24 May 2012
If you break down I'll drive out to find you, if you forget my love I'll try to remind you, stay by you when it don't come easy...
It's been nearly three years since I left Los Angeles. This morning a friend posted this song on Facebook and reminded me that we were there at this show. In the audience were musicians, stars and every day people who were all witnessing this great night of music. I had forgotten about this duet - Patty Griffin and Melissa Etheridge singing live "It Don't Come Easy" for a Lifetime Network benefit show for cancer. It's always been a favourite song of mine from Patty but this is a truly special version and one that has moved me this morning. Hearing this and viewing it brings back a lot of fond memories and reminds me that I lived a good life out there. I didn't always see it that way but I do now. Distance and change since my departure have a way of making me see that the moment I was experiencing in the past may have been one of the best. I am not saying this with any regret. But I do ask myself - did I really appreciate the moment while I was living it? Is it possible to appreciate every moment you are in?
While I ask myself that question I can say with certainty that it does not apply to the people in my life. I've lost many who are close to me and I am no longer shy about telling those I love that they are important and how much their presence enriches my life. I try not to overdo it - but I rarely hang up the phone without saying I love you. Those were the last words I ever said to my mother a mere 6 hours before she died unexpectedly. You never know when life will change so why fuck around and hide from our feelings? In many ways that's the easy part. If you take the time to look at those around you and really assess the people in your life - you will feel that there are many who are worthy of these emotions. I don't give them away easily but I don't wish to deny my feelings, either. I spent much of my twenties and a good deal of my early thirties living in denial and thinking with my head (and which possibly led to the perception that I was playing games). It took someone very special to break through all those walls and show me that it was OK to feel again. It was OK to trust the living instead of only the ghosts that had inhabited me. It wasn't an easy task but somewhere inside of them they must have felt I was worth the effort. I have become more emotionally fearless in the years since we met and much less wasteful of time. For that I am truly grateful to this person.
But yet I wonder - when I was at this concert did I fully appreciate those hours in that small hall? To be honest, I'm not sure I did. I can tell you that it was a great, energizing show - not just Patty Griffin's part - but Sophie B. Hawkins and 'several others'. See? I remember the feeling of that night but I don't remember the details of who else was there. Pathetic. But it says a lot about how little I appreciated the moments I was IN. Over the years that has been one of the things many close friends have pointed out to me as a failing of mine. I know they are right - I know I didn't always appreciate my time in Los Angeles - though I will say the last seven years I was there I did - or most of the time (save for this night). I can say I did because I wouldn't have stayed so long if it weren't worth it. Believe me when I say that I feel I was truly blessed for those years. If I hadn't met that special person of which I speak I would have left a lot sooner and I never would have been at this concert. Everything does happen for a reason and while I don't want to over think anything - it's important to see where a moment began and how you got to where you are. Maybe for that reason alone it's important to be more present.
I'm not sure if I'll ever get the equation right: presence + awareness + living-in-the-moment = immediate appreciation but I'd like to think I've gotten better in the years since this concert was filmed (2006?). I'd like to think that I am least trying to be more present, more appreciative. Sure - it's easy to remember that first kiss leaning against my Cannondale on a monday night - or a first camping trip...or a last one. But it is much harder to remember some of the every day moments. Moments I wish I could get back - moments I would trade for a last hug - or even knowing it WOULD be a last hug. Maybe the trick more is finding that balance between total and complete awareness - thus over thinking while experiencing an event - and living in the present so as to have fewer regrets. (Because no matter how much I think we figure out - I believe it's impossible not to have a regret or two along the way). So many lessons to learn in this life but maybe the real trick is figuring out which ones we NEED to learn. Indeed this is one of them for me.
No matter what - I think at least I got the love part figured out....if nothing else.
Thanks for tuning in...until next time...CHEERS!