16 August, 2015
pie and photo by www.izzywilder.com/
I’m looking forward to eating this blueberry pie on Cape Cod next week. Made by my daughter, Isabel, and sweetened with coconut sugar, you can bet it tastes a whole lot better than the humble pie I was working my way through recently. And really, to those of you who read the last post and are still with me, I thank you. And a heartfelt thank you to those of you who honored Amy Katherine.
What is humble pie? Originally it was umble, derived from the French, numble, meaning ‘deer innards.’ Mmm, yumble. A dish for the peasants, ergo, humble. These days, anyone knocked off their high horse can eat this pie. Until a few weeks ago I had no idea I had a horse, nor that it was high, let alone that I was riding it. I think I may have been riding bare-back, that’s how confident I was that I knew the beast and myself. So, what a shock to find there was a hurdle I couldn’t clear.
I won’t linger here, partly because I still don’t fully understand the depths to which I fell or the pile of crap I found there. Nor do I have any answers as to who I was for those three weeks. Ha. I, who was convinced I had the tools to overcome anything found myself unable to find myself, never mind the toolbox. For 3 weeks I had no answers and it frightened me.
At times it shamed me. Joel said I was digging myself out of a hole with a teaspoon; I think it was an espresso spoon. Then one day, trying to explain to Joel and a friend what I was experiencing I had the sudden insight that explanation was futile. That all my life I’ve tried to explain and analyze and justify discomfort and terror and suddenly it appeared ludicrous and hubristic. The message that came through was that all I had to do was observe with the curiosity of a cat. Rather than succumb to terror each time I had an alien thought, I started watching it as if it didn’t belong to me, which was fairly easy as I was feeling out of myself anyway.
Slowly, I began to see how truly vast reality is; how elastic our minds can be when we stop trying to know it all; that in fact there is much that cannot be explained because it is outside of verbal language. Within a day, what I had been experiencing as a frightening lack of identity became a sense of uncluttered existence consisting only of providing my basic needs. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, napped when I was tired and if I was capable of doing something I did it, otherwise I let it be. But perhaps what moved me onward the most was being nakedly lost in front of others and asking for help.
There is no shame in humble pie. If I learned anything from this strange passage it would be that: that shame is not necessary; that it is something burned into us long ago and has absolutely no place and no use in our adult lives.
So, let me tell you that without shame, Joel and I went to a Spa Hotel for my 69th birthday last Saturday. I, who have long judged air-conditioning and those who use it as irresponsible, craved it. After 5 weeks of stultify heat what I most wanted for my birthday was an air-conditioned room, a swimming pool and a massage. I got the latter two, but not the a/c. I got something even better: this environmentally conscious hotel uses thermal energy to heat and cool the rooms; http://www.adler-thermae.com/en/
We also got the longed for thunderstorm on the way to my birthday dinner with Gianni and Luana.
During the following days, as I allowed myself to have no answers, I began to let go of the need to express myself verbally and the desire to return to visual expression led me to setting up my painting area in the our new studio.
This in turn took the pressure off the need to be published which in turn allowed me to see what I had been unable to see before: that the person who could best help me had been there along; had in fact been the first to help when I started the quest to be published more than 20 months ago. This top-notch copy editor has not only agreed to proofread the manuscript but has also introduced me to an equally expert text designer and type-setter. These two angels have now relieved me of the manuscript and will take care of all necessary details. We are looking at a mid to late October publishing date. So….get your Christmas wrapping paper ready!
The rain is here again, straight and steady. Italy is on holiday for a week; the whole country at a standstill. Such a good thing to do once in a while: stand still, listen and look without haste, be surprised by your own madness, dare to not know that which you were so sure of and humbly accept the need for protection while you wait for the storm to pass. I am evermore grateful for the sturdy oak whose name is Joel.