“Now Robert, as you’re traveling it’s important that you have out loud talks with little Bob and big Bob. They need to know they are not alone anymore – you need to re-assure them that you have their backs so that they don’t have to fall into the same old ruts.” Her eyes were steady as she shared this teaching with me, and as usual we were locked on and engaged. I told her that I would.
“The last time I saw my mother, it was really very sweet. She wasn’t depressed at all as I’d known her growing up. She’d grown out of it I guess. But Robert, we connected on that day she and I and I have felt great peace ever since and that is just so important as we go through life. And I want that for you.” Tears filled my eyes even as hesitation and hem hawing arose on my behalf as I listened to my friend tell me this story of how he had found reconciliation and peace with his mother. And that was a big deal – a very big deal – knowing what I knew of his mother and how in great pain and confusion she lashed out scaring him as if striking him with a Single tail whip. My mom was pretty good at lashing out too, which is maybe why of all the people I know, my friend the Preacher and I have a thing for whips…
It was a big deal because at that moment I was preparing to return home for a visit with my mother whom I have not been at peace with since before I could speak or so the story I had believed to be mine and to be true had read. And it was a big deal for my friend to share that and to wish upon me the aspiration of peace and to be present with me as he did. “Get your AC fixed, you’ll thank me,” he said as we parted.
Strapped into the car, headphones on J J Cale laying down some sweet grooves, followed by mystical Van Morrison and then the soaring vocals of the Eagles and before I knew it Albuquerque flew right by and my planning and my frugal mind were gleefully plotting my first day ending on a couch in my brother-in-laws home in Amarillo, TX. “Good to get as far down the road as I can” and “best to save money you know.” These are old thoughts and not true,” I realized in a flash of mindfulness which I then quickly forgot. The Honda was running great and I was on a journey looking for peace, open to forgiveness and ready to let go.
We had a good conversation – the three of us talking out loud – giving those energies of “me” that are called “lil bob” and just “Bob,” space to speak while cruising through the New Mexico desert. “What more could I want or need,” as I put the car on Cruise, turned the good enough AC up all the way thinking of and thanking my friend for the advice. Grabbing my tin can I put on the Doobie Brothers and started to shake along…”Ohhh Got to keep on movin’ or I’ll lose my mind…….Rocking down the Highway.”
Then came Santa Rita and the Blue Hole and a Conoco and maybe there’s something about that Blue Hole but more likely it was the simple act of removing the head phones and stepping out of the car and out of the Doobie Brother era. Once I did my body reminded me of an important truth that my mind had not accounted for. I am getting old. I am no longer the young man with energy to burn, easily able to spend 10 hours behind the wheel and this body reminded me of this and I rather forcefully made mindful of the realization that I might not be as young and as able as I once was. Damn!
In addition to having those little chats with lil bob and Bob, something else I found myself doing that proved to be very helpful throughout this trip was simply to pause. Take a few breaths and allow space to listen to my intuitive knowledge, to the natural wisdom of our hearts and when I did the voice said “Tucumcari tonight.” I listened and this little tiny act of self-compassion – of having a gentle attitude towards my self set the tone for the evening. Lil Bob and Bob were getting tired so we stopped. And that little moment of kindness to self conditioned the next moment and the next and…
“Hey Robert, Katherine said to tell you to go with ease and something else,” Karen said as we spoke, “I don’t remember what the something else was.” Which was perfect of course as it meant that I was free to choose the companions that would travel well with Ease on this journey home to see my mother, to see what might arise within my heart regarding her and the truth of dad and how I would act. All of this unknown. I had intentions I had hopes and now, my good friend Katherine and my wonderful partner, Karen and the Dharma have conspired to bring me to this place in life where the opportunity to do something radically different – to be radically different than any one in Springfield or in my family has ever seen of me is arising. Going home I was traveling with Ease. Ease and………….something else not yet known.
To be continued