I’ve been back home in California for almost two months now. I can’t believe how fast time passes. It’s so interesting for me to be back in the place where I grew up after being gone for seven years. Being here has grounded and humbled me. It has reminded me of my roots, of who I am at my core. Being here also shows me how much I’ve grown spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve come a long way. San Bernardino is not a nice place. It’s extremely poverty-stricken and full of neglect. I’m grateful for where I’m at in my life right now because my path could have gone very differently.
I started volunteering to help pass out bags of groceries to families every Sunday. I’ve had so much going on these past several months that I’ve had to take a step back from my community activism so I’m very happy to be volunteering again. This also keeps me humble. It also serves as a reminder as to my life’s purpose, my ultimate goal. I’m using this opportunity to learn how a food pantry system works, what’s efficient and what isn’t. I’m also learning how to meet the community we serve where they are, separating myself from any judgement or behavior of acting “better than” as I recognize that any one of us can easily be in the same situation these families have found themselves in, including myself. I’m also playing with the idea of starting some community gardens in the area and have already developed a network to make that happen so I’m excited to see how this opportunity will unfold.
I’m harvesting so many opportunities, both artistically and professionally. The seeds I’ve planted are starting to bear fruit. I have proven my tenacity with my choice not to work a traditional job for an entire year and showed myself that I can literally do anything I set my mind to do. With that motivation I dedicated this year to focusing on my career. However, I’m still an artist at heart. It’s impossible to ignore the creative side of myself. So while my real estate career is starting to pick up and I’m laying the groundwork for my own non-profit organization, I’m also working on finishing my poetry album and publishing a second book. Essentially I’m learning how to balance all sides of myself–the professional and the free spirit. I realize that I require this balance. When I was in the corporate world I loved it but it left me little time and energy to be an artist. Yet when I made the choice to take a break from the corporate world in favor of spiritual and artistic exploration I found that I missed the productivity and discipline of being a professional. Being self-employed gives me the freedom to create the balance I need and I love it. I have the authority to set my own schedule, work hard, and make as such money as I want. And I have the same authority to take breaks to travel, attend retreats, work on poetry, meditate, exercise, spend time with loved ones, etc. Most importantly is that, even though my current career is very lucrative, my financial struggle this past year has completely shifted how I relate to money. So while I’m well on my way to living more than comfortably I don’t feel the need to focus on obtaining material possessions. My desire is to use my extra money to fund my goals, and to help my loved ones realize their dreams.
Emotionally I’m still processing this break-up. I realize that it’s going to take me a long time to heal from it. Understanding and taking responsibility makes me less angry but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I guess what it is, is that I don’t give my heart to another easily. For me, falling in love is a conscious choice. I’m not one to easily get carried away with feelings. I also don’t “do” relationships. I prefer my freedom. I like being single. This is why I’ve had a lot of lovers but very few partners. That part is a piece of myself that I rarely give to another, so when I do it’s serious for me. That’s it and I’m in it for the long haul. So when the relationship ends the experience is extremely painful for me. Severing the romantic tie is hard enough, but what hurts even more than that is that I lost a best friend. I’m grieving twice–the loss of a partner and the loss of a friend. And that makes me extremely sad. It also reaffirms my preference to remain single and my decision never to get married again. I realize that titles bring expectations that taint connections. Relationships are better when they are allowed to just be. They are healthier and absent of the expectations we tend to project onto the other person. This was my first committed relationship after my divorce and it will be my last. I’ll continue to have a lover (or lovers). I will continue to connect and spend time with people but I have absolutely no desire to have a partner, or to be someone’s partner.
Recently a friend asked me if I would be willing to give a second chance to my ex if enough time passes and the opportunity presented itself. It’s possible that it was too soon to ask me that question because my first response was no. But I had to really access that question because my answer relates to how I forgive. Historically I don’t give second chances. I’m extremely sensitive and don’t respond well to being hurt therefore my hypersensitivity makes the forgiveness process a long one. In all of my relationships (friends, families, lovers, partners, etc) once I’ve made it up in my mind that I’m done with that person that’s it. I separate myself and move on with the intention of having little to nothing at all to do with them. I realize that my demeanor switches from warm and open to quite cold, harsh, and uncaring. It may not be the best way to handle situations but it’s the only way to protect my hurt feelings, which have to be pretty deep for me to respond to a person in such an exaggerated way. Even when I do get to the point where I’ve forgiven them, I do so with no desire to have a relationship with them again. In my mind, a person has only one time to hurt me that deeply. After that I never give them the opportunity to do so again. This has been the pattern with my ex husband and several other past lovers where they’ve come to me wanting second chances. Time provided forgiveness and mended any lingering animosity but I had moved past any desire to reestablish a romantic relationship. Besides, the way I see it, if a person is going to make me go through the pain of “break-up” feelings then they have to own the consequences. It’s not fair to put a person through that grief just to turn around later and ask them to open their heart back up. I can’t do it, at least not from the space I’m in currently.
I found a possible shamanic teacher to study under. I’m very excited about this because it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and the desire has increased over time. I’m planning to attend a workshop in April, which will determine whether or not this path is truly for me. Shamanic study is not something that one enters into lightly and requires a lot of sacrifice. Yet I feel as though I’m being called to it. At the very least the experience will serve to further my spiritual growth.