As I drive the seven hours to my mom’s facility where she is suffering from end-stage dementia, my heart beats fast and fills up with pale blue, silky pink emotions. At 6:30 a.m. I’ve been driving for over an hour. The sun begins its rosy ascent over the paved hard highway, and I’m lulled by the soft snores of my daughter in the passenger seat and my two young grandsons in the back seat, covered from chin to toe in soft flannel blankets. Continue reading
Can you really see my soul?
Can I really see yours?
I peer out from a sea of green
The color may cast the view —
of a light and airy hue.
I used to name it the Eyes –
Stretching mine large and wide.
I wonder if there’s more than sight
Through the eyes that we are given
Do we also get God’s vision?
Eyes look out, eyes look in
Do they have another role…
To find each other’s soul?
Of course, the actual motion of moving one foot in front of the other, swinging arms, smiling at the dog by my side, feeling the cool San Francisco fog on my face and appreciating the rising rosy sun isn’t scary.
But my walking thoughts are.
What, for instance, would it be like to trade places with the pelican swaying above me right now, showing off its ability to use the power of the wind while eying me with beady distain? If I were he, and he were me, I’d ignore such a useless two-footed creature, stuck in slow motion on a hard surface at limited eye level with the grace of a tree stump.
Instead, I swallow my disappointment that, in my human form, only dry toast with some sticky peanut butter awaits my slow-footed return to home.
I wonder, if only I tried harder, I could learn the secret of how to release my lighter, brighter soul, the “it” inside of my tree stump of a body, and zoom up and away, exploring the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge, past the Farallon Islands, cross the endless miles of melodic monotonous ocean waters, mingling with the other endless souls released from bunioned toes and stalky legs.
Zap…NO! I don’t want to be released yet from these mortal coils, I scream silently, holding on to my soul like a woman holding down her hat on a too windy day. I’ll stick with the crackling knees and blistered heels, the chapped red knuckles and running nose, the stress of too little time for a deadline-heavy day, and the pang of missing family who live on the wrong coast. I want to continue enjoying the glory of the left coast with sunsets and fog horns and handheld hikes with husband along the soul-drenched waters of life.
The dog tugs and suddenly my thoughts are leashed to the day ahead, the bread to toast, the office desk to manage, the bills to pay, groceries to buy, phones to answer, news to digest, rugs to vacuum, and words to write.
Until tomorrow morning – and another scary walk.
What about you? How scary are YOUR walks?
Breathe in and slowly move your chin to the right.
Exhale, back to center. Inhale, chin toward the right.”
I slowly lead my chin, and my mind, into a trance. I’m so ready to leave this world and get transported by the words of my yoga teacher.
“Now inhale, move your head down, toward your chest.”
Ahhhh, I sigh. God that feels good.
“After all,” the teacher explains soothingly, “the head weights 15-20 pounds. That’s….”
WHAT? My eyes pop open as they reach for the yogi’s eyes. Is she kidding?
“Yes, yes,” she says gently. That’s a lot of weight we carry on our neck.”
I stop inhaling.
I stop exhaling.
My brain races with the thought. Twenty pounds? No wonder I can’t lose weight. Those 20 pounds of pure brain tissue are keeping the scale unmoving, no matter that I gave up ice cream.
My body lists to the left. Oh shoot, I’m almost fainting because I’ve stopped breathing.
But 20 POUNDS of brain? Why had I not considered this before? All the dreams and wishes and worries in there. All the love and hate (not much hate, but I really do dislike baked ham) in there. And the conversations – internally and then externally.
The soul – how much does the SOUL weigh, compared to the brain?
“Pam. Pam,” the teacher looks grieved. “Where are you?”
I stand up straighter, swaying a bit from the lack of oxygen.
“I’m leaving,” I announce.
I need to find someplace to weigh my head.
I float out the door, my head trailing behind, feeling heavier than ever before.