We went on some wonderful dates. First date: A twenty-mile bike ride. Second date: Kayaking on the lake, then sushi, then yoga on an outdoor covered stage during a thunderstorm. Third date: Rock climbing, swinging in my hammock, heart full of possibility. All dates: Amazing conversation, many points of common interest, lots of laughter. We had a fourth date last Thursday. He kissed me! I was thrilled! We talked about moving forward with each other. I felt myself falling in love! We made plans for Monday. And then… And then… Saturday came and there was no word from him. It was hard for me to enjoy the 4th of July because I felt so much angst and uncertainty. Sunday came and there was no word from him. It was hard for me to enjoy the 5th of July because I felt so much sadness and confusion. Monday came and there was no word from him. It was hard for me to enjoy the 6th of July because I felt so much heartbreak and devastation. 👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻 👻👻👻👻He ghosted me.👻👻👻👻 👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻👻 With the ghostly memories of our wonderful dates moaning and wailing in my ears, I kept asking, Why? Why? What did I do wrong? Heart broken, sad, ashamed that I had let my guard down and shown a man my heart after three long years of… no…man…at all… I reached out to make sure he was safe. He said, Can we be friends? I began to feel angry at life, angry at God, angry at myself for risking being hurt again. I wanted to crawl under a rock and go back to living like a nun. My friend and my sister said, Just get back on those dating sites and see what happens. I have a first date scheduled for Friday: Coffee I have a first date scheduled for Saturday: Hiking I have a first date scheduled for Sunday: Kayaking Big Gunpowder Falls. Wish me luck.
Ok, so where to begin? I recently dodged two bullets and celebrated my close calls, having lived through three years of celibacy and discovering that I’d rather be alone than share my time with a man who cannot slow down, breathe, rest, and truly see me.
Can someone please tell me just what is enough? What is a big enough house, or how much is enough food to be able to live in health? And why are there those living with very little who manage to be happy, and then there are those who live in excess who are miserable? And then there are those who simply don’t have enough and they live in despair, and there are those with a surplus who are celebrating their good fortune… And then there is everyone in-between, fluctuating with gratitude and trust, allowing, resisting, judging, surrendering. And then, and I’m still wondering about this— there are people who don’t have access to clean drinking water, while I take luxurious baths with candles, and epsom salt and essential oils, and I really can’t understand why this disparity exists…. It’s a good thing we humans are so resilient. Otherwise all this variety could really make us lose our minds.
Being ok with change takes practice, so don’t be hard on yourself for not taking this well. We are hardwired to gravitate toward familiarity— it’s how we all survived this long, so in a deep, instinctive way, we all yearn to get back to “normal.” And yet… we were made for these times. This is what we have been preparing for. So, beloveds, take a deep breath, be extra kind, gentle and loving with yourself, hold all your hurting parts with tenderness. Change is hard and sometimes life sucks, but you aren’t alone. We will get through this together.
Dear Person who used to be my friend and is now in the process of attempting to jeopardize my employment status at the yoga studio by bringing the quality of my teaching into question and telling the management that you are feeling uncomfortable with the subject matter I’m addressing in my classes: I’m so sorry things didn’t work out between us. You told me you were a colleague having been through yoga teacher training yourself and so I trusted that it was okay to go beyond the student/teacher boundary and explore the realm of friendship. Oops! I was wrong! I was wrong about you. I thought that you were a kind person, but when I started feeling anxious, drained and uncomfortable around you, I decided to back away. I backed out as gracefully as possible. But I guess you didn’t like that. I guess that, like other people I’ve known, you believe that if I’m not for you I’m against you. And now, for some reason, you are trying to take me down, and (like other people I’ve known) you are attempting to recruit other people to agree with you and join you and take me down with you. But here’s something you should know: I have been to the very center of hell many, many times and I have always come back. You can say what you want, you can attempt to take me down. You can even try to bring me to hell with you. You can attempt to create an entire posse of supporters to drag me down, to rake my name across the coals, to convince the world that I’m worthless as a teacher. If you try hard enough, you might even be successful in getting me ousted from my job. I may have to struggle a little more because of your childish vendetta. But you will not win. I will rise up from hell. I will find new work. I will thrive even more. I will always come back.
Trust…this ability to have no idea what’s happening next but going ahead and trying anway. Today I had a chance to practice trust as I created a painting. Two years ago I had a chance to practice trust as my marriage fell apart. Every day I have the opportunity to trust the process of life. I give thanks to the teachers, mentors and guides who have shown me that it’s safe to let go and trust. May you trust the inherent wholeness of your life!
Loosening the ties that bind me to an old, outdated mode of being, learning to breathe deeply and slowly and really see how unique this present moment is, seeing how life has always provided me what I need, and trusting that it always will, it all becomes so simple. Life isn’t meant to be figured out, dissected, overburdened with assigned meaning— but one breath, one step, one moment, one day at a time, life is meant to be lived.
Learning to trust the Self… not the little ego self that’s always wanting and grasping and never satisfied, but the Divine Self, the deeper, more expansive Self, the One who moves with the currents of Nature and who listens and waits underneath the noise and turbulence of our contrived human sorrow. The One who waits for us to wake up, and pause, and breathe and see how beautiful peace is— this is the One I practice to know, this is the One I show up for every morning, this is the One I am when I become still and close my eyes, and journey inwards… This is the One I am learning to trust.
I asked my inner critic to go on vacation and invited my inner child to come out of hiding. She still doesn’t trust me all the way. I don’t blame her. For so long I derived my identity from a man who was unkind to me; I tolerated the way he spoke to me, accepted crumbs of affection, thought this was the best I could do. Now I need to build trust in myself, and demonstrate to this little girl that I am strong and capable enough to provide for her, that I love her, that I am glad she is here, and she is the most important person in my life. Instead of just thinking about self-love, I am working on feeling it, living it, expressing it. God, show me how to love and care for myself the way you love and care for me.