Simplifying isn’t just about letting go of things but also people

I start with these ten points because I am still learning them myself. I am learning to let go of shame and procrastination and expectation and excuses and as I have been growing in the letting go of all these things holding me back, I’ve found also that I’ve been having to let go of people I love. A person I love. This is not an easy thing for me but I have seen that the time is not right for us nor seems ever right and i live the adage that good things come to those who wait. Instead of seeing the shedding of people as a disappointment I understand that this happens for the following reasons:

  • They no longer fit who you are becoming
  • They need to live their life without you so that they can learn their own lessons that maybe you would keep them from learning
  • They need space to figure out what they really want or need.
  • Knowing this I always wonder if their retreat out of my life was because of something I did wrong. It is unknowable really and I am letting go of torturing myself about what I did wrong or if I should have done this or that or the other thing. Loss isn’t about me. It is all about them, their best outcome and all I can do is love them anyway. And I do. Things seem emptier without them. I am faced with myself entirely and so I turn to writing as I have always done, to process life and loss and who I am becoming as my life becomes more about independence, minimalism, positivity and less about weighing myself down with guilt and shame and dread and the illusion I have power to change much of anything or anyone. It is better that I don’t. I can control my responses to things that happen. I can’t control people, nor would I want to. The people who I matter to will remain in my life, whether they retreat a while or remain actively engaged with me.
  • Sometimes the wrong people have to be cleared away so that the right people can enter. It doesn’t mean you don’t mourn the loss for a while. I do and I don’t deny or bury my feelings.
  • Loss doesn’t mean getting over having love for someone. It means learning there is a bridge over what we have lost and that nothing is ever really lost in the end. Love is that bridge. I love enough to let go and not control and show the respect and compassion we deserve in the letting go.
  • The ones who are meant to stay and support my growth will come into my life and stay and go perhaps; gain and loss is a circular thing that helps us learn about ourselves if we are open to the lessons people teach us as we live this journey.
  • I have gone where I feel most alive. I am home, by my Lake and gulls and boats, living how I want to live with a minimum of what I need experiencing life more fully, being more present, authentic and loving without reservation. Thank you for all of the people who taught me about who I am.
  • Nothing is ever lost.
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Retreat

I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.

I just want to be alone. I feel so uncertain right now, living in loss and uncertainty. I miss the friends I lost and I miss the one I loved even though I know that the losses are for the best. I am uncertain if they were really friends so acquainted I have become so suddenly with the truth that everyone including me operates however unintentionally or intentionally, with ulterior motives. Were they never my friend? I find myself asking at odd hours, or in the bookstore today tears springing up and spilling over as I considered how R. would have found something I saw funny or how we talked about Russian literature and poetry as I walked down the Russian lit section. Everything reminds me of him and it is enough to make me wish I’d left sleeping dogs lie, but then I remember how happy I was talking to him all those hours. For I was.

I am certain only of uncertainty and change. Change is constant. I also know that loss is temporary for Nature abhors a vacuum…but I need aloneness to process my losses. One friend simply disappeared with no explanation. My other friends explain to me that God is removing from my life those who do not promote my growth or support me….or they say to comfort me that I am not everyones cup of tea but there are those who love me fiercely…to know this cerebrally is something..but my heart is weeping and sore.

I need solitude. I feel this quote keenly:

Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.

I curl up into myself and the silence and aloneness comforts me. In silence I can be myself as I was myself with R. I can cry as I cannot in front of people. I can live in my imagination creating the life I want hoping it will morph into the one I have one day.

One day I will not cry unbidden; I will make new friends and find another soulmate. Life goes on and I will go on with it. But for now I stop and I am still in the center of the maelstrom of my life and I curl up into myself and live in stillness and silence and these words which will heal me.

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

Love does not conquer all

This has been a season of all too brief hellos and all too soon goodbyes of friends who were friends for years and years. One I was reunited with. The reuniting was wonderful and a love long dormant in Me was expressed but to the tune of the wrong place and still the wrong time.

I was not the choice. As painful as that is sometimes you just have to accept it and move on. While the reason was all too clear in my situation, sometimes goodbyes are based on situations that are inexplicable and you don’t ever get to know why.

