The night is shrouded in a golden fog. I came home in the sunshine and as darkness fell, the thick white mist added an unexpected layer of peace. For once, I heard no sirens. I lit my trio of candles and our Christmas tree, made company with my mat and soothing yoga music. I nourish my spirit and ease my aching muscles. Beads of sweat form on my brow. Breathing in. Breathing out. I clear my mind of harsh thoughts and simmering anxieties. Seeking the light.
Image courtesy of: cocospeaks.net
For nine years I have been living outside my comfort zone. Previously, I had a steady vision as to how my life would proceed. But now I realize I was wearing rose-colored glasses most of the time! In August of 2007, my life’s plan was wildly disrupted and I was thrown into the turbulence of divorce. It was as if the earth had opened up and I was being swallowed whole into circumstances that were beyond my control. I spent the next five years in various states of unease and hardship as I navigated my way into an independent life. Along the way, however, I enjoyed moments of great peace, joy, grace, and a growing sense of inner strength that surprised me time and again.
As much as the independent life I had created brought contentment, it was unsustainable. In fact, it was becoming uncomfortable as the responsibilities of single home-ownership were beginning to become more taxing and overwhelming. Additionally, my boys needed to move forward into their own lives. The adventure was finished. I had done my job.
I am now literally in a whole new zone. I’ve said it before, I know! The climate makes me sweat profusely, and at times I think there are way too many sunny days. There’s a whole lot more traffic and this place seems so BIG to me.
Yet within this seemingly vast concrete jungle, there are delicious bits of paradise. (The paradise that brought people down here in the first place, the paradise that is at risk of getting lost for so many reasons). I have the comfort and contentment and continuity of a healthy partnership. A partnership that doesn’t pass judgement and is consistently patient and supportive, undemanding and full of humor! And, for the past year, I have spent many of my days way outside my educational comfort zone- teaching in positions that grew my brain cells and tested my creativity as an educator. It has been exhausting and exhilarating! But most of all, it’s been a gift. I found my community once again. A place which accepts and embraces me in all the ways I hoped.
In the nine years that my life turned in an unexpected and vastly different direction, I have learned a lot about myself and about who I really am. I have met and continue to meet some truly outstanding and amazing people. People whom I never would have crossed paths with if not for that dastardly day in August all those years ago.
Moving forward is a path that is rarely straight. But if you’re willing to allow the way to unfold before you, the detours may bring you unforeseen adventures!
Image courtesy of: Quotesgram.com
Image courtesy of: www.bbc.com
On Friday afternoon, while writing my latest post, I received a Happy Anniversary notification from WordPress. I had forgotten that I began this blog four years ago with the intent to find a forum that would tap into my love for words and the wish to empower and inspire not only myself, but others.
The last four years have been a journey of self-discovery and self-recovery. Writing has helped me to process the emotional trauma and abuse that I lived with not only in my first marriage, but in its aftermath. I could never have fully and truthfully written about those dark times until they were safely in the past. Most importantly, I discovered that I can write across all genres and subjects, with poetry being one of my favorite ways to express myself.
Interestingly enough, I found the space and time for writing when I had more responsibilities than I do now. I was always juggling bills, home ownership issues, full-time work and being the rock for my sons as they left adolescence and moved forward to young adulthood. At the same time, the pull to create was strong-perhaps stronger than it has been in this past year since I moved away-both literally and figuratively- from my “old life” into this new one. But as think about it, I might not have had an “old life”. Maybe that was my first marriage. Maybe what I call the “old life” was something else. Not a transition to my current life-that would diminish the eight years I spent between marriages. As I probe a bit deeper, I realize the life I was living was one of hope and courage and great emotional challenge. I had to prove to myself that I could live independently, fully, creatively and most of all, joyfully. It was essential for my sons to see this as well-especially that last bit. My former husband wanted nothing but for me- as he said- “to scratch, crawl and suffer”. I didn’t want to prove him wrong; I wanted to take that provocation, that rock in the road, and move it.
