Tomorrow, on the 4th of July, Bolinas and Stinson Beach will tug on a rope. A very heavy rope stretched across the mouth of the lagoon. Stinson will lose. Happy 4th!
A few months ago J sent me a note, via Facebook I believe, about her sister CJ. CJ was being accosted by breast cancer. She had already been betrayed by her spouse. Like many men, he found his soul mate while married and chucked it all in favor of her. Then her sons abandoned her because she refused to allow THEIR mistresses into her home.
It seems that infidelity runs in rivers through families.
J told me of her sister’s appreciation for HGM and our words here. How she checked each morning for a post, not unlike my Mom. And cheered me on as I bobbed and weaved my way through infidelity and divorce. I was back east when I got her message. I asked for love and light and prayers for her sister on Facebook. And then I wrote a reply. That kicked off a virtual friendship with CJ that was far too brief and overwhelmingly touching.
She was admittedly still angry at her former spouse for his affair. The fallout, the destruction of her family, weighed heavily on her. My heart ached for her; disease is caused by dis-ease. And he clearly caused an immense amount of dis-ease with his betrayal. I try not to wonder if my own Mom’s cancer was given new life with the stress brought on by the pain of seeing her daughter deal with infidelity and divorce. Did the pain CJ experienced as her marriage was destroyed by deceit cause her cancer?
The question doesn’t need an answer.
In her last email to me she told me that her former spouse had returned. He begged for forgiveness, which she gave him. He moved in to take care of her in the final days. She allowed this so she could give her family a break. I never asked her permission to discuss her life here, so I won’t go into any details. Suffice it to say, she was generous with him. I admire her choices.
She left this planet a few days ago. I was in shock when J sent me the news in response to my latest email to CJ. Still am.
Maybe it’s not shock as much as renewed deep sadness for the level of pain and destruction brought on by infidelity. Something that is SO avoidable. Never needs to happen. Proof of its fallout is in plain sight everywhere on this planet. No one EVER says, Cheating on your spouse is a great move. Just an awesome thing to do! Bravo! Even those who cheat think it’s bad and cringe when hearing someone tell a tale of their own experience with adultery. Those who become the ‘family’ of the new ‘couple’, if they make it to that stage, will not forget how they came to be. They will simply ignore it. When a story about infidelity comes on TV there will be discomfort. A friend of the new couple finds out her husband is having an affair…more discomfort. The choice to cheat remains with the adulterers for their entire lives.
Adultery, it’s an ugly thing to do that leaves a battlefield of destruction as its legacy – hearts both big and little shattered, minds left to wonder why they weren’t worthy of honesty. Of respect.
Divorce may be the only option, infidelity should never be one.
CJ shared her wisdom with me, her spirit. She drilled into my head that when my former spouse tries to engage me in an emotionally charged conversation I am to hide amongst the crickets, giving nothing in return to fuel the flames. For the most part I have been able to do this. She also shared with me a dream she had about my future. I gasped when I read her words. Part of me wanted to believe it. The part that still holds on to fairy tales and happy ever afters.
She saw me in a pink dress with a mermaid tail. Not an actual tail but the style. The Dudes were in suits with pink ties. Pink and white roses scattered along the beach in honor of Rosie, leading to a man who stood at the water’s edge waiting for me. The Dudes and I walked to him. And there, as the waves crashed and the sea birds gathered, we spoke our vows. The three of us to him, and him to the three of us. It was a marriage for four.
Bella, he is the one, she said.
Mr. Perfect Timing.
I am SO curious what she would say now that she has the sight lines of an ascended soul.
Two days after receiving J’s email about CJ’s passing I was standing in the middle of Bolinas. Which means that I could run to either end in about a minute. The sky was near electric blue, set off by the deep emerald evergreen trees that climb the hills now gilded gold and soft, lit to shimmer by the sun. Behind me our clothes spun in the washers of the Bolinas laundry. Town was busier than usual on a weekday. The population growing in anticipation of the 4th of July celebration. I turned my mind off – actually I stomped on it and told it to get lost.
