Nothing’s Guaranteed: Living on the Edge Between Practice and Life

by Marie-Elizabeth Mali  Jan 27, 2016
Nothing’s Guaranteed: Living on the Edge Between Practice and Life

I crest the hill in Santa Monica on my way home, dog in the back seat, with pink and gray clouds inked across the late afternoon sky, the ocean one grand shimmer, and silhouettes of palm trees.

Last week I put one slow foot in front of the other in the automatic revolving door at the hospital in New York, worrying my to-do list on my phone. I look up and see “DO NOT PUSH” on the door panel in front of me.

In a recent lecture, Nicole Daedone says studies have shown that 90% of the thoughts people think when they are inwardly focused are negative. The antidote is to love out, to so pour oneself out into the world that there’s no space to concave inward and miss the boomerang of love that comes back.

A priest from my mother’s church visits and brings her a baseball cap as a gift. On it, the phrase, “Relax, God is in charge.” I repeat it when I miss the ferry in 35-degree weather and wait 30 minutes on the windy dock for the next one. I repeat it when my mother is being discharged a week earlier than expected and I haven’t yet lined up home health care. I repeat it when I wake up pinned to the bed by grief, the shock of the last week breaking through my can-do persona.

For a moment in the hospital I see her not as the mother fixed in my memory, about whom I still have mixed feelings, but as an old woman who needs love and attention. Though the window closed as quickly as it opened, I can choose to see her this way again and find freedom in serving her.

We start with abs yesterday and my trainer says,” Nothing’s guaranteed. The next hour isn’t even guaranteed so you may as well give it your all.” By the end of the session I can barely lift my arm to open the car door. I give thanks for power steering.

I catch myself rubbing my fingers over one another in a gesture I’ve seen my mother do all my life. When I turn my body a certain way I see her move. When I tilt my head and look down. My mother is all over me.

During this morning’s OM, a tight spot on the left side of my clit feels like an achy glass bead. It softens and opens as he strokes and I feel my body begin to ramp up for climax. In that moment I neither clench nor force myself to relax. Heat fills my cheeks and my mind is suspended there, quiet, nowhere else to be in that moment.

Today’s mental cascade: Remember I’m powerless. Remember my role is to love. Remember she’s her own person with her own choices. I can set it up for her to be well cared for and she has to choose to walk through the door. It’s no reflection on me if she doesn’t. I don’t have to give up my life to be a good daughter. How to detach and not disconnect? How to love and not be co-dependent?

Relax, God is in charge.

The sun through the car window prisms around my boyfriend when I take his picture. Finally a picture that reflects how I feel about him. I show it to him and he says it looks like he’s inside an eyeball. Yes, it does. (Photo Credit: Synchrodogs)