10 Oct

On Sunday morning, September 11, 2016, I piloted myself to Yoga Goodness studio for practice with Cyndi Lee. As former owner of Om Yoga in New York City and a respected yoga teacher, Cyndi is kind and wise.  I hadn’t remembered that it was the 911 anniversary, but when the studio was unusually packed, the connection was suddenly made. That day joins us all in so many ways and memories from that time are difficult for everyone. Human empathy is called upon deeply in having lived it and care is needed in the recalling of it.

As we sat together for the beginning of class, Cyndi spoke of her memories, the fire, smoke. . . the ash.  Her studio was balanced on the border between a war zone and normal life. Rising from her voice were the faces of friends lost and a whole community devastated.  She paused to breathe more than once. “The next day we wondered whether to have practice, “ she said haltingly, “the air was so bad but people wanted to come, to bring everything to the mat. And so we did.”

A deep peace came in our moving together after an opening chorus of “om’s”, even in our sighs of effort and laughter at falling out of pose. But at the end, when Cyndi brought us back to our breath she said something that will stay with me forever. It’s when the puzzle pieces started to make sense.

Life passes quickly. Each moment fading to the next.

Take heed.

Opportunity arises and is quickly lost.

Don’t squander your life.

At that moment, one principle became quite evident. I had to stop pretending that “doing it all alone” was just fine. I had to stop lying to myself and to everybody else. While growing into my truest self, finding joy in life, and learning to manage daily the acceptance of “what is”, I could no longer deny my inner voice telling me a core truth:

I need an intimate loving connection. I’m as ready as I will ever be.

I want to find my person.

It somehow feels shameful, though. To look at all the “living out loud” I’ve done, all of the ways in which I have grown in the last six years and then, surrender to a desire , a small seed in the pocket that’s really rested there since the beginning. Its one I have denied, one I have bargained with, one that I have dissociated from, but nonetheless has remained. Life is most worth it with a significant person to share the journey.

Home is shared.

Home is the nest.

And nests generally are not filled with just one being.

Beloveds take many forms but connection on the soul level is required. I have become so sick of social media platitudes and memes…Love yourself and that’s all you need. Beloveds should be icing on the cake, complementary to one’s life. . . a condiment. Some might allow it’s perfectly okay to think of icing that way, but I’m here to tell you…..that’s absolute bullshit. Cake is better with icing, otherwise they would have never invented it.

I became expert at blaming myself for not being okay with what I thought was aloneness (something very different from isolation), and projecting the false self of “single independent woman – – super traveler” which comes with a T-shirt that says. “I don’t need you, just sayin’ (except to admire how fantastic my carefree life is on social media).” Right. That certainly brought me connection. Once, a date told me that he never would have thought I’d ever been married. “You just seem so carefree and wild”. i.e. open to a non-committal hook up.

Sigh, next.

I’d isolate myself, just to prove a point and white knuckle it all the way through, creating my own cloak of invisibility which dared anyone to see me in spite of it. That’s really smart, Ms. Self-Sabotage.

However, I do think it taught me discernment. Boundaries are in place with every relationship in my life. Compassion balances with self-respect. The beauty of solitude is that it’s so very healing. I do enjoy it now in a way I never could before facing it years ago. Some of my most joyous moments are sitting with journal and coffee or cheese and wine all alone at a beautiful restaurant or shop, sinking and sorting my own emotions. Real self and core gifts, given to me by the Universe were rediscovered in solitude. The writer, the artist, the dancer, the wise woman . . .if I had never learned to be my own best company, I would have missed the opportunity to discover and grow my strengths in order to give to others.

But constant solitude is not the answer. Contemplative living is for renunciates, for holy people who choose to live outside the world in Spirit. And as much as I am an extremely spiritual woman, I am not cut out to be a nun. Jesus for a boyfriend?…that’s just not going to work for me. It took me a long while to understand the two states of being though. Even though I don’t like it, single is okay. Alone is okay. But isolation is never okay, and that has caused this wound of loneliness. Isolation isn’t natural nor normal. And as an only child and grandchild without children, it took me years to figure out that its alright for me to want, to need people in my physical daily life. Not online. Not texting me or emailing me on my phone. In my physical tactile very real and messy life. I need eyes and hands and lips and arms and laughs and tears. I need trips to the grocery store. Someone else to drive. Neighborhood walks with the dog. Dinner at the table, not popcorn in bed after yoga with a movie on.

And there is that word “need”. . .the stumbling block to everything. Struggling with an urge to justify basic human needs is the hallmark of a giver. Having needs feels weak and wrong. I have to ask myself, out loud sometimes, “What do you need right now, honey?” And if it’s in my power and for the greatest good, like any solid parent, I try to deliver. There have been many times I’ve had to deny a need because in the long run, the price was more than what was in the box. In the early days, because I had been walking through a desert of disconnection for so long, the water offered me at the beginning was drunk in desperation. It’s poison ate away and hardened my heart, discouraging me to the point that I gave up the idea that finding the type of connection right for my soul was not only possible, but completely within my deserving. My inability to feel this fall wasn’t a scar. It was poisonous ice that too much pain and not enough faith does to a higher than average level emotional intelligence.

When Cyndi’s words resonated with my entire being, I understood something profound. I’d been following signs all along. The last five years were filled with magic because I LISTENED to what the Universe was telling me. I was in flow because I followed signs. I let go. Where they were taking me, I remained open to. And they never sent me the wrong way. It became clear to me then, that I needed to follow signs to find this connection, this person…whoever. That perhaps all this was preparation for that journey. And I had to get busy because the only signs I had were a directive from my yoga teacher, a film that started my journey: The Wizard of Oz, and a book suggestion from a dear friend back in 2012: Paul Coelho’s, The Alchemist.

So I am thinking of ending this road, perhaps start another.

I am not walking for one any longer.

I am walking with myself toward someone.

I stopped believing in my alone verdict when I saw the WalMart pillow. It made me realize that I had to soften my heart and start getting real. So its been months that I have read, and listened, wandered and wondered and collected parts of the puzzle. Today, though I had a message. Begin. That’s all I know. Begin. Because telling yourself that a journey like this is crazy and no one will believe you isn’t helping. Neither is eating popcorn in bed every night and seeing yourself as a spinster school marm in the bargain bin.  As a matter of fact, they tell me the more beautiful the story, the more darkness wishes to cover it.

So I thought, “Screw it. Get real. Tell it as you go and fuck that memoir somehow ‘requires emotional distance’. I’ve had enough emotional distance to last me a lifetime.”

I haven’t had any inner guidance on what to do with this blog, but weekly writing has been flowing to my colleagues. Message From Fred has taken off in a way that has replaced this message in a bottle. Right now, it serves two purposes:One,  I write weekly and its in an effort to serve others. Two, it keeps me tight in on my sweet spot. The spot that says, “Yes, you are right where you need to be”. It makes me a little nervous to say that this part of the story is over, for all stories are tied together in the course of a life. The frame of this puzzle was made here and whether or not anyone has had any lasting benefit from this body of work except for me doesn’t much matter. Its intention was to share my story. I ended up writing my way out of the greatest loss of my life. Now, it’s time to wrap it in a winding cloth and not let it define me.

The story of finding my person might be just as compelling, maybe. It might be the greatest love letter I ever write.

Right action, let go of outcome.

We’ll see.

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