I cannot write these words without feeling my throat tighten with tears. Makes me realize how much I had secretly feared this might never happen- that I might never wake up with my heart spontaneously full of gratitude for another day no matter what it brought, content to lay in bed steeped in my night dreams, slowly letting the beauty of being colour the day before me.
Oh, it’s not that there haven’t been good days, good weeks, and even a few better than average months. But the last two years have been a bit of a whirlwind of turmoil: betrayal, separation, lawyers, loss (of home, belongings, savings, dreams,) divorce, and then crises around two parents with Alzheimer’s needing care and my on-going health challenges (perhaps not surprisingly) becoming worse.
But that’s not quite the full picture. Because, although the last two years were particularly challenging, it had been much longer since I’d awoken in the morning with spontaneous joy. I’d been in the wrong bed, the wrong place, the wrong life for me.
The problem is it’s hard to recognize how far off the path of our own soul's life we've drifted when we have unconsciously dissociated in an effort to fit the life that we thought we should want or at least should commit to no matter what. Our psyche dissociates to tolerate the intolerable, to disconnect from and numb to what is insulting to the soul, and it’s pretty much impossible to disconnect and simultaneously be aware of the disconnection.
Over the course of my marriage I became increasingly ill. For the last couple of years I was largely confined to our beautiful but isolated home, often bedbound five days out of seven. When, in desperation, I suggested to my then-husband that maybe we needed to talk about moving closer to the city where he worked so I could access the health care I needed, he replied emphatically: “I don’t care how sick you get, I will never discuss leaving this house!”
My inner response- indicative of just how disconnected from myself I had become- was to think that perhaps I had not broached the subject skilfully. But somewhere in the distance I caught the faint echo of an inner alarm that had probably been sounding for years. And I started to move, knowing I was fast approaching a time when my declining physical health could make any movement impossible.
I can honestly say I am grateful to my ex for being so clear, for consistently letting me know that life in this marriage was not tenable for me. Otherwise, I might never have woken up.
I’m sharing this one grim emblematic detail because I want you to understand why this new-found faith in life feels so miraculous. I'd started to wonder if I was just “done.” Oh, after the separation I began to find a rhythm, a way to enjoy moments or days. But I was not sure that this- this fullness of heart, this being in love with life as it appears, however it appears each day- would ever find me again.
Last week a friend asked me about my health. I answered truthfully, “Well, there are things- like travelling or going out in the evening- that I really can’t do right now, and I may never be able to do them again- I don’t know. But. . . . I’m okay with it. I’m content with what I can do, because being with what I can do opens the door to joy every day.”
As I said it, I realized it was true. I am no longer just coping, just keeping my head above water, waiting for moments of relief. I am at home in my body, my life, my newly resurrected daily awareness of the essence that runs through all that is.
I have fallen love with my life again- and I get why we use the term “falling,” because it is less an act of will than a sense of the inner gravity of life sweeping me off my feet. It is not a rising above or moving away from what is hard but a sweet spiralling deeper into whatever arises within or around me and always finding the heart of wholeness there.
I have fallen in love with my life again.
It is wonder-full.
Surely we are made for this sweet loving of life.
Oriah (c) 2012
Your ability to capture this so wholly in words is a blessing and a miracle to experience. I am joyful with your joy of life and love of this day. Thank you yet again, for bringing me into your world with your words.ReplyDelete
"it is less an act of will than a sense of the inner gravity of life sweeping me off my feet," .... love that. Thank you for sharing your joys AND your struggles. It is inspiring to see you always digging a little bit deeper and finding new revelations. Gives me the courage to do the same.ReplyDelete
Blessings Oriah. I know just what you mean. I will share too that having got 'there' even new troubles do not do more than create little dents. I was able to endure my cancer treatment last year because I had fallen in love with my life again.ReplyDelete
what an awesome re-birth you have hadReplyDelete
inspiring and hope filled
love and light
I know the feeling, and I'm so happy to hear it. :)ReplyDelete
What a beautiful post. Full of experience, strength and hope. Thank you for sharing your heart in this way.ReplyDelete
Oriah, First, I am so happy for you , that this is where your heart and head are. It is a beautiful reminder to know that if we keep on going, in the direction of what is true, we can find this joyful home within ourselves. Your sharing of these words makes that find a place within me too and it is a beautiful gift.ReplyDelete
Your description of the disassociation that happens blows me away. I know that reality too well, and never really would have captured it as you do, as the way of the soul surviving what it can not be. How precious a realization.
Sometimes I wonder about the ' inbetween places', the times when our life is not bad, or we were happy yesterday and, today, for some reason, we are not. There is a kind of drifting along that happens to me sometimes. Perhaps the normal stuff of life, the quiet and empty times, that are really just what they are. Not happy or meaningful even. Just simple and ordinary.
And, making choices to be alone, or with another. It seems each has its benefits and drawbacks. Alone we can feel so alone that it hurts, to not have someone to love and mirror, to mirror and love us. It can feel to a part of us that life this way is meaningless.
And sometimes to be with another, we must always deal with the imperfections of that character we project all our hopes onto. And also revel in the joy of his/her smile and laugh and face. It seems to me it all exists, all of it. And, perhaps some part of us, will always hold what we don't have.
I remember when I lived in London one long and dreary year, smoking way to much hash and wandering around without a work permit, but committed to staying because I had loved it so much in my past. When I decided to move to New York, I found myself in my small apartment looking over 23rd street and deeply happy. I had left behind something I had outgrown and moved forward and experienced the bliss of that. But, then a few years later it was time to move again, and my life seems to keep repeating that pattern. Do we ever stop? Is there enough anywhere?? I've always thought it was a sign of maturity to stay put, but now, at a mature age, I am not so sure.
