“The roads are straight, three lanes, dotted with white and edged with yellow. The leaves of the trees are golden, orange, red, taupe, sage. I am with my love, my heart, my husband. We are on tour with The Kin.”
There was a very special moment this week that I do not want to let pass without honoring it with words. But first, some history.
Many months ago, when Isaac and I were just home from our honeymoon, he returned for a few days to work in Los Angeles. We had just left L.A. where I’d had a soul-shifting moment in a beachside hotel room. I needed to being doing something. My new husband was with his band recording music in a studio a few blocks away. I needed to be at work too, but I’d forgotten what that was while I waited for him. I needed to be chipping away at something that had meaning to me and meant something to others, too. Days spent strolling the beach, having lunch in cafes and riding bicycles on a boulevard, were not enough for me. I needed to chip.
Finding myself then in our house, alone, on the other side of the country after the bliss of two weeks together was a little too much to digest at the time. We’d landed in San Francisco, explored sequoia and redwood forests, seen Big Sur, the Houdini museum, Henry Millers’ Library, laughed on the balcony of Nepenthe and watched whales as we sipped Bloody Marys. It was a rare two weeks “alone together” and having married within four months of meeting each other, I was still head over heels and irreversibly attached.
Then things got ugly. I hadn’t been in our house alone, ever, for more than a couple of days, and now I had a week to myself. Here was my chance to chip at something! Anything! But it was also Valentines Day, so instead that first week brought tears which I know now as the pains of attachment. They always sprang fastest on the night before he’d return, my stoicism pent up and the dam fit to bursting. I was afraid of what was out there, uncertain of my safety, and acclimating to life after a life-changing wedding with the life-changing man of my dreams. Little did I know that I would soon spend many days in our home ‘by myself’ and yet, I would very quickly learn to love this time in solitude.
First it was five days, then ten, then three weeks, then five. Acceptance brings the greatest ease, a flow with what is, all of that magic. Soon I was learning how to make dreamcatchers from materials I found in the forest nearby. I was leaving the door unlocked, not having nightmares about axe murdering rapists hunting me down for no reason. I was learning to trust, to let go, to be with what is, no matter how much I squirmed (Oh, how I squirmed!) I spent weekends in new places, made new friends and connected with old ones. I learnt to separate myself from my lover and husband, the man I am co-creating a life with – a beautiful, epic, adventure filled life. However, there is nothing predictable about adventure!
The process of disentangling my ego from its attachments has taken time. I remember a point not so long ago when I realized how afraid I was of (the idea of) being apart from my husband while he toured potentially ever more frequently and ever more successfully. I was so conflicted wanting to support his dreams, terrified that I was losing sight of my own. I scoured the web for writing by women whose husbands were touring musicians, and became more afraid the more I read. “A tour bus is no place for children.” It wasn’t okay. I didn’t want to lead two separate existences.
Needing to feel at peace with it all, I went through the eye of the needle and learnt to let go of needing to be near. I came back to my self. Who am I without a partner to define me? It was almost like being single again, but WAY better. I was in love! I started writing letters to Isaac every night. I realized that the love Isaac and I share is beyond proximity. I’ve seen how it grows stronger, regardless of (and sometimes in direct proportion to) physical distance. We are never very far from each other, really. Our hearts are so near, and our love for each other so strong, that after a while, I stopped noticing the distance.
The truth has always been that our happiness, and therefore the happiness of each other, must come first. We wrote our own wedding vows, and I’m reminded now that one reads: “I will elevate you in the darkest night.” Another that “I am a stand for your wildest aspirations and highest goals.” Frankly there have been times when I’ve wondered how on earth to stitch Isaac’s dream of touring the world regularly on a man-filled tour bus with my dream of raising children in a natural, grounded environment.
But no matter what, we are absolutely committed to each others’ bliss and so to each others’ dreams. We share them. I adore my music-filled life and am thrilled by all the tours that Isaac undertakes. I am so proud of who he is and cherish the way he shares his gifts with the world. He also needs home as much as I do and treasures his time here. We both want to raise our children in a natural and grounded environment. What happened in the catacombs of my mind was that I realized the cliche of ‘rock star on tour’ doesn’t have to be insoluble with that other cliche, ‘home with the kids.’ Who says they can’t mix? Why can’t we have both? My father once said to me, “Sophie, you could be happy living in a caravan park. The thing is you would make it amazing.”
Perhaps he was onto something there. Suddenly the idea of a converted RV or custom tour bus became very attractive, and as you know, I leapt full in. The marrying of our dreams was nothing short of effervescent. Let’s get a yurt! A guard llama! Let’s tour the country and raise our children on the road surrounded by music, friends and family! (Isaac’s brother is his partner in their band The Kin, all of whom I absolutely adore.)
