I’m booking a flight tonight to Ecuador. I’m beginning a new chapter, one that feels lighter than my previous chapters. And I’m excited. But when I need to change the departure date because of a lack of seats for the date of my first choice, excitement fades and I feel suddenly numb. I turn away from the computer screen as if searching for something . . . I don’t know what . . . and when I look again at the date I’m now being forced to consider, it dawns on me why the sudden shift.
Dec 29 – Houston to Ecuador
You see, December 29 was the day he and I were supposed to arrive in Houston from Liberia, spend three days together over New Years, then head to Ecuador—together.
But I’m booking a flight now, for one—for this same fateful day. A one-way ticket to what will be my exotic new home without him. I suddenly feel a pang of deep sadness. It is the recurring pain that I know I must feel until, with time, I don’t. The pain of letting go of the dream; but not just any dream. He was my True Love dream, the answer to an angel’s whisper in my ear that had foretold of his coming.
I am—was—sure of it.
I’m reminded of a story I began writing a year ago this very month. I had not finished it, which had disturbed me at the time because I’m someone who likes to complete what I start. But I couldn’t finish it. It sat there in my computer files, where I would see it occasionally as I opened other documents, taunting me, saying, “You don’t know where this relationship is going; you’re still insecure about him, and you’re disappointed in yourself and embarrassed to share it; that’s why you can’t finish me.” And I would hate that! Imagine. Being taunted by your own creation, something you love and want to share with the world!
It was the same with an unfinished painting that sat on my easel for months, until I finally had enough taunting and placed it in a closet, out of view. When I eventually felt ready and pulled it back out, a new birthing process began. Or perhaps rebirthing or resurrection are more accurate descriptions. Friends who stopped by and saw the painting on my easel thought it was finished and were able to enjoy its magic and message. I could only sense its full potential, yet I couldn’t find it within myself to express it. So I killed it, and into the closet it went until the fateful day came and, for whatever reason, our energies aligned once again and I was able to breathe new life into it as its creator.
But back to my unfinished story. I’m ready to share it with you now, as I see it as a perfect example of this cycle in life we cannot escape and truly don’t want to, no matter how we tell ourselves we have had enough, even with the depth of pain that is inherent as itself: Birth–Death–Resurrection of Love.
I’m still in bed after a long night lying here, mostly awake, spotted with a couple hours of sleep. I feel depressed and sad. Where is the burst of confidence, knowingness, and energy to depart that overtook me between 2 and 5 am? Somewhere in the early dawn it released its grip on my tired mind, allowing me to drift into deep sleep.
He woke me at 7 by opening the heavy wooden door to the guest room that sticks from the humidity, prompting the protective growl of my twenty-pound, less-than-fierce Cairn terrier, Barnaby. He came over to the bed softly. Hovering over me for a brief moment, his chiseled, masculine jawline and tender eyes barely visible in the early morning light peeking through the bamboo blinds, he bent down and kissed me, kissed the dog, then me, then the dog, then me, then rose up to look at me. No expression on his face; perhaps he was looking for an expression on mine. Leaning down to rest his upper body on mine and slipping his large, muscular arms that I love so much under and around me, he just held me. At first I didn’t know if I could hug him back, but slowly my emotionless arms reached around his back by habit, and we held each other in the dark light of morning for several long seconds before he let go and, without a word, not looking back, walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. Hearing the master bedroom door close, I knew he crawled back in to our bed for one last hour of rest before getting up for work.
It’s too familiar a scene, but not so familiar that I know what it means, exactly, or what to do with it, what to think about it. We moved in together four months ago. Not a typical move-in with a man, either, which I had done three other times in my life. This time, I had decided to sell everything I owned, packed up two suitcases of clothes, boarded a plane with my dog, and moved across the Atlantic from Texas to Liberia, West Africa, the fourth-poorest country in the world. Even though I had every reason not to trust, on paper, that we could work out, every cell of my being propelled me toward this man, this move, this destiny. It was not exactly a simple decision to reverse, even if I wanted to. And I am convinced, until moments like this, that I do not want to leave him—that I love this man with all my heart, more than I’ve ever loved a man. Yet, I cannot explain how we keep winding up in the place that lands me curled up with the dog in the guest bedroom! All night after our argument I was convinced I had to leave; convinced I could not take our disconnect anymore; that he would not come to me in the morning; that if by some outside chance he did, I would feel nothing and want nothing but to leave; that I could somehow find the energy—as I have so often in the past—to create a plan in a single day, and start a new life . . . without him. And what a life that would be! Oh yes indeed! Freedom, positive energy, laughter, music, and dancing naked in my living room! Enjoying a rewarding social circle, quiet writing, loud colors, and active service! And, at some point, a new man! One who genuinely understands me, who supports me in the way I truly desire, and who I will feel intensely into my cells not just from my own knowing of his beauty, but from his willingness to open his heart and open me along with it! A man who I can share all of my deepest thoughts with, who will have something to say back to me after I pour out my heart and soul to him, something that shows me he cares and wants to connect with me, grow with me, learn with me, make penetrating love with me, live and die with me.
