The Art Of Being


Still.

Staying put.

Not going anywhere.

Well, maybe for a walk on the beach.

But not with a blind date, I cancelled the date.

Just me.

The sea.

My white dress blowing in the wind, my red-painted toenails awash in the tide flowing up onto the beach.

“You look like an angel,” she said, giving me a hug.

I ran into a lady from the Outer Mission who had done the long, hour-long, probably longer, commute via MUNI to come out to the beach today.

I recognized her from a way off, standing facing out to the sea, the sunlight playing over the planes of her proud face.

Beautiful.

We chatted for a moment, then she went her way and I went mine, walking further down the beach toward Sloat.

I reflected on the day, the weekend, the dating over the weekend and the decision to delete my OkCupid account.

“You’re gorgeous! I’m sure you’re going to be drowning in dates, you’re totally going to be taken care of!”  She exclaimed in my little kitchenette as I was plying her with experiences I have had recently over the past few months of online dating and the like, while she was sharing some inventory.

“It’s not about being gorgeous,” he said, “it’s not about that, you and I know that, that’s an ego feeding proposition and it does nothing for you.”

“I agree,” I replied.

It’s, cliché, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

I realize that I get a distorted idea of who a person is online, just as I assume, they do of me.

I want to be seen.

“Oh you’re noticed,” my ex-boyfriend said, “I feel like I need to constantly mark my territory.”

Interesting.

Not that I notice.

I only seem to notice when it’s not appropriate to what I want.

Which is also telling.

“It’s about acceptance,” my friend said as the date from yesterday disappeared down Judah toward the Starbucks on the corner.

“You know you can always reach out to me,” she continued, “now that I am retired, I really like seeing women in the fellowship and talking recovery, you know I’m on Facebook, just reach out.”

We hugged and I got on the N-Judah.

Sometimes I tend toward creating drama when there is no need for drama.

I don’t need to be dating.

“Oh, I get it,” he said today on the phone as I was walking up the dune at the end of Judah and Great Highway, “you want to be coupled up.”

“Yes,” I said, sheepish, embarrassed, “but,” I added, “I don’t need to be, I get that, I’m not looking for something to complete me or someone to fix me, or…”  I drifted off, the view of the ocean taking my breath once again.

“I know you understand that, it’s natural, we’re experience junkies, being in a relationship, being a couple, is an experience and you want to have as many experiences as possible in your life time.”

He paused as I caught my breath, I almost started to cry with relief, “every relationship is God’s, every one of them, what ever one you are in, friend, sister, daughter, employee, it’s God’s.”

Of course.

I know this.

Yet I needed to be reminded.

And.

Good gravy man.

It was a comfort to hear that it’s natural to want to be in a relationship with a lover, to be a couple, to be dating someone, committed to a person.

I have this idea, which I realized only while talking to my person, that I have shame around this desire.

That I somehow don’t deserve this very basic human experience.

Well.

Damn it.

Let’s change that right now.

What action can I take?

Let me fucking do it.

Oh.

Wait.

Pause.

Breathe.

Be still.

Know that there is a God.

And I am not it and be quiet.

Let the moment seep into your skin.

Let the smell of the ocean wash over you and carry your salty tears off onto the wind.

Turn your face to the sun like a flower, float down the beach like an angel, gorgeous in forgiveness.

For therein lies the true beauty.

Forgive myself.

Grieve and let go.

That of course, is the hardest thing for me, the letting go, the soft, yielding surrender.

I don’t have to be forced to it.

I don’t have to be beaten into it.

I can accept, kind and gracious the gift of not being ashamed of my life, my experiences, my heart, the way it beats when a Jim Croce song comes on the stereo and I am transported to a soft summer night rife with the smell of chicken on the grill, the barbecue searing the air with smoke and charcoal, the smell of cut grass, being a little girl in a sundress and running around the yard.

Or I can struggle some more.

I choose not to struggle.

The yielding to the better life, the actual goodness that I know and have in my life is so abundant and prosperous with love and sunshine and oh, god, glory.

I live a glorious life.

I do not need to create drama.

I do not have to do anything.

I can be still.

Thus I sat when I got back from the Ocean Beach walk.

I meditated.

I sat in the sun in the Adirondack chair in the back yard.

Then I ate some dinner on the back porch sitting at my housemates wrought iron table and chairs, curled up basking in the sunshine falling from the sky and lighting every crooked passage of my heart.

Sear out the shame in sunshine.

It’s ok to be human, child, girl, woman, this is how you get to live.

Not how you have to live.

But get.

This graced gift, my life.

Listen to some music that fills your heart, sit in some sunshine, sip some spicy ginger tea, read a book, watch the raven’s fly over the back yard, delete the things in your life that don’t work and surrender to the breath that draws your beating heart forward into the golden land of the sunset.

Or

At least the Outer Sunset.

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