Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, Introduction and Chapter One: Rainbow Bridge

Author Note – Disclaimer This is a true story, lifted from the pages of my journals, e-mails and memory. All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective. A few details were changed in order to respect the privacy of the people in the story.

Writing Yoga:

Fishing on Facebook

Chapter One: Rainbow Bridge

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. — Buddha

On April 3, 2011, I wrote in my journal: Yesterday I got so mad that I ran into Rainbow Bridge, and bought two slices of Raw Vegan Cheesecake, the only real treat on the Planet with no calories. And a bottle of Pacific Redwood Organic Red Mendocino Wine, the least expensive bottle on the shelf. While unlocking my bicycle, I overheard two women talking about how men in their age range (fifty to one-hundred) are now looking for women to support them. One said that the last man who left her hooked up with a woman who owns a lot of property in Northern California and she got him to marry her by putting his name on the deed.

I zoomed home on my bike, sat under a tree and slowly devoured the first piece of cake, labeled “Find your thrill on blueberry hill.” Right away I felt better. I decided to save the wine for a future emergency and fortified myself with a few more bites of the second piece, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Then I went back inside my little apartment, laid down on my yoga bolster with the soles of my feet together in the Goddess Pose, and waited for my emotions to calm down.

I keep a journal by my yoga mat. As writing teacher Bruce Black points out in his book, Writing Yoga, a journal is another yoga prop—like a block, belt, bolster or blanket—to use in your yoga practice. In my yoga journal I scribble notes about everything, not just my yoga practice on the mat.

The first four letters of the word “journal,” are the same as the first four letters of the word “journey.” They spell jour, the French word for “day” or “daily.” Keeping a daily journal can help us in our internal journey and reminds us that all of life is our spiritual practice. And then, when things fall apart and the rug gets pulled out from under us, we can go back to our journals and gain new insights into our illusions.

Writing and yoga are tools for “peeling the onion.” The onion metaphor is often used to describe an enlightened approach to solving a problem or learning about our selves. By methodically peeling each layer of the onion, one eventually reaches the core.

The yogic journey guides us from the periphery–the body, to the center of our being–the soul. In yoga “peeling the onion, “ also refers to the various layers, the different levels or “sheaths” of a human being. The art of practicing yoga allows us to penetrate, or peel, the layers of our being– from our physical form– our known flesh-and-blood-food-fed body– to the more hidden and unknown subtle layers of our selves.

When I write, I can feel freedom coming. The circumstances of my life have not changed, but the doors of perception open. In that way, the practice of yoga and writing are intimately connected.

The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining light but by making the darkness conscious.”

May we live like the lotus, at home in muddy water.

— Buddha

On November 19, 2010, I wrote: Today I dipped my toe into the muddy waters of relationships. I hardly know this man and already he is causing trouble and disturbing my tranquility. The only way I’m going survive seeing him and not drown in a pool of unconsciousness and all my primal sexual longing, hopes and projections, is to write about it everyday.

So here goes! It all began innocently with a Facebook email notification. The message said, “Adam Johnson wants to be friends with you on Facebook.”

Since the name was familiar, someone I knew back in the 1970’s, I clicked, “Confirm Friend Request.”

A few weeks later Adam sent me a Facebook message asking if I was the same Suza that wrote a column for Yoga Journalback in the 1970’s.

I was tempted to play a prank and say I wasn’t but I wrote back and said, “Yes, that was me.“

A few days went by. Late one night Adam sent me one of those annoying pop up messages. I hate those and almost “Unfriended” him. Just when you think the coast is clear, the whole world is asleep and finally you can write undisturbed, some night owl has the gall to try to engage you in conversation.

I typed back, “I don’t do pop up messages.”

Adam disappeared into cyberspace.

The next day Adam began clicking “Like,” and leaving comments on my “Status.”

Figuring he was a kindred spirit, I in turn clicked “Like” and started posting Comments on his Status.

I began to see that we had a lot in common. We were both community activists and protectors and lovers of nature and wildlife. I read his Comments on my News Feed.

