Here is the writing assignment for today from Zoë Dearborn: Think of a highlight of your life. A moment or time period where you felt uplifted or inspired or deeply engaged in life. Free write for 15 minutes. Describe this memory in detail. Emotions, senses, images. Draw or illustrate this experience. What truth does it reflect to you about yourself? Enjoy.
I’ve been mulling this over since the middle of the night. I’m not getting anywhere singular. I was so paralyzed for a while I opened it up for suggestions with Burt, Rosemary, and Ed. They have all seen me through thick and thin. Burt suggested when he flipped my raft. I’d had some thoughts on epic outdoor adventures but none struck me as lasting or interesting now. I forget what RR and Ed said.
Recent life events cast a light on the feeling of good enough and exactly right for the moment that I feel more happy about how I was in crisis than I was in a stereotypical happy moment. The 10 minutes between noticing Olive was poisoned and driving her to town strike me as some of the worst and best of my life. I did exactly what needed to be done and I was aware of it in the moment. I knew only a veterinarian could save her life. I disregarded politely bidding ‘adios’ to my friends. I did not try to save her myself or provide comfort during the drive. I disregarded traffic laws. I stayed focused. I got her to the vet on time. I didn’t panic. I felt time passing by. I saw cars in slow motion. I was in the moment. I don’t want a repeat but I can accept that I did what needed doing and I did it well. The end results were out of my hands and I wonder if I would feel okay about this had Olive died.
Someone recently asked me if I sang at my mother’s funeral. I told her how I had and that it was a transformative moment. We’d struggled to rehearse three pieces. None of the practicing went smoothly. Either Burt or I would flub a line, loose the chord progression, or just start blubbering. I felt so sad but at peace about my mother’s death after such a long illness. The conflicting emotions were at home side by side. My mother sang and played guitar with a church group when I was a child. The moment I stood up to sing for her at her memorial service I felt a column of light fill me. I knew I was doing the exact thing I was supposed to do. It could be a good or bad performance and it was exactly right. It felt fantastic. I was singing for my mother. It was the right thing to do. I was enlivened. It felt flawless. The words of 500 miles soared across the space. The feeling of sounds leaving me felt beautiful. It was stunningly easy. The actual act of singing was such a comfort. I wonder if I’d feel the same way if we had fallen apart and I muffed it? I wonder if seeing the video (Yes, can you believe it, the funeral home filmed the service. ugh.) would ruin this moment for me? I’ve told my father I never want to hear or see the performance. Some art is meant to be ephemeral. Never to be seen or heard again. That whole week I felt so useful and available to my father. It was a good thing in a bad time.
So I am struck by how the two things I feel most drawn to are so very recent and such obvious culminations of life’s practice for me. First aid, EMT training, karate, adrenaline sports, music, years of performing, yoga, meditation, all these things culminating in my ability to do what I needed and or wanted to do at the right moment. If I could bring that presence in on a daily basis outside the realm of tragedy or catastrophe I think I would be calmer and more relaxed. We’ll see.