Deja Vu

I had a visceral deja vu last night. Is there such a thing ? I stepped out into dusk just as the sky went smoky pink and gray. It was beautiful. It’s one of my favorite night skies when it looks like steel and silk, dancing.

I am trying a new layering system for warmth. Base layer (something long sleeved and fitted), a Coreloft jacket for warmth, topped by a lightweight Gore Tex jacket for rain. Even with two awkward hoods, this seems to do the trick. It was not yet raining but it’s been the kind of day where the squalls are frequent and the clearings brief. It perfectly explains the cotton candy sky. 

I’m out with Yoda. We take his usual route, avoiding the corner house, because I just can’t deal with that dude tonight. He has an unaltered dog that is aggressive toward Yoda and the guy drinks. Bad combination.

I make the turn and cross the street past the mailbox. Yoda gives a low growl and a couple “yips” at the inflated Santa. Last year in our cul-de-sac there were minions. He has no understanding of such things and it amuses me to witness his posturing. 

This is when the deja vu hits me. I’m transported back to my work life. I’m having this deep feeling of discomfort at the temperature, the mailboxes and the nagging pain in my feet. I’ve been so much better since I left. I’ve had a few bad days, but last night was this rush of feeling. I stopped dead in my tracks wondering how I ever made it through these long, cold, painful nights. 

But I did. The same way I always do. I did the next indicated thing and kept moving. 

I have a very meaningful correspondence with a woman who is friend, teacher and mentor. Most recently I have been writing her about my retirement and how most days it feels like it never happened. Not the retirement, but the job. It’s like that slow-motion reel of someone else’s life. And in the life I feel most present for, I feel like I’m spinning my wheels … feeling oddly like I should be “busy” with something. 

She shared a similar experience she had in her own life after a major move across states. Sometimes new places and new roles can be a bit perplexing. For me, there is this impulse to “do” something, rather than find comfort in where I am. She mused how “staying put was so much harder than making change”. How “sometimes we approach these changes as if there really are mountains to crest. But what saves us always, is to realize that we have gone nowhere, that we stand on the same, steady ground. No big upheaval, no looming void”.

It’s All Simply True. I am right here. 

I am always surprised by the simple message in her words. I’m lucky like that. I need that gentle nudge often, someone to boil things down to a simple syrup. Maybe exactly like that. Simple syrup is made by combining equal parts of only two ingredients. With attention, water and sugar create this sweet, delicious, gooey substance. Without attention, you’re likely to burn the whole damn thing into something unrecognizable. 

Mostly in my life, these past several years, I’ve been burning things. To have someone nudge me in the direction I need to be reminded to go, is a blessing beyond words. Take the proper time with the clearest things. Learn to make simple syrup. It’s not rocket science. It’s more like, uh … attention science. Life science. 

I also re-read a short zine last night that seemed to hit me right where I live. It’s about changing the story we tell ourselves and it is 18 pages of brilliance. If you can find this little gem, I highly recommend it.

The bell chime was sending belches of sound at a fevered pitch last night. I sat on the porch for a minute admiring the lights on the houses in my neighborhood. The wind would kick up and a spray of rain would swirl under the roof line and land in a puddle at my feet. The street was dancing with the lights. Hallelujah !

Life isn’t perfect today. I am grieving a loss I don’t even fully understand and I am reeling from a volley of changes that caught me by surprise. Not perfect by a long shot. 

But it’s my life. My complicated, imperfect, joyful, curious, adventurous, unapologetic, life. And I own every last bit of it. I can live with the twists and turns, knowing that the one unchanging truth is that my life is beneath my feet in this very moment.

Occupy the space you occupy. 

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