I was moved to write this post after seeing Elizabeth Gilbert’s announcement of her own “amicable” separation…from her fairy tale relationship most of us read about in “Eat Pray Love”. It felt like a small gift of comfort on this particular day- the year anniversary of my move to Newport. I left behind a man I loved, a marriage I had prayed would hold, a domestic comfortable life, to move where I knew nobody and had only visited twice.
To see that even fairy tale romances don’t always last forever, aren’t necessarily meant to, and it doesn’t have to be loaded with shame. In my fantasy, I get to sit down and dish with Liz about divorce and separation and the excruciating yet profound journey that it is…over tequila…of course, with somebody who will surely write about it better than I.
I will only write from truth-telling, so I will tell you that the past year has been painful, lonely, terrifying. Any fantasies I had about my new life…well… it wasn’t like that. Were there good parts? Yes, thankfully. But this is about the hard.
This past year has been another Initiation. And it’s been elegant in its messages. I have listened and I have heard the guidance. And I bless myself for each day that I have walked through uncertainty and fear and self-doubt and some self-loathing. For the days I felt hopeless, helpless, and like I wasn’t sure I could do it or wanted to. My friends have called me brave, and I have felt anything but. I have been afraid that I would never leave my home other than walking Pansy and occasional socializing. I’ve been afraid I was wasting my life by not taking full advantage of the bounty that Newport offers. I’ve been afraid that I would be alone forever,without being that kind of special to somebody..without that sense of belonging and commitment, with no financial cushion, none of the pleasures of a secure domestic life. I didn’t sleep well this year.
It can feel worse to be alone and sad in a place like this. Newport is a kind of Paradise. It’s incredibly beautiful in the ways that I most love~ the water, the ancient trees, the lushness, the historic homes and gardens. All of the historic sacred spaces.. And.. all of the people out making merry on vacation, with husbands and families and weddings and parties. And me often hiding at home. With my dog. This image of myself really scared me sometimes.
I’ve felt exposed and vulnerable. Like I’m wearing a sign saying “Nobody loves me, I am alone, I am unlovable”. An old old wound. A core wound for sure. Not feeling wanted. And I thank goodness I am not somebody like Elizabeth Gilbert, going through this in a public way.
As somebody wise once told me, the term ‘Wounded Healer’ is redundant. Our wounds are how the light gets in. How the compassion and healing gifts find us. They come in through these initiatory events. Pretty much always.
Seeing anything and everything with symbolic sight and perspective made things bearable. I knew I was being honed in the fire.. once again. More humility, more kindness, more learning to be independent. And more shattering of things that weren’t allowing me to evolve. Crash. I have never been allowed to have a life where I rested on anything…it all gets mixed up and spit up and I am asked to keep stretching my beliefs, my faith, my heart.
I’ve had a running joke with myself. When I was raising Luke and Nicky, the famous child development expert was Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. He encouraged parents to, instead of saying “I’m so proud of you” to say “look, you did it yourself”.
Every time I changed a light bulb on the ceiling, every time I put together a new appliance, every time I did something new or something I’d normally delegate to Andy…. I’d say “look you did it yourself”. And it helped.
I have grown and healed and learned… in so many ways. I moved after 10 months from my first solo home to another one.. packed it all up, made another gorgeous home.. if we’re counting it’s been 3 moves in less than 3 years. That’s a lot.
I have learned to be patient. Learned to be kind to myself. Learned to trust that in the midst of the biggest fears, the most sleepless nights, the pain and tears… that I can trust that I am being guided. That I am becoming better and not bitter. That I am so strong and I really am brave- my friends have said this to me all year, but it’s hard to feel brave when you’re so scared.
I have stayed close to Nature’s guidance, have filled up on incredible and accessible natural beauty, and kept it really simple this past year. I have forgiven myself for what I can’t always do, and tried to focus on what I can. I have asked for help, a boatload of help, from my dearest and always generous and loving friends. And my sons. And my mom. And Andy… who has been such a loving and kind friend… I still consider him family and he has come and stayed for the weekend about every 2 months or less. I am so grateful to have all of this love, especially on those days when I am less than appealing.
So when I am feeling sorry for myself, and if we’re being honest, there are times I still go there, I have learned to be kinder. Learned to resist comparisons with other women’s lives, or marriages, or bank accounts. I’ve learned to love what is, and really love it. I’ve learned to be more alone than I’ve ever wanted to be and try to be still in the right here and now with whatever is here.
And I choose to believe that this is indeed initiatory and that something new is coming and I will be ready. Being in the uncertainty…nobody likes that so much. Who knows what’s next- what homes, what people, what work? I don’t. And I’m getting a bit more comfortable with that.
And what about you? Where are you being “honed” in your own fire? What transition has shaken you deeply that you also sensed was “initiatory”? Where can you see that you too have been brave?
Write to me and tell me, I’d love to hear from you. And thank you always for reading, for allowing me to tell the truth and show you my heart-
With so much love,