FOUR DAYS AGO: It’s 3:30 PM and PQ is taking a nap. I haven’t had much time or inspiration for writing this week. This is it. Yesterday we drove to several venues from south to north here in Taos, hoping to cope with a shortfall by selling at least one of PQ’s hand painted jackets. I didn’t want to do this due to the virus effect that is hanging with us since we returned from Las Cruces on Sunday. That trip was all about another showing of “Awakening in Taos”.
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The long weekend held continuous challenges for someone on 5 Lts. of oxygen 24/7. We hauled oxygen tanks from venue to venue for receptions, showings and Q&A’s. Sometimes PQ ran out of oxygen entirely and we had to wing it and hope for the best. People were friendly, curious somewhat bedazzled but not interested in buying art. At least not from someone they knew very little about. The Southern part of New Mexico is actually a different country and the art, history and natives of Taos Pueblo are exotic to them.
Some of the stress was in finding venues located far apart in an unfamiliar city. I learned to use Siri (somewhat) after my Garmin GPS failed us, but the tension continued and PQ and I have different ways. Each of us thinks the other doesn’t know what he/she is doing when faced with the unknown. Packing and unpacking large paintings, a powwow drum, 12 painted coats and jackets, drawings, greeting cards CD’s and our luggage was another challenge. On the last morning, we ran out of oxygen tanks and had to locate a provider acceptable to PQ’s insurance. After ordering, we discovered that they wouldn’t deliver to hotels. Mark Gordon, our producer was waiting for us to guide us to the theater again but ran out of time and had to leave us on our own. Thankfully, the oxygen provider was only half a mile away, but it was under time pressure and we arrived at the theater a bit late, yet proud of ourselves for finding it on our own.
Frankly, I don’t think I described all of this with total accuracy because it is a blur now. Unfortunately, it was a blur at the time as well. I’ll admit both PQ and I were exhausted and semi-conscious before we arrived. He had painted feverishly for two weeks prior, and I lay out and printed cards, organized the items and priced everything until late the night before we left. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that I was just beginning to recover from a cold and so was PQ.
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Now I’ve vented about our rather strange experience, and am trying to settle back into the Taos rhythm. I started to worry about the bills we collected last month because we bought art materials, had to replace an old washing machine that died and make a payment on our son’s truck while he was between jobs. Our income doesn’t accommodate extra expenses. When the late fees and shutoff notices from utility companies started coming in, my stomach tightened by habit and I resigned to a sleepless night. Then suddenly, my mood changed and I began to feel light and free. For some reason I recognized that worry is an out of date response designed to mollify a false sense of responsibility. Self-torture was never useful and only created more problems. The universe isn’t picking on me uniquely, and not all efforts let alone self-generated suffering will be rewarded in the real world. Then a flashlight came on and illuminated the room. I saw that my life is focused on staying out of trouble to avoid criticism and shame but my personal trickster was crafting the opposite again and again. I was making myself crazy with a purpose.
I can’t please everyone and there are times when I can’t please anyone. This truth doesn’t require a desperate response, or a belief that I’m cursed. It just is. Things have not been smooth this winter. PQ is going through his own frustrations and disappointments and sometimes he expects more than I have to give and is impatient with me. My failure this month to please our creditors put a hole in my ego through which I could peer at the larger world. I was in a similar loop with my husband. I thought I had to meet every expectation and make him happy or I was a total failure as a person. I could feel us drifting further apart and was powerless to fix it. Then, on this day, I realized that I alone couldn’t fix it. I could love him, be frustrated with him and even blame myself for not understanding his version of perfection, but my feelings of failure would never make us okay. I can’t do it alone.
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My hopes and expectations for our relationship were a precious dream. Ironically, he also had a dream of what we would be together. I’m not saying that those dreams are not good. I still believe there is much of value there but not the way I once imagined. Will we survive a blizzard of reality in this rather bleak winter? Actually, I see it as a necessary trip through the storm. On our recent drive from Las Cruces to Taos, exhausted and rumpled as we watched mile after mile of sand and dry brush move by at what seemed a snail’s pace, authenticity was taking root like a tender shoot developing beneath the barren winter soil.
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Perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with reality after all. I believe this life is a school for the soul, but on a larger level, it is a school for this evolving planet’s essence and destiny. They are organically connected.
Expectations tend to hold the future within the habits of the past. Typically, when a people moved from one location on the planet to another, they insisted on keeping the plants, animals and beliefs of the place they came from. I was just reading about the Vikings who lived for almost 300 years on Greenland. Then something happened (probably weather change and a shift of the ivory market to Africa) making it impossible to maintain a Northern European life style on that cold barren island. Instead of adapting to the lifestyle of their Inuit neighbors that is still functioning at that location, they returned to Europe or died in place. The magic comes in making change a womb instead of a grave.