One of my favorite quotes is: "Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." I try to remind myself of this often. Especially when someone is rude or cuts me off or is driving slowly or any number of behaviors that might otherwise irritate me. I'm not always successful, but there are times I am. Where I take into consideration that the lady who cut me off may be hurrying to the hospital to see a family member in need. Or when I think that maybe the person who just snapped at me was laid off and doesn't know how she's going to feed those 4 mouths at home. It doesn't matter to me if I never know if they were just being a jerk or actually were "fighting a battle". Having those thoughts makes me more compassionate, more patient, and more understanding and that means everything to me.
Especially now that I find myself in the position of being the person "fighting a battle". You see, I am currently going through a divorce. This is the hardest thing I have ever gone through. It is like my husband, or as many of you know him as - my honey, has died. Only he is standing in front of me. I was driving too slow after I left the house when he asked for a divorce. People honked at me. Why wouldn't they and why was I driving? I am forgetting people's names and praying it's not offensive. I snapped at someone at the post office. I started crying at the grocery store while standing in front of the hummus. I am a HOT MESS!!!!! I have said and done things I am not proud of lately.
For those of you who are friends with both of us, I am sorry you are hearing this through an email, but I am incapable of calling everyone up individually and explaining the situation. Add to that - that I don't even know how to explain it! The main question I get is "Why?". Honestly - I don't completely understand this one. We went to some counseling sessions and some issues came to light. We both had faults in the relationship. We had a major difference of opinion though that ultimately led to the divorce I guess. I wanted to work on it and Ronnie didn't want to or didn't think we could. I guess it's another situation where 2 beautiful people are not beautiful together.
I will leave it at that for now as far as an explanation. Because the other thing I am learning, is that the less I psychoanalyze the reason "why" the better off I am. In the beginning I was trying to find reasons for everything. How could this move towards divorce? Why didn't he want to work on it? What could I do to save the marriage? And so on, and so on, and so on…. My mind was spinning 24 hours a day trying to churn out answers. If I did ask Ronnie questions and he answered them - the answers would just stir the next round of questions along with the pain and suffering that go with them.
Meanwhile, I'm hurting more and I don't have any more answers. I'm not sleeping (which makes me more reactive and less stable mentally and physically). I'm losing weight and have no appetite because my adrenals are in full effect.
Basically, this was the beginning of me turning into a hot mess. Don't get me wrong - I'm not being hard on myself. I believe it was right where I needed to be at that moment/during that time. But every conversation (even after it was decided we would divorce) was heavy and loaded and ultimately got me no closer to any kind of closure.
It wasn't until I stopped asking "Why?" that I could begin to accept it. How humbling…… I mean I write about "letting go" often and it's something I thought I had done some work on. Yet here I am again trying to learn it yet again.
Oh the lessons I am learning…… Divorce SUCKS! It is terrible. And I still cry at least once a day and usually more. But I'm already starting to have positive things come out of this.
I am loved! This is something I've struggled with since my youth. Feeling loved and on a deeper level, feeling that I deserve to be loved. Well the Universe is not letting me doubt that this time around. Friends have let me housesit their homes so I don't have to live in the same house as Ronnie (He did offer to move out, but I choose to). Teachers have covered my classes with compassion when I got physically sick from the suffering. NUMEROUS people have offered me to come and live with them. I've had people in other cities offer me jobs so I can start over. My Minnesota brother and sis-in-law bought me a ticket back to Wisconsin so I could be nurtured by my family and get some space to heal. And the list goes on and on. Friends and family making me meals, bringing me tea, texting me and calling me to check in and make sure I'm okay. I mean - I canNOT deny it….. I am LOVED. What an utterly overwhelming and humbling feeling. All of those years of giving myself to others, I never thought of it as a duty, just a sheer joy to help people out. And now I am to understand that that love is coming back to me 10 fold at a time when I need it desperately? Of course it is, but why couldn't I see it until now?! Strange how the world works.
