Thank you thank you thank you thank…
For lessons, adventures, friends, views, meals, family, trips, jobs, pumpkin pie, sleep…
Sometimes you are on location in Manhattan. Or Austin. And, sometimes, you are working on location in the desert south of Lordsburg, New Mexico.
I do not want to leave my house today. As I pack my suitcase, yoga mat, humidifier, bag of food, pillow, winter gear, dust gear, shoes, tea, and scented candle into the car, I am reminded of how frequently this used to be my life. For years, I worked and lived between states, spending months on location, in hotel rooms, everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.
And then, it just stopped working for me. Leaving my house and the small routines I’d finally managed to make mine, became almost physically painful. The idea of living in a hotel room, dependent on catering, microwaved soup, instant oatmeal, and coffee made in the bathroom, was unappealing on every level. So, I stopped. I began to accept jobs based on whether the movie was in town or not. And that single decision has done wonders for my health, sleep, well being, and life.
Recently I received a call for a month long, out of town job in Southern New Mexico and, because it was with a supervisor I liked, accepted. And, for the past month, I have counted the days until I could be back home. My days consist of waking at 2:30 am, getting in a van, working until the sun goes down, stumbling from the van to the shower to the bed and doing it all over again the next day. Friends and family’s calls go unanswered, mail piles up, and my life is put in hold.
For the same amount of time that I’ve been choosing to work at home, I’ve also been practicing living in the present. It is the combination that seems to account for a happiness I can’t remember feeling at any other point in my life. I have been in the flow, in the right place at the right time, happily observing the world around me and all that it has to give.
So, it is with some annoyance that I find myself incapable of maintaining this practice while working on location. I recently awoke in my hotel room around midnight. I was hungry and, as I stood eating a slice of cheese by the mini fridge, steam from the humidifier wafted by my face. My sleep mask was pushed up on my forehead and the only light came from the nightlight on the hairdryer. At that moment I was completely present and aware of how strange my life was. And, though happy to be present, also knew it wasn’t a situation I cared to keep repeating.
Driving south on I-25, I go through a town called Truth or Consequences and smile. It seems that if you know the truth and ignore it, the consequences are guaranteed to follow close behind. My truth at the moment is that home is where I want to be and I’m glad that it took only a short job to remind me of that fact.
When I was fifteen, my mom went to Oaxaca, Mexico, for Dia de Los Muertos. And, from that point on, there was always an ofrenda, or altar, set up in the entryway of our house from Halloween through November 2nd. Chocolate, liquor, bread, paper flowers, sugar skulls, photos, fresh marigolds and anything else the departed might enjoy during their brief visit back to earth, was welcome.
Several years ago, my mom and I spent Día de Los Muertos in Mexico City where we helped make an ofrenda and visited many throughout the city and beyond.
The celebration is a tradition I love and have carried into my own home. Not meant to be morbid or sad, I enjoy the ritual of it. I find comfort in the idea of life and death as one big cycle, a continuum with no end and no beginning. And as they say, “tears are cried for the living.”