And this morning, as before, an internal dialogue begins, and I wonder where it will lead me—us—to this time.
I ask myself, Why can’t it be him? I don’t want another man; I want him. He is all that I want in a man—sometimes. Why not more often? And I feel like a teenager for saying that, for wanting to force a love that, perhaps, is not meant to be.
Then I ask myself, is this the truth? No, I answer. Let go of your desires and perceived needs and accept him as he is and love him unconditionally; accept the love he gives you—as he can give it—as perfect and enough. Recognize him as your light and also your shadow, and embrace him! And my heart feels light again, and I breathe, and that feels like the truth.
Yet I’ve been through this before, and we wind up in the same dark place: hurt, angry, ready to run. It’s become too customary: loving, fighting, talking, sleeping apart, only to awaken to forgiving, allowing, loving. Then the fighting starts again, over and over.
I want us to figure this out. Why? Why? I ask myself. Why is it so important to stay miserable? I either stay too long in a relationship, loyal to what is not good for me, or I withdraw and give up too soon without giving it my all. I wanted this time, this relationship, to be different; I felt I was ready for a love unlike any I had had before. In fact, I know I am—I feel it in my cells. But there is still something missing; this is not the conscious love I dreamed of having.
I feel like a child, still lost in the unfulfilled dreams of my parents, the dreams that became their nightmare and my learning ground for love and relationships. It was through my parents’ relationship that I learned a woman must maneuver and manipulate to get a man to do as she wants him to and that a man will forever resent his woman for not letting him be who he really wants to be. And don’t I know and have seen too much in my own recovery from childhood trauma to be here now? But here I am, all the same. I can’t deny it.
I’m a fraud. A fake. And I laugh as I write this. Why? Because it’s true? Am I laughing because I finally feel relief at admitting it to myself? And now I feel like crying, because if I am a fake and a fraud, then I have nothing, and I certainly don’t—can’t—have him. And he will be right, and he will get to live smugly in his righteousness, and he will move on. And I will once again be alone in my folly and my fake world, and I will pretend that I am fine being alone, because I tell myself I am—I have been before.
I hear a voice inside me saying Surrender and change. But I ask myself, Haven’t I changed before, with all the years of therapy and self-discovery? Yes, I answer. I changed parts of me; I peeled layers off of the onion and then grew new ones over the layers I had uncovered.
What a waste, I say. Isn’t it?
Well, only if I buy into the illusion of wasted time. We are taught that there is some place we are supposed to get to and by when, and if we aren’t using our time to get there, we are wasting time. It’s not true; there is no place we are supposed to get to by when. Life gives us opportunity after opportunity to discover truths we want to learn and experience. It is up to us when we choose to awaken to our inner truth. And I realize I am afraid of being judged for being human. That, in fact, I am judging myself for having feelings and for learning or not learning fast enough. Yet I lie and say I don’t care what people think of me; but I do care, especially of what he thinks of me, and I put on the clothing of one who has it together and I stand in righteousness—the same thing I accuse him of.
Yes, he is my light and also my shadow. I love him, yes, because I love myself and I am willing to embrace these parts of me I feel ashamed to admit I have. He is me and I am him. Of all the people I have met, those I respect the most are the ones who are willing to be vulnerable to the truth inside themselves, to expose the mask they wear, to be willing to take it off and to own the fear of realizing they may have more than one. So am I willing to expose my masks and be a person I respect in this relationship? If I have made it my effort to do one thing in this relationship, it is that. To dive into these moments while I am blessed to have them. To recognize they are occurring, yet again, with yet another man, because these moments are being created within the depths of my own soul’s journey and the desire to awaken from the nightmare of my parents’ creation, to live my own creation.
How can it be that at this stage of my life a love relationship is so hard? I know that in the past I have chosen to put more effort into my mission than into my relationships, and this time I vowed I would not do that. I want to give it my all—all that I did not give in the past, all that I gave, instead, to my work—I want to give my all to my man. But I feel, and fear, that I am failing.