It’s been challenging lately to be present and grateful, despite the blessings I have in my life. I stood there, nearly in the street, and settled my gaze on the hills, expressing gratitude for what I have RIGHT NOW. Not wishing for something or someone or allowing my thoughts to go where they seem to be trained to go.
I have questions. I want to know how it ends. I’m fine staying in it, playing it all out. But can’t I have an inkling as to how it all ends? Jump ahead a few chapters in my life? I promise I’ll come right back here.
Just then my cell rang.
Mr. Perfect Timing.
Now, a few days later, I am still wondering what he was trying to tell me on that call. (Which is why I just texted him to confirm my intuition. Yes, text. I really just didn’t feel like talking.) He was curious if I wanted to know details of his progress since Press Pause. He retold the whirlwind of our courtship. How the mountain and Mom and me created a perfect launch pad for an emotional rocket. He stumbled over words. There were periods of extended silence. I didn’t try and get in there and tease out thoughts or take the conversation in any direction. We spoke for 32 minutes, and in that time I felt we were destined to be together and we were never meant to be together.
How’s that for picking sides? Or being manic. Or having no clue as to what’s going on.
Or letting another lead me along.
The only clarity I experienced was knowing that we will be friends. Not long after he went from that guy at the gym to Mr. Perfect Timing I expressed to him that no matter what course our romantic relationship takes we are to remain friends. He bumped on that suggestion, as if it would be impossible to remain friends should our hearts drift apart. I’m grateful I planted that seed early on.
I told him I did have questions but that I wasn’t quite sure what they are and that a hike may be a better way to have the conversation. And so we planned to have one.
Later that day, after I got out of my head and into my heart, I saw what he was trying to accomplish. It was as clear as the conversation was confusing.
He is Pressing Stop.
He never got close to saying those words. I didn’t prevent them from being spoken. But I opened the door just now by asking him if he needed to Press Stop he said yes.
Had I not asked I doubt he would have been so direct. As time passed it would have become obvious that he meant to say STOP all along. I got the answer I needed but not in the way I had hoped. The outcome isn’t the issue, the inability to communicate from a grounded place in a direct manner is one.
I left Bolinas soon after receiving his reply to drive to the city to continue speaking with M about her story. The fog came in hard, filling the lagoon and covering the tops of the hills that rise above it. I snaked my way along Highway 1 allowing myself the freedom to think and feel whatever came my way. After a few sea-struck drivers pulled over, it was just me and an Audi taking the curves with the knowledge of where they led. The mountain side and the ocean side all looked the same – fluffy, silvery grey nothingness.
Opinions came forward. He was reckless with emotions. Had this happened, in the fast and furious way that it did, another’s heart might have been crushed. Her progress undone. Wounds reopened, becoming harder to heal. He fell in love with the emotionally charged set of circumstances in my life and how it made him look and feel being in the midst of it all.
And then my Observer Self would raise her hand and say, Nice. Glad you’ve got him all figured out. But let’s focus on you! Why did you let yourself be led? Why were you so willing to just go with it? Why didn’t you pay attention to the signs?
Why did I allow myself to be led?
Well, first because I trusted my creation. I asked to fall in love and there he was. And then when he said he felt like I ‘was home’ I took that as guidance that I was ‘home’. When we sat feet to feet on his couch and talked about writing and stories and ideas. I felt I had met my creative partner. Someone with whom I could create magic, over a lifetime. He understood what it meant to be on Mt. Rainier in the winter. And on Everest at any time. Our sense of humor was in sync. We connected physically. That was a huge issue in my marriage, so I placed quite a bit of importance there. Something I need to be conscious of so that it doesn’t carry more than its fair share of weight. We both LOVE football.
I sat in my Mom’s kitchen a day after receiving the Press Pause email and Marty, a dear, dear friend of the family, asked me a curious question. Out of the blue, with no lead in, he asked, Does he eat the same way you do?
