Reunions: Finding the Connection and Letting the Rest Go / by Alexa Eisner

To help me learn the tarot my morning routine now includes pulling a single card- I read about its meaning and that becomes my theme to ponder for the day. Today I chose the Hermit, which suggests a time of solitary retreat and introspection.

I'm taking a moment of withdrawal to consider my independence and connection to those around me. This is quite appropriate after a week of travel and reunions. I find great pleasure in being alone because it usually means I'm quiet enough to soak up sensations without distraction or persuasion. And yet, I'm always connected to those I love- even when I'm unaware of it.

The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

2015 began by asserting my independence. On New Years Eve I jammed to my favorite feel good band at an intimate venue originally built as a mortuary. I asked if friends wanted to join, but no one was quite down with the groove, so with slight hesitation I decided to venture alone. I quickly bonded with the girl next to me dancing with shared enthusiasm.

She said she dragged her friends to the show. I said I went alone. In a surprised but impressed tone, she said maybe in two years she could do that too. I noticed myself alone in that room, but I felt a content connection with the strangers surrounding me. After the show I walked the streets under the chilled moonlight filled with a warm sweaty glow. 

Serbian Orthodox Christmas (and other holidays) follow the Gregorian calendar and so land on a later date. I drove to my hometown January 7th for a Christmas reunion with family I have not seen since I could remember. I met just under ten of their children for the first time. I witnessed the announcement of a new engagement. We sat, drank, ate, and talked.

One of my cousins told me he's not sure the next time he would be able to come to San Francisco because it's just not a great place to take the kids. This is something I cannot relate to in this moment. I feel gratitude for such a strong net of family woven together and I'm happy there's a new generation to carry tradition. And yet, I know I'm mostly separated from all of that- I'm creating something new of my own.

I have no judgement where I am in life or where others are. I think it's important we each follow our joy and make our own decisions. I have friends who are married, having babies, landed stable careers, and buying homes. I also have friends kicking drug habits, struggling to pay bills, in PhD programs, and filling the street with impromptu art performance. There's a spectrum of experience and possibility. For me the challenge is to view myself independent of whatever the characters on this stage of life are doing. 

I used to think lovers, friends, and family had to understand every aspect of my perspective to fully love me. But that's quite a heavy expectation to place on someone external of yourself. The reassurance I sought in another's recognition of my internal world was really a lack of confidence in my inner truth.

I may not always be sure about life, but I trust that the answer I need is constantly revealing itself through small momentary inspirations. And I only need to do my best to listen to them. Like following a path of bread crumbs, I'm just moving along taking bite-sized steps.. 

Last weekend I traveled to Inverness with college friends to celebrate my best turning 29. We stayed in a cozy house on a marsh, ate only the best food, and hiked a hilltop so close to soaring birds that we could hear the sound of swooshing wings. We swapped stories about men, untold secrets, and joked about hypothetical situations as we cuddled in deep laugher. There is a distance from the times when we were a college clique. I sometimes feel guilty for having a poor memory- unable to recall our magical moments. 

And while we are each so unique, there's only understanding in the ways we have moved on while remaining connected. No matter the time or space there is a part of me that will only reveal itself around these women. I feel safe and loved. 

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

I arrived home to find a care package from a soul friend who knows the currently expressed me. My gift contained: Putty hand-made earrings she crafted inspired by Frida Kahlo, a Diego Rivera journal, a hand drawn watercolor hummingbird (my spirit animal), a stack of children's books she found on the street (for my collaging), a delicate arrow necklace which looks like part of my tattoo, and a handmade card with the image of a tapestry that inspired an art project we did in the desert. I began to cry.

No matter how independently we walk this Earth, there are moments when you feel completely heard. Histories continue to build in the present. And sometimes someone knows you now.

The next day a friend of mine from grad school came to visit. We've only seen each other once over coffee in Boston since graduation in 2012. Our reunion felt perfectly complete in a way that I had not anticipated. I took her on a long walk- the Mission, Castro, Lower Haight, Upper Haight, Golden Gate Park, and then out that evening dancing to Motown jams in NoPa. As we walked and looked a movement of thoughts and questions flowed into conversation. She senses the world like a logical poet and I felt relief. 

She understands a part of the way I think and feel that only someone who knows me from such a particular time and space can understand. We share the same favorite book from grad school. And she settled me into myself a little more. 

Sometimes it feels unfair that there are so many people I love- and that sometimes I forget just how much love I have for them. I stress about too many people and commitments to maintain, when in reality these connections always remain. There may be an inner world only fully understood by me, but on my own does not necessarily mean being alone. There can be limitation to connection, but also such sweet surprise. 

Alexa Eisner

Alexa Eisner

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