19 Invite Your Fears to Tea (Holiday Week)


by Suzanne L. Beenackers/ LS Harteveld

Yesterday something peculiar happened. It was like a pop-up cross-over between a happening (performance art with live audience) and a healing. And it had me as the artist, and 2 groups of yoga students who turned in 15 minutes of their paid time to see it. Of course, that’s the official version. Because reality is messier, more chaotic, and unplanned. But there is nothing wrong with renaming an existential crisis to a happening, as long as you provided your audience with enough context to interpret the show.

It started on my bike ride over to my studio: my cat Max had relapsed into throwing up, and with two weeks of illness, force feeding and medicine poisoning under our belt, my layer of cool with this was unsurprisingly thin. The medicine (which had also caused vomiting) could take up to 40 days to wear off, so either he was still battling that, or his thyroid illness (which would remain untreated, in light of recent drama) was progressing. In which case it would be a downhill from now on. I feared the vomiting was related to him being left alone for 8 hours on Wednesday, without 3 hourly portions of canned tuna in oriental sauce (no kidding- that’s cat food, and it works miracles on hunger strikes) And since he did not throw-up again last night, I was probably right. The insecurity of not knowing if it was something that was wearing off, or basically the fist signs of death, was the hardest.

What I noticed (and again “notice” is a far too neutral term for my emotional response to this) is that I wanted to be saved. I wanted a friend, a family member, but most of all I wanted my lover, to come rescue me from this place agony, house arrest and being the sole mother of this furry little creature. After all those weeks of worry I wanted to finally have a good cry, half a bottle of Chardonnay, amazing sex, and a cat that Lazarused spontaneously out of his diagnosis. But the five people that usually are my firm buffer to heartache, mental fall-outs and life in general, were all unavailable. And I realized this had been going on for a while. With some the relationship had stranded in some kind of “stand-by” modus, others were battling their own demons, some on holiday. Some all three.
I felt terribly alone.

The only person still there, was my lover. And “there” was a completely hallow concept here. If the closest emotional bond, was with my highly unreliable lover, then I was not skating on thin ice: I was getting lost in Tolkien’s Dead Marches.
Probably relying on The Dark Lord himself to save me.

When I had closed my class, 15 minutes early, I served tea and discussed it with my yoga students. They warned me relying on The Dark Lord for salvation, was a bad idea. Especially when I told them the only reason I could have this relationship was because I had so many others backing me up. I had been like a professional athlete: I had delivered an outstanding performance, and had not gotten crushed being the other woman, but it had been a team effort. Suddenly the idea of playing this game alone, or facing the sorrow of him breaking up (something I never ruled out), alone, was daunting. I was the only one in the field. There was nothing standing between him and me.

And that’s when it happened! In my darkest moment – I was actually considering relying on his pity and empathy – I realized:
THIS is an opportunity. THIS is the next level.
Just like Frodo, in the end I will be on this journey alone. On any spiritual path, or in any life, you have helpers. But the biggest growth comes from those moments when you are alone. And unlike Frodo, I know I m ready. I can do this.

And in the end? Sam, his best friend, had been there every step of the way. It was just that Frodo had been unable to see it.


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