“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan W. Watts
My life has been composed of two divergent parts, almost as if I have lived two incarnations in one lifetime. The first part was a rock ‘n roll lifestyle – I had a musician husband and we spent most of our time partying and drinking and drugging. We didn’t have kids by choice, and were self-indulgent and hedonistic. We had fun but I also clearly remember feeling shame often, when I woke up, as I barely recalled events from the night before, when I over-indulged and often either blacked out or fell asleep.
A horrible memory is of forgetting to pick up my sister and her new husband at the airport from their honeymoon trip to Jamaica. My worried mother kept calling, and I purposely didn’t answer the phone, letting the answering machine take over. I remember how it felt to be so counter-culture, that I wore shades at dawn, heading home after a cocaine-induced evening, while commute traffic headed the other way, normal people on their way to their jobs.
My parents had divorced when I was in my teens, and I never intended to let that happen in my own marriage. Then, I ended up going back to college in my mid-30s and my husband and I got sober during that same time. I was shocked to find out that we had little in common when we were straight! Really not many similar interests at all without over-imbibing, and we both felt restless and bored, and our marriage began unraveling.
So, even though I often resist change in my life, preferring the status quo, as a few more years went by, I began to realize it was time for a change. A big change! And I came to realize that even though I resisted the idea of divorce, it was inevitable if either of us were going to find more happiness and contentment in our lives. Even though I struggled emotionally with the prospect of divorce; even though my husband and I had 24 years of memories and love for each other; we both made the choice to change our lives completely, and break up.
Here is where my second incarnation began.
I had always been a spiritual person at heart – as a child, I recall grappling with the idea of infinity late at night, actually scaring myself imagining how everything goes on and on and on. Or attending a Catholic Church with my girlfriend Julia and loving all the rituals. Even as a young girl of 7 or 8, I would ponder the meaning of life and what God is.
As my previous life shattered, and quite a few people had mentioned a nearby Center for Spiritual Living, I finally attended at a low point during the dramatic unfolding of the new life I was creating. The open philosophy spoke to my heart and soul, and I began attending regularly. The Center offer many spiritual tools to uplift one’s life, and I began taking classes, eventually becoming a licensed practitioner after years of study. Slowly, I began to realize that we are each responsible for our life choices and I began choosing positivity, to let go of drama, shame and blame, and to improve my own life in beautiful, beneficial, nurturing ways.
During all of this change, I met a man who became my second husband, who matched me on many levels. I decided to further change my life dramatically by opting to move to rural Southern Oregon from the hustle and traffic of the Bay Area, CA, where I had spent the first 45 years of my life.
This was a wondrous, amazing new change in my life! 15 years later, I still marvel that I live in the beauty of forests, mountains and rivers, which remind me of a national part. Right now, I am looking out at our vast meadow with evergreens adorning a nearby mountaintop. I am immersed in nature’s beauty here. And it suits me so well, as I lived in the country as a young girl.
These days, I still attend a nearby Center for Spiritual Living and I serve as a practitioner there, which is so fulfilling. I teach spiritual classes, exactly like the ones I was introduced to during the big change of my own life. I facilitate retreats and workshops on gratitude, as a pathway to more joy and peace in our lives. I am an author of the Grace of Gratitude Journal and will have a chapter in two upcoming 2015 books, The Energy of Expansion and The Energy of Creation. My artist partner, Tara Thelen, and I are also creating a Grace of Gratitude Journal Vol. 2, which will be published in 2015 as well. Everything about my life is rich and rewarding. This second incarnation is where I am meant to be, and how I am meant to express.
I see now that my soul and my spiritual light were darkened and snuffed out by my addictions. I know now that I am a bright light in this world, and I have an abundance of love and joy and peace and wisdom to share, which could not have ever happened had I not chosen to take a leap of faith, and allow change to sweep over my life in such a monumental way.
Photo by tim