited in this back-in-time spot, and I finalize my decision on a (surprise!) milkshake and don't call out the barista on the duplicated item on the menu. It's a tough year after all, we all make mistakes.
I pay the gentleman with my phone (another travel in time - this time to the future with apple pay finally entering our lives) and he hands me a black square pager - a kind I haven't seen in a while. I am reminded of New York - when I used to hand these out to people waiting in line at a popular meatpacking restaurant.
Was I a hostess there!? I don't recall. The years and THIS year have created a vacuum in my memory.
Oh well, what is in the past - is deep in the past it seems. This is one mystery I will not solve and it doesn't bother me one bit.
I take my sentimental pager with me and scope the area.
There are seats separated more than six feet apart for the world we're in and they have front seats view to the show of the year: the pacific ocean and its entrancing tranquility.
There is a pier to the left, and a cliff to the right. The ground is 'Sand Meets Rocks': the ultimate beach combo, and there are about three dozen people occupying the beach. Keeping their distance, of course. For a moment - one can forget the reality we are in at this majestic spot.
After an hour or so of sipping my milkshake and lazying on the sand - the real show begins: The Sunset.
Though it seems something is off about the show tonight: the sun doesn't set directly in the center of the ocean. Nope. Here, the sun sets to my right behind the cliff. And if that doesn't weird you up enough - the moon is appearing to the left almost above the water.' Woah, it's like being on another planet' I think to myself.
For some, this wouldn't be an exciting feature, but for me: a woman who has seen countless sunsets in Tel-Aviv - which go down smack in the center of the Mediterranean sea - a sunset on the side of the ocean is an unusual sight. A sight that transports me to Mars, or somewhere even more mysterious. (considering all the Mars we've seen in Hollywood movies, it just isn't the most exotic planet I can think of, ya know?)
So here I am, seeing the pinks and the oranges and the purples light up the waters and the moonlight showing its presence, and I am looking at the unusual sight, and feeling a bit chilly on this Saturday night of November, and I think to myself 'What a wonderful planet, this Malibu planet.'
If you are an avid reader of my blog, you must have noticed that yesterday I didn't post anything.
Well, before you jump on me with 'Yo girrrrl. You pledged to write every day, what's up with that!? You're not on your game girrrrrl' and shake your head at me in disapproval and deep disappointment....hear me out okay?
It was completely deliberate.
See, yesterday I sat down by my dear ole' laptop to write as I do every day for the past SEVEN months, but then I thought to myself: 'I started this blog with a desire to battle my own perfectionism, and what better way to test that out than right here and right now, by seeing what would it feel like to break my own promise?' So I closed my laptop shut, and decided to skip the blog for the day.
What followed next was a deep sense of discomfort and guilt.
I am not used to breaking my own promise. Not to others, and even more so to myself. I like to think that it is from a strong need for integrity and keeping my word, but it is also just my need to be perfect showing up.
Being 'perfect' and doing things 'right' have been survival tools for me in family orbit, in school, in work, in relationships.... I can't think of many opportunities in my life were they weren't handy tools.
But as I grow wiser I see any form of rigidity as something I'd like to loosen up a bit. After all, control is merely an illusion to make life with all of its unknowns less scary.
The sense of discomfort and guilt eventually went away. I survived breaking my promise, lived to tell y'all about it, and I may have even enjoyed saying FUCK IT and being UNPERFECT for a change.
How do YOU loosen up your rigidity?
What does YOUR rigidity look like?
You put a puzzle together.
And more than three quarters in to it, somewhere near the finish line... you start SEEING the puzzle. Something clicks in your brain and the end of putting together the image is quite effortless. Every time you place a piece in its fitting spot - its like it's always been there. You shift from seeing the tiniest details and you are immersed with the over-all piece. Your seeing has mashed with the puzzle. You are one with the puzzle. You see the big picture.
What can we learn from puzzle-playing?
It's the toy of our brain, isn't it? Our brain always connects the dots, sees patterns where they are or even where they are not, we observe details and call them red flags, or instincts, or 'feelings', and maybe after some time, when we are removed from a situation, or from a lifetime, we are able to see it more clearly, from above. Much like a puzzle.
Seeing the big picture can be both a relief and both a loss.
When we see the image appearing in front of our eyes, it settles our confusion and we KNOW what we look at. But what we lose is the attention to details, the tunnel vision that we had become obsessed with. We have come to rely on the tunnel vision, it lead us through to the light.
How will we navigate around without it? We wonder.
Well, the big picture doesn't need any navigating. The whole point of it is seeing it from above, from outside, from a distance. All it needs is our two eyes, and the work of the three quarters of the puzzle.
