stay awake with me {the story of a broken heart & the open road}

{some stories write themselves. in a rush, fingers and thoughts and words tumbling over one another almost faster than you can capture. some stories are stubborn, held tight, refusing to come to light no matter how hard you push. still others come easy, like water flows, but only if you respect their timeline, and allow them to be born on their own terms.  this is one of those stories. of a weekend lived over a year ago. a weekend that saved me}

Enough. No more.

Get in the car.

Now.

Go.

Your boundaries have been violated. Your trust shaken. It is too much. And when it is this much too much, you must leave.

Sometimes the only way to truly stand your ground is to run, as fast as you can.

***

Head straight for the ocean. Accept a gift from an angel to get you there.

Feel the constant pull of the tide. Let it teach you the wisdom of always returning where you most belong.

Jeanette LeBlanc  - stay awake with meFull tank of gas and a brand new playlist just for today. Don’t forget your rose quartz and red jasper, infinite love and eternal grounding. Goddess of transition wound around your neck. She always returns in times like these.

Black eyeliner – far more than is appropriate at this time of day. Two-day-old tangled waves of hair. A torn black t-shirt falling off your shoulder. A tender and resolved heart beating firm in your chest.

Have no plan. Just a hotel room and a blue craigslist bike and a broken heart that pulls you home.

Yes – this is what you need.

Leave the windows down. Let the wind tangle your hair even more. Let the road untangle your heart. Use the standstill traffic as an excuse for an epic air guitar and drum solo. Sing loudly with the windows down.

Because even in the broken spaces, there is room for things like this.

***

Let the open road whisper three things you already knew but forgot to remember.

The world blinds you with its beauty

You only write redemption

You always make your way back to good.

Sink into the freedom of the road. Sink into the deep of the pain. Sink and sing and cry and get lost in the drive from here to there.

Sometimes the only way to get truly lost is to know exactly where you will find yourself in the end.

***

IMG_8058 copyMake your way to the sand at sunset. Find your way there like your life depends on it. Your compass heart has always oriented itself to the sea.

Expect the healing that always comes. Realize that this time, even the ocean hurts. Feel the panic of this.

Let it hurt. Let it ache. Let it hit you, over and over, like the waves at your feet. Let it knock you down into the sand. And sit there, feeling the cold and the salt and the damp.

Let it remind you of yourself.Snip20141229_10

***

As day gives way to night, lose yourself in the crowds and the lights and the sounds of the pier. Wander. Aimlessness can be as purposeful as direction. Feel your solitude deep in your bones. Observe without judgment all that you exist outside of.

With the deepest intensity, live whole, right in the center of your alone.

***

Return to the room. Doubt your resolve. Trust your heart and what it wants. You always do in the end. Make the call because you must make the call. Because there is nothing else you could do but make that call.

Hold onto every last sliver of hope as long as the phone continues to ring.

And when you hear the slice of cold voice let yourself feel the pain of this rejection, the harsh of how brutal it feels in the end. Be broken and broken and broken again. Go down to the ground. Cry like you have not cried in years. Cry like you have not cried in this lifetime. Cry with the pain of all the losses you have held inside until now. Cry until your head aches and your face is creased with rivers of black and your chest and your throat explode with the force of it all.

Know, even in the desperate hope for something different, that there will be a time when this cruelty may prove to be the kindest thing.

***

Take the pills that will finally bring you sleep. Do not be afraid.  Sleep, like peace has been a long time coming. Sleep like the dead, like the deep, like the end and the beginning of everything.

***

Wake up.

There is nowhere to be. Not now. So take it slow. A hot shower and an even hotter bath. Let the water burn and scald and soothe. There is a rebirth in the heat that is almost too much. Let it be almost too much. Let it penetrate your muscles, your clenched fists, your weary heart.

You need this.

Curl your hair. Choose your adornments. Carefully. Intentionally. As if nothing has ever mattered more.

It may be true that nothing else has ever mattered more.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetA blue silk scarf tied around your head, channeling pirate or gypsy. Badass black boots. Ripped jeans, the ones that feel like home. Your favorite sweater that slips from your shoulder and bares your clavicle.

