Several years ago while working in a bar in Sherman Oaks, I became fast friends with a regular of mine, Dave. He was nearing 70 and legally blind. He was also an educator, basketball coach, and a writer. He had a screenplay that he asked if I would read. Of course I would. This was a story very close to his heart that he really wanted to see on film. I liked the story greatly. However, it read so much more like a book. I encouraged him to write that instead. I was not the only person who had said that. Finally, he agreed. He hired a lady to help him translate his story into book form. Eventually, he would ask me to read to him this novel in the making so that he could hear it coming back to him. I would go over about once a week. We worked this way off and on for about a year. He would spend several months at his other home in Oregon. Over our time spent together we would become very close. This man became like a father to me.
Our work together increased through the beginning of the year. I was delighted to not only help him, but to be a part of this process. He moved from wanting me to read and take notes to then edit and help rewrite some things. I told him I was not that kind of writer (I had fear of mucking it up), he needed someone familiar with mystery, historical fiction. He said he needed me, familiar with his story and passion. I said ok. I dug in. I edited, I argued points. He listened, he stood ground. We worked well, we learned, and we refined our own processes. He was becoming a better writer, learning how to put his own vision on paper. I was learning how to simplify. I too can get a little wordy, if you haven’t noticed.
We shared pieces of our lives with one another. He made me laugh out loud with his stories of youth, and frustrations of old age. He knew of my impending divorce and my struggles. He also knew of my dreams. He had offered me a place to stay if ever I needed it. I was hoping it would not ever come to that. Then one day, it did. Some would say, as luck would have it. I know differently. The step was there right when I needed it. Thank God. Again. Dave was heading north for about five weeks in June 2015 to July. So I was provided for, a roof over my head. It was central and gave me experience living in yet another area.
This place would be so much more though than a landing ground. I knew, felt, that coming here I was about to cocoon. I told my friends, don’t expect to see me. I’m only coming out for necessities. It was time to work, and time to heal. I had been through so much already and particularly the previous six months that I needed to be alone. I saw myself being wrapped in white silk, praying that a butterfly would emerge and take flight.
I was moving into the home of a creative writer whom I had worked closely with. I had been encouraged to “Take responsibility for myself.” So I declared, I’m going to start writing here. I had so many thoughts, ideas flowing regularly. I previously had purchased an oversized pad of paper like post-its that you attach to the wall for my work with Dave. I used those now for my own purposes. I often felt like the main character from A Beautiful Mind, scratching notes furiously here and there to not lose my thoughts. I’m sure it often looked quite frantic. I hoped I too was not losing my mind.
For about 15 years, I have been holding on to a secret dream; a desire that again felt like a planted seed. I had this feeling inside of me to write a book. What it would be about I did not know. I just knew that I had experienced enough that I felt like others could learn from my pain and process. It seemed quite grand a dream, but it was in my thoughts and heart nonetheless. Again, it was one of those visions that did not have full clarity and was not time to manifest. I allowed it to marinate in my receded consciousness, knowing that when the time arose, the pages would reveal themselves. I have probably only shared with maybe two people my desire to write. I may not be composing a book today, but I am writing. I am bringing words to a page in completion, and that is something. That seed had been planted long ago, and it was finally time to nourish it.
As my five weeks here were coming to a close, I did not know where I was headed next. Dave was only going to be back in town for about two weeks, then he’d be gone another month. He offered me to stay. I came to realize, he could use the company. So I stayed. At first I was concerned, will this be awkward? Will I be in the way? Rather, it was a beautiful symbiotic relationship. He was a bit estranged from his daughter. I had lived quite far from my own Dad and Grandfathers for too long. We provided a familial setting for one another. Just as importantly, we worked, hard, and almost finished the novel. By the end of August, it would be complete, and so would my stay in Sherman Oaks.
