49. Bridges

WORK

I attended a Chinese New Year’s banquet last night and learned all about the lucky monkey. “If you are born in the Year of the Monkey you are very intelligent, well-liked by everyone and will have success in any field you choose.” I feel lucky and the past 2.5 years have shown me that I have what it takes to be highly successful. That confidence and self awareness are a blessing I’ve struggled for years to find within myself and is the source of my courage. Courage I’ve drawn on to get me through these extremely difficult last three weeks. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster trying to figure out the right thing to do and then do it with grace and respect from a place of strength. The net result is that I resigned from BFD and am walking away from what’ve I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years helping to build.

 

I think of the analogy Karen shared awhile back about the woman drowning because she’s trying to swim while carrying heavy rocks. Walking away feels like cutting free. I made the decision to leave three weeks ago when I woke from a dream where I was driving along Route 1 above the coast and thought of Olivia, my friends’ granddaughter with cancer. Suddenly, I realized I had lost control of my car and I experienced an intense few moments of trying to regain control as the car fishtailed all over the road. Eventually, the car simply slipped off the road. Time stopped. I realized I was plunging to my death and that there was nothing I could do. In that moment, I felt an instant of regret for driving too fast and not paying attention to what really matters; and a feeling of complete surrender and peace. I awoke extremely shaken and two days later, in response to the next in a series of events, I resigned. The morning after I resigned, I dreamt again that I lost control of my car, only this time it slipped off a low bridge and I calmly rolled down the window, braced myself for the impact, wiggled out and swam to shore as the car sank.

 

Our conversations were heated and friends and clients weighed in, insisting I shouldn’t walk away from the value I’ve spent so much effort building. I’ve been whiplashed back and forth between the clarity of my own instinct and the compelling conviction of other people’s desires and opinions. To come full circle to the start of this email, what gave me the courage to get through all of this was realizing that when I walk away, I take the success of BFD with me; it’s not limited to this situation, group of people or effort—it’s my energy and enthusiasm that has attracted our success.

 

SOUL

My chickens are laying eggs, the weather is magnificent, my fruit trees are in bloom; my family and friends are wonderful; my life is turning another corner. I’d been thinking about changing my name back to Nolker since December and this was the final impetus I needed. I made it to the social security office Friday afternoon exactly one minute before closing and officially reinstated my maiden name. It’s going to be that for keeps. It may be a clunker, but it has wonderful people connected to it, so I’m proud of it. In many ways this experience has felt like a second divorce; my final process of separating with John. He knows how to push all my buttons; how to elicit my empathy and make me question myself. He’s not a bad person by any means, but having him in my life right now is not healthy for me. I feel like my character and strength have been forged in these experiences, and as difficult as they have been, it’s an incredible feeling to discover what you’re made of.

 

So whether I get a job or write a book, I have complete faith in my next adventure. I’ve made amazing contacts through this experience and have a lot to show for my time. This new chapter will be pregnant with fresh energy, creativity, prosperity and pleasure. It’s time and I’m ready. I’m looking into teaching adult literacy as a volunteer; I need to sign up for Spanish classes; I am planning a trip with my niece this summer; I am selling my house and looking for property up here. I am going to start practicing yoga again, walking, cooking, reading, enjoying friends, gardening, tending my flock of chickens—feeling alive. There is so much to enjoy in life.