I suppose I could have spent the last year writing daily observations of my latest incarnation. But I think that would have gotten in the way of the creative process and transformation that was-and still is-occurring. I needed to be in it just as I needed to be in the dismantling all those years ago.The words needed a sabbatical as I settled into being here. Most importantly, I needed to learn to let go of my boys and trust they would be fine without my daily presence. It has been hard, but we’ve done it.
In a week, I begin to get busy once again. Work and other commitments will pull at my energy. At the same time, I know I have released more of the grief that I was sitting with for the past year. It was a necessary and healthy process. I hear the Writing Fairy knocking on my door once again and I am ready to let her in.
Do you ever notice your shadow when you’re outside on a sunny day? I’ve never paid much attention to it; perhaps because cloudless days are fewer in New England or perhaps because I no longer have that childish wonder at the sight of it. On a run last week, I noticed the full and extra long length of mine and it got me thinking about my current life’s path.
I still remain surprised that I live in a place of palm trees and low lying land. I drive to work as the sun makes it debut (it rises just a bit later on this side of the Gulf) and wonder, “How did I get here?” (A line from the Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” comes to mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98AJUj-qxHI.)
Then I start to think about the 2016 Lenten theme of my faith community up North. “Walk with Me” is the one for this season. Admittedly, I missed the deadline for getting it published in the booklet so I decided this post would be an alternative means to share some thoughts.
I am old enough to know and accept and embrace that life’s path is never straight. Even if you operate under the illusion of the straight and narrow, sooner or later you wake up to the fact that you actually may be going nowhere. (Again, cue another Talking Heads classic “Road to Nowhere” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWtCittJyr0.)
It occurs to me that the precursors to the seismic changes in my life came about on walks with friends or other loved ones. I distinctly recall a question posed by a friend back in 2005: “Are you spiritually hungry?” Realizing that I was in fact in great need of fulfillment, I entered a community that opened my heart, mind and spirit and, in turn, helped my sons gain some safe ground in a time of severe turbulence.
Then I think of the long walks I took with my husband before we were even dating. First, a morning hike in the woods and later, a longer walk on the beach (the very same one we were to be married on years later!). Intense, open and honest conversations took place that day in late 2008. Our lives were never the same after that time together; we began a journey that overcame distance and trying times in our independent lives.
A steadfast and true walking companion will always be Emily. My heart warms at the memories of Sunday afternoon ambles in the bird sanctuary with her dog Blaze. These trips were never wholly planned; usually a text or call to drop whatever and go. Things were shifting both in small and large ways during those times. Mother Nature allowed for openings in the clouded spaces of our thoughts and worries.
Surely, I would be remiss if I did not speak of those wondrous mountain hikes with my youngest son (joined on occasion by Emily and older brother). I have written about all of them in previous posts but in looking back, I believe they were symbolic of a relationship that had come full circle. The rough patches were behind us; we could manage the toughest and steepest paths knowing the reward was waiting for us at the summit.
Still, there was something larger at play, I think. A force or spirit or a higher power that reminded us to stay present because it was present. The moments became richer and sweeter as a result.
So here in this new place and space, I bring my full self. Each day is different; I feel as if I am in a tremendous labyrinth with many paths I can follow. So I do. I remain open to new possibilities along the way, knowing my journey and my destination are one and the same.
I found a picture from long ago
A black and white snapshot
Halcyon days, golden school days
Half a dozen young men on the campus wall
Teetering towards the real world
in the days before we were scattered apart
and away from one another
The memories come back in snippets
My college brothers
The ones who stood by me through my first big heartache
Winter break nights sleeping on your couch
in a room with cold heat
We worked all day and broke bread at night
I made you keep the toilet seat down and the bathroom clean
We were unapologetic about being young
Wild and willing to touch the edge of our limits
Living in the moment
Creating our own world and sharpening our minds
Kamikaze nights and pitchers of beer
Thursday nights at the Stein
Random times singing
“Run Around Sue” and Bruce’s “Hungry Heart” with the jukebox
Knowing these were our own glory days
Years that were foolish and fleeting but oh so much fun!
