As I sit here writing my first blog entry, I hear the clock ticking on the wall and realize that maybe my old obsession with time is coming to an end. Time has always been my enemy, everything in my almost three decades has felt like a rush against time, a rush to get things done. Do, accomplish, repeat. The cycle that has ruled my life. I cried on my twenty-first birthday over the fact that I was turning twenty-one and hadn’t written a book yet, well guess what, I will be turning thirty next month and still no book. Another bit of information about me, I cry at every birthday.
I think my obsession really hit full gear when I was in a relationship with someone in the military, just a month into it he became stationed in Iraq. I was young and full of passion for this individual and a day apart was simply agony for me, let alone four months, so the countdown began. I would push myself to work through the days, to go on and accomplish the next thing, because it took up the time, diminished the longing. I willed the days to go by, wishing my life away. Then he came home and would be due to leave again in another four months. My desire for the passage of time reversed, I feared its passage, knowing every day was another day closer to his departure. I wasn’t mature enough for what I was dealing with, and it was traumatic.
My concept of time became skewed, my view of the world, distorted. Ironically, the person I had been dating just prior to this relationship had given me the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It gave the lesson about how the present is all there really is and how happiness comes from residing fully in the present moment. I had read it and it resonated with me, but I let any lessons I may have learned fall away due to the disintegration of that relationship, despising anything that involved the man I had grown to hate. By the end of my new love’s second tour, our second four months apart, I had had enough with that relationship, but my now dysfunctional relationship with time continued.
Prior to dating my husband, I had not been in any relationship much longer than a year. I knew other couples who had been together for extended periods of time, two, three, five years, and those were the lengths of time by which I measured success. Yes, I also looked at a relationship as a form of accomplishment. As we continued our commitment, I would tell myself that now we had been together one year, two years, now three, and look at us, we’re making it. After we were married I had two timelines to count, the original and the one tracking our marriage. That way of thinking now confounds me. I think if I could go back to those moments in the beginning, I would cherish them more. I would be there more fully. I would hold him a little longer, instead of always looking forward, knowing that the present moment was enough. So, when my husband kissed me goodbye this morning I wasn’t thinking about all the things I needed to do today and feeling the burden of it all. Instead, I was feeling the softness and the fullness of his lips on mine, experiencing his warmth, breathing him in and knowing that very moment was all I really needed.
I sat up in bed last night and started typing on my phone. My husband asked me what I was doing and I told him I had to write something down while the words were coming to me. This is what I wrote:
“The moment I stopped trying to be like anyone else, I became aware of a beautiful woman quietly screaming, waiting to be seen. As soon as I saw her, I knew that I loved her. Once I knew that I loved her, I also knew that I could never live without her, and that no one else would ever compare again. It is an amazing feeling that I never knew before. Don’t despair because life is full of miracles like this, just ask.”
I don’t know what switch went off in me, but I know that one did. My approaching birthday had been tormenting me, a constant source of consternation and sadness. My life was something ugly, my daughter my only joy. I had stopped experiencing anything, so caught up in monotony and an obsession for the “right thing.” The perfect job, the perfect situation…these never came and they never will. Nothing is perfect. I began to ask for help. I would sit in the dark after my daughter fell asleep and internally ask for help in finding a way out of the figurative darkness in which I was also sitting. I would scream on my drive to work, asking for answers. I distinctly remember doing so, a couple of months ago on my drive home. When I came in the house and entered my bedroom, a fortune cookie lay in pieces upon my bed, the unsuspecting victim of my cat, Willowby. It read, “do what you love, the resources will follow.” To me, that was a clear message that my questions had begun to be answered.
So, then there was the question, “what do I love?” and I realized I didn’t even know anymore. I had lost complete touch with myself and who I was. I loved my family, but what else? What was it that defined me? I had general ideas of what I loved, but I couldn’t really answer the question. I had always appreciated the quote from the movie, Adaptation. “It’s what you love, not what loves you. I decided that a long time ago,” but it would do me no good if I couldn’t answer the question. I had become so consumed by the monotony of every day, trying so hard to find the answers in places they could never be found, instead of looking within and finding them there.
The answers that perceivably began with that fortune, continued to come. It wasn’t any one message that came to me, it was a succession of them that have helped me to get to this place. I am continuing to receive messages daily, because now I have the eyes to see them and the ears to hear them when they arrive. Any one message may not give a complete answer, but they help me to better understand my role in this world and who I am. I continually ask for them and am thankful for them. Now I’m filled with so much happiness, so much joy, and so much peace that it’s indescribable. I never want to go back. So, anytime I feel some of that darkness creeping back up on me I turn that light on inside myself and it goes away.
There are two things I have found where I feel most whole and am again connected to the essence of who I am. These are being in nature, and writing. As a child I spent a lot of time in the woods and at that time I was more connected to my own spiritual nature. I know this because I’ve often wondered why my perception of experiences has changed so much to this day from when I was a child. Every sight, smell and sound had such significance to it. I would notice the colors, intricate in the tapestry around me and I would smell the subtle changes of nature on the wind. Until recently it was as though I had lost my ability for that, my world had become dull and grey, all the life drained from it. I truly believe it’s because as a child I was more connected to my Source; I wasn’t yet jaded by the world. I had now become a human “doing” rather than a human being. When I was a child I spent so much time playing out in the woods of my family home, and there I always feel that girl again and Spirit speaks to me.
The other time when I feel most myself is when I’m writing. When I’m writing it’s a free flow of thoughts, but it’s also an art. It’s my time to create. Creation is Spirit and writing is my form of creation. The reason I’m starting this blog is to give myself a reason to write so that I can connect to that Source, and to myself on a deeper level. It doesn’t matter to me if one person reads this, or a hundred. It is no longer a task I set upon myself for the purpose of accomplishment. I am simply doing it for me.
I would always look for validation for everything I did, outside validation from other people. The thing that I was missing was validation from myself and I didn’t know how to give that. Part of what I’ve been able to do now is to validate myself, to appreciate myself and give myself credit for all that I have done and for who I am. I know that even without doing anything that I am enough. I am starting to see the colors again and I’m starting to smell the fall again and it’s beautiful. That’s what I want to say, that life is beautiful.
I sit here now, not yet dressed, my almost two-year old daughter asleep in my bed upstairs. I have to leave in an hour to bring her to grandma’s house and start my work day, but I am not rushing, I do not feel the frantic panic within that I once would have. Instead, my heart is like a silent brook, still, moving, slowly, the water flowing where it is allowed to flow, streaming over and around the rocks in its path, rather than trying to push them out of the way. The unmade bed is no longer an instrument used to pry at the edges of my frazzled soul, one fiber at a time. Instead, it is a haven where my beautiful girl has lain while her mama typed this blog, loving her with all those fibers. The dishes in the sink are no longer a great burden ready in waiting to come crashing down on me if I don’t clean them up right away. Instead, they are pieces of a life that is being lived with as much joy and solace as my heart is big enough to hold. I am only sorry it has taken me almost thirty years to come to this place, as if I had been standing outside all this time in the cold, watching other people live their lives through my secret window, and am now finally allowed in to the warmth to live my own. Now I no longer fear thirty, because it marks this major impasse that I have finally overcome, and oh, the way I feel; I have been waiting.