It was 1991.I was living in San Francisco in the Richmond District to be exact. So close to the Palace of Legion of Honor Museum, the Rodin sculpture garden was my neighbor. I shared a flat with two women; one I barely communicated with and one who became a dear friend. Marilyn, she who only left communications via whiteboard and post it note was gone for the long weekend. Melissa and I had the entire flat to ourselves. We would spend the greatest amount of time in the front room with its tall trio of picture windows facing a partial view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We had determined what we wanted to do for Thanksgiving and it did not involve turkey and traditional side dishes and overeating of anyone thing.
We devised a long weekend of retreating. We would collage. We would walk walk gently as often as we wanted and needed to day or night, fog or wind or rain. We wanted to fast. We began with a pre-mixed Lemonfast product that was made of lemon, honey, cayenne, turmeric and tasted as awful as could be. We gave up on the Lemonfast after a day and agreed to support each other on tea and water and a little fruit juice when absolutely necessary. We figured for four days we could hold each other up and take turns being the one in a crazy moment of hunger that might drive us to make toast or something else.
We had collected over four dozen magazines and I added stock photo books to the resources, being the advertising person I was in those days. We had scissors, paper, glue, pens and markers. We set up an alter to put items intentionally in place to support our creative retreating as we created four themed wish collages for love, career, relationships, travel, home, and partners. We were going to Vision for the coming season and the year to come.
We lost track of time. We clipped and snipped and arranged and affixed images that invoked our hearts’ desires for Love, Work, Relationship and Big Dreams. We cared not what hour it was. Sometimes we watched a movie for background noise and inspiration or to distract us from our growing hunger. Sometimes we recognized we needed a gentle walk to refresh our mind, quell our hunger and release the energy that collected in body points after sitting for hours hunched over a collage in the making. We detoxed our bodies and revived our sense of sacred self and connection to a source always more knowing than we.
Walking the neighborhood — sometimes well after midnight, we walked about as if in a gentle trance feeling completely connected to the earth and the air we passed over and through. It was as if we could see the buildings breathing like the people who inhabited them. The inanimate objects seemed as alive as we felt alive. The buildings and the streetlights seemed to watch us with eyes unseen as we walked by in silent communion.
We felt light and expansive and giddy and crystal clear all at the same time. Day one we were stronger and more energetic and willing to walk longer. We circled the outer limits of the Richmond District with intentions step by step. Day one we were shakier so we slowed our pace and made it more about the time we were out. Forty-five minutes a time was more than enough to move the kinks and aches from sitting for hours and warm our hungry muscles and tissues. Day three we hit the wall and nearly broke down and ate solid foods but our pact held steady and the bagels and brown rice we each craved was untouched. We passed the test and then came the most peaceful and dreamlike period of those days.
Imagine feeling so light and light headed that you can feel the hearts of others.
Imagine feeling also full of belly and bright of mind and strong in conviction to simply be.
Imagine sensing the company of spirit guides who had but one role: to support us for the next 24 hours on our quest.
Imagine thinking, we might extend this fast by a day, the way we are feeling now.
The Wish Collages reflected solid tangible representations of what we wished to manifest in due course. Melissa wanted a partner. Deborah wanted to travel to Scotland. Melissa wanted a body she loved to take care of. Deborah wanted to run a marathon. Melissa wanted a fulfilling career beyond the work as a housecleaner she did; in the film and movie industry. Deborah wanted a family to call her own. I could go on. Each image was potent and important as it was symbolic of our personal description of a joy-filled, purposeful, and happy life.
We were in Bliss: Naive and inspired and Present for those days.
Some Thanksgivings have been about family and a feast and dishes that took hours to do. Pearled onions, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and three kinds of pie and coffee for the adults and hot cider for the children each smelling “heavenly” and each seasoned with cinnamon for an extra special touch.
Some Thanksgivings have been about reflecting all that I had to be grateful for with a quiet and intimate immediate family about me. Myself, my daughter, her father and her half sister. Forever a family in one way or another.
That Thanksgiving with Melissa was long before the birth of my daughter. It foretold of the Thanksgivings I dreamed of surrounded by family and friends.
It remains one of my most memorable on this day of semi-solitude. Shortly I will be again with my daughter who has pie on her mind and is single-minded of purpose to have pumpkin pie and apple pie with ice cream.
With her and her father this holiday will I break my daylong fast and enjoy fully the sweetness of pie and ice cream and youth.
She is Blissed: Naive, Pure of Heart and That is Inspiring.