Dear friends, readers and curious souls,
I haven't been completely open with you about my life. I have told you part of my story, the part that I feel comfortable sharing with the world. My public face. The other part of my story, who I am at the core, I have kept hidden in a sense. I think it is time that I share at least part of this with you.
While I have had many blessings in my life, not all has been rosy and squeaky clean. I have been through some great pain, sadness, shame, and heartache. I made it through these periods, in large part to a loving and supportive family (and our family wasn't always perfect either!). Looking back, I can pinpoint several incidents and time periods that were the most painful and sad, and that were also the most important learning experiences. I share one of these with you here.
You see, I started doing meditation back in my late 20s as a way to cope with the extreme heartache of the ending of a relationship (an engagement to be exact). A break-up that tore my heart in two and felt like a death to me. I was in graduate school in Athens, Georgia, living alone in a dark, small little house. Except for my dear, sweet aunt an hour away in Atlanta, no other family or close friends were around.
After this break-up (and calling off the wedding), I would barely eat and didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to take a shower, didn't want to cook, didn't want to watch TV. The dishes started piling up and I would listen to Nick Drake at night and cry for hours or just drink a lot of wine. I went to see a therapist who diagnosed me with "situational depression." My shattered emotions seeped into my physical body, which was broken too - with a damaged foot that I hobbled around on with crutches and then a boot for several months. My only companion was my dog, Ida, that I adopted during this lonely time. She is one of my animal soul guides (along with my cat Isabelle who died years ago). After a number of weeks, I decided it was time to pick myself up. Like a gift from heaven, my sister had sent me the book When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. I would read it every night before going to bed. It was my Bible. It saved me. I learned about what was happening in my mind, and how to start noticing feelings I was having. Pema taught me to observe myself as an outsider... that I was not a broken, depressed person and that this would eventually get better. I learned that I was simply experiencing a period of great sadness. I couldn't see any light in my life and wondered if I would ever feel happy again, and this book gave me hope.
I knew at the time deep down that this period in Georgia was a crucial and important time. I knew I was learning, I was going through a spiritual catharsis... two years of solitude. I realized that this was happening for a reason. I wondered if I would ever find someone I could love again. I knew that I had a past pattern in my relationships, and that I probably feared being alone (which was why I went from relationship to relationship without much time recover in between).
For the next year, I worked on breaking this pattern (and when my ego stepped in to resist and get back into the old pattern several times, the universe pulled me back to where I needed to be). Even though I didn't like it, I realized that something was happening to me, I was learning to be comfortable on my own, learning I didn't need to be in a relationship to be okay, and that I could be happy. (It did help that I got a reading from a psychic medium in Florida who predicted EVERYTHING that has happened since then in my life... and while I wasn't sure if I believed it at the time, it gave me hope). I started having dreams about a person that I felt a deep connection with (even though I never saw his face). I knew that there was something good coming, and I had to just get myself ready for this soul partner. I moved back to Maine and got a beautiful place with a dear friend. I decided to start enjoying my life as it was, and soon after that I met my husband Chris (it was in large part his music that drew me to him).
So there you have it. A bit of my story. Of course there is more.. more about where my spiritual roots came from... from a time that, similar to that period Georgia, was about emotional pain, loss and facing death in a sense. At my lowest point during these times, I was comforted by a power higher than myself (which I had doubted for much of my adolescence), showing me that there was something out there. And I will share those other stories with you at some point in the future when the time is right.
In the meantime, I share this with you in the hopes that for those of you who may be experiencing times of great sadness, or loss, or pain... know that there is a way out. There is a reason for that period. It may be a time of learning, that your soul decided on before you were born. For the goal in our lives is to evolve as a person, and it is almost always through cycles of trial, challenge and hardship that we grow, develop, learn and get one step closer to self-actualization.