The door, after a goodbye or many opens. Sometimes we trap ourselves in situations because we feel it’s what we deserve and most of the time this choice is unconscious based on what has happened to us in life and what kind of protections we have developed. Even when we don’t need them anymore those same protection mechanisms can become a prison keeping us from growth and new experiences.

For me the goodbye was hard and unwanted but necessary so I didn’t live a lie and also to remain honest, even to a person who didn’t know I was around, who I personally can’t stand but who still as a person deserved my honesty. I was angry at the injustice of things and how the time is never right and I took my anger and frustration out on the one I said goodbye to a little bit. I am not proud of this and I tried to make amends but I leave with silence for an answer and a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Maybe one day in time, we can come around again in the right time and the right place, with understanding and love.

I am weary of goodbye. I am sad and drained and aged. I am now leaving my whole past behind while returning to the place my past occurred. The place has changed, as have the people who populated it…some have moved away, some have died and most have simply grown older. Enough has changed I think that restoration and a new life may take root and I can make my home my own and lay down deep roots, forge new friendships and find a love of my own unfettered by emotional baggage and closed doors and dead ends. Love does not conquer all: it often means, if we are honest, if we are true, that if we really love somebody we have to honor their choices enough to walk away and allow them the freedom to live their choices while sacrificing our own desires. I really loved him in the right way and when I am sad, as I am now, I am comforted by knowing I’ve grown enough to learn that letting go is an act of faith in doors that will open, other opportunities that will come, new people, new possibilities and new growth opportunities.

So I sit in the coffee shop and think of the movie Begin Again:

Snow

Tonight a snow is falling that calls for stillness. There is no wind so it is falling straight down. I stand outside in it looking up feeling soft flakes caress my face and noting as I stand that the flakes that land on my gloved hands are tiny miracles of fractal art. No two are alike. They stay on my glove for a moment then the warmth of my hand melts the snowflake and it is as if it never was. Yet it was and its temporary presence made a difference to me; I experienced beauty and it taught me that something quiet and still contains a lifetime within it in which we fully are present or can be if we are willing to be still.

I have a tendency to react in a fear based way to situations which are really out of my control. As I have grown older I have learned and still learn the virtue of stepping back, disengaging and allowing the difficulty to dissipate and myself to flex around it instead of fighting change or trying to control whatever it is.

I stand in the falling snow in the silence of the night and in those moments the world is quiet and time expands encapsulating the silence as a balm to my soul. The world moves too quickly and we think we control it all. We do not; control is an illusion and we reap the disservice the illusion portrays: disease related to stress, heart problems, anxiety.

I take the time to meditate and I see a place by a still pond in my mind. He leadeth me beside the still water.

(Photo taken by author Allegheny Reservoir, Allegheny National Park)

Religious ideas have the same advice: Be still.

  • Be still and know that I am God (God is in control)
  • Too many words cause exhaustion

[In the mind or from the mouth]

Better to abide in stillness.

Lao Tzu

  • If we sit with an increasing stillness of the body, and attune our mind to the sky or to the ocean or to the myriad stars at night, or any other indicators of vastness, the mind gradually stills and the heart is filled with quiet joy. Also recalling our own experiences in which we acted generously or with compassion for the simple delight of it without expectation of any gain can give us more confidence in the existence of a deeper goodness from which we may deviate. (39)

Ravi Ravindra, The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: A New Translation and Guide by Ravi Ravindra

  • If ever you do go back, what is it you want of Evesham?”

“Do I know? […] The silence, it might be … or the stillness. To have no more running to do … to have arrived, and have no more need to run. The appetite changes. Now I think it would be a beautiful thing to be still. Ellis Peters, A Rare Benedictine (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, prequel stories 0.1-0.3)

God lives in the stillness. Listen and you will hear His still, small voice.

The hawk and the King

Look back with longing eyes and know that I will follow,

Lift me up in your love as a light wind lifts a swallow,

Let our flight be far in sun or blowing rain–

But what if I heard my first love calling me again?

