It’s been three weeks since I left the sunny shores of Crete, Greece. My time there was lovely although I spent far too much of it ruminating on personal matters that had me throwing away crumbs of joy like I was a feeding a swarm of New York City pigeons.
Crumbs together become handfuls and handfuls become pails and before long there is nothing left. That joy should have stayed with me but I gave it away. Compartmentalization is not my specialty.
The good news is that I saw some things from a distance that I could not see up close.
I returned to Southern California and relished alone-time while house-sitting, and some family time with Mom. In early July, I returned to Mariposa, California. Here, Bear and I are enjoying fun times together while respectfully negotiating the terms of our relationship. The goal is for a relationship, whether romantic or platonic, that elevates both of us.
Getting into a mature adult relationship involves appreciation or at least acceptance of each other’s lifestyle. It is probably no secret that I have found some aspects of the lifestyle here to be difficult and contrary to my tastes. Denying my own feelings, I have thought “So many people would want this life” which has only been reinforced by the dozens of messages that Bear receives daily saying just that. Living a simple life in the mountains, mortgage-free, with nature all around – what’s not to love? It’s not as simple as it appears.
So what is wrong with me? Why am I not elated? What is missing?
Except acceptance of myself. Acceptance of my needs, wants and tastes.
I’ve been in this situation before. For example, my last job was a creative one. To anyone that didn’t know the ins and outs of it, it seemed like a dream job. And yet I disliked it for years. It took me a decade to accept that it was ok for me to dislike it even though it would be a dream job for someone else.
Who did I think I was? Why did I deserve any better? I kept telling myself I was lucky to have a decent job and I suppose I was, if paying my bills was my only measure. But those of us not born into slavery and poverty have more opportunity than ever before in the history of the world to become ourselves. And that is an opportunity that should not be wasted! I was so tired of singing someone else’s song.
And so here I am again.
It’s not that many things aren’t wonderful. Some things are. With no hate or bitterness, I am accepting that it is ok to feel what I feel. It is ok to say what doesn’t work even when I’m not sure what will work. It is ok to love myself first.
This adventure called life presents so many roads to choose from. While I physically walk about the world, a more daring journey takes place inside me. The trail markers are often askew, damaged or missing. Sometimes they are written in glowing neon on giant billboards. I’m paying attention. Not only to seeing them but to believing them. I have some healing to do. And I intend to do it. For the rest of my life.
The place I’m going is called wisdom, self-acceptance, self-love and true freedom. The closer I get to that destination, the more I have to give to others. I would rather be an infinitely-flowing pure well than a limited pot of resentment soup.
It’s a process. It’s a journey.
“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” ―Ming-Dao Deng