Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'll miss me in Marseille

At six a.m. yesterday morning, I walked D to the train station--just as I did on my very first full day in Marseille. As I walked back into the house that morning I felt a wave of, I don't know what: nostalgia, reality, our friend Time....whatever it was didn't last long--I went back to bed.

The day continued on very much the same way as my first full day solo in Marseille. Produce market, breakfast, writing, yoga practice then out into the city until dinner. Lather, rinse, repeat; such has been my simple little life here in this anything but simple city. And I am going to miss it.

Since getting off the metro in what would become my neighborhood for the next three months, I experienced what the French call a "coup du Coeur"--an instant connection. A mad love. My heart stopped. This was going to be magical.

And so the love affair began.

I love everything about Marseille. I love it for what it is and what it isn't--for not being the quintessential Provencal image of houses with shutters the color of the lavender strewn through the fields. It is not green country side and vineyards, Marseille is dirty as fuck: garbage and dog shit everywhere, graffiti over what could be some really rad street art--no, still rad street art. Nearly every wall and store front is bedecked with vibrant paint. Some relate to what the store or restaurant is selling, others are sheer works of art--I am especially fond of the monochromatic female motif with the most grand of inky eyelashes. I love walking those wild alleys to any one of the organic markets where they know I don't speak French well and bare with me, give me samples of oranges and smile when my excitement gets the best of me and I do a spring pea jig. Yes. Jig. They probably think I am some sort of veggie obsessed nomad with no rhythm. I'm glad to not understand the low toned cat calls and bear the obvious stares as I trek the side streets towards the port, where my fish guy calls me "gaupo" and sings to me in whichever of his five different languages he's vibing with that day. He gave me his umbrella yesterday even though I was soggy already from the rain. I love the rain because it washes away the dog shit. And I love how the sun streams through our six foot windows into the space where I get to move my body everyday. And I especially love cooking those veg and fish for those dudes I live with. And then going to the bar with the service that you might call shitty if it weren't 1E50 glasses of rose. And then writing something infused with this coup du Coeur. And then seeing it all and doing it all again, every damn day. Infatuation.

I haven't reached the point in my adventure where the infatuation fades. Where the work needs to begin to keep the love going. Perhaps that is because I knew all along that my time here wasn't permanent. For it is as Pema Chodron says (yes I have her memorized, because yes I am infatuated with her)

"recognize the impermanence and let that intensify the preciousness."
My time in Marseille has certainly been precious, especially as the last days linger so closely. What I am realizing, though is it is not the impermanence of the time here that is winding me, it is my time that is.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand this Buddhist principle well enough, and certainly know about life and death, what I mean to emphasize is that I will miss the Marseille me as much as I will miss Marseille itself.
To quote someone new for a change, Azar Nafasi said

"you get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you\ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you'll never be this way again."

This, I think was the feeling I got walking through the door yesterday morning: the sensation of many things having occurred all at once that haven't fully permeated my understanding of self. At the same time as remembering the intentions I had in coming here--feeling like the person I was two and some months ago-- I realized how I had fulfilled them to become whom I have been in living here. Believe it or not, I came to Marseille to do more than eat and practice yoga, came for reasons other than wanderlust and an insatiable curiosity; though it is unlikely I would have said no to D when he asked me to join him in France even if I had no agenda, I would be lying if I didn't write that I was full of expectation. As casual as I was about this adventure, as easy as it was to settle in, I expected to find the quiet and the time to create the space I needed--and I quote myself here--to "check in and reset." Marseille is anything but quiet, as you can imagine, yet I managed to syphon through the diluted contents of my previously busy and distracted life to find the simplicity that I craved here. In uprooting myself I found the grounding that I wanted. In that early morning moment I saw who I was and who I came to be, as subtle as those changes were, realizing too that that person would change when I left in ten days. In that moment I understood even more clearly the preciousness of impermanence.

You see, impermanence doesn't simply exist in life vs death, in relationships caught up in and torn apart, the last piece of cake, soles worn out of shoes and souls worn out from trying so damn hard at keeping things the same. Instead, our very own impermanence exists in growth itself, in learning, in change. These are all things I just recently wrote about: finding some stillness in order to notice just how much we evolve intimately as a single human being. But imagine, now, if not only did you embrace impermanence, but truly you saw it as precious.

Imagine if you allowed yourself to love all of the shit and garbage.

All of your shit and garbage. Imagine if you saw the street art beneath the graffiti. If you offered yourself patience as your heart and head communicated in their separate languages. What if you saw all of this as beautiful and fell madly in love with you?