Putting together a puzzle is somewhat a journey of up close and from afar. From in it and from outside of it. Much like life - we dance between the two states of being in it, and being outside of it.
This may (not) come as a surprise to somebody, but I never quite related to this holiday.
Sure, over the years I've assimilated to the U.S and its customs and traditions, and I've eaten my share of turkey and even grew to like stuffing and cranberry sauce. (What on earth is green bean casserole though!?!) I've had friends-giving and even family thanksgivings a number of times. And yes I also had orphaned thanksgivings that reminded me I am a stranger in a strange land.
But this tradition never hooked me. It didn't have that magic spell that converted me into a die-hard thanksgiving fan. (An area where Thanksgiving's older sibling Christmas does far better in).
Thing is - it SHOULD HAVE hooked me. I am an empath and love swimming in the pool of 'attitude of gratitude' in most moments of my life. I make it a daily practice to give thanks and be grateful.
So why am I an absolute cynic and a bit of a hater of a seemingly innocent holiday like Thanksgiving!?!
Well, that's just it. 'Seemingly' should have clued you in.
If you look at the history origin of the tradition, you'll find that the narrative most Americans are told about the holiday's roots - the story of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans eating together in peace and living happily ever after - is simply not the entire story. It fulfills a political narrative, a whitewashing of the history of the native Americans in New England who were brutalized, enslaved and hated on. While millions of Americans enjoy the holiday and feel gratitude for each other - for the descendants of native American tribes from New England - Thanksgiving is actually a day of mourning.
Sure, I can do what many others do, and ignore the origin of this holiday and just enjoy the family and friends and the gratitude I have for them and for the roof over our heads and food on our plates. I can, and some years - I do. But as the stranger in a strange land that I am.. I wonder: couldn't we be grateful and also acknowledge our past's mistakes? So we can learn from them and support our indigenous communities or any community that is perceived as an 'other' in the American culture? (Yes I know - what IS the American culture anyways... sigh) So we can begin heal our separatist past and build a brighter inclusive present and future? Oh, and can we stop eating turkey!?! (I mean, if it really was tasty - wouldn't you be eating it more than once or twice a year? Just sayin'...)
And with that somewhat cynical sentiment (Or 'brutally real' as I would prefer calling it) I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! (and ahem maybe vegan also..?)
The day Rasputin died was a gorgeous day:
Seventy five degrees, light breezy wind, clear skies and even clearer ocean.
The bay was swarming with tourists out to see the seals mating and snap pictures for their Instagram 'stories.' The line outside the famous 'Carly's Clams Cafe' was long and a juggler was passing by the waiting crowds.
Rasputin's mother was in that long line, waiting to order a clam soup. No one made clam soup quite like Carly.
She checked the clock - it was almost noon. She made the calculations in her head and figured she was going to have to leave with the soup in hand by twelve forty to make it back to the hospital before visiting hours were halted for lunch. The juggler came close to her spot in the line. He was doing some stellar work with two apricots and a baseball ball. He hummed as he juggled and lured the crowds to pay for this uninvited performance. Rasputin's mother shooed him to go past her. She was not going to spend a dime more than the five dollars and twenty five cents she held in her fist. Money that was to be used only for Carly's clam soup. That's what Rasputin asked for and she was going to give that to him even if she somehow had to juggle her way to the top of the line.
Of course, Rasputin didn't really ask for a clam soup from the famous 'Carly's Clam Cafe.' Nor would he be able to sip it anyways. How could he, when he was connected to tubes and infusion in his hospital bed and had been in a coma for over seven years?
The day Rasputin died was the day that his mother signed papers; his death allowance; the goodbye papers.
Those papers were waiting for years. Before her husband left her - claiming she was delusional and that their marriage was over the day Rasputin had the accident - he brought up the papers. She refused even to consider it then. 'How dare you abandon a child. OUR child?!' She said, and shamed him unapologetically.
He juggled the papers off to her sister Bettany. Bettany was the big sister and a tough cookie that didn't hear 'no' as an answer, but even she was scolded with a 'How dare you' and a frowning reminder that she 'had no child so how would she know the difficulty of this decision!?'
Bettany juggled the papers over to Rasputin's high-school girlfriend, sheila, who was already married by then. Sheila refused to meet with Rasputin's mother initially - after all, she was 'emotionally expelled from the family a year into the coma', she claimed. And when she finally built the courage to face Rasputin's mother - she couldn't mouth the word 'papers' and left crying back to her husband's arm.
What was it that day, that shifted Rasputin's mother's mind and heart, and held her hand as she signed her name on that seal of a paper?
