I was sitting in the Camry in the Moonlight Beach parking lot high above the Pacific Ocean last night, around 7:30, in conversation with my main man and ongoing mentor Gavin in Oakland. We were in agreement, the both of us, that I was doing a better job of living my life more fully these days – as in, way closer to the goal of “all-in” I’d been pleading with myself for years and years to get to. Yes, I’d go all-in here and there, this writing project, channeling that abstract painting, surely listening fully when the wife needed to talk. Only fragments of time. But there would be so many days – even with my life filled with blessings and me aware of them – when I let my head fall down to the pillow I’d think there was a lot more I could have got done that day. And would have if only – my ageless lament – I could find the way to suit up and show up entirely 100 percent, giving everything.
Last night, contrarily, Gavin and I were of the conclusion that I’m way more all-in these days, living each hour of each day with more devotion. More commitment. Way more observation that my life seems interesting, and, yeah, some of the time with more abandon. Kind of a dream come true.
Bursting into tears right there on a stone bench in public on a Sunday afternoon – now, that’s living life more fully. More completely. Not just talking about sadness, not even just writing about it – living it right out loud, feeling it all the way, internal mercury bubbling up into the red. And ditto for walking down the middle of the road because tar’s better than concrete and there’s less of a lip in the muddle and a stoned surfer dude passing on his bike yelling “you’re down the middle man” and me giving up the peace sign and knowing that there’s a freedom I’m feeling which is different. Man, I’m in a road 1000 miles away from where I had the most wonderful life, and I’m under royal palms versus Douglas firs, and I’m all alone – entirely alone – and not with the love of my life. And I see older couples walking and laughing and being so happy and I start to cry and I listen to sad songs and I weep on a new cue. And I stand in front of my favorite bench high up there above the Pacific and bow to the ocean and bow to that one palm in the middle of the beach, I bow to that huge succulent garden just over there near Fourth and to that crazy grove of palms and that team of pelicans passing, just passing. I don’t give a thought to if anyone’s looking and I don’t care, and I’ve been to an insanely fabulous job orientation to a job I’m about to begin at age 72 because I cannot afford to sustain this beach- town life very long with the rent and the social security and that goofy math and I ain’t afraid – I am not afraid – people have held me up, people have urged me on, people have rushed to my side, they’ve formed a human safety net, and I know I’m taken care of and the Universe, it looks down on me with a silly old grin…
And what I wanted to say is I gave nearly every bit of my art supplies away in the move from my marriage and Portland and now am buying small bits back and this morning I set up the acrylic paint keep-it-fresh palette and pulled out the best of the old brushes I tucked in a bag deep in my trunk 1000 miles ago, and the few acrylic tubes, and I have no studio and I have no table even on which to put my stuff, I do have the $29 folding easel I first bought back when someone I knew suggested trying painting for fun and I couldn’t tell you at all how it’s going to work, how I become an active artist again – but I’m gonna – and the fact is I’ll really be hoping to sell some of my new creations to help out with all the math of my Encinintas, Pacific-Ocean beach-side didn’t ask for it life, and I go to bed early every night and get up way earlier than most everyone and these days I’m writing my Morning Pages and a timed writing and a weekday Blog post, I’m back to writing three times a day and I do have two of my dust-covered stories up to re-read and maybe edit a little and hopefully get charged to get all-in with my story-telling again – it’s who I am – and lots of time the computer’s buffering and I’ve been told it keeps crashing cause it’s freakin’ old – like you Pops – and I’ll probably need to find money for a new cheap computer and maybe even a modem and router right here in the big and lonely and still magical and pretty mystical room I was lucky to rent, where the internet sucks,
And all of it means it’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m kind of buzzing with possibilities and with brightly burning emotions and I’m planning on jumping in the Pacific in an hour or so and out loud giggle and thank my lucky stars and turn around and look at that palm up there on the beach and say something like, “Holy shit. Look at me now.”
Maybe this makes no sense, except it does to me, which is a place I find myself in all the time these days, and it has to be okay, and it mostly is. The feeling all-in part – that’s really cool.