“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” ~Isabelle Eberhardt
I’m at the end of my second week of a five-week pilgrimage in southern France, and I can’t believe how much I’ve changed. Actually, how much I have remembered.
With my marriage to my beloved and best friend, part of me went into hibernation. When my two beautiful sons were born, more parts of me went into hiding. Not that I am complaining, mind you…I am very blessed in my life to be around such wonderful people who love me.
But I AM noticing now that I’ve been away from home and my relationships that the old spunky me has been showing up. The one that revered adventure and took chances. The one that went out into the world with anticipation of new horizons. The one who believed that people are essentially good, smart and benevolent. It reminds me of how a child might feel.
I remember the moment that I first felt the shift coming n 1986 when we met. Peter and I were getting serious quickly, and I had the awareness that I shouldn’t let my guard down or else I would become dependent on him. I was afraid that I would take him for granted and I was worried who I would become if I wasn’t the tough cookie I imagined myself to be. In other words, I was afraid of losing my independence.
Thirty years have gone by, and I’ve “lost” some of my independence due to my choices…to be the primary parent to my children, to hold the home and hearth for my family (even though I always worked part time…it wasn’t okay with me to not have some interesting or creative work outlet as well as my role as mother and wife.) But I’ve gained so much love and joy and satisfaction from my choices! So, really, I didn’t “lose” my independence…I made choices to bind myself to the people I love so that I could be in integrity in our relationships, so that I would do the right thing, so that I and we could grow.
But being alone, traveling solo in my first trip to Europe, having this grand adventure…there is this feeling of coming back to parts of me that I haven’t seen in a long time. And I like what I’m seeing. This spunky youth inside of me never died, just waited patiently while I did the important work of raising children and learned how to be a life partner, until I gave her room to breathe.
And all is well.
Divine discontent is a gift…that little voice that haunts us…is life better in that situation? Is the grass greener over there? It is the itch that we need to scratch so we grow, to reach for that next ‘better’ thing.
But there is a balance. Recognition of the blessings right where we are…right timing for the natural cycles of our lives…and cooperation, sometimes even surrender to the great wisdom of life. Gratitude for this thing amazing opportunity to be alive and for all that we get to experience, good and bad, easy and challenging.
We don’t lose who we are as we age; that precious being inside is hard-wired in…our original design is always there, no matter what life hands us, no matter the circumstances, no matter the choices. That bright star that came to Earth is alive and well, no matter how we may have covered her/him up.
And the journey of a lifetime is to forget and remember, to dance around and then with that bright star inside, to rediscover our original self with the wisdom we’ve gained through our life, and appreciate it all over again. Joyfully.
And isn’t that what it’s all about?