We were getting quite cozy in cyberspace.

A few weeks later he sent a private Facebook message asking did I have time to meet for tea sometime. I said I honestly was too busy at the moment—but maybe next month.

At some point I got curious and checked Adam’s “Wall.” I clicked “Info.” From Ojai. Lives in Santa Barbara. Interested in women. It didn’t specify his “Relationship Status,” but I got the impression he was single. A note in the upper right margin claimed “You and Adam – 72 Mutual Friends.”

I checked his photo gallery. Saw that he had a beautiful home and fabulous garden. You could tell from the photographs and Comments about cooking, decorating for the holidays, gardening, books, movies, that here was a sensitive guy with a highly developed feminine side.

I routinely put links to my book excerpts, articles and editorials on my Facebook page. Adam began leaving helpful Comments supporting my views, asking lively questions and cheering me on. I could feel myself warming up to him. It felt like I had this great male mentor in the sky.

One day he wrote, “Lets keep in touch, in fact if you would like to email me directly my personal email address is: adam1@gmail.com. And then he added, “It would also be very enjoyable to meet up sometime, say over lunch at Farmer and the Cook to visit and catch up on things…”

This time I told him I was still very busy but might be free on a Friday in a few weeks.

*******************************

I did have a lot of meetings and workshops to attend but that was only half the reason for saying “ free in a few weeks.” Truth was, I needed time to get ready. From the looks of his Facebook page I figured he had coffee with a different woman every day but for me this was a big deal. I have many wonderful, supportive male friends but to the best of my recollection I’d not had a real date in over five years.

I was in the midst of a 21-day raw juice feast and had managed to shed about twenty of the forty pounds I gained in the five years post menopause. So I was already feeling pretty good about myself.

I joked with my daughter that I was gonna give myself a make-over. I called my optometrist and made a long over due appointment for an eye exam so I could order new contact lenses. I made an appointment for a hair cut and color conditioner. I made an appointment for a manicure and pedicure. I bought some apricot face scrub, a bottle of yummy smelling Coconut Skin Trip and some Tom’s peppermint mouthwash. A new tube of Aveda mineral tinted moisture creme. A redder berry shade of lipstick. I even bought a new pair of silver hoop earrings. All the things I should do for myself anyway but had let fall by the wayside.

I was living in a one-room guest house (I called it my “writing hut”) next door to my daughter in the river bottom (a rural area out in the boondocks) with my young Aussie rescue dog, “Honey,” and three old cats. My new book proposal had been rejected three times –not unusual but tough on cash flow. I’d sold over 100,000 copies of the last three yoga titles so I had my foot in the publishing door. But at the moment I was flat broke and on a downward spiral. My new book proposal sat abandoned in a storage unit while I scrambled to survive teaching yoga, writing for magazines and doing home health care for my elderly parents. Dating was a distant dream.

It had been so long since I’d had a date that I actually read one of the hundreds of articles on “what to wear on a first date after age 50.” Be yourself. Be comfortable. If you don’t plan to go to bed with him right away, don’t dress like a tart… So I planned what I would wear and took my favorite most flattering white blouse to the cleaners. I rummaged through my underwear drawer and found a black lace body suit thing that I had not worn in five years. I wanted to look somewhat professional with just a hint of flirty. I put aside my best black yoga pants. If I wore yoga pants I would feel like myself.

All the while Adam and I emailed back and forth almost daily. The line between Adam the environmental and wildlife activist and Adam, the man, (who I did not really know) became completely blurred. Anticipation was building. The personal and the political became one.

The e-mails that initially dealt with political issues and various causes became more personal. Adam mentioned many of the people we both knew. We had many mutual friends, all of which put me at ease. He shared light things about his past, like how he had taken a weekend Men’s Workshop with Robert Bly. We joked. I began to feel more and more at ease and looked forward to his messages. I missed them if I didn’t hear from him for a few days.

One day he wrote: ” I feel a very, very strong passion about protecting the earth and her creatures. My motto, “Show no mercy and take no prisoners” when it comes to fighting for wildlife before powerful bodies and big corporations. They don’t.”

