Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth" P.C.

There is a Pema Chodron story I love. Before she became a Buddhist monk, when she was married, her husband told her she was the bravest person he had ever met. "ME?" she said. "I'm afraid of EVERYTHING!" He replied "Yes- but you do it anyway."

Deirdre Blomfield-Brown (aka Pema Chodron) went to my boarding school. Being a Miss Porter's girl, I like to think her ability to reconcile fear with forward movement had to do with experiences at our alma mater. Maybe something in our shared training will come in handy during the next few months. I've been too caught up in cleaning up/re-painting the house inside for Christmas, and planning meals for masses to spend any time at all pondering my upcoming adventure. Good. Maybe I won't go through the fear and panic part.

Nah. Today my son Dave told me he's going back to college tomorrow. Tomorrow??!!! He wasn't supposed to leave til the 8th! I tell myself that the best thing a mother can hope for is that her children love their lives- and are eager to engage, and that for Dave to be itching to get "home" to his apartment a week or two before his classes start up is a great thing! I practice telling myself this as I phone my pal Laurie, wipe my nose and eyes, and try to stop gasping. For weeks I've had a house full of laughter, cooking smells, dirty dishes, overflowing recyclables (beer bottles and Xmas paper debris) and other signs of family life. This week it goes back to just me and the animals, and the list of things to do before I leave on the 21st.

I warned Laurie last week while we were making latkas for our kids (who grew up together) that a tidal wave of panic might set in after the holidays- and she'd better be ready to calm me down. She- whose darling son is home for a few weeks from a year-long stint in Indonesia - understands. What have I gotten myself into with this "adventure" out west??? What was I thinking- going to some town where I have 2 acquaintances,and a list of people to ring up- friends of friends. Cold calls. ARGH. Where I will be far from all 4 children, sisters, mother. I remind myself I have a list of yoga classes to sign up for, knitting circles, a dog park to visit, jazz venues, Sierra Club hikes with dogs, galleries to explore, and projects to do. I remind myself I am going for 3 months- not 3 years. There is an airport, telephones, e-mail. I love Santa Fe. I think. That's what I'm going to find out.

What's so scary? Loneliness? No. Been there, done that. Being far from the familiar? From my reliable resources? Getting closer. I remind myself that 'familiar' doesn't necessarily mean 'good'. Been there, too. I play the "name the monster" game: What is the WORST thing that could happen? Most of what I come up with is not that terrible or unresolvable. The few doozies I come up with could happen whether or not I'm here- and I just refuse to live in an incapacitating state of fear. Pema's talking to me.

Ok, I'm breathing again. I'm chuckling at myself and shaking my head. I go online and look at the pictures of the casita I'm renting. There are walking trails right out the back door, and it looks like the kitchen windows face East- nice. I wonder if that door in the larger bedroom leads out into the garden?


  1. You go girl - you ARE brave and you will love this exporation, this adventure! XOXO J

  2. I am amazed at your daring and I envy the adventure ahead of you. Being AWAY is the best path to living every day....and finding the peace that is hard to find in the midst of routine. I KNOW you will love this trip.

    And I know what you mean about the emptiness at the end of the holidays! Such anticlimax after that month of anticipation.

    XO, Lea

  3. Eliza! This is the beginning of another adventure and you've been living one your whole life. You know how to do adventure! Thanks for including me on your blog list. I will love hearing what you are doing, while I'm at home in the cold and chilled with envy! No, really. Have a wonderful time. This is just another flower opening in your life. As Pema would recommend, stay in the present, day to day, and watch the magic unfold.
    Love and blessings and wishing I were there with you!

  4. I so admire what you're doing! It's brave. I can't wait to hear reports from the road and then the casita. Take lots of pictures. Love, Chase

  5. Ah, yes, I remember that storm well. Luckily, in Red Hook Village, my power was out for only two days, my phone for three. I did have enough wood for the stove in the basement to ward off the chill and provide the much needed heat for that a.m. cup of coffee! There weren't too many frontiersman opportunities in village living. I like your adventure better!