16. Winter into Spring: Move On!

WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR RESTLESSNESS? (especially during younger years)

BLOG 16: January- June, 1997—The surrounding Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains, roads, and buildings that make up Santa Fe, this “City of Faith” in the high desert of New Mexico, are now covered in more than a foot of snow. This small city slows down, while inside homes, fires burn, warming old adobe walls, and filling the crisp, clean air with the scent of piñon smoke.

Days pass like this as I housesit, sitting by my fire, reading spiritual books and discovering a bit more of who I am—or more specifically, who I’m not. During the daytime, I take dance classes, turning, jumping across the dance floor with as much grace as I can muster. Mariko, a visiting dancer from Canada who used to perform with a modern dance group in New York City, watches me move, and at one point shares with my teacher that I am using too much muscle when I dance—not enough grace as I’d like. Her comments seem to sum up my life.

After dancing, I work in the evenings at a restaurant, but my groin and hips are getting tired. They are done with all my pushing, all my determination to dance despite having severely pulled my groin muscle months ago when I spontaneously stopped and decided to stay in New Mexico on my way to California. Working as a waitress seems to just make matters worse. I feel a dull ache as if I have an eternal bruise, and it’s tightening my muscles and making it more painful to sit and walk with each day that passes.

In order to stay in Santa Fe through the winter and into spring, I find another housesitting situation, and then rent a room during my final stay in this city. I move a carful of boxes from one place another, which puts more pressure on my back and hips.

I miss Albuquerque and the Sandia mountains, but I enjoy the solitude and time for myself inside this winter wonderland. I learn to be more still than I have ever been, and embark on spiritual journeys. When I hear songs or talks on the radio about Native American experiences in this country, I cry. I feel lifetimes—or past lives, perhaps—where I have lived as people here have lived. I feel deeply connected to roots of this land. There’s a familiar feeling here that opens my heart.

As spring approaches, though, so does my restlessness. I take a trip to Utah, but I’m disenchanted by the tourist playground there. I also spend time in Albuquerque and the Sandia Mountains, camping, and completing my time in New Mexico as I promised the land I would do six months ago.

By late spring I’m ready to go to California as I had originally planned.  My hip hurts more than ever (even after going to a chiropractor and doctor that provided little assistance), but I have a job lined up in Berkeley and a house to share in the mountains of Oakland. I am excited for a new adventure, although I’m not prepared for the reality that lies ahead.

WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR RESTLESSNESS? (especially during younger years)

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13. A Fire Inside

HOW HAVE YOU RETURNED TO YOURSELF AFTER LOSING YOUR WAY?

Blog 13: November 5-12, 1996—The fire inside my new home in Santa Fe, an hour north of Albuquerque, is bright and warm, unlike the night sky. It’s colder in this town, nestled inside the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains, about 2,000 feet higher in elevation than Albuquerque. But I’m here for two months, in a home I’m housesitting so I can be with my spirit and its magic buried under years of dust.

These days, I spend little time with Richard, my short-lasting boyfriend. I also rejected an offer to work at a Hispanic Radio Program—an unusual opportunity in this high desert town—because I’m more focused on taking dance classes during the day. It’s odd to have declined this offer, since I really need to rest my legs from the growing pain of walking that began with my groin-pull injury less than a month ago. But my determination to stay the course—to dance and be free—make it hard to receive the gifts I have been given.

I am glad to be here, nonetheless. The fireplace warms me, and the house cat keeps me company when I’m not working at the local restaurant, where I’m on my feet all the time. As I sit in front of the fire, I read spiritual books. I also recall the East Coast—all the innocence, all the romanticism of a mysterious world seemed unattainable to me there. Instead, I felt enclosed by suffocating walls. That little spirit of mine that had always believed in something magical, the unknown, had died. And nothing mattered. I had gone through years wondering why I lived. I wondered if my life was worth anything, why I should even try. I questioned whether there was a God, whether my existence had any reason. I used to sit in my room for hours asking why—why I was here on this earth inside the emptiness I felt with my family.

Here in Santa Fe, I don’t feel home, but I experience a sense of home inside of me. I am here to connect to myself and the unseen world that has always called me. I am here to wrestle to the ground that part of me that incessantly tries to prove herself; to let go of my heart’s lingering attachment to an East Coast dance partner with whom I had shared great joy and pain; and to move beyond the soulless material world I had been raised to value after leaving Spain as a child.

HOW HAVE YOU RETURNED TO YOURSELF AFTER LOSING YOUR WAY?