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?