“Sometimes the only way to return is to go where the winds will take you….
In both good and bad ways, I find myself sitting in a place I never would have anticipated or expected even just a few months ago. I no longer live in Fountain Square (my first “home” in years), but on the Near East side (which I surprisingly love). I’ve stepped out of the formality of my intentional community (so no more family dinners). I’m getting ready to leave the non-profit world for corporate America/desk job. I live with a cat.
Oh, and I’m single. Once again.
“…to let go of all you cannot hold onto…”
I’ve mentioned in previous posts my discovery and study of Ayurveda, an ancient methodology out of India that focuses on holistic emotional/mental/physical health. Well, I found a guy in the city who’s actually studied to be a practitioner. I got so excited I just scheduled an appointment on a whim, unaware of cost. Fortunately, he allowed me to have a very short session for a portion of the price.
The timing of the appointment couldn’t have been more perfect, as I was wrestling through the emotional wreck of this last relationship. In just 15 minutes he hit the nail on the head:
“If he’s gone, then let him go darling.”
I began to cry and he offered me kleenex and the opportunity to lay on the floor and cry if I wanted. I chose to stay in my chair as he gently and tenderly encouraged me to stop finding my identity in my relationships and focus on becoming whole.
“You need to learn to love yourself.”
I asked him if he could see right through me.
Learning to love myself has been the journey I’ve been on for the last year and a half. I can (kind of) grasp God’s love for me, and fairly practiced at loving others and, occasionally, allowing them to love me. But loving myself has been a foreign concept. I left him knowing my first step would be to end a relationship where I felt abandoned, disrespected and unloved. I spent the afternoon thinking about how I could learn to love myself, what that practice would look like. Here’s a rough draft:
1. Mainstream activities–Do one job. Pick just 1-2 hobbies. Don’t overcommit to meetings or other engagements.
2. Don’t engage in situations or relationships where I might feel pressured to give more than I can. A good friend of the family always said, “He who puts the most into a relationship gets the least out.” This has been true in my experience, especially recently, and I’m exhausted by it.
3. Acknowledge that there are certain foods that will promote my health and others that will seek to destroy it. This is so much more than a “diet,” it’s about realizing that my body needs certain conditions to thrive.
4. Move–run, do yoga, take walks in nature. Treat my body with respect.
5. Respect my sexuality–remember that my body is a gift I can choose to give, a precious commodity that someone must earn my respect in order to deserve. It is not a substitute for real intimacy.
6. Take care of my finances–being financially sound is just as much an aspect of being healthy as anything else.
7. Hold myself with gentleness and tenderness–i have always driven myself to do/be more, but it is important, even crucial, for me to acknowledge that I am spread way too thin. In the last 2 months, I’ve experienced being hit by a car, fighting with a good friend, moving, changing jobs, going through a break-up…several, if not all, of which are factors for depression. I need to rest. I need grace and mercy to be applied like salve to my wounded spirit. Who can I expect to give this to me, if not me?
Yesterday, the training school presented which brought back a flood of emotions and thoughts. Training school was and will always be a pivotal point in my life, so it was weird to be sitting there thinking about how it was me on that stage a year ago. And it was two years ago that I was wrestling with the decision to even do training school. And then all the things that have happened in those two years, the ways I’ve grown and changed. Like a kid marking my height on the closet wall, I was surprised to see how I’ve grown.
And how much more growing there is to do.
That was probably the most surprising realization…as amazing and intense as TS was for me, the growing/changing/wondering continue beyond.
On a different note, I ran my 5th 1/2 marathon this past Saturday. Or rather, ran/walked. It was my 5th on the 5th of May. Classic. Couldn’t have planned that better if I’d tried. This was also my fourth Mini-Marathon in a row and the one thing I’ve always wanted was a pic of me kissing the bricks on the Speedway; finally got my pic. The second is of my and my one-time running partner, Megan, after crossing the finish line together.
“…for the hope beyond the blue.”
-lyrics by Josh Garrels
As I shared with my dear brother, Teddy, last week, I try to remind myself that these times of upheaval and change are when we do the most growing. That if we desire to closer to the people we were created to be, we should celebrate these times of change.
That does not mean I always do, but living is a process, after all….