37. Retrospect

OVERVIEW

I am only five weeks away from the one year anniversary of John leaving. Who knew that I would look back and say that this has been one of the best years of my life. I realize that making such a statement by conventional standards is outright heresy. “You must not have loved him as much as you thought you did.” It seems strange to me that anyone would say that to someone, but I’ve heard variations repeatedly. I appreciate that we can not help but respond to the world from a place of our own fears and desires and I assume that my capacity to find joy even in pain must feel threatening? I went to hear a fabulous dharma teacher speak last week and he talked about non-attachment and the the three most common types of attachment that cause suffering. He shared the following and it’s become my new mantra: “Suffering is like rope burn. The rope of experience is changing moment to moment. The more tightly we hold on, the more we suffer.”

 

He also talked about the difference between love and attachment and how we intertwine the two in our culture. How we can not conceive of love without attachment, yet if you separate them and examine the energy of each, love is an opening that leads to joy and more love; attachment is a constriction that catalyzes emotions of jealousy, fear, possessiveness, insecurity—suffering.

 

I take no credit for being wise: I’ve amazed even myself with my composure and wisdom. Perhaps it’s wisdom carried through from another life, or perhaps just an inherent instinct for survival. The cataclysmic way that John left forced me to let go if I planned on surviving. It is something I literally stop and am thankful for daily. I attribute the absence of anxiety in my life to this lesson. I’ve been keeping a book of the things I want to manifest in my life—from qualities to experiences—and I am amazed at how serendipitously my life has unfolded this year. My feelings of independence; success, confidence and joy in my work; financial well-being (even though it could appear quite illusory to someone else); health and energy; peace and general contentment are overwhelmingly positive and a new experience.

 

DETAILS

The woman I have spent the past six months interviewing passed away on Thursday, finally succumbing to her cancer. Her serendipitous arrival in my life has been one of the riches gifts of the year. I still have a lot of work to do to edit and finish the project for her children, but when this project ends I intend to find another family to work with. This is a gift I can give back to the world. It only affects a few people, but it affects them profoundly and it is uniquely suited to my talents. The gift of witnessing someone’s life and death is also an experience rewarding beyond words.

 

I sold my car today. In an impulsive moment I listed it on Craig’s List last night, never assuming it would sell the next day. I hadn’t actually thought this one through, but as Karen says, it’s in the stars. Like everything, it’s an adventure. It’s the last vestige of old energy I’ve been dying to shed, so soon I will have a new car and a new image. A Jetta wagon I hope.

 

HOME

I have asked my roommate to leave the first of September and I am going to sublet my guest room to short-term renters moving forward. The downside of short-term is more financial volatility, but I feel prepared to make that tradeoff.

 

I have lined up Laura to help me find new carpet. I am refinishing my hardwood floors and I have found a garden designer to consult with me for two hours and draw up a garden plan and list of plants I can implement over time. I continue to love my home and the energy of fixing it up.

 

RELATIONSHIPS

Dating. I am learning a lot about myself and what I want and don’t want in a relationship when I’m actually ready for that. I find dating stressful because it involves negotiating someone else’s expectations and style; but I’m trying to look at it as an adventure and another skill I’m acquiring and banking away.

 

WORK

Business. My partners are clashing and the business may or may not survive. I feel unbelievably non-attached and peaceful about the situation. Confident that whatever is best is what will work out. In the meantime, with my father’s coaching, I have assumed control of the helm as the “benevolent dictator.” It’s a crash course in management and human resources—another adventure, another opportunity to acquire and bank invaluable skills. Despite the internal strife, we have signed on two huge projects, a few smaller ones, and our buzz is building, with people calling us. As of today, we are actually turning down work.

 

I look forward to being with all of you tomorrow. As I am reminded every month when I  check-in, thank you for being in my life!