We moved on and forward
We grew up and maybe a little old
But those bold and beautiful days are still in my heart
Day 27. You come to realize how much of a life you’ve lived when digging through old items. Yesterday I opened a trunk and found some photos from my college days. A black and white one from 1982 struck me and brought back many happy times with the guys who were a big part of my experience.
We’re taking a journey to the past
Who we were back then
The cache of moments revealing treasures hidden away
Tiny Instances and minor flashpoints of lives in one place
and Halloween’s candy treats
Snow days bundled up- oh those rosy cheeks!
Summer days, freedom days, no shirts and bare running feet
The world looked greener then, full of promise
The present is a place of demarcation
The time when the bond of bygone times bears fruit for the future
We stand together at the precipice, hearts pulsing
All systems go for the epic Act III
Day 24. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conscious of time as I have this week. Shortly, this house will be a part of our past. The boys will go together to their own place and I with my beloved. Honestly, it is very exciting, despite the work of packing up and getting rid of things.
A rare rumbling rolled in during the darkest of darks
The mumbling of a monster
Tossing and turning
too tired to open my eyes
Wondering when the flash and flicker of lightning
will illuminate slumbering shadows
Tossing and turning
Anticipating the next racket and ruckus
Awaiting the squall that is bound to follow
I lie still
A stone attempting to hide in an open field
The rampage hovers over me
arriving in an unusual rage
I pull myself in tighter
knowing there’s nowhere to hide
Electric daylight remaining at bay
Mother Nature’s search and rescue
Singing a soothing song
The serenade that subdues the monster into submission
Day 21. A tempestuous thunderstorm arrived some time in the wee hours of the morning unaccompanied by lightning. It was incredibly loud. Yet somewhere in the midst of the cacophony I heard a chorus of birds.
Once cowering, a wallflower at a junior high dance
Now prancing, a thoroughbred fresh from a sweet victory lap
Once previewed and reviewed through the warped lens of snide criticism
Now judged in the reflection of the mirror born of her own making
Once held back by the selfish needs of another
Now setting her own pace, advancing audaciously to meet her own desires
Out of the shadows
Into the light…
Day 18. Started the first two line this morning and got a bit stuck. Then I read Mark’s post over at Maleko’s Art. His piece was all I needed to help me finish.
This is once again dedicated to all of you experiencing any form of abuse or working your way out of the situation. Man, woman, child. It doesn’t matter. You deserve your own life.
Moving in forward motion
Aware of time passing
Living in a continuum of small moments
A flow unfolding
Releasing cascading energy
The past perfectly placed
Tapping on my shoulder
Never whispering in my ear
Causing my stomach to lurch
My heart to palpitate
Approaching future is on the edge of palpable
Controls in the hands of the unknown
Day 18. The inspiration for this one came from Suzanne over at Arts and Fiction (http://artifactsandfictions.com) Check out her post:
I thought I’d take a walk between the raindrops
A daily morning amble bordering on an obsessive need for fresh air
No walls of snow nor cold spring precipitation can deter me
A funky forest scent greets my nostrils- a deciduous odor-somewhere between death and rebirth
No one is near to rousing from sleep
The raw gray keeps their wakefulness away
I turn the corner passing a small grove
I gasp, covering my mouth in whispered surprise
A trio of does meets my eyes
We stare in respectful silence
The whole world seems still
Morning mist begins to soak me
The air wraps me in its chill
Signs of life at last arrive
Cardinals cheerfully chirping
Mourning doves cooing their greeting
along and among and amidst
broken bows and mailboxes
bent from brumal blizzards
Though these days remain anemic and ashen
Small glimmers of a golden vision are emerging
My heart is anticipating a new inauguration
Day 10. Written at the end of a whirlwind of a work week. Happy Friday!