In the past decade, I’ve had/will have my home mailing address in the following places:
Dobbs Ferry, New York
New York, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Terre Haute, Indiana
Lake Worth, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Long Beach, California
In spite of everything. In spite of the insecurities, the fears, the darker moments, the loneliness. There it is. The infinite supply, the unending wealth of it. It appears in the sound of rustling palm leaves, the caress of a warm wind, the scent of dew on the Spanish moss, the bath of sunlight on the skin, the song of birds and water in the early hours. In spite of everything, there it is within you, where it has always been. The limitless store that lies within you. The deep well of your radiance.
I tend to develop a borderline prophetic obsession with a certain song in the days after I meet someone destined to become a major player in my story. After the very first date with my last partner, I found myself listening to Young and Beautiful by Lana del Rey on repeat for almost a week, and it set the stage for the clingy codependency and toxic infatuation that colored the whole trajectory of that coupling of mismatched souls.
When I met my current partner, I listened to Brain by Banks over and over while I paced around my apartment waiting on pins and needles for him to ask me on a second date, uncertain if I would ever see him again, uncertain if it meant nearly as much to him as it did to me. Uncertain of just about everything.
Text message: a small, hopeful bell chiming in the kitchen.
Goosebumps everywhere. Jump from the couch. Bound across apartment to the phone.
Auto text reminder from Straighttalk: you will be billed $45 on 2/4/16.
Heart drops in thick wet pieces like putty to the floor.
Return to couch.
Thursday afternoon, I laid down on the cold floor of my office until the cleaning staff came. I drove home at 35 mph in the far right lane on the highway. I parked my car and stared out the window until it was too dark to see the birds perching, re-perching, re-perching on the electric cables. I entered my home, fed my angry cat, and ate an entire box of macaroni and cheese in silence on the couch. I called out sick and slept until 4pm the next day. I finished one errand and came back to the house, curled back up into the bed still warm from the memory of my stubbornly still beating heart, slept through my morning pranayama group, rushed out of the house in the leggings I slept in, and at long last placed my body, full of blood as heavy as iron, on the mat, put my hands together at heart center, closed my weary eyes, and let the saline fall on the mat like beads of sweat coming from a broken muscle group somewhere deep inside of me that I have no name for.
In the last session of aggression management group therapy, one of the Vietnam veterans, the one with a particularly steely reserve, the one who criticized everything I had to say in the first weeks of treatment, has started suddenly to cry. He is telling me, as his voice breaks apart like shattered glass against the walls of his throat, how grateful he is to me for teaching him to meditate, how profound breathing has been to him in his life, how peaceful it feels to let go, and yet, how much suffering continues to unfold in his life, in his relationships that seem locked in perpetual toxic habitual struggle. Another member leans forward, the star pupil of the group, staring at me with large, hopeful eyes. He asks me what I would do, tells me that, being the expert, I must have some wisdom to share on the matter.
I look behind me, where my cofacilitator has written in large letters with a fading dry erase marker on the board: “Assertive Communication. I feel ______, when you ______. Can we _______?” I turn back to meet his expectant gaze, running my options, then sigh and smile calmly. “Do you think that I do not struggle with these things just the same as you?”