It’s been almost a year since I moved to Montpelier, Vermont. To say that life has dramatically changed during this year would be an understatement, but that is true for each of us, isn’t it. There’s so much that I want to share with you regarding what’s been happening in my life, but every time I begin to write about something in particular, it feels insignificant…like I should be able to impart some sort of wisdom about more global things. But are there really more “global things”? What can we really know but that which is happening within us? Each of us sees the world through our own lens…so here goes.
A few weeks ago, it seemed like my life, had finally begun to take shape and I was starting to feel a part of this community in a deeper way. I’d moved here to be closer to my son and his family, who live about 45 minutes away. I’d moved here to begin a new life after my divorce. I was moving toward something better, but there was still a sting when I thought about the community that I’d left, and my ex. While living there, after we’d split, I dreaded running into him, fearing I’d see him with someone else and it would be overwhelming. I feared running into people who knew and liked him. I didn’t want to hear anything good about him. Not living in the same town, or even the same state, did help. But…
This past fall, I had the stunning revelation that I wanted to date again. I couldn’t imagine any man being interested in me (in that way) but the feelings of longing for that sort of connection started bubbling up. My reaction was, “Shit! Really? Great. Now? Why now?” I’d pretty much resigned myself to the belief that at 63, I was simply too old to meet someone new…even if I wanted to. But one day, as I was walking to the library, a man whom I’d met at a grocery store some weeks earlier, asked me out, and I went. Within a week, I knew this wasn’t going to be an intimate relationship, but I could also see areas of my past, that were going to cause problems in the future, if I didn’t deal with them.
Although I’d done some work on forgiving my ex, I still felt resentment when I thought about him, and it seemed clear that I’d meet the same energy again, and again, until I’d dealt with it inside myself. By this time, it was obvious that my new life had the potential to be so much more in sync with who I really was. For years during my last marriage, my ex and I didn’t connected on a number of levels. He didn’t get my humor. I didn’t like his. He didn’t like to read, and one of my dreams for a partnership was to each be sitting by a fireplace, books in hand, occasionally sharing with the other, some line or thought that seemed too wonderful to keep to ourselves. Often times, when he talked, I felt as though I was enduring a long and tedious bus ride which had a “yet to be determined” destination. I’m sure he felt this, which must not have been good for him either.
Bottom line was that my life was better now. All of difficult and painful things that had happened in that marriage got me to a new place, and without them, I’m not sure I would’ve left. So why was I nursing a resentment? Was I blaming him for my decision to stay so long? In some ways, yes. Was I blaming him because now it seemed too late for me to start again? In some ways, yes. This was painful and good to see. I ended up writing him a letter, clearly stating that I forgave him for everything and asking for his forgiveness too. There’s a line in AA literature that says, “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it…no matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear….” This statement comes after we’ve looked at our part in difficult relationships, and have become willing to clear our side of the street.
I was willing, and could see and feel the benefits of that simple (not easy) decision, almost immediately. A few months ago, I began dating someone who felt “right” to me…OMG, did I think for one minute that this would be easy? A whole new set of fears (maybe not new, but certainly dormant for a few decades) surfaced. Insecurities that have brought me to my knees have appeared. I sense that they were always there, but when I was younger, I had a much stronger ability to ignore guidance and push ahead with my plan for the perfect life (and “he” had better agree with it). Now I found that I was dealing with feelings of massive insecurity that made me either want to “lock this in”, or run away.
Then the shutdown of the world happened. Everything suddenly seemed uncertain. I felt an intense pressure inside like something was going to explode or implode. I went to bed one night and couldn’t sleep. All solid ground was crumbling away. I couldn’t run, anyplace in the world, away from it. I took a deep breath, then another. The words, “You are deeply loved” came to me and I felt them. With the words was the feeling that there was a harmony within every single thread of life and an exquisite harmony beneath all of this apparent chaos. It was a call to trust…again, but this time at a much deeper level. The “command” to me was, “Try to be curious. You are taking your initiation in trust, and to do this, you must experience extreme uncertainty.”
Verse 47 in the Tao Te Ching says, “We can understand the world as it is without leaving our home….the further we go, the less we know. Wise people understand the 10,000 things without going to each one. They know them without having to look at each one, and they transform all without acting on each one.” What is “reality” telling us but this truth…written some 2,600 years ago. So many of us have been going, going, going…seeking here and there, and what if we don’t need to go to retreats, ashrams, classes, or workshops to know everything we need to know? Could this be one of the keys being kindly offered to us now?
It has been the message to me. There may not be one person, place, or thing that I can count on to be here tomorrow and as odd as this feels, I know it is an opportunity, a portal into greater freedom, for me. I can also see it all around me. Every person is being given an opportunity right now to discover what the message/call is to them…for them. Stay curious if you can, and I’ll be staying in touch. I’d love to hear from you too❤️