Tonight, I was in the middle of giving a Reiki session, when I remembered what I had forgotten.
A few days after I officially became a Reiki master, it was Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, my favorite part of which is a ritual called Tashlich (really people, click on the link, it’s awesome). You take old bread which becomes embodied with all your sins — the Hebrew word for which means “missing the mark.” In our case, the old bread we used was challah, which is sunshine on the inside thanks to extra egg yolks (and super delish used as the base for French Toast). But whatever, if you have old injera or tortillas lying around, by all means.
You tear the bread into small crumbs that represent how you haven’t been quite Yourself. (Note that you don’t need to throw away the whole loaf, just the crusty gnarled pieces.) Take these, and send them downstream, in whatever moving body of water you can find. As in: I’m ready to release my smallness, my excuses, my bullshit, and become whoever it is I have the courage to become without them.
Within those same few days, I got invited to go to a South American country where I spent a couple of incredible months in my 20s. A friend found me on Facebook and, long story short, he is now a doctor who practices — of all things! — integrative medicine, and plans to open a center on the Pacific coast. Would I consider teaching him Reiki and yoga? Come and work with him on his dream project on aforementioned beach?
Now I don’t know if my old friend’s invite is the real deal or a more poetic version of “let’s get together sometime,” though that hasn’t stopped me from visualizing slicing pineapple and ginger into chunks each morning for breakfast, seated on an outdoor bar overlooking deep blue.
Reconnecting to my past meant that I found myself rummaging through a pile, three times, until I found the journal I had kept in 1992. It was my first time in that place, so there was obviously history and culture and politics and economics and culinary treasures to be explored. I was on an international team of election observers, mainly older, mainly Latin American, male, sure of themselves, and sure of what a younger woman like me was good for. (Secretarial skills were actually at the top. Only the head of the mission, after too many pisco sours, thought to suggest in front of a dozen of his buddies that I sleep with him so as to assure my spot on future missions. Diplomatic version of the Hollywood couch .)
My journal writing revealed that much more intriguing to me than slimy men who mistook position for prowess were the terrorists, whose perfectly seductive and reasonable anti-imperialist ideology grotesquely transformed into an utter denigration of human rights (and hatred of most humans, it seemed to me). Equally compelling was the state-sponsored hypocrisy, the so-called democratic government for whom we had to eventually declare elections clean and fair, which was in truth a dictatorial oligarchy. The personal-professional learning seemed hardest for me: given my position and prowess, I was figuring out how much to fight for what I believed, and how much compromise I could live with.
I came home from that trip, applied for and was rejected by the Peace Corps (reasons later given to me was that I lacked the cross-cultural and inter-personal skills to live overseas). Within a few months, I graduated with a Masters of Science in International Development Management.
That trip was, essentially, the last international work I did.
The path I chose has been completely different than the one I imagined.
In many ways, it’s been a lot narrower, at least geographically constrained. It has not been a bad life, by any stretch. It just hasn’t yet quenched my longing for adventure and impact.
I don’t think I consciously realized until this week how often I’ve perceived the path I’ve been on as having been the best I was able to muster up given the failure of my mid 20s far-more-exciting-and-global-dream-path. And so the rejections and failures and changed courses of my particular life path to date might have seemed even more harsh because I was also being rejected and failing at and changing courses at a path I presumably didn’t really want at all.
This past week, with becoming a so-called Reiki “master” and with my poetry chapbook being released, I feel like I’m having the opposite of a mid-life crisis. There’s a sense of accomplishment, for one, which might just be a giant ego rub-a-dub — or might make for a trail marker of sorts. There’s a sense of possibility, of anything could happen, even accepting an offer from someone I haven’t seen in a million years. (I probably won’t because I no longer jump off cliffs unless I know how deep the water actually is. But I could, hypothetically. Just sayin’.)
Time to send that off too.
So this week, I’ll try to live as though this was my dream path all along.
Maybe a good practice for you too?
Speaking of practices, please check out my upcoming workshops here. And, if you’re in the DC area, save Tuesday, October 19th for my chapbook release/birthday party! (Location to be announced.)
Until next time!