Was it the juggler, who reminded her of Rasputin with his playful smile and reminded her of herself with his relentless pursuit despite the crowd's disinterest?
Was is the seals, who mated with passion that made her blush, and let go of each other afterwords with such ease, reminding her to let go of what she loved?
Was it the clear sky and even clearer ocean, that brought some clarity to this mother's heart?
Or was it the lady at 'Carly's Clam Cafe' that had to tell Rasputin's mother that the clam soup had left the menu years before? In fact, seven years before?
Whatever it was, Rasputin's mother did not get the clam soup she had planned for, but she did finally make the hardest decision she had ever done: saying goodbye to her only son.
Before going on her way to the hospital for what would be her last visit to her son - she hurried back to the long line, tapped on the juggler's shoulders, and gave him her five dollars and twenty five cents. 'He had earned it' she thought to herself.
He had earned it.
And so did Rasputin.
Procrastination is a BITCH.
A filthy, arrogant slimy BITCH.
It shows up announced.
Steals your time and space.
Laughs as you follow its lead like a PU$$Y.
It knows it got you
From the moment you said 'Oh, no'
And shook your head at its arrival.
What you failed to understand is that it was already there long before:
It's a package deal:
Hand delivered with that innovative idea,
Or the world's greatest novel,
Or the piece of art that will make your parents proud.
It's there as soon as you open the door to magic. It's magic's little cousin.
And it HATES you.
And it HATES your idea.
And your novel.
And your art.
It tells you to STOP IT.
It URGES you to stop it.
And you do.
BECAUSE YOU ARE PROCRASTINATION'S BITCH.
*A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
*A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
Our lives, and many of our communities, have shifted into a virtual space this past year. We've summed up physical beings with height and weight and felt presence - to live figures on a cinematic wide screen. Slowly, and maybe to some of us - fairly reluctantly, we found ways to connect in the virtual medium and feel closeness and a sense of togetherness with our virtual community members.
Over the past eight months, I've taken classes and workshops virtually, that have given me more of a sense of a community that I've felt in the physical realm in a long looooong time. It seems that the virtual medium strips away some distractions and small minded BS, and takes us straight to the depth of a person's essence. I've always hated small talks and liked talk deeply and real with people, finally I found a medium that does exactly that.
Why is it surprisingly easy to get a fast sense of community in the virtual medium?
A) Is it because of the nervous breakdown everyone seem to be in this year and the sense of impending doom that make us all seek togetherness?
B) Is it because there is a sense of safety when we are all are home in our individual territories and connecting in a neutral space?
C) Is it because we need to truly listen to break through the digital barriers zoom presents us with?
D) Is it because we fear we will become hologram versions of ourselves so we strive to stay humans as long as we can before the singularity takes us over!?
E) Or was I just incredibly lucky and found fitting new communities exactly at the time that I needed them most? Just, well, because.
F) Or maybe the answer is all of the above.
You may be wondering what it's like to write a public daily blog for nearly seven months.
~Or you probably didn't think of it at all until this very moment. The world doesn't revolve around me after all... darn it! ~
Well, d'you want the truth? Or do you want... the truth?
Truth is, it is sometimes joyful, and sometimes grilling.
Sometimes flowing, and sometimes irritating.
Sometimes it's gold, and sometimes it's....shit.
On my good writing days, which are most days (knock on wood), I am eager to sit by my laptop and write away. I go swiftly into flow mode, and lose track of time and get completely sucked in by the blend of imagination and mind. Sounds like a cliche, and it really is - but in flow state I sit and watch as my hands type away, and my mind is trying to keep up with the hands writing away my subconscious. Or their subconscious. Or some collective ideas from the ethers, who knows... '
The less good days are the ones when I for some reason or another am dreading the letting go that happens in the writing process, and so I procrastinate away by distracting myself with other things.
The MUCH less good days (Okay, fine - call them bad) are when I 'phone it in' and write something quick so I can keep up with my daily accountability, but I don't give it enough love, and I go to bed feeling a sense of a 'missed opportunity' or a 'cheat' day. It feels pretty shitty to cheat myself.
But I'd take some shitty days when the golden ones are so bright and shiny. When writing is fun - it's FUUUUNNNN. Like jumping off of an airplane. Or being on stage in a masterful performance . Or having a mind blowing orgasm. Or going on a magical psychedelic trip. Or falling in love. Or breaking into an uncontrollable laugh. The state of FLOW is why we all pretty much do... anything. And the more I write - the more I am in flow. Simple math.
So I guess my rant turned into an appreciation post!?
Hmmm, okay. That's another thing that writing does: It uncovers what I REALLY feel and think.
Can't argue with the ethers. And to them I say....AMEN!
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.