Sunday, April 13, 2008

Partici-blog Two - the final frontier

I wrote about a wonderful woman in the blog entitled Orange Carpets and Little Deaths…or something like that. She came over again last week and we finalized the Advanced Medical Directive and living will. I was proud to have created a Living will that made her laugh out loud. P is a woman who has helped shepherd many terminally ill people to the end of this life and she has a remarkably poetic and mystical and at the same time brass tacks way of approaching it.

The day began with Kathy bringing my week’s supply of food over, lovingly cooked by Cecilia and very delicious. I had another fall – my first with someone besides Mac around to witness. For some reason it was very hard to have someone around for that. You’d think the opposite. That fall and then ensuing pain which crept in throughout the day plus the meeting with P resulted in one of “those” days.

I sit perched between two worlds. One foot is in the world I have always inhabited. In that world I have been so happy and fulfilled making shows, making music, making love, making jokes. It’s an action-packed universe where I am this energetic force barreling my way from adventure to adventure, making people laugh, connecting, doing. I have always loved this world and I don’t think I’ve squandered too much of my time here. Okay, there was that brief addiction to General Hospital and maybe a little too much time in Target, but beyond that, I’ve lived, I think. I’ve lived.

My other foot beckons the rest of me to join it. The pull to this other, quieter place is seductive. In this world I can read the same poem all night, sit and gaze at the Berkeley Hills for hours, and feel myself drawn to a place where my inner universe completely overshadows the world of the other foot. It is the most amazing journey – vast and infinite and impossible to describe. It’s only mine you see and the closest I can come to a definition is Ps who described it as being akin to a medium – a foot in both worlds.

Trouble is my weight is centered between these worlds. I’m in limbo and its painful sometimes. Letting go of the trappings of the first world, clinging to the things I’ve loved so dearly. Observing my body betray me or maybe not. Maybe it’s leading me to this deeper knowing.

There are times when I’m so excited for this adventure. There are times when I think I will turn into pure love. The other times, the times I long for what is lost, are almost…but not quite…unbearable.

The trick to a happy ending is this: don’t decide the ending ahead of time – leaves too much room for disappointment.

I’ve been thinking about bucket lists lately ( a la the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman movie). When I first wrote about my list it was unrealistic. It included being around for events over which I have no control. My updated bucket list is reassuring because besides the clichĂ© of traveling to places I’ve never been, the rest are very simple. Many involve things I’ve done many many times and enjoyed thoroughly.

The list includes using a hotel minibar in flagrant disregard of the financial ramifications, sitting in front of a roaring fire with a snifter of brandy and driving in a limo with 70s music blaring, sticking my head out of the roof window and yelling woohoo. It also includes driving my convertible one last time, singing in front of a big band and being reckless about love.

If dying well is a lesson in living well, this is what I glean from the list:
1) minibar: don’t let money be your guiding principle. It’s fine to be prudent but if your financial choices stand in the way of your happiness or the well-being of someone you love, spend the damned money.
2) Brandy: make the quiet, peaceful moments as big of a priority as the daily checklist. Trust me – when you know you’re going to die the checklist doesn’t mean jack shit and it sure as hell doesn’t make the bucket list.
3) Limo: have fun.. Duh.
4) Driving: it’s a gift to be able to drive. You don’t know that until you can’t anymore but take my word for it. Enjoy every little thing you do.
5) Singing: well that’s just me.
6) Be reckless about love: why not? Tell someone you love them even if you don’t know if they reciprocate. Give your love freely and without expectation. Love begets love though not necessarily from the place you expected. Also don’t be afraid to write Hallmark-esqe blogs. Corny is also true and if you’re sharing corny shit because you love your readers then who cares if one person out of a hundred thinks you are too precious.

Also on my list – go to Pacific Grove and get up at dawn to watch the butterflies open their wings, slow dance with a cute guy ( this one is time sensitive so help me out fellas!), go to Disneyland with Mac ( no really!) and love, love, love all of you.

OKAY – so here’s the homework: Hit comments and leave your bucket list. Then make plans to do something on the list and report back with a comment. By the way folks, the comments are the best part of this blog. Check them out and be prepared to be amazed!


Anonymous said...

my bucklet is full. here is a start:

~loving: PH forever and ever, despite...
~treating: my friends to many breakfasts, lunches, dinners
~gazing (intertwined with lazing): DAILY, DAILY, DAILY, for any amount of time
~petting: you fill in this one!

and i WILL be back. thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

I’ve always imagined myself crossing the continent on foot, I really like long walks, and maybe I’d bring my dog for protection.