A photograph to capture the way you’re looking directly at the world today. Unflinching. Inviting it in, head on. Choosing, once again, that the only place to go is forward.

If you look at this photo later you will see yourself in a way you never have, the strength in the softness, the truth in the vulnerability, the peace in the moving forward, and the love inside it all.  It will all be right there, in plain sight. You will wonder how you ever missed it before.

 

***

Leave. Walk. Wander. No plan or destination or goal. Let your feet take you where they will. Miles upon miles upon miles. There is healing in the simple act of putting one foot in front of another, even if you have no idea where you’ll be in the end.

None of us have any idea where we will be in the end.

There will be a moment of singular perfection. A huge flock of birds swoops overhead just as Nina Simone sings.

‘birds flying high, you know how I feel’

And your boots are on the pavement and the sun is on your shoulders and life is all around you and you think, yes, despite it all, you really are feeling good. A smile will stretch across your face and your muscles will unwind and just then you will have said goodbye to the smallest sliver of grief, though you will not know it till later.

Sometimes, that is the way of grief – lifting little by little in the smallest of moments.

***

Let your heart call you toward the shop. Open the door. See her there. See her the way we seldom see our shared humanity.

Sit on the scarred wood floor. Cross legged and open heart. Hold her story of loss while she holds yours. Mirrored tears. Talk ritual and love and loss.

There are no strangers in this life unless we want there to be.

Then, trust your instincts and hand over the money. Sit across from one who sees. Let yourself be seen. There will be too much to hold in your head and your heart. Let it come in and let it leave.

Feel the release of having that story known without having to speak a word.  It is being known and Snip20141229_8seen that has always been your deepest desire. Let this time be a gift.

‘This is the first time you’ve ever really loved. You had just let yourself feel happiness, the first real and true happiness you had allowed yourself in a long, long time”

‘When you are open you never make mistakes. Never. It is only when you move to doubt or distrust or cynicism that you mess up. Stay open’

‘There will be another love’

And then.

‘There is a story you must write. In your true voice. In your real voice’

***

Visit another store that calls you. See the rings. Hammered silver. Organic form. An idea begins to form. Let it simmer and become in it’s own time.

Ideas like this always demand space in order to become.

***

The sidewalk again. A ‘do not walk’ light. A cute boy with a Scottish accent. Walk in step with him for several blocks talking monogamy and love and hope and truth before parting to go your separate ways. Connections of true depth are limitless. It is magic, this day, this life, this world that surrounds you.

Give thanks for that.

And then you see her. A girl. A black hat. Sideswept hair. Make eye contact. Feel it penetrate you, somewhere just below your stomach. Smile. Turn back to see if she is still looking.

She will still be looking.

You’ll never see her again, but her image will imprint itself on your brain and you’ll find that you’ve fallen in love with her just a little in that moment.

That’s the way love happens, isn’t it? Just like that.

That’s the way love ends, isn’t it? Just like that.

***

IMG_81571That night. An old bar. Whiskey and Ginger. New friends from the beach. An old one from the desert who wraps his arms around you in exactly the right way. Black tourmaline tucked in your pocket twice for protection.

You will talk about god there in that old wooden bar. You will talk about god IMG_8163 copyand love and lust and peace and philosophy and everything on earth while a sky of twinkling lights blurs overhead and everything seems a little like magic.

You will hug him when you realize his bravado hides his fear. You will sink into his arms as if he is the only familiar thing in a world full of mystery.

“What can I do, in this moment, right now, to make it all better?” He asks this. And he means it.

IMG_8162Take that question into your heart, deep.

***

The street again. Walking. It is cold. You don’t know where you are but you trust the ones you are with. Another bar. Underground. Candles and old books and chalk art on the wall. ‘The world is bound with secret knots’, the paintress says. Yes. It is.

 

***

Another day. The ocean calls you again and you are ready to return. Without the healing of the ocean you were without moorings. Now you know. The healing will come, it will just be different this time.