Hold me on your heart as the brave sea holds the foam,

Take me far away to the hills that hide your home;

Peace shall thatch the roof and love shall latch the door–

But what if I heard my first love calling me once more?

Sara Teasdale, The Collected Poems

I dream endlessly in the arms of the night.

First that hawk flying into my life announcing you two days

before

I tied a message to the bird’s feet and it came back with your exultant reply

Rainbows pour into my black and white existence and Music explodes trumpets and stringed instruments surprising me

this was my heart singing

I am home with you right and present and correct. Years and obstacles mean nothing and there is just us in that large soft landing strip

our world where nothing bad can happen and we inseparable

Then a hole in the sky opened up sweeping you into it and I left here alone again wanting perpetual sleep but

Even my dreams are haunted with you in them

I with a strange family in a large rich house with your two blonde nieces who catch us kissing and you telling them there is no need to tell their aunt anything while you touch me in secret places and leave me wanting and I wake up body responsive and electric

This is the third dream. The first was when we were young and at the end of the runway at home you kissing me endlessly I can feel the smooth roughness if your face under my hands and smell you as I drink you into me

Desire is red and pink and uplifting and I fly upwards upon it wanting you to lift me higher and claim me in upward thrusts at airspeed

The second was last night.

no words only the silence of years apart and we

speaking in the still fraught language of looks caresses and desire

my heart caught hold of my soul as we held each other tightly and burst into flames

Your hand held tightly to mine.

I awoke still feeling the pressure of it

Alone

tearful hard lumps of sorrow liquefying and rushing out of eyes no longer unseeing

I have dreamed three days and plus the last fourteen nights with you a hawk in the first dreams alighting finally in front of me sharp eyes searching

Trusting.

Jesses hanging from your feet no longer tied and captive

Slowly and tenderly I take them off your feet entirely and you allow me to fling you exultantly up into the air and you fly as you always were meant to

you are a speck disappearing then

You are gone. I then sadly scan the empty blue one more time and turn to go back inside exulting in your freedom accepting what is

but no.

You return to me a man, sauntering jauntily up my porch stairs as you do catching hold of me once more

my body breaks out into song

Miracles happen I hear whispered in the breeze

I wait on the porch eyes scanning the horizon

We are connected

Awaiting

Contact

awaiting

Flight

regret

sometimes on sunny days when the river sparkles and birds hover in cross breezes over the waters

it is easy to dream

easy to live in what could have been or what could be if the wind reversed direction if life rewound

if old paths once so promising reopened

I peek behind one door and I see you and how the sun opened onto your face in that easy smile or how conversation opened to easily in our talk of books and poetry

it was easy to love you then and flickers long buried resurface like the flash of silver fish jumping in midair and disappearing in the current

I have carried you gently, like a bird

quietly

in the silent places in my mind music of you with me over the years in a little pocket in my carry on bag in that place where I could be me and you could be you and we loved Shakespeare and Gibran and spoke of books as our friends while our path intersected and there were wildflowers and promise

I stand at the intersection of memory and how things happened and if I’d been in a different place or you perhaps

perhaps…if my world had not come tumbling down in the unexpectedness of things that happen if I had not been silent if any of it mattered till the day came when all I could do is set you free my silence held in the rightness of letting you fly

(I could never have kept you caged you see not you that was never me)

memory is black and white an old reel playing out then the end of the tape flapping as the reel spins round and round

So we live in our own stories now

perhaps

all is as it should be and it is not for me to say what should have been or what should be

I only wonder at the mystery of whether love is really love if it falls in the woods and nobody hears it I am all too acquainted with words unspoken with holding back with futility

for now I stand here on the shore listening to the sound of the river flowing past watching the birds fly above me

there is only the present

I hold time the sun your smile close to me in the silence of my solitude

The river flows onwards as it has done for a thousand years and will

For a thousand years to come

I am but a moment

you

I envy flight

Night

I am enveloped in the night in the snow flying towards me like bullets the road stretches out in front of me a tunnel through the dark

I see only as far as the light from the headlights and catch glimpses of deer or foxes

in my mind I know the road goes farther on than I will go and that soon the sun will rise and the day will be full of possibility but

