I have fallen in love with my life again.
I cannot write these words without feeling my throat tighten with tears. Makes me realize how much I had secretly feared this might never happen—that I might never wake up with my heart spontaneously full of gratitude for another day no matter what it brought, content to lay in bed steeped in my night dreams, slowly letting the beauty of being, color the day before me.
Oh, it’s not that there haven’t been good days, good weeks, and even a few better than average months. But the last two years have been a bit of a whirlwind of turmoil: betrayal, separation, lawyers, loss (of home, belongings, savings, dreams), divorce, and then crises around two parents with Alzheimer’s needing care and my on-going health challenges (perhaps not surprisingly) becoming worse.
But that’s not quite the full picture. Because, although the last two years were particularly challenging, it had been much longer since I’d awoken in the morning with spontaneous joy.
I’d been in the wrong bed, the wrong place, the wrong life for me.
The problem is it’s hard to recognize how far off the path of our own soul’s life we’ve drifted when we have unconsciously dissociated in an effort to fit the life that we thought we should want or at least should commit to no matter what. Our psyche dissociates to tolerate the intolerable, to disconnect from and numb to what is insulting to the soul, and it’s pretty much impossible to disconnect and simultaneously be aware of the disconnection.
Over the course of my marriage I became increasingly ill. For the last couple of years I was largely confined to our beautiful but isolated home, often bedbound five days out of seven. When, in desperation, I suggested to my then-husband that maybe we needed to talk about moving closer to the city where he worked so I could access the health care I needed, he replied emphatically: “I don’t care how sick you get, I will never discuss leaving this house!”
My inner response—indicative of just how disconnected from myself I had become—was to think that perhaps I had not broached the subject skilfully. But somewhere in the distance I caught the faint echo of an inner alarm that had probably been sounding for years. And I started to move, knowing I was fast approaching a time when my declining physical health could make any movement impossible.
I can honestly say I am grateful to my ex for being so clear, for consistently letting me know that life in this marriage was not tenable for me. Otherwise, I might never have woken up.Photo: Michael Julian Berz
I’m sharing this one grim emblematic detail because I want you to understand why this new-found faith in life feels so miraculous. I’d started to wonder if I was just “done.” Oh, after the separation I began to find a rhythm, a way to enjoy moments or days. But I was not sure that this- this fullness of heart, this being in love with life as it appears, however it appears each day- would ever find me again.
Last week a friend asked me about my health. I answered truthfully, “Well, there are things- like travelling or going out in the evening—that I really can’t do right now, and I may never be able to do them again—I don’t know. But. . . . I’m okay with it. I’m content with what I can do, because being with what I can do opens the door to joy every day.”
As I said it, I realized it was true. I am no longer just coping, just keeping my head above water, waiting for moments of relief. I am at home in my body, my life, my newly resurrected daily awareness of the essence that runs through all that is.
I have fallen in love with my life again—and I get why we use the term falling, because it is less an act of will than a sense of the inner gravity of life sweeping me off my feet. It is not a rising above or moving away from what is hard but a sweet spiralling deeper into whatever arises within or around me and always finding the heart of wholeness there.
I have fallen in love with my life again.
It is wonder-full.
Surely we are made for this sweet loving of life.
(This article is the last of a three-part series by Oriah, exploring the anguish, reflection upon and recovery from a marital breakup. You can read the first and second posts at A Year After Separation, and Divorce Day Revelations.
Oriah is the author of the international best-selling books: The Invitation, and The Dance, and The Call (published by HarperONE, translated into eighteen languages.) Her much loved poem “The Invitation” has been shared around the world. Trained in a shamanic tradition, her medicine name Mountain Dreamer means one who likes to find and push the edge. Using story, poetry and shamanic ceremony Oriah’s deeply personal writing and her work as a group facilitator and spiritual mentor explore how to follow the thread of our heart’s longing into a life where we can choose joy without denying the challenges of a human life. Oriah blogs at www.oriahsinvitation.blogspot.com and participates in conversations at https://www.facebook.com/
Oriah.Mountain.Dreamer . For more info- http://www.oriah.org
Editor: Lori Lothian