I know it may seem a trivial thing to some, but the parking situation was surfacing again. Parking in LA had become a commodity; they even have an app for it now! It was definitely a nuisance. The struggle was real, and it began to happen here too. I only bring it up because I knew it had meaning. Seriously, what was happening? Why had parking been plentiful and close in the beginning of my stay, then rare and in BFE midway to the end? Made no sense to me. And the parking tickets??? WTH? The Universe was trying to tell me something, that was clear. Keep moving, don’t get comfy. Well shit, where do you want me to go? The final straw was the final parking ticket. For street sweeping! And I never saw the damn street sweepers! Conspiracy. You can’t know how much these things annoy me unless you have witnessed my tirade. My anger finally boiled to the surface. I was sitting in my car and I screamed out, cried. I was so angry with God. What more do you want from me?? Am I not paying enough attention? I am trying! I was so hurt. I felt unprotected, though I knew that was false. Of course I was so clearly protected, all.my.life. But I couldn’t see through this. What were you telling me? Finally I asked a very intuitive, psychic friend of mine what she could gather from this situation. She said I had been parked too long, that I was not taking action. What? The Universe had more jokes. You’ve got to be kidding me! How much more action do I need to take? Action. Action. I already knew that thoughts preceded words, and words preceded action. But to hear that I was not moving forward… Hell, I knew it to be true in some sense, but I felt lost. Finally I said fuck it. If I’m going to make something of this life and my existence, it was up to me. I felt in this moment that I needed to do everything on my own.
I felt as though all that I knew about life was being challenged, again. When I was going through all of my early break-up, I saw the phrase, “Empty yourself and let the Universe fill you.” How beautiful that was to me, and brought me such peace. I had already seen my life as if it were a big black purse being turned upside down with hands holding each side dumping all of my contents out. I didn’t mind. I could see it clearly. Yes please, fill me with all good things for my life. But now being here and confused, what was I supposed to do?
The choices could not all be mine. It could not be all up to me, but the signs were saying something. Not taking action. I knew the Universe was teaching me to trust myself, much like a parent who lets go of the bicycle to teach his child to ride. But I could not figure it out. So again, back to basics, baby steps, first things first. Keep writing. Look for more work. Hahaha. Let me stop right there and say this (cover your ears if you are sensitive); do you see how I kept going back to having to find “work” and a “home” in LA? Parked too long bitch means get the fuck Out Of LA! Geez. Oh hindsight.
Anyway, I kept writing. Tons of notes, lots of pieces of an article. But nothing was coming together. I couldn’t complete my stories because I had not completed any of these circles in my life. I felt like a fraud. How can I speak of these things when I have not mastered anything yet?? What else can I do? I thought about the fact that I had been wanting to lead a retreat. Finally, I said, ok, so lead one. The way presented itself to me pretty easily, so I booked a retreat to Costa Rica. I thought, maybe I won’t come back right away. Maybe I’ll go further south. Either way, I decided and I acted.
It would be a dragonfly that would finally grant me clarity. Driving home from work one day, stopped at a red light, one curious fellow hovered around my car for an exceptionally long time, enough to draw my full, undivided attention. As he floated away, he did not stop at any other vehicles. He was just gone. Hmm. Well that was interesting. A few days later, the exact same thing happened again. Wow! OK. You’ve got me. What are you trying to tell me? I went home and googled “dragonfly totem”. The dragonfly was telling me to be light and joyful in my emotions. Ok. I was in a pretty good place despite all that was surrounding me, but I can always lighten up a little. (No comments from the peanut gallery here :)) “Call upon when you are stuck in a situation and need assistance to gain new perspective.” Right. That, I definitely needed. “Solution might lay in your ability to adapt and tackle the issue from a different angle. Be flexible and highly adaptable.” Wow, I knew immediately that it was speaking to the nomad. I was resisting that label, not because I didn’t like it, but because I felt guilty for relying on others. Not knowing where one is going to reside is both freeing and debilitating. I felt, irresponsible, often. But this was a definite message. Embrace the nomad; I felt it deep. Its ok. It’s your journey. So I did. Not that there wasn’t fear, but it was different. I knew I had been on the right track, that my intuition was guiding me. Thank you Universe for confirmation.
I began to accept walking in a little less fear, knowing that the way would be shown. It is such a dichotomy to know the truth, to know the answers, and continue to believe and act otherwise. But it is a journey, and I am learning.