The other life lesson I am getting out of this right now is that I am a terrible receiver. I don't know if and how much this played into the demise of my relationship, but I am going to work on correcting this now. I can give with the best of them, but boy oh boy, I do not receive well. Whether it be someone asking if I want help lifting something or someone asking to buy me a plane ticket home. It triggers so many things for me. The deepest one is that I do not want to be a burden. Now trust me, the mature side of me knows how silly this is. But there is that immature little girl side - and she doesn't want to be a burden to anyone. I also often get a strong sense of "I am capable of that…. I don't need your help because I don't want to be beholden to you." Again, I realize the ludacrissness of this and yet there is a voice inside that more times than not prevents me from accepting things from others. I could go on about this subject - I mean this issue runs DEEP I'm discovering, but you get the picture.
Well the thing I am learning now is that I am giving a gift by accepting. In allowing someone to help me, I allow them to feel the honor and the privilege of helping me out. They get my love and adoration for assisting me through the most trying time of my life. Of course I get the gift of the love coming back to me as well as whatever they are offering. How beautiful is that?! How have I denied this for so many years?!
So now comes the second bomb….
I am taking my Walla Walla brother and sis-in-law up on their offer for me to live with them for a while. They own a winery up in Walla Walla, WA. I am going to stay with them and help with the harvest/crush season. Harvest is early this year, so I'm hoping it is still going on when I get there for a while so I can experience the amazingness that is crush. Some good hard manual labor. The smell of nature and fresh air. Familial love. I know in my heart of hearts that I need to leave LA to heal on a deeper level. Could I heal here? Yes. But not in the same way and not as quickly. Will I stay there? I don't know. I am leaving all of my options open. My intention is to listen to my heart while I am there and see where it leads me.
Of the 15 years I have lived in Los Angeles, Ronnie and I had been together for almost 13 1/2 of them. We worked together most of that time. We were in the same theatre companies and created theatre together. We have almost all the same friends and we also have incredibly intertwined lives. Which was amazing (although of course at times trying) when we were together. But now that we are not…….
And so it is with great sadness, excitement, fright, and every other emotion under the sun that I tell you I am driving out of LA on 8/29 to start the next chapter of my life. I know some of you are from elsewhere, but a majority of the people on this list are my friends and yogis whom I have done theatre with or taught yoga to, or just gotten to know here in Los Angeles. I love you all and will miss you.
But here is the potential good news. I am going to try to arrange a workshop (or 2) to teach in a studio (or 2) in Los Angeles in 2016. I am hoping to do this in the spring. I want to also rent a studio and try to get people to come sign up for 1 hours time slots to have me teach them privately. I am hoping this is a way I can continue my relationship with LA and all of my peeps. If I can pay for a trip down… I would love to do this 2 times a year. Make it a tradition that each spring and fall I can come visit, teach yoga, and keep my relationship with my LA peeps. Once I figure out - if, when, and where - I'll send out another newsletter with sign up information. I will ask people to sign up and pay early so make sure I can fill up my workshop(s) and privates to make enough money to pay for the trip. So you cats have to help me get back down here!!!!! But I'm not set up for that yet. Just wanted to share the possibility. I am very excited by this prospect.
This is turning into an epic email I know, but my life feels pretty epic right now :-)
I would love to respond to each and everyone of you who respond to this email, but in all honesty - I cannot. At least not at the moment.
A - I am too overwhelmed emotionally to do that (I'm just being honest).
B - I do not have time.
Maybe once I get settled in up in the Pacific Northwest with space and time I will be able to, but there is a chance I might not. Please do not be offended. I have a list of 647 people. Although I don't think everyone will respond…. I know many of you have in the past and might. Know I love you all and I am reading them. And also know - you do not have to respond to this. I know you love me!!!!! Just knowing you read and shared this part of my journey with me is enough :-)
I am hoping to use this transition to film some classes to post. I would like to write a bit more on my website. If you are interested in hiring me to do a Skype class, etc… I am so open to change right now and figure out what my new model of business is.
I guess it's time for all of us to embrace change. To be open to whatever may come next. I am still sad and scared, but focusing on the excitement of getting a chance to "start over" again. I hope you do to with whatever changes are coming your way!!!!
Oh and if you know anyone in Walla Walla that I should know??????? Give me their info and I'll get ahold of them once I'm there. And if you are in the Walla Walla area… you have my email and I'd love to see you.
I will leave you with this... One of my yogis sent this to me when I expressed that I was mostly just scared and sad to move from Los Angeles. I have since read this every day to give me strength. (Thank you David!)
Change is not something that you should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they are meant to be.
B. K.S. Iyengar