This coming from a man who believes a side dish is one filled with ice cream. But also a man who knows the connection that can come over food, or slowly enjoying any of the pleasurable sensations that we get to experience as humans.
The question was funny coming from him, but so insightful. A gift of his that I appreciate.
No, he doesn’t eat like me. In fact it’s near opposite.
But I felt I was being open, accepting, all those things I was aiming to be! It was a simple question with a simple answer. I kept coming back to it.
A small disconnect, right?
Pay attention. No matter how easy it may be to ignore. It was the very same type of disconnect I had with my former spouse, and I chucked it all then. Detouring off my path for the sake of feeling loved. Discounting the disconnects.
Mr. Perfect Timing devotes a large part of his time on this planet in the gym working out and staying in great physical condition. And then he pumps junk into his body until dinner time. He’ll admit it. He’s a sugar addict. That’s his choice and I wasn’t interested in changing him.
The Audi and I slid down the hill into Muir Beach, passing the Pelican Inn, an English Pub in the middle of a no-town town, and climbed the coast again. The fog whipped itself into a tunnel through which we drove, banking hard on curves, whizzing past redwoods. I turned on the radio. Enough thinking.
There are a few good reasons why Mr. Perfect Timing and I aren’t right for each other. None of them insignificant. I noticed that pointing them out wasn’t leading to anywhere. Just point out a disconnect and…nothing. No epiphany. No lesson learned. Nothing gained.
Twice I was pissy on my drive upon reaching Mill Valley. Those who live there may say, Are you surprised? But I come from the east. I can say for sure that pissy here is kind there, and never does a drive in the car end without some degree of road rage. Or road pissiness. But while filling my diesel tank with the cheapest around (The gas station down from Whole Foods – I can’t be more specific right now…it’s enough to try and crystalize my thoughts on life.) I was taken with how I felt. Which means I benched my Ego and got cozy with my soul. All that thinking made me edgy. Settling into my soul made me feel calm. Grounded.
While Mr. Perfect Timing was getting all Lifetime movie on me I should have been the adult on duty. Recognizing that it was too soon, too fast. And I should have strung some clues together. Any parent knows that wild swings of emotions can be the result of the toxin that is processed sugar. I saw all of this. So, why did I fall for it? Why did I believe that I might have found someone with whom I could enjoy life? Why did I let myself be led?
The gas nozzle shut off. And I acted as if I was shocked by it. But what I was shocked by was the crystal clear understanding that Mr. Perfect Timing came to teach me to SPEAK UP.
In the moment. Speak up. Without fear.
I took his lead. When he lept off the Bridge of Romantic Sighs I followed without looking first. Without asking questions. And when I did ask questions, and received some less than specific answers, I should have pressed pause.
When he did, all I asked of the Universe was to have an opportunity to see if we were right for each other in a less emotionally chaotic atmosphere.
My wish was granted.
There are so many unanswered questions that linger from the Lifetime movie that was my romance with Mr. Perfect Timing. But the answers don’t matter because they’re all 3D style questions. Why did you…this? Why did you…that? It doesn’t matter. We make our individual choices and moves in relationships. And the questions that should be answered start like this: Why did I…?
I am so grateful to Mr. Perfect Timing for this lesson. It’s huge. And without him I may not have had the confidence to grab hold of M and her story and begin this part of my journey. He was instrumental in helping me to see how I could do it, and that I am capable of bringing her remarkable journey to life.
For a few hours last night I sat on the patio listening to the waves and seeing how I felt inside. A few times thoughts like, I’m not going through THAT again, or My intuition was really OFF, floated by. All Ego. Thoughts born out of fear. Designed to complicate life. Those thoughts are not for me. I’m going to remain open, not judge, be optimistic and SPEAK UP. And then the very best feeling came over me –
I can really rely upon myself. To be emotionally mature, grounded, and to feel truly loved, whether I’m loved by a man or not.
CJ, I will miss your hilarious and touching emails, filled with sentences in ALL CAPS and lots and lots of love. I feel your presence. So, I have a question…just what exactly did the groom look like?
Cleo AKA Bella