Anyway, thoughts to ponder, life is an evolving puzzle and its time for a cup of tea.
Alice, I wonder if it because all things that live on this wonderful planet will die and change (and the losses are often hard) we tend to define what is good or mature as that which outlasts other things. So staying in one place gets elevated to being better than moving around and a marriage is often celebrated for simply lasting (without any examination if that was really a "good" thing for either person.)Something we chose at 20 may not be right for us at 30 or 40- and even if it is still a good place for us, we may need to be there in a different way, re-commit in a way that helps us grow from a new place. Change really is the only constant in this human life.Delete
Thank you for raising the question about days that are neither difficult to bear of filled with the ecstasy of loving life. Yes, a great deal of life gets lived in the muddy middle- and I think we can learn to love even this if we make time to be with it all with some awareness. I could not do this without a daily practise of writing, prayer and meditation- which helps me contemplate and settle deeply into the ordinary moment. :-)
Yes, I love that, the idea of change as a constant and not elevating staying to maturity! Thank you. I tend to look at myself for the flaws of being and therefore will usually negate my instincts, so here is another perspective that helps me shift that. I embrace the changing, I can't really control it, like the wind, it moves me with it's invisible force. And thank you for your writing and encouraging such meaningful conversations, the bread of life to me.Delete
Thank you for giving me hope. I'm still in the stage you were in before, but I'm longing so very much to fall in love with my life as well. I learn from your words, that after having done what is necessary to improve my life, I also have to let go and let happiness happen by itself. Thanks again.ReplyDelete
Nora, I am sure our longing to love life helps Life reach out for us and move us. Follow the thread of that longing. Sometimes hard to be patient and let our hearts heal- but they do- we do - and it seems almost miraculous :-)Delete
There is a voice, a knowing, of inner guidance that is always there. If only we would listen, then act on it. I am glad you finally did. I did also. I left my wife two years ago. Some people we can love, but never live with. That's okay. I, like you, am much happier now with my freedom, peace,and solitude. I like who I am. I plan to stay in touch with my truth and align myself with people who are good for me, who feel right. Your new book will carry the feeling of whole heartedness of which you speak. Keep writing. I am waiting.
Oriah, thank you for sharing your process so honestly over the past few years... those of us who have followed your journey as we lived our own can look back and see how far you have come, even as we might not have had such a clear vision of our own path. This is really a lovely post and gave me a lot to think about. Am so happy for your happiness.ReplyDelete
Thank you Carole- it is good to be alive! :-)Delete
This is my first communication with you - greetings from Australia! I came across your writing via reading 'The Invitation' a couple of years ago. So glad you are 'loving' again after all you have been through. Good for you & 'thank you' for your honesty & inspiration.
Warm Regards, Julieanne
Thank you Julieanne and welcome- lovely to connect. If you are on FB I tend to participate there most week days. Many blessings, oriahDelete
That's just about the grandest feeling in the world!ReplyDelete
I like to think of it as "Rising in love" ....
You have risen to another way of life,
Here is to the possibilities,
Oriah - Greetings from Montana! Your story inspires me; I have a severe case of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, to the point where some days I am paralyzed with it. Recently quit a lucrative profession because of exposure to (mostly) fragrance and perfume. Stayed longer than I probably should have, out of fear of loss of income. Insulted my soul, as you wrote about. It feels good to be taking care of my health and not compromising my integrity, so I love your story, as it is mine as well. Thank you, BeckyReplyDelete
Becky, so glad you are doing what you need to do for your well-being. Chemical sensitivies come with CFS/ME (so much so that the Toronto CFS clinic also handles environmental sensitivities) so I have some sense of what you go through. May you be well and happy. :-)Delete
Thank you for your reply, Oriah. I went to the TNQ website. I am not well and happy, had my carpets shampooed yesterday, bad idea. Very sick today. I wrote to them: I have had MCS for years and honestly the older I get the worse it gets, plus everything I read about it is very depressing in that there is no cure. It's impossible for me most days to even have the energy to go out of the house. I am done trying and done seeking, not because I want to be that way but because there is nothing I can do to feel better. I am almost bankrupt trying to "feel better". I'm wondering why not have some sort of euthanazia option available to those of us who there is no cure for? We put suffering animals out of their misery, why not humans? Life is not superior to death.Delete
Have you ever felt that way? I am done seeking, it's too exhausting and too frustrating.
Becky, I am guessing this might be a comment intended for today's blog (June 20) on healing versus cure. As to your question- yes, I have felt like that- and I have had days, sometimes weeks housebound or bedbound. Very discouraging- and it still happens. And I know about going broke looking for/trying things that are supposed to help (and sometimes do but often don't)- very hard on the bank account but also emotionally as we try to find one more thing. My task became more about how to heal my relationship with what is and see if I could find a way to truly live within the limitiations of the day with a sense of joy, or at least without a sense of despair. Not easy- but I am relieved to have more and more days where I am grateful for what I can do(thank goodness I am a writer and can do this from my bed!)ReplyDelete
I send prayers for healing- whatever that looks like for you. I know how hard this is. Oriah
Becky- hmmm. . . on the other hand I see you probably did intend to put the comment here :-) Today's blog may (or may not) be helpful.Delete
Thank you for your words, Oriah, yes I did intend it here and todays blog was very helpful as well. Love your comment about healing your relationship with what is, that is where I am. Laying in bed typing this! I know you know, I can tell.....Delete