Above all, be at ease, be as natural and spacious as possible.
Slip quietly out of the noose of your habitual anxious self,
release all grasping, and relax into your true nature.
Well, today is Valentine’s Day. This day happens to coincide with the 6th anniversary of the night that I finally proposed to Laureen, some eight and a half years into our relationship. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to propose sooner. Hell, I had bought her engagement ring back in November 2001. It just took a long, long time for her to get into a place in her mind and her emotions where she was ready to trust to another relationship. I always likened her to a wild horse – like a mustang. You never really tame such a spirit. But you do build a bridge of trust and eventually across that bridge love will travel. And it wasn’t that she didn’t love me sooner. She loved me from the get go. It just took her a long time to fully heal from the emotional wounds inflicted by others who had been in her life.
Tonight, that is neither here nor there. I am feeling more settled in her absence now. This is a very new sensation for me. The months of November, December and January were very, very hard months. In some ways I felt like I significantly backtracked on what had been nearly 21 months of very hard work. Only now do I see that it was a necessary evolution in the long path of grieving and loss. As I said to someone earlier today, the first twelve months were simply like a “what-the-fuck-just-happened” state of shell-shock combined with a “what-the-fuck-am-I-supposed-to-do-now” state of complete bewilderment. And inside of me was some small piece that kept alive the notion that somehow she might still come home and if she did, she would find our home more or less as she’d left it. Oh, I changed things around here and there, probably made it just a bit more masculine with some new decor, but overall most of it would feel very, very familiar to her. Indeed, this probably would have pissed her off – that I hadn’t moved further down the path of letting go.
I can only say that the “letting go” path is not an easy path to walk. I think the first thing I let go of, and one of the hardest, was my wedding band. Thirteen months after she passed away, on my birthday last April, which she always called our personal new year’s day, I removed my wedding band and put it away. I just knew that it was time to do that. I felt naked without it, and I also felt a tinge of betrayal as well – that somehow I was betraying her trust that I would be faithful and always be hers. Be that as it may, for my own emotional health it felt like it was the right thing to do. And truth be told, she would not see it as a betrayal. That was only my own emotions conjuring up that image. She would be happy that I had found the strength to do that.
And then of course it was just last November that I began to intuit that it was time to let everything go and “just be” for a while. No more classes, no more workshops – I even stopped my group meditations for a month and I simply let go. Let go of everything. . . I got through Christmas still kind of okay although I could feel my sense of well-being quickly deteriorating. And then it vanished and I hit that dark night of the soul. Ok… I admit that may be overstating it a little bit. I wasn’t completely incapacitated by depression, but I was certainly considerably diminished and remain so even now.
That said, it didn’t take long until I began to see how my newly acquired negative attitude began to attract negativity to me. Like unto like. The contrary position being that no matter how I had floundered in the first 18 months after Laureen had passed, I somehow managed to stay positive and that had kept positive things, people, and events flowing to me. Now, with this crossover into the land of darkness, it wasn’t too long before negative things began manifesting. . . a car accident, a hurt knee, unexpected bills. . . I realized I needed to pull myself out of my tailspin or it was going to become one ugly plane wreck.
Still, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do as I was hitting some important anniversaries which included the day we found out that Laureen had cancer (Feb 1st), followed by our wedding anniversary (Feb 7th), and now today, the anniversary of our engagement (Feb 14th). I have one more anniversary to go after today – that would be the day that Laureen took her last breath and left this planet – March 8th.
[Pause for dinner]
So, where was I going with all of this? Well, somewhere along the way I began taking baby steps to change my direction a bit, and I also realized that what was going on here was that I was being asked to begin the process of letting go of Laureen, and letting go of that part of my life, and to truly begin to move forward again. And I think that because I saw how I was beginning to attract negative stuff to myself, I realized that this letting go would be an act of self-preservation.
One interesting side-note in this. For the 23 months that Laureen has been gone I have barely watched television of any sort. Over the Christmas holiday I finally sat down and watched the entire Firefly series and I found that very interesting. One of my friends had been talking about it and it had sounded interesting and then I discovered I already had the DVD set of the entire series and so that’s what I had done. It seemed like there were messages in that for me . . . primarily about leadership and about taking care of your own, but also a few relationship matters as well.
I had started to rewatch the series in early January and then for some reason I stopped and pulled out a different series. . . one that I had tried watching about five years ago called Eureka. And instead of starting at Season 1, I started with Season 2 and that is highly unlike me not to start at the beginning of something, even if I’ve been through it before. Be that as it may, having now watched two seasons of the show I have come to see that there is a message in this series for me too – a message about how to move on from loss of one’s marriage partner after death. Two of the main characters in the series had their significant others die on them and it was not just a two minute blip and then let’s move on with the show. One of the losses has become a running theme of the show and features how the surviving character has found his way back from devastating loss just as the other character is still working on it now. I was sitting there watching it just the other night when this realization popped into my head – “Pay Attention!” – that there is a reason why I am watching this show. And so I am thinking that someone (Laureen?) tripped a little off switch to on in my head and got me to change direction with my television viewing and so now here I am, about ready to start Season 4 of Eureka tonight and it seems like there’s a lot of change in store for Season 4 – just as life itself is a continual process of change.
And so it occurs to me that I am learning, ever so slowly and at times, painfully, to release all grasping at how I want things to be, and how I remember that things were in the past, and simply relax into my true nature as a child of the Universe. Sometimes the image of a chrysalis comes to me as I quietly ponder these past few months. I have been sitting in a darkness, a void, and on the surface it feels as though time is both flowing and standing still. I am not “doing” anything in particular, and yet I feel that somehow I am changing. I am beginning to feel the slightest tingling of a sensation of emergence, but an emergence to what? That I do not know. But if I just let it be (funny, since I just saw a Beatles tribute band last weekend), then somehow I know that it will be what it is meant to be.