Last night, I did something I don't think I've ever done. I relaxed. Truly, deeply, relaxed. I turned off my phone so there were no updates, texts, calls, games to play. I finished a book, Jane Hamilton's first book, Disobediance. God, I love the way she writes. Cats on the bed with me, quiet (for once). I turned off the light, and I found myself not ready to fall asleep.
I let myself simply be. Listened to my old, fat cat's deep, rattling purr. The ticks of the radiators gathering heat.
And I smiled. Party of this was because I didn't have to get up at any specific time. My phone off meant I had no idea what time it was. Mostly, though, it was me. It was a place I've started to find inside myself. A new room.
Years ago, another mom told me on the preschool playground, sometimes, you have to put yourself in time out. Go into the bathroom and shut the door. Count to ten. Take a deep breath. It's more shocking to the kids - Where is Mommy?? - and more effective overall in bringing calm to the situation. I've found that room inside myself.
The meditation I've been doing lately has helped me find it. I closed my eyes and focused on different parts of my body. Shoulders? Relax. Jaw, let go. Listen to that air go in and out. Let the words inside work their way to the top, hold them each for a moment, then let them fly.
This past weekend, a friend and her girlfriend came up to Ogunquit. We had a great time. We talked about big, giant issues in the world, about silly things, ate great food and sat in front of the fire playing a rousing game of scrabble. All of 36 years old, my friend said to me, you might want to try something totally out of your comfort zone. Something unfamiliar. You might then find something new- how to be the amazing adult you are instead of the kid inside searching for old wounds to be healed.
Okay, she belongs in diapers still but she's right. She also said, it's really easy to be kind to you, Sara. Remember that when someone is treating you badly.
I'm heading up to Downeast next week. Classes finish this Friday. I have the boys for the weekend. On Monday morning, I'm driving up to spend some time alone. Oh, not totally alone. Donald is there, along with others. I have words coming out, ready to be arranged, strategically placed in a narrative about a woman finding out what relationships truly are. And what they are not.
I find myself wanting to be alone not to shut people out, which is often the case, but to decorate that new room. To let myself steep in this new peace. To have it gain root. I know now that I need to have a relationship with myself first and foremost. A kind one. To find an unmistakeable ability to enjoy each moment. To cherish moments of true appreciation.
It's time to let go of all the past hurts, pain, disappointments. Hug each one, hold them tight, then let go. They serve no purpose anymore. They have always been piecemeal armor, never truly protecting anything, only allowing me some sense of safety that was never real. Slings and arrows still made their way through and I would be shocked, surprised, thinking I was immune. I was, and am, merely weighted down. I'm ready to take it off. Not to exile to voices inside who cry out no! but to let them know it's a better place to be. Show them. Bring them along.
Wish me luck.
(Stuffed bear alone graphic via Bigstock)