What it Is

6 Jul
BW mock up of mixed media collage, Unamed. 24x18 June 2016.

BW mock up of mixed media collage, Unamed. 24×18 June 2016.

 

It’s been four years that I’ve been writing about this journey toward Self and most definitely this spring has been a spiral of endings and discoveries, wonder and disappointment. For months it’s been obvious, I’m in transition but to what I’ve no idea.

Should I sell the house my former husband and I bought and restored together?
Should I change jobs, change careers, change towns?

The only constant has been my mother, my dog, and a few close friends who are honestly in much different places than I. Almost everyone from my post divorce journey has moved on into their silver linings. I’m wondering if mine is here and perhaps I’m just not seeing it.

Last week, my role model Liz Gilbert announced her separation from the man she fell in love with at the end of her famed memoir, Eat. Pray. Love. I found out on Facebook, just exiting yoga class. And to be truthful, after reading her post and Jack Gilbert’s poem, I sat in the car and sobbed for an hour. All melodrama aside, it felt like someone had told me that the scientific community had just discovered that God doesn’t exist…they’d found it on some new MRI or something. It’s all in our heads and explained by chemicals, this idea of infinite unconditional love made human. There is no over the rainbow. Dorothy Gale didn’t go anywhere….she just had a bump on the head. We aren’t crossing over to anywhere.

It was Liz’s memoir and journey, the way she found her most authentic self and happiness, both inner and outer that told me I too could heal after the person I loved most on the planet disappeared. In December 2012, I put myself on an island and what I found at my lowest point was the inner voice, Beloved. The writer in me still lived and she has fueled every creative outlet which has unfurled in my life since. Writing, Art, Dance, Mindfulness.

But what I’ve learned is that the journey is not linear. That to eat, to pray, to love is nothing more than the cycle of living we should be practicing daily in moving forward. Ever present, ever mindful in the moment, but savoring each bit of air granted to us while we live from our most authentic selves.

For all the loneliness this way of life has been, it’s gift is a reminder that family and community is the core of being…not romance. Chatting with the 30 year old daughter of a fellow colleague today about the end of her most recent relationship, I told her, “If my two cents is worth one penny, you should focus on being with your girlfriends right now. Making lasting female friendships is what will sustain you throughout your life. If I had done that in my thirties rather than focus entirely on my romantic relationship, I wouldn’t be trying to find a community now.”

This isn’t to say that romantic love isn’t a worthy desire. After all, “the world must be peopled”. I believe this type of connection is a need. And one’s needs should be taken reverently and honored. To be intimate and physically touched, to be fully human and vulnerable with a beloved other is necessary. Walking without this is like being in the desert, trying desperately not to feel parched, or worse let it show. I often want to scold my friends who take their significant others for granted as if two arms and a warm soul are always available….they aren’t. Finding home is a lifelong journey, but it’s compass steers us toward connections to love and love comes from companions.

I’ve learned so much in four years. Much more than most of my young adulthood.

I’ve learned social and virtual media can rescue a person as much as isolate her. Silver hands never assuage for long.
I’ve learned that to really live can mean a simple icy lavender towel on the forehead during savasana just as much as feasting at 4 Leoni in Florence, a beautiful Italian waiter serving up Chianti and daring glances.

And I’ve learned that one never stops learning. Each day we eat, we pray, we love…we find ourselves in this recursive cycle of savoring what is and banishing the demons that whisper…this is ALL there is. Because lately, I’ve been feeling something missing, an absence of an innocence and playfulness at my core. For the first time in my life, I struggle with feeling way too grown up, feeling pushed to accept the existential realities in a long journey seemingly with no end but exit. It’s as if the expansiveness of my imagination has been emptied of intuitive air. I can’t seem to feel or believe that which I cannot see and this both saddens and scares the shit out of me. For childlike hope has always made me… well…Me.

If I lose something so essentially me, what have I discovered that now wants to squat in its place?

Ask any of my students and they will tell you of the faerie woman and her magical dog, of feathers and wands, tales of travel and synchronicity. They don’t see budding cynicism, self judgement, and loss of confidence taking root. They don’t see deep self doubt. What was all of this for? Have I really walked all this way only to find that I’m exactly where I started, just better able to sit with, dare I say it? The possibility that I might die before I fall in love again.

So this week, by accident, I find myself at a friend’s place in Charlottesville while she vacations. I’m alone, relatively, as per usual and trying to decide what to let go of and what to cling to. In yoga class this morning and in outdoor practice at the IX Art Park last night, glimpses of who I used to be flooded my mind, the best of what I was before my husband and I parted. And let me pause here to change the story of his leaving, because I have learned that I too was walking away many months before he made real the gulf that already existed between us. I see now clearly how I was beginning to grow, to want more out of life than taking care of him and everyone else too, everyone but me. But I refuse to believe that nothing lasts, that we move in and out of love with many others until our last song. The eight years tops theory of partnership, I don’t WANT to believe in. People do die together, eating, praying, loving, …….living in the myriad ways people in committed connection do. Giving goes both ways. It isn’t a one way street.

There’s no judgement on my part for those who grow in and out of long term commitment numerous times. Their worlds are created from the outside in, each new union an entirely new world made from the shift of gravity which brings a new celestial body nearer in orbit. Unknowingly, I have lived through that. But like gravity, I believe in something else that crosses time. Something else that is quantifiable yet not yet proven. I cling to it. Call me naive…but don’t we all believe in that? Furthermore, shouldn’t we?

So is there yet enough magic in me to recreate my world inside out…over and over…each moment, each day, each year?

And while one day I may find a beloved once again, right now I sit with what is.

Each day I sit,

to eat,
to pray,
to love those dear to me.
To cherish my mother and my dog, my friends both near and far.
To try not to focus on their eventual passing or the path my life has taken. But to look forward from a place of hope. It’s hard. It’s created in each breath.

This week, I’m on the mat every morning, swimming in the afternoon, eating out, having my skin and hair pampered, sleeping in the softest bed on the planet. I have three days left here in this nest. And I’m listening for the whispers of what used to be in me.

The priestess, the faerie, the lover.
The poet, the painter, the dancer.

Gravity is peeling back this skin to allow emerging new again..as before. But did I fly too close? Am I watching my faith fall into the sea, a tangle of wax and feather flotsam.

I’ve no idea.

It is what it is…or is it?

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