When there is nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire....
A few years ago during Thanksgiving, I went in to ten days of silent meditation, Thanksgiving day was the 6th day of complete silence. 12 hours of meditation a day for 10 full days, 2 meals a day, breakfast at 6am, lunch at noon, no dinner, and complete silence for 10 full days, on the eleventh day silence was broken.
Two days prior to commencing complete silence (with no way out, you were required to agree not to leave for the duration of the silence).... I resigned from my career. 15 years of hard work and trying really hard to fit myself into a successful mold, and I had found myself on the brink of a break down. A real one.
Part of me wants to write this in a poetic way, with wit, and glaze over, I mean its only memory, and we can depict memory any way we choose, its the past, for heavens sake. Part of me just wants to tell you that I hiked to a cliff with the sole intention of jumping off of it. It wasn't really sexy or dramatic. I think, perhaps, determined people don't go out in a sexy way. They just end it. I felt compelled to go to the top of the mountain and straightforwardly determine whether or not I wanted to end my life or my life to go on. It wasn't a romantic or poetic. You don't arrive at this place sobbing and clutching your heart, you arrive at this place of contemplation somewhat soberly, the dull ache and emptiness is too much and you see no way out, so even if you don't believe in God you think that you'd rather debate with him about life on the other side than have to keep going through what you're going through.
And perhaps thats the shameful part, my life wasn't that bad.
But I was dead inside.
And when I reached the conclusion that I didn't want to be dead anymore, I could only think of one thing to do about it. Start living my life. And if the life I was living made me want to end it all and die, then I had to make some changes in my life. And so I did.
On December 5th, my last day at work, I received a phone call that would change my life, inextricably, forever. I didn't realize even at the time that there would be no going back after that phone call. I had always joked that I would quit my job and run off to Paris and marry a Prince and so when I received a phone call that would bring me to Paris ten days later I thought my prayers had been answered.
You see, the plan was that I would go to Paris and meet my love and fall in love and things would be different.
Things sure are different. As it turns out, I am inextricably changed forever by my experiences this past year and there is no going back to sizing myself into a box that doesn't fit.
A year later.
Thanksgiving was spent with friends in a beautiful little home in Seattle with a huge turkey and I baked a pumpkin pie and turned my homemade whipped cream into one chunky part butter and one part cream and there was lots of talking, dancing, and eating.
On December 5th a random friend from Norway appeared in Seattle and I started to reflect on my journey of awakening that began on my random trip to Norway 3 years prior after seeing a picture on the internet of a small village in Lofoten, north of the arctic circle in Norway. You see, 3 years ago I was determined to change my rut of a life, after finding out that my X was having a baby and getting married, it appeared my life hadn't changed much at all since our break up. I saw a picture of a fishing village in Norway on the internet one day at work and decided I was going to go there and that I was moving to Norway. I remember my friend saying to me, "Why don't you go to Norway first, and then come back and tell me if you're moving to Norway." When I came back I attempted to figure out a way that would move me to Norway, instead an opportunity to move to Seattle appeared, and within 3 months I was living across the country, in a place as similar to Norway as one could get in the United States of America. A hell of a coincidence.
This year, I didn't find a husband, but I did fall in love, a couple of times. I found a love for storytelling and writing, I found a love for art, and for photography, I found a love for my family, I found a love for my friendships and connections, all over the globe, I found a love for myself.
Next year at Thanksgiving, I will have changed. Things will be different. I will be telling the stories of what I'm going through right now, they will be beautiful stories of the toughest moments of my life. These moments of darkness will also be transformed into beautiful pieces of memories, lit up by firelight and candles. By next year, they will be beautiful stories.
And I will share them with you. In piece and part and glued together with sticky situations and weathered patina created by hammered fists and fearful tears, and I will tell you:
These things that seem random at the time, change us forever. The places we go, the places we live, the connections we make, the bonds that are created, may seem completely random, and yet in an instant or a phone call or a night spent in a bar drinking whisky in the arctic circle, your whole existence is changed forever. Not every instant, not every phone call, and certainly not every night I've ever spent in a bar has changed me in this way..... or maybe they have..... maybe they do.As you turn inward and fall in love with the truth of who you really are, you become whole, despite the brokenness.