Every time I return to California I am reminded of the frantic pace behind, underneath, and within everything people do…until you get down to the beach that is. Once you can hear the ocean, there is an immediate slowing which happens; the fact that the slowing happens franticly is the kind of irony I enjoy.
It is much like driving the freeways at rush hour, which is a true testament of the patience lying deep within the human spirit. On my way into San Diego from Las Vegas I was halted by traffic immediately upon descending the San Bernardino Mountains, which turned me towards the ocean and my destination.
Matter of fact, I was parked for nearly three hours at which time the people in my heard travelled 10 miles.
I was relaxed because traffic is a part of any California experience. Just sit back, roll the windows down and breathe it all in…oh wait that is less desirable. Keep the windows up and use the air conditioning, but only if you have enough gas to make your trip. Keeping in mind it may take slightly longer than anticipated. ☺
The irony of it all is how reckless people drive when there is no traffic and how accepting everyone seems when everything is halted by the mass of hundreds of thousands of cars on the road at the very same point in time and space. You see glimpses of that reckless fervor when space opens up sending everyone immediately, grandmothers included, like rockets towards that next traffic stoppage; as though somehow they can in fact make up for that lost time.
I hate to break it to you…that time is gone, you will never get it back and crashing into the mass of tail lights is really not what you want…
At least I cannot fathom a culture in which this is the desired outcome… if I was so inclined to do the research, I would look into fatalities during rush hour traffic; I bet the data would be surprising. How on earth do people have fatal crashes when traffic is at a stand-still? Easy, they launch themselves into a tiny gap hoping the lights before them flicker out, finally making another infinitely smaller gap… but those lights do not flicker out. They stand fast and soon enough you find yourself greeting the individuals inside the car via their trunk.
This does not include motorcycles, as those crazy buggers are allowed to weave between traffic and ride the lines, which is terrifying when you think about it. There is just too much that can and will go wrong in those small spaces between car lanes…in my mind anyway.
I try my best to be cognizant of motorcycles; where they are in relation to me and where they might be seconds later despite their great speed advantage which renders them like slow motion bullets in the matrix. Unfortunately we are not Neo. I basically keep my head on a swivel, but when I hear the roar of a motorcycle coming up from somewhere behind me when traffic is stopped dead, I get a bit more than slightly nervous.
Not going to lie.
I tense up and cringe because the majority of those I see are not driving slowly between traffic - instead they’re racing through because it is their time to shine. Although traffic is stopped, people continue to change lanes unsafely and rest over the lane markings. I understand this action is legal but that does not make it safe; like a sixteen year old driving the 65 mile an hour speed limit for the first time. It may be legal but it is definitely and consistently unsafe. Having been one of those 16 year olds, many, many moons ago I remember the absolute careless and reckless abandon myself and all of my kind showed.
Okay, sorry, I had to get that out; I had been thinking about those crazy two wheeled racing buggers since last Friday. I feel better, hopefully you do as well. I am sure it was on your mind.
Now to the fun stuff; driving on the freeway when there is light traffic (I know it is rare, but it does happen).
This is a true blood sport and the strong do not stop to check on the weak and/or dying as they pass them by, often nudging them towards their peril. They are moving much too fast to notice anything behind them except the lights and sirens of the California Highway Patrol of course. The mental attitude of the California driver seems to border on suicidal and homicidal and I imagine if there are any studies on this subject they show these types of results.
The truth is however, these factors do not necessarily make them poor drivers…in fact, the poor drivers stand out like dark freckles on a beautiful red headed woman… oh dear, mind wanders momentarily to red heads; yikes, I would say sorry, but that would be a lie…. If you are slow, hesitant, scared, and/or confused; my advice is to be careful and maybe just park it or take the bus. And you better know where you are going because there is no such thing as courtesy in a blood sport.
The mentality is ruthless and harsh. Human beings trapped inside aluminum rockets on wheels with the illusion of invincibility; zigging, zagging, and all pretending they are the only ones with anywhere to go. I think the latter is quite normal for drivers anywhere; there is something about the isolation factor when we close the doors and get moving, focused on where WE are going.
Of course the same could be said for many of us in general…hence a portion of us have to go to daily training on “how to interact with and not alienate from other humans”. That is definitely another blog…
While in our cars, the rest of us are expendable objects in the way of progress and they will cut you off, run you off the road, out of your lane, and definitely out of your mind. The funniest part about this is that most of them will have absolutely no idea they did anything wrong or even that you were there in the first place.
That would be tragic funny, not funny “Ha Ha.”