Impermanence truly is a beautiful thing. We get to fall in love again and again and then again. Instead of fearing change or loss, we get to embrace fully what we are lucky enough to have. We get to be constantly experiencing. We do not need to be caught up in time or in constructing a sense of worth in how we spend it, but instead simply see ourselves be in each moment. To love who you are now because the next you will not be the same. Yesterday I went back to bed as the sun came up, this morning I watched it drape it's light over a small piece of this wild city from my kitchen window and woke up a bit more, ready to miss myself here and embrace myself in what's next.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

this took some time...

I spent most of my time yesterday trying to write about how caught up in time I am right now, and when I looked at the clock the day was almost over. My coffee from breakfast was cold beside me. I had, ironically, completely lost track of time. Nothing was written; I had wasted my day.

But that was exactly the lesson, and I am more prepared now to write about what I wanted to write about then.

Lets start from the beginning. I am feeling completely saturated by the idea of time--or rather the lack of it; its intangibility--and have been wanting to write about how moved I am by the idea that time has less to do with hours, minutes, days and so much more to do with frequency, with the intensity of emotions, the finality of decisions, a willingness, fearlessness, trust, knowing. The illusiveness of time is an idea that has been seeping through my actions and thoughts even in planning to move to Marseille, and though I have done what I came to do (eat, drink, smoke, all pants free and all while writing more often), I hardly feel as though I have had enough time to do so, despite hardly believing that I have been here for as long as I have. In other words, I am feeling like I haven't used the time away as best as I could. Like I still have too many questions that, as time runs short, I am trying to prove I have the answers to. Like there could have been more. Like yesterdays lack of productivity was a lost precious French day.

You see, I've been waiting for these certain kinds of moments. You know the ones: those moments where you just stop. Like eating. You take a bite of the best goddamn lemon tart you have ever had and stop. Set your fork down on the plate and stare at the pastry like: whoah. Better yet, moments that you get to stare at yourself and your decisions and wisdom and be like whoah. There is no more intelligent way that I can say this. Set your pen down and pause, because it is sometimes in stillness that we grow exponentially; when we take the time to digest the sweetness we have tasted, reap the nourishment and energy from it, salivate again for life. It's moments like these where there seems to be silence, like time actually stops, because it really truly can. It can stop in all of the right moments. Not because of its own timing, because of yours. Because right here right now is right.

Sure I have had a couple of these moments here, some have involved tarts, others have involved wine, most all were not the moments I set out to have. Yesterday, or rather, this morning, was one of them. I thought that after sleeping off yesterday's emptiness that I would come to understand what I was trying to find in the power of the immediacy of such moments. Instead I realized that they aren't as immediate as I supposed. They are in fact gradual revelations; the compilation of all those lapses of time that seem like lost space. Those times you felt like you were bashing your head against the wall? They were for now. And now is for what is next. It is a continuum of presence.

Every "aha" moment is but a part of a much grander process; nothing we experience is lost or wasted, everything is gained. Even when we feel as though we are regressing, it is as Pema Chodron says:

"nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know;"

regression then, is simply that we haven't fully understood the lesson we thought we already learned--aren't ready to be where we want to. That's what familiarity is. When one situation seems to evoke the same emotional response in us as another, we feel like we have gotten nowhere with our reactions or choices. Really, though, acknowledging the familiarity and our responses is a part of being present in more moments than one; we were then, and we are now. Allowing any amount of back and forth or full circle occasions to occur is part of the process of living. Living consciously is the challenge then, being aware of how much and how little time we have and not devaluing our "mistakes" our losses, our regrets; not getting caught up in where the time went or how it could have been better spent. You can never know that. The more you free your spirit to take everything as it comes as a product of where you have been, the more you allow the universe to pull and push you, the more you become able to see at once the rapidity of new and old shaping now, and the spaciousness for experience and change.

Every little detail is significant; every bit of time is spent learning, opening, closing, lifting, releasing, meeting people, saying goodbye, exploring, experimenting, knowing intuitively. That's a lot! So as important as it is to welcome the intensity of moments where you make a sure or fearless decision, have a sudden understanding, a letting go, it is just as integral to recognize the vastness of your knowledge, wisdom, and experience, the compilation of all the seemingly insignificant things that these inherent moments get their force from. Allow yourself to lose track of time-- and live.

Immense love to my soul sister C--the woman who can put my thoughts into words with me barely saying a thing, and to my uncle for the words of another when I had none--your timing was perfect. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

my words

The words of others
have been far too distracting.
I cant right my own.


