Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.
~ Anne Sexton
I had a moment with extreme presence and forgot myself last week. One that snuck up on me.
Part of the everyday scene here in Santa Fe are glimpses of seriously casual or eclectic attire. And as my mother taught me, and I quite enjoy, I change from ‘house’ clothes to street clothes when I go out. These days it’s replacing loose pants with jeans, big overshirt with the ‘right’ jacket, adding complimentary scarf, contrasting socks, and jewelry, all coordinated.
I also make sure my hair’s nicely tousled with product, elevated above bedhead. I put on lipstick, something I’ve not done my entire life. The lipstick’s now something I like as much as any teenage girl. My once full lips shrunk to bird-lips, and turned pale, disappeared. The color brings them back, with the added benny they don’t dry out.
The magic happened on a day I went for my compounded Chinese herbs. I didn’t tousle with product, or put lipstick on. My only effort was jacket, scarf, and socks. I knew the waiting room would be empty since the other docs were out. That I’d come straight home and write. Only my doc would see me.
My house pants that day were expensive corduroy Christopher Blue’s, circa 2000, fitted where they should be, loose in the legs. Funky in the skinny jeans landscape. I wore my fine vintage specs, not my cool distinctive red ones. My energy was really low, my eyes looked like hell. The more understated specs seemed right. I felt invisible.
The day was beyond gorgeous. The temp perfect, not hot or cold. Trees flowering everywhere under a sunny, clear, saturated blue sky. I wanted to smell fresh air. To not sit at the computer. I remembered a book on reserve for me at the library. After I got the book, still feeling invisible, I remembered my will-call ticket for Irish author Sebastian Barry that waited 5 blocks away. It’d be lovely on the plaza, and I had to walk right through it.
On the way, I dropped in to browse at my fav Indian pottery gallery. I’d forgotten by then how I looked. When the gal approached about the small owl statue I admired, we got in a conversation that led to exchanging cards and promises to connect.
By the time I had my ticket, was back at the plaza, I was hungry. I got a $5 fajita from my fav food stand.
Every bench had someone on it, so I sat where I wanted. The young man there turned toward me, said he’d just finished a fajita like mine. He wanted to taste all the flavors of New Mexico, he said. I told him he’d gotten the best. And something happened. We instantly connected.
Joséh Marion, 32, has been to 28 countries as a ballroom dance teacher on cruise ships. I’d been curious about working on high-end cruise ships. I knew a financial planner who’d done it. Joséh filled me in. I jotted notes. He was a messenger angel.
And he lifted my spirits. His energy was as sparkly as he said mine was. When I exclaimed I couldn’t believe I was sitting in the plaza in house clothes, with bedhead, we laughed together. I did notice he softly commented ‘corduroy’ three times. My gosh, corduroy seemed fine to me. I guess corduroy’s not in either! ha!
Once home, I did what I needed to do, including a nap before writing. In fact, it seemed I did what I needed the whole day. In thinking about it, it reminded me of something a few weeks earlier when I wasn’t looking my best, either.
I’d been sick so long with allergies, I’d rubbed the skin under my nose raw by swiping tissues across it a hundred times a day. Make-up wouldn’t fix that boo-boo. And a video was scheduled. So I showed up, did it, anyway. Because perfection is an illusion.
I’ll still intentionally dress when I go out. I enjoy the feeling of looking together, and like the compliments I get on my style. That day in the plaza, tho, with bedhead and wearing house pants, something important happened. It was about Divine perfection.
It wasn’t the same kind in showing up as with my video. It was in extreme presence with myself. No yearning, desire, or expectation except to enjoy being alive for a few moments with the sky, air, trees, art, and connecting with people. Heart-centered and unselfconscious, without making meaning. *That* perfection was no illusion.
Have you had that kind of divine perfection? Tell me in the comments.
Another journey Getting to Wise. A Writer’s Life.
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