Nature softens the sometimes intense process of living with intense displays of beauty.
Bolinas sunset looking toward Stinson Beach
The notion that we come into this world perfect and then get screwed up along the way is quaint. But, in reality, we arrive discombobulated and spend our life, hopefully, unwinding the mess.
I didn’t start unwinding the mess until I was 45. Until the moment when my world went dark and I was standing on the prick of a pin, holding my cell phone, listening to my husband walk with the woman he loved. Which, of course, wasn’t me.
So I’ve had some serious catching up to do.
Infidelity and divorce is as good an accelerator as jet fuel for a spiritual awakening. Still, it’s taken me until now, yesterday actually, four years removed from that harrowing night, to accept and embrace what is happening to me.
Forget who you were, and Be who you are.
Easier said then done. I spent 45 years being who I thought others wanted me to be so that I would not be left for dead on the side of the road. Oh, and look, I was left for dead on the side of the road. I’m going to cut to the chase here - my own self left me for dead. It took a long time, beginning when I was tall enough to look in the mirror and see a freckled face with a huge space between my front teeth, red hair (when people still said ‘red-headed step child’), and baby fat that morphed into full-on chubby.
In an age when it took a week to get your pictures back from that little yellow building in the middle of shopping center parking lots, I was already an expert at dissecting my image into a pile of guts and gore in real time - the original selfie. I can’t imagine growing up today. I spent my childhood desperately wanting to be accepted, but I made it an impossible challenge by always being a moving target. Trying to be who I thought others would love instead of loving my self as is.
Trying to BE loved, instead of loving me.
I feared being ostracized, picked last in kickball, talked about behind my back. I hoped boys would crush on me and girls wouldn’t crush me. People say being jettisoned through the birth canal is the most painful part of childhood. I disagree.
The playground in third-grade is the most painful part of childhood.
So when I finally shook off the weight, spotted a mannequin with red hair in the window of Barney’s in New York City, and some angel kicked me in the mouth during a violent game of sharks and minnows, forcing my teeth together one week before I was to add braces to my list of Holy Crap, How Much More Do I Have To Endure?, I began the glacial process of undoing all the damage my damaging self-talk caused.
When I say glacial, I mean so slow that most of the time I wasn’t moving at all.
I met my former spouse after I had ‘fixed’ the exterior. The hair, the teeth, the chubby. All the visible pieces of me were put in their proper place. One day I walked toward him, across a field of grass, and when we came together he said, You look like an angel. No one had ever said that to me before. My insecure self smelled safety and adoration and pounced on it.
But I hadn’t unraveled the mess I had created inside. In my unconscious state, I made certain to couple up with someone who would do his very best to get me to wake up. Mission accomplished.
I know what it feels like to feel unlovable. I know what it feels like to feel different, to feel shame, to feel out of sorts and out of place. And now I know what it feels like to heal those wounds. The gifts of learning only now to love myself, and realizing the role my feelings in childhood played out in the choices I made as an adult, make me a better parent, a better partner.
Falling in love with myself was the start of my transformation during this exhilarating time in life. But I’ve got a lot more evolution left in me. If loving myself was the first key in evolving into a fully awake and present, unconditionally loving spiritual being, then key number two is leaving behind who I was and accepting who I am now.
What I didn’t expect was that others may not like who I’ve become. They may not even see who I’ve become, but instead hold onto the vision of who I once was. They may refuse to recognize who I've become and do what they can to keep me as I once was.
That’s a test. Do I go back and fulfill their vision or do I continue on?
Imagine a whale, once a land animal, choosing to forgo its evolution and come back to shore.
There’s no going back now. Not for me. To pass this test I will need healthy boundaries and the presence that comes through daily meditation to gracefully enforce them. But most of all, I will need to let go of who I was and embrace who I am.
Join me this Sunday for a Weekly Call on Boundaries - How to build them and not let anyone tear them down, even yourself. Details here. And please find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. When we gather we speed up our evolution. Full speed ahead!