For now it is me the warmth of the cab, the night and the snow

I am content

awake

I am free

free of restriction and mind-bondage I am the one who breaks through locked doors I am the Wild-woman

I am she who tames winds and waters, wolves lie down for me

no longer half-asleep through my days I am the open air

the open sea the

tsunami barreling towards land

no locked gates no caged birds

wild horses run unhindered in my soul-song

I sing without fear

I am the flowered bloom the unfettered rainbow the uncut grasses waving and rippling in the sunshine

I am

I am

I AM

the red haired pirate queen

I am she who wolves lie down for

I howl my barbaric yawp to the world

I fly

Narcissus

Everything is quiet now

like the day after

The earthquake

nothing is as it was nor ever can be

and I am left staring at the detritus wondering if I lit the fuse

or you

what if id just gone along and

been still

what if id stood up for me

who were you really jumbled up in my mind remembering how you told me God came

To you

Spoke to you

like some Old Testament prophet

promised you we would marry you said

how you held me remembering how we planned our wedding our secret plans for Florida remembering how you wanted me constantly calling you hours on the phone hundreds of emails love bombing me move in with me you said

when I got there then you picked me up and

hurled me over the precipice

suddenly

watched impassively as I fell.

God took my love for you

You said.

Don’t go you said.

I heartbroken shattered

confused

Bewildered stayed

where did the love go not understanding it was never there oh no God took it he will give it back when you’re ready

I believed

You

twenty five plus years of knowing nothing about you

suddenly revealed

what you knew about me an unending supply of ammunition

weaponized,

you stopped one day while we walked you’re fat you said

words punching me in the stomach so proud of the weight I’d lost losing more

Insignificant you said

triumph seeing my anger and confusion

and that was the beginning of

the end I with no defenses while

Daily the bombs fell.

I hate how you eat you said

I hate how you look you said

I hate how you walk you said

I don’t like the way you talk you said

I don’t like your sense of humor you said

I don’t like where you came from your family are hillbillies you said

you’re uncultured you said

can’t have you around my family you said till I teach you to walk and talk and eat and act like a lady you said all dancing around in my head simultaneously remembering how smart you thought I was once how funny and vivacious you said I was beautiful we made loverunning into remembering late at night I on one side of your wall you on the other all leading up to the day when you said

You’re mentally ill and

we’ll never have anything until you’re fixed you said.

and you were going to wait and have faith and pray for me while God fixes me

You saint.

You saint.

poking away in my past pushing buttons doing all the things that hurt me I the child you the parent controlling what I ate what I drank how far we walked how I talked while

convincing me how different you are how good you are how healthy you are how while taking me apart brick by brick day by day

until

I am pieces I try to reassemble during the day when you are not there

when you gone is a relief

When you gone means I am free

until

I am nothing more than invisible to you nothing more than someone you used to know nothing more

nothing more than

nothing

I’m helping you, you said.

You’re too sensitive you said.

You should be grateful you said.

I give you everything you said.

Funny how words are worse than atomic bombs how they destroy the soul shatter the heart wound worse than shrapnel

“You’ll deserve me one day,” you said.

was I saved from you or by you or

was I dumped by you

God knows better than I

He set me free

He said.

the snowy day I remember

you were walking into work snow falling lightly around you like big soft white feathers falling from a bird

you saw flight in words, ideas

you lived ideas

thought clouds your head immersed

in walking

you and you alone were the universe the largest infinite all these ideas

that make us human and the stories we live daily in novels and

poetry

I remember you wore your navy pea coat

and no hat snow coloring your shoulders

your hair unruly as always

drifting

down over

your forehead

as if

your thoughts had run over and spilled across your face

silent

Everything silent and white and beautiful and you beautiful in it then

you glanced up as if you’d heard me looking at you and through the snow

the sun broke out on your face in your boyish grin

and my heart opened and flew to you

you held it gently

so as not to break its delicate wings

your blue eyes dancing with mine

so glad to see one another the snow seemed to waltz across us as an entire conversation played out in the silence between us wrapping us in its embrace

while the snow fell

enshrining