Goodbye year of the Fire Monkey and hello Year of the Fire Rooster. Out here in the Santa Cruz mountains, we rang in the New Year in fine style. Friends/neighbors hosted their annual New Year’s Eve feast. Oysters on the half shell and Picpoul (literally lip-stinger) wine to start. A caviar tasting session with bubbly. Ever had caviar on potato chips? I hadn’t either. It’s fantastic! Poached eggs in a cream and Asiago cheese sauce with wafer thin slices of truffle served in cellophane packets. Filet Mignon and a dollop of Roquefort, saffron mashed cauliflower, asparagus wrapped in bacon paired with Paix Sur Terre. And dessert? Lucky there is a separate stomach for dessert because you wouldn’t want to miss this…affogato (a shot of espresso over a scoop of home-made ice cream), hazelnut biscuits dipped in dark chocolate, home made toffee, and the topper? An Earl Grey custard with a lemon curd whip on top. Aaiee! Such gastronomic delights! Food and wine are truly one of life’s greatest pleasures and gifts. But what if you were eating this all by yourself? No, most important is being surrounded by people you care about and who care about you. The warmth I felt wasn’t just from the wine, the crackling fire-place, or holding that sparkler just a few seconds too long. It was from feeling blessed to have kind, loving people in my life.
Now that the happy fog of food and drink has drifted away, I find myself feeling reflective. I think the shortness of the days and the natural progression to spending more time indoors by the fire passing the long, cold nights makes this a natural tendency. I recently went to San Franciso to see a therapist/body worker/psychic/spiritual guru type of person. I had seen her once 8 years ago and she proved to be so spot on that I still find myself considering her words. It felt like it was time for a repeat visit. One of my questions for her was “Why do my relationships implode in October and what can I do to break this cycle?” What I took away from this session was that there is a wound inside of me that attracts toxic men. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to choose someone healthy and right, they can smell me from a mile away. They come to me. Until this wound is healed, I will continue to date the same man. I now consider the money I’ve put into dating websites, the stress, angst, frustration, venting sessions with girlfriends, wondering why, why, why is there no one, no one at all with whom I am compatible?
Receiving this message gave me the freedom to shrug off this hair shirt I’d been wearing. I had been on a rollercoaster of wavering between “Ok, I just have to try harder! People say online dating has to be like a second job if you’re serious” and collapsing into despair, “I give up! It’s hopeless!” Because the truth is it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if he’s (whoever he is) the perfect outdoorsy, adventurous, handsome, childless, finanically stable, emotionally secure, head full of hair, food and wine lover, or a lazy, jobless, pot smoking, couch potato, with a string of baby mamas in his wake. It doesn’t matter because I’m not ready. I can stop putting energy into this and instead turn inward, to see what’s really going on in there. I cancelled my dating websites. I suddenly lost the compulsion to size up single men in categories (Too fat, too boring, too good looking-then why is he single?) What a relief to be able to look around my world and not think “yes, no, maybe so” but rather “person, person, person” and have no investment or attachment.
This coincides with a book I’m reading, “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It was a sort of white elephant gift from a holiday party but I can’t put it down. The timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous. As I turn the pages I exclaim in my mind, “Oh so that’s what I’ve been afraid of! Oh I totally do that. She’s talking about me!” One of the messages is that women are born with great intuition and instinct but sometimes we loose it for a variety of reasons. She keeps driving the point home that it is so important to remember and reconnect to our instincts and our “wildish nature” as this is what will keep us healthy and safe. My wildish nature is telling me it’s winter. Its time to hibernate. I will listen. I will stop this frantic searching and running to and fro. I will retreat to home. I will retreat inside. I will sit in front of my fireplace and think, I will read and consider, I will reconnect with the simple things winter gives me the opportunity to enjoy. A slow night at home. The thunk of a knife cutting through a carrot, the smell of something wonderful in the oven, the tapping of rain on the skylights, the redwoods swaying in a storm, the creak of the wood burning stove as it heats. These are a few of my favorite things.