Your bike, then. Ocean on one side. Sun on shoulders. You bike and bike and bike and bike. For hours upon hours. Four. Five. Six. Until time has disappeared. Do it as if it is saving you. It is saving you. You think you will stop but you do not. Your legs burn.

Feel the truth of a tidal shift.

Be deeply embodied. Let it bring you into your body in a way you have not been since you left her that day. Be fully and stubbornly alive. Feel freedom. Call it into you. Remember what that is.

Smile at everyone.

The homeless man with the four huge bags filled with an entire life that you’ll never know. The little towheaded girls on purple scooters, all blonde braids and bubbling laughter and only good things ahead. The man with the complete drum set in the otherwise empty parking lot, playing as if for a packed symphony hall. The man-boys with their perfect muscles swinging like monkeys on the playground equipment. The bearded hipster walking his dog with his nose buried in Hemmingway.

Just keep going.

***

IMG_8182Stop for lunch somewhere along the way. Wheels in the sand and eyes to the sea. Let cashews and chocolate be your nourishment. Drop the nuts in the sand. Eat them anyway. Life is sometimes gritty like that. There is honesty here.

Look down at your feet and see it there, the perfect smooth round stone. Tuck in inside your bra. Close to your heart. Know that somehow it will be important later.

***

The bike again. Remember that you once knew how to ride without hands. Trust that you can stay upright without holding on so tightly. Feel the freedom of loosening your grip. Remember that your balance is within.

Then find your balance and counterbalance. Not in someone else. In the very center of yourself. See if you can shift and lean and stay upright and still moving forward. Even on the uphill parts. Even in the twists and turns.

And then let go. For real. All the way. Throw your arms wide and your head back and smile as the sun shines and the ocean crashes and your heart is still broken and whole and shattered and perfect and it all will be okay.

Laugh out loud then, when you realize this.

It will all be okay.

Because you will be saved. Because here you are at the end of the world, where the ocean meets the sand and your heart will always find home. On this most glorious day of perfect sun and eternal ocean and rowdy talking birds screeching their objections for all to hear.

And you are here. All alone. And you have been broken and gone to ground again. Again.

But you are here. And whole. And moving back to good. Because there is not a choice. Because there are infinite ways to journey. Infinite ways to love. To grieve. To heal. To ride the roller coaster of emotion that is life. To cope. To move through the world. We all do the best we can. And the path must always move us forward. Not to what was, but to what is and is yet to be. Onward and forward. As far as the road will take us. Whichever route we choose.

***

See the pier up ahead? You’ll find your heart tucked away there. It has been there for quite a while. Sheltered from the sun and gritty with the sand. Wash it with salt water and warm it in the light. See the ocean reflect the clouds and the sky mirror the water. See yourself everywhere and feel everyone inside of you.

And bike and bike along that ocean until a song comes on that speaks truth until you smile until you laugh until you cry until all three happen at once until you heart explodes out of your chest until it all finally comes back home.

Get quiet. Say thank you. Promise to return until you can one day come back to stay. Until then know that your ocean heart will be safe tucked below that pier, waiting for you there.

***

Return to the store. Buy that thin, roughly hammered ring. Buy it to fit the finger that has been bare since the end of your other life. The one you thought would always be yours. Buy this as promise to self. Buy it as ritual. Buy it as a serious kind of magic.

Now you know exactly what comes next.

***

The day closes into night. The air cools. A warm leather jacket and a black beanie hurriedly pulled IMG_82011over hair. A sunset drive up the coast.

Have a destination in mind, but trust your gut. Pull over – just in time. Stumble and trip down a steep embankment. Just you and the sand and the seaweed and the cold wind and the song that plays as if timed– the one that belonged to a love story you imagined to have a far longer life.

‘Stay awake with me. Take your hand and come and find me’

Sometimes the universe times things, just like that. Grief and beauty ever mingle. Just like hope and redemption. Just like pain and grace.

Be there with all of your being. When the sky is deep blue and yellow and pink. When the waves are crashing. When you are almost ready to let go.

