I’ve made some mistakes in my life. Some of them have been very big. I’m a bit of changeling, so it’s not surprising that I’ll bump my head a time or two and even crash and burn at least once. I don’t kid myself that I always do what’s best for me, but I do know that I’m a freaking survivor.
Sometimes I hate being a survivor. It seems so much simpler to be somebody who doesn’t take risks, follows the standard plan for life and otherwise stays in out of the rain. I tried it for a very long time. I felt like a caged animal. What other people find comforting and secure, I find suffocating and numbing. It wasn’t until after my second divorce when I took some time off to understand who I was that I figured out that I had to let go of the fairy tale. The Cinderella story for me felt more like Carrie’s trip to the prom.
I count my move to Louisiana as one of the most difficult journeys in my life. I don’t have any idea if I would have decided not to come if I’d researched more; I don’t know if I’d have known the questions to ask. It felt and moved along like it was of God, but I wonder sometimes if I forced it. More than likely this is one of those life lessons that I had to learn by being in a space where I couldn’t breathe. I literally sometimes can’t breathe when it’s hot here, and I figuratively feel trapped at times – like someone is holding me under a blanket and telling me I have to get used to this. It feels like marriage felt to me.
I know that one chess move does not lose a game. I do know it can set you back, or it can put you right where you need to be. And, honestly, I have learned a lot here. An astrologer looked at my charts and told me that starting in March 2012, I started a transit that would be very hard. She said it looked like it would have been a time where everything …. virtually everything …. would have been stripped away. She couldn’t have been more dead on. She says that it’s now over. It’s time for me to move on to my next adventure with some very important lessons in my backpack.
In order to remind myself of what I learned and maybe even share them with you if you need to hear them, I’ll recount some of my biggest lessons from Louisiana School:
- God shows up in little ways even in the darkest of days. Sometimes He’s a firefly and other times He’s a blazing sun on a hot summer’s day. Reflecting that light back to others is one way to make it grow. I write … you may sing … cry on somebody’s shoulder … let them cry on yours … offer a meal. It doesn’t matter how small or large the reflection is, the light grows exponentially when reflecting it to others.
- Nature has healing powers beyond anything else on this earth. The natural world is of God, and it vibrates at an entirely different level than our man-made world. I feel high when I’m in it. Hug a tree. It’ll hug you back… I promise.
- When I can’t see the forest for the trees, I try to embrace what is in front of me. I made a practice of that last year. The world can be tumbling down on me but focusing on that one little thing that makes me happy can shift my perspective.
- It’s not a place that makes a home. A home is made of people that love you and that show up for you. We all have different talents and gifts. A friend of mine once told me that some people are born to be helpers. I’ve learned to let them help me… but I am stubborn at times. They show up anyway.
- I can shift my energy through meditation, yoga, listening to music, smudging my space and using crystals. I knew it at some level, but I’ve learned to shift my depression instantaneously with these methods. Being able to do it and see results has literally been miraculous. I won’t say that I’ll ever need medication again, but I’ve been anti-depressant-free for over 2 years now, and I feel better than ever. And I’m in menopause!
- Diet is a game-changer. In the time I’ve been holed up in this cute little gift of a house, I’ve learned how different foods affect me. All of my life I struggled with my weight, and, for the first time in my life, my weight is stable. With a better diet – especially without sugar – I am much happier and pretty much anxiety-free.
I don’t know how my story will turn out. One day when I’m 98 I’ll look back and see how this chess move contributed to my game of life. I hope that it will look very different in hindsight. I know that I thought being single was the single most devastating thing that could happen to me, and it’s turned out to be an incredibly empowering and amazing way to live. I didn’t know what was best for me then, and I’m smart enough to know that I may not know what is best for me now. I don’t want to hurry up 98, but I hunger for that larger perspective.
My teacher Stacy has a mantra that she repeats when she’s facing something hard. “Accept what is,” she says. She says if you fight it, it just keeps you stuck. If you ‘accept what is’ and go with it, you can flow with it a lot easier. I think I’ll work with that one today. I’ll ‘accept what is’. Drop the struggle. Oh yeah, and I think I’ll meditate, too.