Saturday, April 30, 2011

Finding the Magick

Well, as is the way my life goes, everything went right up to the eleventh hour, stressful and dauntingly harrowing. Now, the good news is that historically this has worked in my favor. When I went to the Mediterranean last year, my flight touchdown was very tight relative to the ship’s departure, closer for comfort than I would have preferred but I hadn’t booked it so I couldn’t really protest in the aftering. Anyway, of course my flight was not only delayed but slower than the pilot had anticipated due to tradewinds or down drafts or the butterfly effect, who knows, and in what could have been hours of blind panic I had to establish a game plan. First thing, don’t panic. Now I am not a particularly Zen person as you may have noticed, I go with the flow but I also think ahead, plan ahead and anticipate every possible (negative) outcome. But in this case I had a mantra; over and over I kept reciting to myself, “The universe does not want you to fail. The universe would not bring you this close to fail. It’s going to be scary but you’re getting all the bad stuff out of the way.” You see, the whole process of even going had been an interesting challenge being that I was traveling with someone already overseas so we were confirming things via very limited email, I only had one narrow little window of opportunity in which the dates worked out, I was not going to have the money for the flight until right before I left, so I had to mortgage my soul against two one way international flights, and quite truthfully once I had everything booked, I made no other plans, arrangements or even currency exchanges, just trusting to fate that all would work out. And of course, as you know it was amazing. But getting back to my flight, I grabbed one of the flight attendants, a dark-haired woman, warm face, sympathetic…but not smart. She couldn’t understand why I didn’t just take a later ship. Wow. So I convinced her to move me to first class so I could be the first one off the plane and run to the flight counter to arrange for my luggage to be delivered to our next port of call. While there I did connect with a rep from the ship, and with a sigh of relief felt the first dawning of a smile at the edges of my mouth. I knew it would be ok. But we were still missing people. Now I was under the impression the ship was leaving at 3:30 and it was already 3:15. The rep assured me the ship didn’t leave until 4:30 and would not be leaving without us. Of course my poor friend who is now working on the ship and is in full crew mode, is being inundated with questions he can’t answer, “Is she onboard?” “I don’t know.” “Do you know when her flight was landing?’ “No” “Do you have her flight details?” “No.” “Can you call her?” “No.” Ok, so we left out a few minor details in our planning and communication. By the time I made it onboard at 4:45 pm (The ship was actually delayed until 5:00 due to other flight delays) I was one of nine people not yet onboard. Nine. Out of two thousand six hundred and fifty. But I made it!!

And now, here I am again, heading to the Mediterranean this time as a crew member. And it has been just as harrowing getting here. Between my on again off again (but really let’s face it, only in my head, it was never on again) romance, my impending divorce which ironically has made my husband and me much better friends, and an injury that was going to prohibit my return, then just delay it, then possibly curtail it again. I did not know for sure if I would be able to return until this past Monday and I did not have my return details until Thursday. And then Friday, I left and now it is Saturday and I am once again onboard. Because of the timing, I did opt to drive the approx 1000 miles to the ship. The first 500 were in the rain and I hydroplaned once, a car accident representing the ultimate in irony. I cried for the first 200 miles. For 100 miles I was good, happy even, and then I stopped for lunch and broke down again. Tears for another 100 miles, the heaving, can’t catch your breath, sick in your stomach, what have I done and is it ever going to get better kind. Good g*d girl, what the h*ll is wrong with you? This isn’t a Bronte novel! And then I got a message, a farewell that cheered me and lifted my spirits. Of course, more tears but this time, bittersweet, the tears of loss and understanding that some things were never supposed to be, hard as it might be to accept, that sometimes it isn’t about what feels right but the need to be happy and excited not only about what is but what could be, instead of what could have (but never would have) been. Yes, I experienced several levels of mourning in one solo road trip. And it gets better. Finally after many tears had been shed, I found the sun. It was bright and beautiful as though the world was washed clean and new just for me and I decided to take it as a sign, a sign that I need to let this go. I have built everything up so much in my mind, thinking somehow I had something to prove and really I don’t need to because in the end, what is, is, it doesn’t really matter how we got here. It doesn’t really matter what we’ve lost or what we could have had. I realized, it only matters to me. Because I crave the struggle, the puzzle, I am addicted to and nourished by the suffering even as I am damaged by it and I don’t need to be. He doesn’t expect or want me to suffer, I don’t need to prove that I loved him by hurting myself more. Wow, ok then, enough of that! So I am back to embracing life, something I lost a bit in the fight to keep alive a relationship which was already over, because somehow I felt I had something to prove, that somehow it was some shortcoming of mine rather than just, not. I thought there had to be a lesson, some meaning in all of it, and in the struggle to find meaning, I just made things worse. I wasn’t ready to just say, it was fun while it lasted because somehow in my mind it diminished it, made it casual, yet I know it wasn’t, so why would acknowledging it was fun and now it’s over be a bad thing? So, I am ready now. It was fun while it lasted. Really, really fun! In the end, does it need to be more than that?

Well, the sun went down and when I tried to latch on once again to the pain, the universe, my dear sweet travel companion and truly my dearest friend though I sometimes forget, intervened. As I pulled onto the turnpike I became painfully aware that this is a Florida toll road. Now if you know anything about tolls in Florida, they are really annoying, not well spaced and always tiny increments, $.75 or $1.50. Approaching the first one with apprehension-no problem, $.75, counted out from pennies in the bottom of my purse. Bahamian nickel, no, that won’t help, oh and one euro. Perfect! It’s ok, I have enough to get to the next exit…cr*p another toll before the next exit. So there I am pulled over on the side of the road because I know I spotted a quarter down by my feet some weeks back. Lift the floor mat, low and behold, a nickel, oh and a dime, closer, closer. More pennies from the bottom of the purse and we’ve got it. Next stop 7-11. Chock one up for not cleaning out the car. Yeah, with this life, who can stay melancholy for too long? No wonder he found me so amusing, I lead a charmed life.

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