Soon enough, I had a chance to experience this vision first hand. It was time to visit my husband on tour after four weeks away. The days had flown by this time. As mentioned earlier, one of the ways I have dealt with the sense of living separate lives is that for every single night that we are apart, without fail, I pen a missive to Isaac (well, it’s an email.) I call them Letters from Home, each numbered in accordance with the number of nights we have left to see each other. In them I share anything I want from my day, without the constraint of time – which is often short on the road with big acts like P!NK. He loves those letters, and I love writing them. I have found nothing else that keeps me so connected, and I cannot give them up. I’ll probably be writing them for years to come.
I arrived in Minneapolis and stepped onto an escalator heading down towards baggage claim. A feeling came over me, so I looked over to where a stunning young man stood in the airy sunlight with a huge smile on his face. He did a little celebration dance and then stood watching me, grinning. It had been four weeks since he’d seen my growing belly, the burgeoning form of our first child taking shape. “Ya’ll warm my heart, you two!” said a woman who saw us kissing and embracing by a suitcase in that sunlit airport. We didn’t take our arms or hands from each other for several hours.
Somehow this reunion was different than the others. Perhaps because I was on tour with Isaac and his band, and was overjoyed at the opportunity. Cuddling has never felt so good in an RV on the edge of a Walmart in Idaho. Then came the special moment I wanted to share, while walking along the edge of a geese-filled creek in Ann Arbor. It was a chilly overcast day, and as we walked arm in arm, I realized how much I loved being “alone together”, and that the arrival of our baby in several months heralded the end of this unique time. Tears sprang to my eyes as we shuffled through the fallen leaves. At the same time, I saw the happy apparition of a small child in my mind, running ahead to chase geese from the shore. There were so many questions. Isaac reassured me and kissed me and held my hand and I learnt to let go a little more.
As we looped back around to return home, Isaac’s stride outpaced mine. Being four months pregnant my breath is different now. I need more oxygen to fuel both my body and our baby’s. One of my first instincts was to ask Isaac to slow down, to wait for me, to walk with me. But I didn’t say it. I waited. I recognized that as ye old attachment again. I didn’t need anything. In fact, I was very content to walk at my pace, to enjoy the air and the leaves and the sounds of the geese and children playing in the distance.
I let my love walk beyond me, at his own pace, on his own journey, feeling his own feelings. I let him go, while loving him more. He didn’t turn back, and I didn’t call out. We just moved how we needed to move. I felt my love for him grow larger. This must be what it’s like to have children, I thought, as the voices of the girls in the playground reminded me of games I used to play in those places, too. To let your heart walk outside of your body, and love them from a distance. That’s what I’ve heard it’s like. It was already happening.
When we got to the top of a hill, Isaac walked directly into the middle of the quiet road and turned towards me. The look on his face was very special. I felt his acknowledgment for what I had done, whether he knew it or not. Something had shifted.
“Then you stopped in the middle of the road on top of the hill, and watched me. Your face had a look on it that I can only interpret as pure love and gratitude. I don’t know what you were thinking, but I felt that moment of acknowledgement and basked in your gaze. I see that when I choose how to respond without attaching to how something ‘should’ be, I am able to just enjoy the delight of the moment. It’s a precious gift.”
May we all learn to love deeply, and let go a little more. It may be one of the hardest things to do, loving and leaving. One day though, we won’t be here any more. Who knows who will enter the halls of the afterlife first, but one thing is certain, we’re all going there. To love without attachment helps me find peace in the distance. The lump in my throat however, that’s still there.
Our wedding vows, January 7th 2012
I AM MY WORD
I SHALL LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEART
I SHALL CHERISH YOU WITH ALL OF MY BEING
I SHALL STAND BY YOU AS YOUR CHAMPION
I SHALL BE HONEST WITH YOU NO MATTER WHAT THE COST
I WILL CHOOSE YOU EVERY DAY NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE
I WILL ELEVATE YOU IN THE DARKEST NIGHT
I COMMIT TO PROTECTING YOU AND DEFENDING YOUR HONOUR
I COMMIT TO YOUR FAMILY, TO EMBRACE THEM AS MY FAMILY
I COMMIT TO THE EVER EXPANSIVE NATURE OF OUR LOVE
I AM A STAND FOR YOUR WILDEST ASPIRATIONS AND HIGHEST GOALS
I COMMIT TO SATISFYING YOUR EVERY DESIRE
I WILL MAKE SACRED TIME AND SPACE FOR OUR LOVE
I SHALL HOLD YOUR HEART IN MY HEART