Enough of all that… back to the original idea behind writing while away. Although I did tinker slightly with my next book, that whole thing still strikes me as an ordeal of monumental proportion so I looked at it with the kind of eyes that really do not want to see anything.
The big three…
Rather the last of the big three; after nearly ten days of writing and avoiding writing by engaging in the beautiful world around me, it occurred to me tonight that the mental process which had been rolling around in the coconut the last few weeks were perhaps the last stages or stage of grief. The mind, so bludgeoned and focused outside itself generally had not been given the proper time and place to let go…
Until faced with so much time away from everything at which time the introspection became a full time job…thankfully I did not have to be consciously aware of everything going on back there. I knew instinctively by the fact that I attended two meetings a day without thought or question. I literally planned everything around the local meeting schedules of San Diego and the Los Angeles area. This schedule kept me feeling somewhat spiritually fit during what can be a challenging time…dealing with loss and grief.
It occurred to me tonight while I sat staring out my hotel room window into the vast desert, praying and meditating, knowing recognition was somewhere near. I focused on letting go everything holding me back, not knowing exactly what that might be, from becoming the person God may want me to be. I watched from that internal eye, as one person then another wandered off into their own little desert; even those who I had imagined letting go long before.
I felt the lightness swell from within me and soar off with the crows into the dusky, desert sky. And then it came…an incredible tightness when her face flashed behind my eyes. As she walked towards the desert floor to make her way from within me, the sensation caused a stomach cramp, which I knew came from me holding her tightly after a great deal of time and work had passed. I knew it was right to let her go now, once again, and the word “acceptance” came through, ringing the insides of my ears.
Could it be so simple?
Had I not accepted the ending, despite processing that it had finally ended…at least imagining I had processed it. A spectacular awakening took place and in everything related to her, “acceptance” became the master. The cramp in my stomach twisted and turned briefly, causing me to use the bathroom, but then was gone.
What was left was a slight buzzing on the skin, light headedness, and a slowing of breath and pulse as the physical being let go of that stress the mind and heart were carrying. As the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional beings all changed at once. It was different now and I could feel it in the slightest yet most significant of ways.
I was set free slightly more than I was on the previous day. What occurred to me as well was that she too was finally and hopefully set free. In my prayers since the last time I saw her all I have asked for was that she was finally free of me; that we would no longer have to question or wonder whether we should be together.
I had watched and felt that sunrise earlier in the day; felt in my bones, knowing something was changing. I looked back to the previous night, recognized the frantic pace of everything around me and instantly felt my connection to it all.
While I watched the sun setting that previous night, there were gun shots nearby which caused me to seek out another location. I could feel the frantic pace of my mind after that as I drove and searched. Unable to find another place, I prayed and prayed and eventually things began to calm down.
I got lost looking for a meeting in a relatively rough area but prayed and prayed, as the pace inside my mind kicked off from normal; eventually I broke down and turned on the GPS which will cost me a small fortune because I am out of country. Once I found the meeting, everything slipped away again, as I was home. No matter where I go to meetings the feeling is always the same…I am at home and I am always welcome.
The meeting was fantastic despite an old timer back talking everyone who shared; my mind was undaunted by all the potentially distracting meeting realities. About half way through the meeting the building was rocked by a large earth quake which sent everyone in the room besides myself and the meeting chair, scrambling for the doorway. There was no panic in me despite potential disaster, nor was there any in the chair person. That was not surprising, he was not only an old timer, but he had obviously survived the kind of life that requires keeping calm and carrying on.
Afterwards we chatted because he noticed I did not move from my chair and I seemed relaxed. “I believe in the power of prayer,” I said, “not that somehow prayer will magically lift me rather than someone else from the rubble safely…but that should I be taken today, I have done my best to live better than I did yesterday…that if God’s will for me today is to move on, then I accept that fully with an open heart…”
He smiled and said, “You work and hang with good people…” He shook my hand…
“I am surrounded and pushed by incredible teachers and I am incredibly blessed to be exactly where I am today…” I shook his hand with a big smile, “it was nice to meet you.”
“You as well, welcome to California,” he said and laughed, as he walked away.
Whatever calm there was or is in me, was and is taught to me by the elders and really is what I try to pass along to others. That and the definition of staying long enough to allow time to have her impact on the process of recovery and on life. No matter how much I feel that I have let something go, there may be more inside, deeply rooted in my subconscious which keeps me from accepting “what is” or “letting go and letting God.”.
This is one example of why I need to continue to put in time, prayer and the other work on recovering, lest I cling to my old ways and not even know that I am doing it. My disease is cunning, baffling, and powerful and requires so much more patience than I can describe or even know at this point in time.
By the grace of God I go. Prayer, service, step work, and fellowship…