The truth is, the renewed sense of confidence that dawned in early July (about me leaving tomorrow for Shambhala Mountain Center for nearly 2 weeks, away from Opal and Jesse) has not gone anywhere. It's still there.
This week, weeds of doubt have grown up and through the ok-ness, like madness desperate for air. Sleep has been lost, tossy and disjointed. I've got a gas bubble like an angioplasty in my belly and a deviant little troll-well of a canker sore beneath my tongue, which forces me to talk with a lisp and chew with my mouth open. I've cried at work and been attacked by wretched mounds of self-critism like getting unexpectedly buried in sawdust on the walk home.
Also. I am more than a little excited.
I'm curious about what it will feel like to pack for a trip without concern for endless baby paraphernalia. And what will it feel like to be completely autonomous for nearly half a month? Will it be disorienting, like when amputees feel as if the limb is still there—the phantom limb—to even go so far as to scratch at the hollow space? Will I feel Opal's presence in a tug on my pants or hear her little footsteps clomping behind me and then turn in spite of myself to find that she's, of course, not there? Will I have hallucinations the way I did on the fifth and final day of being away from her last January?
What will it feel like to feed myself meal after meal after meal without having to get up from the table to get more applesauce, to wipe up a spill, to grab a knife to cut the bites smaller?
What will it be like to have only Big People Conversation day in and day out for 11 cycles of 24 hours? Will I be rusty when I get home, as if I'd neglected my native language?
How will Opal fare without me? Will she cope by snuggling closer to daddy and grammy? Will she busy herself more than she already does, unaware of the fact that she's avoiding tears? Will she ask daddy where mama go? only here and there or enough to make Jesse go secretly crazy? Will she ask him again when there is a noise or a song or a smell that makes her think of me and will Jesse sweetly repeat the phrase no honey, mama is not home yet, but she loves you sooo much. (He will shine.)
I haven't been able to sit my butt on a (meditation) cushion for more than 15 minutes, a few times a week, over the last many months. So I'm quite curious how it will unfold to sit on a cushion with 150 other people, morning to night, day after day. No different from a woman who has refused to diet who then suddenly chooses to go on a strict, albeit short-lived, cleansing fast. I'm bound to feel a bit remodeled come Wednesday, one way or another.
I feel giddy in anticipating the magic that is inherent in these kinds of programs. The alchemy of people and minds is glossy, intoxicating, transformative. The late night talks over sake outside the tents, the long, meandering walks through the Ponderosas to get to the meditation hall, the slow, steady excavation and buffing of the walls within the mind.
At the moment, it's all tossed up inside, with emotions feeling a bit like the arcade game with the claw that grabs at wide-eyed, cheaply-made stuffed animals. I'm doing my best not to lurch too far forward because time-do-pass no matter how much shoving I feel compelled to do.
Who the hell knows— I may get there and be shocked to find that I want to linger with my fingers in the honey all afternoon. I may make a count-down calendar from post-it notes. I may cry and cry and then be done—the way Opal stops dead in her tears and announces Opal all done kying!— ready to celebrate the fact that life must be pretty damn good at home to feel such heartache, even before I walk out the door.