***

IMG_82111Draw a circle in the sand and set up your carefully chosen talismans. The stones say ‘choice, grace, let go’. The fourth stone has a compass- the match of the one once gifted. An old rusted lock, and an ancient key, the closing and the opening are always yours to choose. Ganesh and Shiva. The black tourmaline she gave you for protection. Sage and Creosote, bundled by a witch, lit and held to encircle. Candles, one for prayer to mirror the one burning at home and one infused with amber – the scent of returning to self.Snip20141229_1

Write the letter in your journal. A thank you for everything given by her and by that love. One page. Two pages. Three. Write until your hand cramps. Write until the words are spent. Write until it is finished.

It is finished.

***

Flames now. A burning of the words.

It will take so long. So many tries to burn it down. Some lives and some loves, they avoid the fire. Laugh through your tears. This makes sense in some strange way.

It its time for incantation.

IMG_82271 black spirits white spirits red spirits gray

come ye come ye all that may

around and around

throughout and about

all good come in

all bad stay out

Speak those words, given to you by a powerful witch. Hear her whisper in your ear…

when you spell, or conjure you have stir it up. give it a palpable rhythm and allow the motion to build. repeat it until it feels done”.

Repeat the words. Again and again. Until they are more than what they are and less than they’ll ever seem. Until they pulse like blood and fire and the grit of sand between your teeth.

Let the words rise from you on whispered breath. Let the words flow out of you on a voice that builds with each spin. Feel the chant build it’s own power until the rush of its energy melds with the rush of the sea and the rush of the earth and the rush of your heart.

Then add words of your own, the ones you have been whispering to yourself for days.

‘my heart

remains open

but this circle

is closed'

Spin now as the night deepens around you. Spin as the incantation flows from you. Spin as the fire rises. Spin as the power grows.

***

Snip20141230_13A rough stone from this beach, held in your palms and gifted with all that was to be released. All that is no longer welcome. Cast into the sea along with the ashes of the letter that took so long to burn.

This is the letting go.

Pull out the stone that has been nestled near your heart. Hold it and gift it with everything you keep close. A sign of you promise to remain open. To welcome those who mean you well. To trust and to speak your wants. You will wrap this in wire and carefully attach it to a chain that will nestle this stone near your heart in the months to come.

This is the holding on.

***

And now the ring.

The promises made here are only for you. You will share them with no one. If you do speak of it you will tell only this; that you promised to give to yourself what you have sought in others, and to give yourself only to those who want to give what you seek.

All the rest is between you and the flames and the sea.

Slide the ring on your finger with the incantation ringing in your ear and the smoke rising around you. Know that this just one moment among many and yet utterly singular in your life.

Honor it as such.

And then still your whole body and pay attention. Smile quietly. It’s true.

If you listen closely enough, everything really does whisper I love you.

***

Know as you have always known. The ocean teaches. It is all for love. That when it all seems to be slipping away you can place the palm of your hand to the center of your snare drum heart. Allow your fingers to trace the wisdom of your ocean throat. Release. It is all right there. The exact center of all that is.

And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.

***

IMG_8237Snip20141229_4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are cold now. Cold and tearstained and so brutally and beautifully alive. You smell of smoke and sage and stubbornly burned gratitude and your desert and salt and sand and the sea. You are complete into and of yourself. You are broken hearted and lonely and utterly alone and surrounded by all of this world. You are missing and mourning. But you are fiercely alive and whole.

And this is your life to live.

***

The next morning. The desert calls for your return. Your car will smell of fire and ritual. The sky will be full of clouds and dropping rain. You will be as empty as if you have ever been, and yet strongly and gracefully filled.

Sometimes we must go all the way to ground in order to rise again.

***

The music plays, Amos Lee singing “Keep it loose, keep it tight”.

You hit the open road.

***

Blessed be the tears and the grief. Blessed be the brutal and the sweet. Blessed be the rekindling of hope and the returning to self. Blessed be the circle in the sand.

Blessed be the healing ocean that has held your letting go.