When I read those last words I think I was a goner. He sounded so…passionate and manly!

So after about two months of emailing when Adam wrote, “You had mentioned that you are sometimes free on Fridays. Would you be available this Friday to meet for lunch at Farmer and the Cook?,” I was ready!

This time I told him without hesitation, “Yes, I am available this Friday.”

He emailed back, “If you ever want to contact me by phone, please feel free to do so at any time.” He gave me his cell number but I felt too gun-shy to call. Besides, I knew “The Rules.” Don’t call Him. Wait for Him to call you.

He also wrote: “Suza, I really admire you. You have such a deep emotional and spiritual strength about you. I like your passion for protection of our earth and her creatures. You have a depth to your soul that is hard to find in people in today’s crazy world. I am happy that you are Suza, a woman with great inner beauty and strength.”

But the best part was yet to come. He remembered how we had briefly met many years ago while working for the same newspaper. I loved it when he wrote, “ When we knew each other thirty years ago we were just kids. I am so happy now that we are older and that our spirits have reconnected.”

Wow,” I thought to myself, “He sounds so wise and mature!”

I got way too excited about this casual Friday date and had to remind myself, “Relax, Suza, This is not a real date. Just a light lunch with someone you got acquainted with on Facebook.”

Knowing what a vivid imagination I have, I decided that I better do a reality check before I met Adam in person. I showed his recent emails to Ann, my close friend and confidant, who is like a sister to me.

Wow!” she said as she read them, “What a good man.“

Two days before the lunch date, in the last paragraph of a long email about land use, wildlife corridors and other causes near and dear to my heart, Adam wrote:

Seriously Suza…I have really enjoyed our “chatting” since I found you on Facebook. Since we had some connection in the past, I have always admired you as a writer, a yoga teacher, a lifelong protector of the Ojai Valley, a former Mayor and all you have done for the community, as well as your spirituality…I feel a deep attraction to you, because of who you are as a human being. I am really looking forward to our meeting on Friday and many more visits in the future.”

Wow! I thought to myself. “He really likes me!”

I especially liked that he wrote, “many more visits in the future.”

I wrote back, “I really look forward to lunch with you on Friday…”

Wow!” said Ann when I showed her Adam’s latest letters. “He so sees you and gets you! How nice is that? “

And,” she added, “Those pictures of him on Facebook look so nice. If you don’t fall in love with him I’d like to meet him myself. But sounds like he’s already in love with you.”

To read  the next Chapter, go to the top of the page and click the link to Chapter Two that appears above the title  for Chapter One.

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4 Responses to “Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, Introduction and Chapter One: Rainbow Bridge”

  1. Suza Francina Says:

    Updated Friday, November 18, 2011

    Fishing on Facebook was originally posted chapter-by-chapter on the Ojai Post and my Facebook page. Readers left comments, shared the link with others and followed each successive post. For reader Comments (in addition to the ones posted on this blog) visit:

    http://www.ojaipost.com/2011/04/writing-yoga-fishing-and-flirtng-on-facebook/

    Like

  2. Suza Francina Says:

    I have decided to publish this first “writing yoga” memoir on amazon.com, where it will be listed with my other books. To help create a book cover and other expenses associated with self publishing, I submitted a proposal to kickstarter.com. Here is the link:

    Like

  3. Suzan Colón Says:

    Namaste Suzaji!
    As a person who has loved and been inspired by your books for so long, I’m thrilled that you’re publishing a memoir. I’ve written a memoirist (and been a longtime yogini) myself, and I love it when people marry yoga and creativity. The results are often divine!

    I’ll look forward to reading your book, and I’ll be happy to help further your project. It’s nice when I have the opportunity to give back to someone who has given so much to me and enhanced my practice, both on and off the mat.

    Om shanti,
    Suzan Saraswati Colón
    http://suzancolon.net/

    Like

    • Suza Francina Says:

      Thank you, Suzan, I am smiling away as I read your wonderful response — we are connected! I’ll be in touch,
      Namaste, from my spirit to yours…

      Like

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