I should patent this. It wasn’t planned, I didn’t research it on the web, and I had no expectations of the day, but I discovered the perfect way to spend your anniversary if you are in the midst of divorcing your spouse. Pay attention to The Signs.
In my wallet since Mother’s Day 2011 was a gift card to the Sonoma Fairmont Spa. I was waiting for the perfect day to use it. Originally, I thought I would spend the day at the spa with The Genius. But, as it turned out, I spent the day at the spa deep in Genius-Detox. On our 15-year wedding anniversary.
As Paul Simon so eloquently stated, “There’s 50 ways to leave your lover.” And there are at least as many ways to walk through a divorce. I could have gone to the spa on my wedding anniversary strapped down by the memories of that day, the betrayal spat upon me by The Genius, and/or the sadness of knowing that my marriage was over.
But I didn’t.
I went there excited by the possibilities. I had a whole day to love myself. To take care of me. To reward myself for being brave and to honor myself for meeting this challenge head-on.
“Are you celebrating something special?” the concierge asked. (This is the kind of spa that has a concierge. And 90-degree heated outdoor pools, fire pits tucked in secluded patios where you can sip wine and roast marshmallows, and enough spa treatments to welcome you in as Jane-whoever and send you out as Jane-HOTNESS.)
I paused and did something I had come to rely upon since the Pocket Call. I checked in with my soul. Soul said, “Tell her.”
“I’m celebrating myself for uncovering my husband’s four-year affair. Today is our 15-year wedding anniversary, and I’m looking forward to cleansing my spirit and divorcing the liar.”
Bet she hadn’t heard that one before.
She didn’t look at me with pity because I wasn’t asking for it. She smiled. She rose from behind her desk and came around to me, took both my hands in hers and said, “Good for you.”
As she walked me around the mineral pools, steam room, sauna, and lounge area (stocked with amazing teas and fruit, leather sling lounge chairs and low lighting – you really need to hit this place up if you are ever in Sonoma), she told me a tale of a woman who would be my mentor should I ever be fortunate enough to meet her. She dropped her cheating (younger, starving artist) husband like lava after her daughter watched his cell phone light up with risque texts from another while it sat on the kitchen counter one day. She didn’t “try to make it work”, she booted his probably taut posterior straight out the door and went about running her insanely successful import business without a glance back. Well, maybe one just to laugh in his face. Now she’s shacked up happily with a wonderful man and never will remarry. Her business is killing it.
“You will be fine.” she said as she gave my hands one last squeeze. I knew that I would.
You know how we are always remarking on how fast time flies? It’s because we’re not present in the moment. That simple. Period. End of lecture. That day went on forever for me. With sign after sign that I was embarking on a journey that had no destination, no barriers, no road blocks…just one big, long, incredibly exciting journey. Which began with a barefoot Shiatsu massage. Yep. I got walked on. This time in all the right ways. By a woman who looked like Mary. THE Mary. Not the blond-haired Mary with the china-white skin, but what Mary would have really looked like. Beautiful, absolutely, but a face that looked lived-in. Exposed. Experienced. I could not take my eyes off her eyes. She oozed love, compassion and grace. I fell naked to the floor and breathed her every step deep into my being.
Let’s just say her feet…oh, I can’t even put it into words. Miraculous.
After a facial and a luxurious amount of time alternating between a body-temperature mineral bath, an herb steam room and a dry sauna, I took my nourished being to dinner after ever-so-slowly getting dressed. Nothing was going to rush this day. In all, I spent 6 hours getting two treatments. Next time I will shoot for 9. Hours.
My Guardian, I mean the concierge, suggested an oyster bar in Sonoma as a place to stop for my grand finale. My anniversary dinner with me. Alone. Enjoying MY company without having to meet anyone’s needs but my own. I toyed with blowing it off and going home, but decided that if there was a parking spot directly out front I would go in.
You guessed it.
There were two men of a certain age at the bar but the rest of the seats were up for grabs. I settled in and was met with a warm smile from the bartender. A glass of wine, some oysters and a beet salad were all that I needed. Or so I thought. What I got was the answer to a question I had been asking for six months.
Before The Genius embarked on his globe-trotting journey I asked him for two things: tea from Asia and the words “Climb Higher” written in Nepalese, the language of the Sherpas who guide climbers up Mt. Everest.
I got neither from him. I know, you’re stunned by that.
As I let an oyster slide down my throat, eyes closed, savoring every salty, creamy inch, I overheard the man to my right say the two words that stop me dead: Mt. Everest. I leaned in. Eyes still closed. Trying not to let that oyster slide down too fast.
“He was 70 when he first summited without oxygen.” My eyes popped open. “Who?” I blurted out, nearly coughing up the oyster. They didn’t mind the intrusion and there began a spirited conversation about climbing Mt. Everest, one of my main goals in life.
“For my birthday this year I want to get a tattoo of the outline of Everest with the words ‘Climb Higher’ written in Nepalese. I’ve googled it, asked
The Genius people who were traveling in the region to get it for me…all to no avail.”
They looked at me with sparkling eyes, likely due to being in their 70s themselves, living in God’s country and downing the second whiskey they each ordered since I arrived, and said, “You don’t have to look any farther. See that guy over there?” He pointed to a waiter smiling at and tending to a father and daughter having their “I get you on Wednesdays” dinner. “He’s a Sherpa. And the bartender? He’s a Sherpa, too. Oh, and the guys in the back? All Sherpas.”
I got the words “Climb Higher” written in Nepalese that night. I did it. I made my anniversary day and night a magical experience. I made sure I had fun that day. That I laughed, relaxed, processed, purged, sweated, steamed, ate well and lived. The Genius had nothing to do with it, except for buying the gift card. He probably had someone do that for him.
Being open to the possibilities rather than drowning in despair created an avalanche of support as I navigated this new terrain. By believing that I will thrive, that I will live out this second half of my life without compromise and without fear, I unlocked a door that led to a place where all that you need is there for the taking. As long as you believe you deserve to take. And as long as you trust the signs.
I floated home. I could never trust The Genius again, but I had discovered that I could trust myself. And now I had to trust that my children would be okay after we told them that The Genius was moving out. Because he had moved on. Four years ago. But he was just getting around to packing his bags.