I look around me and see couples who look—seem—happy together, and I ask, Why can’t I have that? Why is my love relationship so dramatic—still—when peace is what I’ve taught for years and peace is what I see in other couples? And then I realize that what I perceive as peace in some people is just settling for the death of passion and purpose, settling for a quiet, accepted disconnect. And in others perhaps peace is real, yet not without effort to keep it alive! And I think, Why do I want to leave? Is it just a habit? What am I leaving to go to? Yes, we have love, but we don’t have enough similar likes, he and I. Perhaps we are too different, not a good match; hasn’t he tried to tell me that? After all, don’t I want to just rest, sometimes, in the arms of a man who can laugh at the same things I laugh at, who can look at me and see himself, love himself as he is loving me? And I ask, Is he that man? I know that at times he seems to be. But if he is not, then I am the one who is settling! If that’s true, then the one who is dead is me.
Okay, I think. If I am dead already, then why does any of this matter? Is it really worth the effort to make myself alive again? For wasn’t I alive before, and now I am dead? Don’t I just need to be okay either way? But surely I can’t be okay being dead!! Can I?
And suddenly, with death as my friend, my inner dialogue goes quiet.
I sit in the silence for a moment and wait. And breathe.
Then . . . I finally remember . . . thank God, I remember, once again . . .
As in the first moment when a starving man’s eyes land on a meal laid out before him, the lessons from my first spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, come streaming into my consciousness, and I feel the true sense of the meaning of “being saved.” He said, “Enlightenment happens in the moment and then the moment is gone. One moment you’ll see yourself and the world with total clarity and then the next moment you’ll be washing the dishes, and forget; and I hope you do!” For as you do, you are living life: that process of waking and sleeping and waking and sleeping is life, the one you signed up for long ago. And each new morning you awaken; each moment of clarity is a precious peek into the realm of Angels where the veils of illusion don’t exist, and you experience a most delicious gift, far more satisfying than your favorite meal or even your body’s fleeting orgasms, a realm where you will be again when your Spirit leaves your body and is no longer hindered by its limitations.
Some people make their earth journey about sustaining a state of enlightenment once it’s reached; they are called monks and masters. I am neither a monk nor a master. I am an artist; my life is my art. I teach and learn, learn and teach my living art. I am the experiencer of the waking and the sleeping, of the dreams of both that I make real, that make me laugh, cry, give, take, live, die, and for glory’s sake, experience my own resurrection.
What will I do in the next moment? I do not know, but as it is revealed, I choose—again and again.
And what of him? What of this man I love, this man who has found me, and I him, in a world of love neither of us anticipated? Now that my mind is in its resurrected state, I see with light and love, which is my true essence. He is my essence, and as my essence, he is once again embraced. Suddenly, in this moment, what I am seeing is love and compassion. I know I am enough and therefore so is he. And I can’t wait to hold him and thank him and love him. I laugh again at the trappings of my mind, which shielded from view the love and support he gives me daily.
He came to my door this morning because he returned to his heart. And I returned to mine. And he shall be with me, and I with him, until we are not. Until that moment of clarity, so certain, arises in the mysterious way it always does, there is no longer a question dancing on our lips.
I wrote that short story almost exactly a year ago. And staring at the computer screen with my finger on “Enter,” ready to book my solo journey, I feel the pain of a life that didn’t have what it needed to reach its full potential—our love, our relationship, dead too early; death not by natural causes but by neglect, or perhaps an unknown dis-ease because we didn’t find its cure. My heart knows this. There is no longer a question dancing on my lips; we had a beautiful season and a powerful reason to be in each other’s lives. We opened each other to greater depths of love and compassion; he taught me that I am worthy of having a man show up for me in all the ways I desire him to; I learned that I could be completely, passionately head over heels in love with a man again. He inspired poetry and songs to flow from my heart, and he reawakened my desire to keep diving deeper into my personal and spiritual development—a desire to keep peeling the layers of the onion in myself, a desire that I had lost over the years from taking on too much responsibility for the greater world in order to distract myself from my inner world. Sad but true, and okay. And as much as I can love this man, I cannot do the work of relationship alone. He has not chosen to step in to the deeper part of the dance with me, the one that requires a lifetime of commitments to a moment-by-moment choosing of our conscious love.
I am now free to rebirth a wiser Me. I accept my journey and love my unlovable choices. Our We gave me this new clarity and a stronger faith in myself. I hit “Enter” on my keyboard to select my flight to my new home, my new chapter, my new Me. With love in my heart I have let him go, have let us go. I have been given the great gift of knowing that the true love coming, the True Love foretold to me, is Me. Ah.
Love … always resurrected.
I go forward with confidence that my greatest love—and miracles—are yet to come.
Dance, Love, Smile… Spryte
ps. This real-life story from my life, is now about 2 months old. Please stay tuned for what happened next! My next few entries will share the real-life Miracles that occurred to me after taking this bold turn. I’m inspired to share stories of times I stepped into my scariest YES’s and stood firm in my most important NO’s because they re-inspire me at each new choice I’m faced with in life. I hope these stories will also inspire you, so you too can live your most joyful, creative, blissful life. You deserve it!