I don’t know if it’s because it’s my birthday tomorrow – perhaps 38 is a significant age. I don’t know if it’s just because this past year has been one of intense initiation for me. This first year of mothering has been so strange, wonderful, challenging and beautiful and it has certainly offered me many opportunities for growth and a complete change of perspective despite the many tears and frustrations that have accompanied them. I only know that as I drove back home in my car from having my hair cut for the first time in 18-months(!), I had a quiet epiphany.
Wayne Dyer has been my constant companion in the car in these last few months. I have been saturating myself in his wisdom as if my soul was a desert and at last the rains had come. It’s been a very pleasurable experience and I have come to deeply respect the man and his words. As I drove the last leg of the journey home I was thinking about my ex. Adam. I was mulling over the whole concept that we choose to carry around the baggage of our childhood’s, failed relationships, frustrated dreams and ideals – everything we think has in some way stopped us from achieving everything we feel we are capable of or felt we would be capable of if not for (fill in the blank). Wayne was talking about people carting around a sack full of manure and smearing it on themselves whenever they got the opportunity to tell anyone how they had suffered. This got me to thinking about the way in which we hold on to certain things in our lives. The way we use these things as badges of honour or as a way to prove how interesting we are or to show people how we have suffered. It’s almost as if without the dark clouds we delight in sharing with people, we become less interesting as people. Perhaps, on some unconscious level, we think that our hard experiences have made us interesting and that without them we will be nothing more than average and boring. Anyway, as I was mulling this concept over, I got to thinking about the closure I never got in that relationship and all the baggage I still carry around with me from it. It suddenly dawned on me that I have a choice. I have always had a choice. I have just chosen, until now, to drag that manure behind me as I have continued to go about my life.
The realisation that I had chosen to do so was somewhat of a surprise to me given that I have consciously been trying for many years to finally untie/snap/cut the bonds that tie us to each other and to free my heart to truly love those who share my life with me now. However, in some strange way, I have chosen to hold onto that relationship by telling myself that no closure had been reached and therefore I may never truly close the door on it. But the truth is that I can close that door whenever I want to – I have just never wanted to before now. So – as I thought about my life and the things I have chosen to drag around with me – my less than perfect childhood, my anger at my father and my semi-anger at my mother, my frustration with my siblings, my crappy first boyfriend and yadda yadda yadda – I made the decision to cut the baggage free. To cut myself free.
I sat in my car and mentally saw myself standing on the Isle of Apples (Avalon for those who don’t know) in England – the mists settling on the gently rippling waters – and watched as Adam’s boat slowly faded out of sight. It was the strangest and perhaps gentlest severing of ties I have ever done. I did not choose to see myself on Avalon – dressed as the servants of the Goddess in blue serge with my daughter at my side. I did not choose the manner of the chord cutting – it chose me and I am not yet entirely sure of the significance of that vision. I watched the man with whom I had shared so much of my life and my youth fade into the mists of the land of my birth and I was not sad. I was happy to have freed us both from the bonds that still wove us together so tightly. I offered up a blessing and a prayer for our lives and an enormous amount of gratitude for the bond we shared and the joy we brought into each other’s lives for those 9 years. I know that I have let go of something precious but that it was so very much needed. My heart belongs to another man now and our even more precious daughter. I think that I held on so long because he represented so much that is spiritual and good in the world. He represented so much of my youth and all of the happier moments of that time. It’s obviously not easy to let go of the good stuff but I know that we must do just that in order to be truly free and truly present. I love that he was in my life and that we shared so much together but I am happy that my time with him is past – at least for this incarnation. It’s a massive step forward for me because even though the lovers in us died many, many years ago – the priest and priestess we were for each other, were still tied. Perhaps that is the significance of my final vision – maybe the work we began then is now over. Who really knows.
What I do know is that it started an avalanche of surrender and release in my heart. I could finally see that it is my choice whether to continue to let the lessons of childhood haunt me or help me. It is my choice whether or not to learn the lessons inherent in my experiences or simply hold on to them in order to have an excuse for never truly touching another’s heart and soul and for letting them touch mine. It’s my choice and I chose to let go. I chose to free myself from these bonds too. I forgave my errant father for his brutality and his anger – knowing that he did what he did out of fear and confusion and an inability to do anything else. We can all only do what we are capable of doing in the moments that present themselves to us. He was and is handicapped by his own childhood as I was prepared to let myself be by mine. I let go of his legacy of fear and chose instead to move forward in my life in love and trust. I chose to reclaim the faith that was once mine for the knowing and to wear that as my shield (if shield be needed). I forgave my mother for staying with him and I acknowledged all the good that the bad has held for me. I know that it will be a while before I fully realise the extent of this releasing and these quiet musings that I write.
Amidst the tears that fell behind my dark glasses, I felt a tremendous sense of gratitude for it all. I acknowledged my responsibility in choosing these people for my parents and acknowledged that one some level, I knew the lessons I would be learning. The gratitude was for a blessed life. Mine. I recognised the many, many blessings that have been bestowed upon me despite my less than perfect beginnings. I have known real love and real spiritual connection in my life, many times. I have experienced real fear and anxiety in order to be able to find my faith again and to transmute those experiences into a greater capacity for love and compassion. I have been treasured, loved and spoiled as a child and I have been all of the above as an adult. It’s something I hope to carry on with my children. I know that though I may have believed for a long time that my darkness made me special, I know with a certainty that comes from somewhere inside me that my light makes me even more special because it allows me to be connected. It makes it possible for me to open those doors within me that have been jammed shut with fear and release the vulnerability knowing it will not weaken me or make me a target for more darkness. A light that shines this brightly can only illuminate all that it falls upon. I am not afraid any more.
That is not to say that when this moment is over and I am present to my life and all of its multiple challenges, I won’t slip or even fall again for a time. I am only one foot further along the pathway than I was this morning but it has taken me nearly 38 years to get here and I am grateful that I have been able to take that much needed step. I offered up my heartfelt thanks and I offered up my heartfelt tears because I am blessed and until today I don’t think that I fully realised how much. I sat in my little Holden Astra and surrendered. I let go. I put down my sack of manure and I left it to fertilise the earth. I thought about my husband and my daughter and how very lucky I am to have them both. I thought about how much deeper it was possible for me to go with them both now that I have room in my heart for more. It is when we are so sure of everything that there is no more room for growth. I am at the beginning (isn’t this where we always are really?) and I am open and ready to this new and somewhat unfamiliar state. I am Zen Mind, Beginners Mind – empty but full of promise and I know that whatever is through this gateway I stand poised before, it will only bring me more peace, more happiness and more love, in a way I have always secretly doubted was possible for me.
So – I know that this is not strictly about motherhood but then again it is because I believe that its because of Lily that I have made it this far. And if it is possible for the Divine to make its way through the constipated passages of my heart and mind then it gives me hope that more can be achieved in the next 38 years. Though I seriously hope it doesn’t take me that long to learn the next lesson or two!