Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Days 5 & 6: No More Jedi Mind Tricks

What would a good love story be without a little turbulence? I'll admit, this is the most challenging thing I've ever done...and I've been praying for it!

Let me just say that Karma is simply amazing. He's accommodating and kind and gentle and eager to learn and really putting forth effort to practice English and study on his own until he starts school. I, on the other hand, am an American girl-turned emotional mess-turned bulldozer of feelings other than my own.  Hello neurosis, so glad you came to join the party. We certainly couldn't have survived without you!

Yesterday was simply beautiful. We saw HH Dalai Lama in San Jose, which is about an hour south of here. We went early for the Tibetan-only audience and as we were walking in, a Tibetan guy yelled, "Karinchen!" Karma's head whipped around and there were 2 old friends of his from India, both happy to see him and VERY surprised to see me...and him in normal clothes, not red robes, nonetheless. We stayed for the afternoon public session as well and drove back up the Berkeley as the sun was setting. We pulled into the Berkeley Marina to watch it go down behind the mountains of Marin by the Golden Gate was really amazing. My heart, however, felt like it was expanding and contracting all at once and sinking into my stomach.

I've had a hard time identifying how I've been feeling. I likened it to a snow globe--shaken, not stirred--and I can't clearly identify the root of each emotion in order to see the cause behind them. This has caused panic at some points, crying, nausea, fear, anxiety, guilt, aversion, disgust, resentment, pity...but has swung into the other direction with love, softness, ease, gratitude, excitement...well, you get the picture. I'm volatile. AND I'm responsible for another person in a way I've never been, so I can't to my usual, "this is hard, I'm going to quit now" thing. Patience must be the net that carries this situation....and compassion for both him and myself. One of my friends left the most tender-hearted message for me tonight reminding me to surrender to the situation. I've been praying for the numbness, shock and wall of ice my heart has put up to protect itself, to melt and open and accept and just simply love. That's what we naturally want to do...simply love....but then these clouds of neurosis come in for an afternoon thunderstorm and it's gonna be a rumbler, with a phone call home to mom. Did you know that mom's know everything?  I'm in awe of that really.

Today my body felt shaken and I really cried for the first time since he arrived...something overdue for an overly sensitive girl like me. I cried for the interruption that this has caused in my life (hello--I invited it and pined for it to happen), for my perceived "loss of independence,"for the responsibility of showing a person how to live in the US and completely supporting them, for not wanting to disappoint anyone who has a vested interest in the success of this relationship (esp. Karma), for the known, for the unknown, for the pit in my stomach, for this feeling of discomfort in my gut and heart.....and it poured out. and out. and out. and out. And I felt like I was falling, sinking, opening, connecting, disconnecting... I also started reaching out.  This proved to be invaluable because as I reached out, so many people accepted my venting with love, compassion, support, gentleness.  I feel so immensely grateful.

I really feel like this is such an imperative part of this process. Breaking down the walls around my heart.

Tonight when I got home from work I asked Karma if he wanted to go to a friend's house for a potluck dinner. He said yes (I asked him 3 times to make sure he wasn't just being polite). Best decision of today. We both had a great time! Thank you Paul for a wonderful evening! Karma look noticeably comfortable, spoke the most English that I've heard him speak since he arrived, he practiced some Chinese that he knows, he even insisted that we go to Chelsea's birthday party this coming Saturday (which I've been wanting to go to, but wasn't going to push for it). We laughed a lot and I feel really happy to have shared this night with him and with my friends. I feel grateful that he's sleeping in my (our) bed as I type this. I feel grateful that he's here and that all this hard work with his visa, with our waiting for years to be together here, with all the mental anguish that I'm putting myself through is happening just as it is because it is part of this journey, this unfolding, unknown, beautiful mystery.

I am also grateful for his humor. It's one of the things I love most about him. Today I told him that I don't want to be his boss, that once he is more familiar with the culture here I'd like for him to be more "in charge." Weird as that sounds it's like we're in a role-reversal from when I was in India and I think that's contributing to how I feel. He said that if he's the boss now, we're really in trouble because he'll only make mistakes. We laughed a lot over that. We also went to a big grocery store for the first time and he was in awe of how clean it was and how organized. I asked him if he had any preference for cereal and he said it's hard to tell since they're all packaged up and you can't try before you buy (except in the glorious bulk aisle!). He really appreciates how clean and orderly it is here compared to India. The roads are, especially. He took photos in rush hour traffic to email to his friends and he'd like to take some at the grocery store, too. He thinks my energy-saving washer sounds like a plane that's about to take off (the spin cycle really does) and that my Sonicare toothbrush sounds similarly. He also imagined that Bono from U2 was a fat man with a guitar (judging by his voice), but I sent the record straight on that. I explained that I'd love for him to wipe the sink dry after he's done washing his face in the bathroom, that it's a habit I learned from my mom and that when we go stay with her she'll think he's wonderful if he does that...he now gives himself verbal compliments as he's wiping it off like, "wow, I'm a really good guy." It's pretty hilarious. There have also been mosquitos in our bedroom at night, VERY uncommon for the Bay area (it's been unusually hot), but he swears that they came over from India in his suitcase.

He also decided (which I was wanting to do anyways) to make our new second room into a meditation room and he's going to put it all together while I'm at work tomorrow. We're getting more furniture later this week (from my amazing boss, Christine Carter) and it will be great to have the extra space.

Right now, in this moment, I feel happy, grateful, hopeful and supported in so many ways.


  1. I am happy that you are happy!! Love you!

  2. Caroline, I am sending you both so much love - this is no easy process, and it reminds me of Pema Chodron's Things Fall Apart where she notes that it's good to remind ourselves that moments of feeling bad don't mean that we're doing something wrong. I hadn't ever thought of it that way when I first heard it - and I'm learning this for the first time, myself!

  3. Caroline, thanks to you and Karma for coming over to spend a spontaneous and, yes, emotional evening with us. Grateful for happy surprises and new friends! Anna, thanks for sharing that insight!