Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 775 – Day 887)
In the tired, overused words of Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home.”
I have written about the idea of home at that at this point in my life, being unmarried, childless and uprooted to a new town I would not choose were it not for the fact that my father lives here, I feel that I am my own and only home. To be fair, I’ve felt this for a very long time. Every time I have fallen in love, I have looked for that relationship to become a kind of ‘family of choice’ and I have taken a sense of ‘home’ from that relationship. When the relationship ends, these men remain forever a part of my family of choice. How exactly that relationship goes down is a bit awkward. We aren’t partners but we aren’t siblings. Let’s just say: ‘Family.’
Recently I got into a very intimate relationship with someone at lightening speed. It was dizzying and deep. It was deeper than I’ve gone with anyone before. And it happened in the course of a couple of weeks. I kept saying to another friend that I didn’t understand what was suddenly happening and I wanted to stop and reflect. But there was no time for that. It just kept speeding ahead and leaving me with a cauldron of emotions to contend with.
I ruminate. It is a necessary quality for a writer. It is a terrible quality for a person steeped in a sea of unresolved emotions. I learned long ago that we project onto our significant other all the things that we cannot own in ourselves. I also learned long ago that while we may feel we will die if a love relationship ends, we won’t. We could, if we don’t enter into a soulful relationship with what is happening. And so, I took a good long look at someone who possesses so many qualities I desire. And, I set about rediscovering them in myself.
One of the things I love about him is that he loves nature. We both have a love of trees and hiking. So, I went hiking this weekend in my favorite forested spot.
I love how he is environmentally conscious and wants to make a net positive contribution to the environment. I want the same. So, I found a place that will take my organic waste (it was not being separated at my apartment) and I visited the composting facility. I also joined some organic farming guilds and made commitments to do some removal of invasive species and re-planting in the coming weeks with an ecological volunteer group. What drew him to me was my spirituality and what drew me to him was a particular brand of spirituality. So I signed up to step into that more fully and I engaged with local people who come from my own spiritual tradition.
I love what he does for a living and I aspire to have some of that in my own life. So I signed on for some classes to teach myself about it.
I love that we are both INFP on the Meyers Briggs scale and we really seem to understand each other. In a way, it feels like home and that makes this so difficult. As INFPs, we go deep. And we need solitude to experience ourselves and our connection to the world. I needed solitude and I wasn’t getting it.
On Sunday, I went to a corn maze alone. I was feeling old, tired and unloved. Perhaps getting in touch with a sense of childhood play would make me feel young again. It was this shared sense of play that first drew me to him.
It was the muddiest that the maze has ever been. As a child I loved to play in mud puddles and after a few hours lost in the maze, I came out with my boots covered in mud and a lighter heart. Seeing my boots later, a friend commented that they weren’t exactly ruby slippers but that they had a charm to them.
And I thought about it. If I am my own and only home, these boots, which have been around the world with me and seen love and loss are the only things that really are my home.
And so, I am grateful for these old boots that have carried me to nearly every continent of this planet. I hope they will take me to Antarctica, yet. I am grateful for hard earned lessons in life that cannot be mentored to someone because they have to be lived and the pain endured. And I am grateful for the experience of loving someone so deeply. As much pain as there can be in it, it has taken me to places I have never before been and my capacity to love another has grown.
Service and the rarer breed of service: sacrifice has been my primary focus the last few weeks. Being of service and putting someone else’s needs before my own has landed me here. I hit what appears to be an impasse with this man last week. I felt the pain of early abandonment. My friend, AK, gave me the best advice but the hardest advice to take. She asked me – regardless of what is happening with him – can you love yourself? It seemed incomprehensible at the time. But, I think this is the most important love relationship we can have. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot sustainably love another. My first and primary responsibility is to love the only one I will always come home to; I am my own family.
Even in the darkest moments we can look for the slightest glimmer of light to lead us home, and despite feeling left in a pre-verbal cesspool of abandonment pain, I managed to rediscover a sense of joy in playing in the mud.
A labyrinth is a traditional symbol for the inner journey, and the corn maze was my labyrinth. I really needed to journey back to my Self – to the part of me that is always and ever a part of the collective unconsciousness and always worthy of and in receipt of unconditional love. Instead of only being able to see the Divine in someone else, I found it in myself and in that moment of Oneness – very fleeting but reassuringly there – I found my way home.