Princess: Still soul searching
So this week I got to see Deepak Chopra speak at the Aspen Institute, and it was one of those “only in Aspen” experiences that made me remember why I fell in love with this town in the first place.
As I was sitting there having my mind blown into a million pieces (“What is reality? … We have no idea why anything exists at all. … What is the nothing from which we all come?” and so on and so forth), I had that eerie feeling that you get when a string of coincidences start to line up in an obvious way, like some larger power is trying to tell you something. (No, I don’t even smoke weed, so just shut up and listen.)
In case you haven’t noticed, for the past couple of months I’ve been pretty depressed. At the end of the day, my biggest problem was that I had too many times to contemplate my own navel, but I had it in my head that it was bigger than that. I felt a daunting void that I wasn’t sure how to fill, and all my old tricks weren’t really working. Believe me, I tried. I tried doing 30 yoga classes in 30 days (OK, so I ended up doing 26, if anyone is really counting). I tried focusing on all the positive things I have in my life like our amazing little home and our amazing little pug who I’ve often thought might be God herself, snorting along and looking at me with those soulful, bugged-out eyes that don’t cross but do the opposite, sort of wandering to the outside. I hiked Highland Bowl (which did bring considerable reprieve) and even tried doing this uphill thing that everyone in this town seems to be so excited about (which also made me feel pretty good). I spent time with friends, went to see my parents and told my husband I loved him at least once every single day.
But something still wasn’t right. I felt heavy, like I was carrying a lead belt around my waist, like I was running in sand or like in those horrible dreams where you try to propel yourself forward but you know you’re not going anywhere.
Then I did something I’ve never done before. I asked for a sign.
“Just throw me a fricking bone,” I said to the ceiling. “Give me just an inkling of an idea of what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”
I fully realize I can be a drama queen, or a “big baby,” as Ryan would put it. He is like, so Zen about everything it’s ridiculous. You’ve never met anyone who is so happy and well-adjusted in your entire life. I’ll wake up every morning plagued by some horrific and seemingly psychotic nightmare, still upset with emotions that were generated by something that took place entirely in my head. And Ryan will wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and super fired-up like he always is in the morning (also a phenomenon I never will understand, these morning people). He just loves to mess with me because he knows I am a cranky pants until about 9 a.m., so he’ll bite me, lie on top of me and let all the air out of his lungs so he is as heavy as possible, which he thinks is hilarious.
“Stop it! I’m upset,” I’ll say in protest. “I had a bad dream.”
“Well, it was just a dream,” he’ll say, hovering over me with his enormous, scruffy face. “Let it go, Louis.”
“What did you dream about?” I’ll ask, as I have never once seen him so much as flinch in his sleep.
“Black,” he says.
Ryan came to see Deepak with me, which was a rare and fun treat. For as much as we do together, there are certain things we consider our own, like hockey for him and yoga for me. (Yes, I tried, but all I saw was ice and things moving around on it and clicking and clacking and the buzzer, and I really just couldn’t connect to exactly what was happening, so I drank beer and read US magazine until the game was over.)
At the end of Deepak’s lecture, Ryan goes, “That makes total sense,” which is exactly what I thought he would say. For such a buffoon, Ryan actually is a very deep thinker.
Anyhoo, my point is that Ryan is pretty much content with whatever is going on in the current moment. He doesn’t stress about what happened yesterday, he doesn’t get caught up in trivial stuff like gossip or what other people think, and he’s pretty stoked about the future. He has simple needs like cheese and our wood-burning stove (which he loves).
I wish I were like that, but I’m not. I worry, I stress; I anguish over things big and small. And lately I’ve been feeling like I needed help getting over this hump, more help than Ryan or my family and friends could provide.
So I asked for it, and the craziest thing happened: It worked.
All of a sudden I’ve been inundated with work — really meaningful work — that’s kept me so busy I can hardly see straight, never mind think about my troubles. My work has led me to people I never would have met otherwise, people who not only knew how to help me but very well could change the course of my life. And my work has led me to people, too. Just last week I got an email from an editor at Elle.com who read my column during her vacation in Aspen and wanted me to write for her, and I did.
That’s something I always dreamed about, this idea of getting discovered somehow. But I think I finally figured it out: You have to find yourself first.
The Princess needs to go back to yoga. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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