Regular readers of my blog will know how quiet I could have been during this conversation. I do not particularly like outdoor adventuring, nor traveling. This puts me in a club of severely limited membership in the Pacific Northwest where passions for these things seem to be a given. (I fit with the bookstore/coffee shop crowd, who also are a common sight here, but most are just stopping by there in between adventures.)
In order to participate in the conversation, I joined in with my usual self-deprecating jokiness about my lack of Adventuring Gene, with a throw-away, dismissive comment aimed at myself about all of the things they love as something I would never do. It was funny. I laughed. Everyone laughed. I knew I was violating my therapist's admonition about putting myself down, but I thought I had a good handle on it. Still, I ended up feeling like the "odd" woman out and not altogether great about it. But not terrible either. I thought I'd pulled it off.
Later in the evening the conversation took a turn toward touching on "the divorce". Not mine and Hub's, but mine with my church. (Again, I've written about this before, so I won't go into the details here, suffice to say, we split up last August.) It has been a hard ten months since we parted. Many don't understand why, many don't care, some hope we will reconcile, almost none understand the depth of hurt and introspection that has gone into diving deep inside myself to figure out how it happened, where I was culpable in the conflict, how we all might have behaved differently, whether I made the right decision, and why I cannot go back to a "partner" I still see as a bit dysfunctional, and with whom I have less and less in common...or at least not a common vision. I'm trying to move on and find connections in a new and healthier way. There ended up being maybe a teeny tiny bit of passion around expressing this at the social gathering. I may have used the "F" word.
Debriefing with Hub the next morning, I allowed that I still seem to have a lot of pain and anger around the divorce and I need to do some more inner work to heal that negativity. I said that the way I live my inner life, with my constant rumination, seeking to understand situations, other people, and mostly myself on a deep level are every bit as hard as climbing a mountain trail, dammit! My "adventures" are of an internal nature!
The analogy struck a chord with me. I realized I have nothing to feel inferior about, nothing to apologize for, if I don't do the "nature challenge" others so enjoy. My challenges come in the form of deep personal work and the summit I am aiming for is increased self-knowledge, inner peace, compassion and "capital L" Love.
Feeling inspired, I sat down and wrote this poem:
I ford the river of tears
Climb from the depths of despair
Stumble over jagged rocks of doubt
Lose my way
Each step forward a small victory
Each boot stuck in a muddy rut another defeat
Clouds gather, burst
Cold sleet runs down my neck, chilling me to the bone
Will I ever see the sun? Hear the birdsong?
Look up at a sky so blue, so clear that all pain is lost in its vast expanse?
I keep the vision close to my heart, the possibility of healing, the promise of joy.
One more step forward, one more slide back, heart muscles aching, breath ragged.
It is a lonely journey, the curved path treacherous, ascent steep
I long for sleep, for rest, for peace
It comes in welcome respite ‘round the night fires
Where other faces emerge from the dark, brother traveler, sister wanderer
Stirring the dying embers, finding warmth, feeling strength return
Awake to another day on the trail ahead
Perhaps this is the day
Perhaps this is the moment
When the summit is reached
And all the world will lay below me
Dazzling like the jewel that is my life
To live, to love, to be.
You take the outer journey, I'll take the inner. I'll meet you where our paths converge.
At least, that's the view from here...©