Overwhelmed. Its a word I would like to talk about. That, and satiate--but only because it is one of my favorite words. Satiate, voracious, ephemeral, stoic--because I just learned how to pronounce it--tangible, Coeur--"heart" in French, except the e and the u are written all squished about against eachother; I don't like the word squished--and precocious. I adore precocious! And adore; adore is a lovely little word. I digress....which is yet another word I like to use.

Overwhelmed. That last paragraph is a testimony to how scattered my mind is. So is the list of unedited bits of writing I have yet to post, and wont, because the thought of editing them is overwhelming. I am, just now, reminded of the particularly stressful and tired time in my life that one morning I turned on the coffee machine without putting the pot underneath and took a shower. I came back to a percolated mess--percolate; another favorite--and rather than get upset or even clean it up, I simply turned around and went right back to bed; rather than clean up my over-caffeinated messy bits of writing, I press save instead of publish and spend some time in a forward fold.

If you are reading this, then, it is because I am trying to deal with my overwhelmedness--not a word at all, but you get it. You see, this is where I process all that is going on in my head and Coeur, and try to make it into something tangible that people might empathize with. Something more than ephemeral, not at all stoic, that could satiate the most voracious of word appetites (hmmm, couldn't quite squish precocious in there...). As I explained to a friend earlier this morning, words are what I use to encapsulate--what a word!-- what I am thinking/feeling/learning/trying to understand about the world through my head and heart. Basically, writing is my way of sorting out what I believe to be true, and my voice to express it.

And that's where the overwhelmed bit occurs.

I just spent the last two weeks all up in my head. Everything that is up there is at once terrifying and magical, and everything that was making me ache was in fact joyful; everything that made me want so so badly to cry was so so beautiful. These dichotomies existed because as a dear friend's young daughter once said

"you can imagination anything."
and that is all that anything is: our interpretations--what we make something out to be. And while manipulating words to create stories out of thoughts can be delightful, when we forget that they are just stories, we get stuck in trying to sort through what is true and what is not. But all of it is both.

Time and circumstance change the truth behind things. We can only do our best to feel something in a moment and then let the world hear it. In the form of music or art or simply telling someone, including yourself how you feel without the use of a delete key; without being able to choose between save or publish.
The only way we can feel the truth of our stories is to be in the immediacy of our reactions to them. We cannot save our emotions for later. They show up in the most cunning of ways; the inexplicable dramatic outburst, the fatigue, the clumsiness, the dis-ease in the body. The inability to make a decision could perhaps simply be because you do not want to have to choose. The inability to explain what you are feeling could be because nothing you feel needs an explanation. The inability to make sense of your thoughts could simply be because they don't make any sense. That's allowed. Feeling overwhelmed is allowed.
Overwhelmed is not a word that I like. I don't even know what "whelmed" means to know if I am over or under it*. I do know that to use it means to admit that you cannot handle something; that you are not in control. That something, whether it is a thought or action or the permeating--mmm, love permeate--energy of someone near you is just too much. Our stories can be overwhelming when we are not allowing them to pertain to what is happening presently, but instead connect them to ideals, to a person we have been or whom we want to be. What is really happening is we are getting lost in all that is possible...which is actually quite a beautiful thing to be overwhelmed by.
So I am writing to tell you something that I have been thinking/learning/feeling/taking a bit of a guess at: feeling overwhelmed correlates with our perspective. We see a puddle of enough coffee for eight people and think of all the towels it will take to sop it up, the time, the waste, our lack of caffeine induced energy, how all we want is a damn moment to recalibrate with a cup and some cornflakes, we notice the spill as an indication of our lack of self care, our mindlessness--and it is fucking overwhelming. Is it though? Or is it an opportunity to change how we see the world in one moment that is as significant as it is insignificant--as over as it is under-whelming. Most things are not something that "happened to you" nor are they something you "need". Moments do not need to be dealt with, edited, made perfect for publication. They are simply reminders that you are alive within it: everything is an opportunity to simply feel.

So feel overwhelmed.http://iconosquare.com/viewer.php#/detail/958152880865946598_243715521 I do. And it feels good.


Thank you for being a part of this creative process; of getting to that good feeling.
Only love.

Also, these are some of the other words that have been distracting me from my own lately.
AW quote via MC
thanks J
*Well, I do now, because in writing that I realized that I should know it, so I looked it up. Whelmed means to come up with a force, like a gust of wind or an ocean wave smacking at a boat or a surge of joy; over whelmed, then, would surpass that. Though I should note that, interestingly, whelmed can be to be engulfed or submerged; so at once your forceful comeuppance and plunge you deep into your feelings so that you feel trapped. Ooh lala.