I would probably paint every wall in my house a different color (only, I’d pay someone else to do it) and I’d paint several murals (those I’d do myself).

I’d buy some big pieces of art.

I’d write a fan letter to Dustin Hoffman.

I would go to England and drink beer in a smoky pub and then take Colette on one of those hokey “Harry Potter’s England” tours.

I would probably finally pay for one of those “people search” websites and find a couple of long lost friends who I’m very curious about.

I would join the choir at the Unitarian Universalist Church I occasionally go to. I love to sing but rarely do because, without fail, singing makes me cry, freely, and I always feel embarrassed by the free flowing tears. Even though they aren’t sad tears, they are tears of joy, I still feel humiliated by them. So, I would join a choir, sing, cry freely, AND choose to not be embarrassed.

I think I might dress my children up in outrageous outfits and pose them all around with props and amuse myself taking their pictures. I might write plays with them and video tape them and put them on Youtube.

I would like to laugh more, I very rarely laugh (almost never) and I really enjoy it, so maybe I would try out a laughing support group.

I would quit planning to find fault before looking in the mirror.

I’d ask some people for forgiveness. I’d forgive some people.


Listen when my children speak.


Anonymous said...

I want to make more mistakes. I am going to start some things and not be afraid I won't/can't/may just- lose-goddamn-steam-for-once finish them. I don't want to be so afraid of making mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Make a bucket list and get back to you *smile*

Amazing blog!

Anonymous said...

Dance... haven't done that in so long

Saw an ad today to learn to play the piano ... I thought about the cardboard piano keyboard I "learned" on in 3rd grade. I want to pay better attention to these kinds of fleeting thoughts of wanting something good... besides food.

Can I dare to take the chance to meet a man i've been writing to and not care if it doesn't work out?

Swimming lessons


Anonymous said...

Hmm . . . sometimes I don't know that I've always wanted to do something until I do it. In my thirties, it was learning to drive, perfecting the art of roasting a chicken (damn, is it good), finally going on pointe in ballet (yes it hurt), and quitting my sensible job to become a writer.

Now, my list includes tango lessons, writing a comic novel, figuring out my new digital camera, laughing more, loving more, traveling more to visit friends, making more quilts, reading Tolstoy, and appreciating every moment. And of course, some unexpected goals that I don't know about yet. Maybe I'll become a shoemaker. Or a florist.

People always ask me what my favorite movie is. I say, I hope it's one I haven't seen yet.


Anonymous said...

more bucket dreams:
>mindfulness: in the face of stress, stress, stress
>patience, patience, patience: the end all be all of my dreams
>connection, connection, connection: the end all be all of my dreams
>redundancy: caring not, i am so...

thanks for reading. i WILL be back! :)

frankc said...

i don't know why but i want to go to Budapest ...

i was talking today w/my housemate about starting a weekly neighborhood Saturday breakfast @ the house ... we could use Hungarian paprika on the potatoes ...

more train rides ...

Anonymous said...

I've been puzzling over my bucket for some time now. This has been on my mind ever since I read this post and it's taken me a while to put some thoughts down. It's daunting to lay out what you actually in your heart of hearts want to do...and then think about reporting back on what you've actually done about making that happen. It ocurred to me that if I were to pick just couple items for the bucket, it might help....So here goes: I'd like to be more generous when it comes to making mistakes--give myself more permission to make 'em, like saying half-baked things to exceptionally smart people, singing off key (unavoidable) and teaching mediocre classes..... I want to get my cherished women's group together for a reunion ...I want to get myself to Italy (finally!) and celebrate my 50th birthday there with my husband and son...I want to spend more time in nature with friends and loved ones...but mostly these days I just want to get to SF to enjoy a weekend with radiant, beloved Carla.



SMU Student Services said...

if I were to have a bucket list:
*walk very slowly across the golden gate bridge. back and forth.
*spend a few days in a tent in Yosemite.
*visit Glide memorial's soup kitchen and start singing songs about Jesus loud and clear.
*visit premature babies in a hospital and sing them lullabies.
*go sailing

thanks for the assignment Carla! <3 cecilia

Anonymous said...


You are so loved by all those who have never even met you. I am one of your parent's high school friends (the one who sent the quilt) and just today found out the wife of a friend from work has ALS. How I wish her the courage that comes from you. I will call her and tell her to read your blog. You are an inspiration for all. Know you are loved.

Pat Hering