A Singular Truth

I had asked him to tell me what he knew to be a singular truth of life…

My eyes were closed as I lay with my back against the trunk of the tree. The tree, standing alone at the top of the small hill was sparsely decorated with leaves that rustled in the breeze. Affording a slight shade that cut the heat of the day just enough to allow it to be bearable. The roughness of the bark digging into my light shirt as I settled my body and allowed my mind to wander, waiting for his reply. The sharpness of the bark digging into my ribs slightly as I inhaled, the solid strength of the tree comforting against me.

I exhaled, resigning myself to accept whatever truth he would offer to me; not caring precisely what the truth would be but simply that I craved and needed to know something. To know, as a certainty, something…anything…to believe in my heart in a singular truth. The sage’s presence as he sat on the other side of the tree was palpable as I waited.

The sun on my face was hot and it felt good. The kind of good that makes you smile with your heart…your lips just conveying what is bursting inside. My body was damp with a sweat earned by the hike to this place and the wind that blew quietly caressed me and caused a shiver to run through me, the heat of the day gone for a second. I relaxed myself deeper into the ground where I sat and the warmth of the grass drew me to a place of physical contentment that I craved. I exhaled.

Feeling heaviness in my body and calmness in my mind, I was present.  I felt capable, strong and in control – for the first time in a long time. I barely noticed as the tears fell silently, my breathing slow as I welcomed the strength back to my spirit; missing for so long and found in the most simple of places now – within in myself.

I blinked as my eyes opened slowly….the brightness of the sun, high in the sky, burning my eyes and making me drop my head down to filter the sharpness of the light.

Taking a deep breath, I could smell the scent of the grass as the warm air filled my lungs. Releasing my breath, my shoulders set firm and my back rose straighter instead of slumping as it had been for far too long.

I leaned forward as I disengaged myself from the tree trunk, my mind focused on the reality that I had not heard the sage and no longer could I sense his presence. I turned and looked…the other side of the hilltop was empty; he wasn’t there. The small boulder just on the other side of the tree that I had noticed earlier had something on top of it that I could barely make out. I arose and walked to it.

A white piece of parchment fluttered in the breeze, held in place with a small stone. Removing the stone, picking up the paper and reading my singular truth that the sage had left for me.

“You are, as we all are, alone in our journey of this life”.

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Ah, Relationships part 2 (aka Seriously, I have to maintain this?!)

You buy a new car; you’re so excited and in awe of how much you adore it! You want to show it off to all your friends and you are so proud it’s yours. It looks shiny and smells great… the engine practically purrs and it feels so smooth on the road. Even the bumps and rough patches in the road are barely noticeable all of a sudden.

And so it is with a new relationship… that first shiny phase when all is wine and roses and everything else in your life just rolls off you as you bask in the glow of your new relationship and the love/lust that you have with your new partner. Ahhhhh…..

 

The reality is though that relationships, like cars take maintenance and regular care and upkeep if they’re going to last and be around for a long time.

 

Your car is going to need oil changes and tire rotations and air pressure checks, spark plugs, fan belts, fluid changes and even car washes to get the grime and salt off that could corrode the shiny J. You don’t begrudge these things; in fact, they’re expected and planned for. Some people take great pride in the care and attention they give their cars and the fact that, because of this attentiveness, their car continues to run smoothly and have fewer problems over the long run. Sure, repairs may be needed, sometimes big and expensive ones, but that too is taken in stride. After all, you took on the responsibility when you bought that vehicle.

So why is it that so many people neglect the care and time it takes to maintain and grow their relationships? Why do people decide that they won’t put in the time or the attention needed to check in and ensure that the little pings and clunks are attended to and dealt with before they become bigger issues that are harder to fix. Why the lack of regular maintenance? It’s far too easy to put our “significant” other (or others) on the back burner time and time again… all the while expecting them to be there waiting for when we glance in that direction and want to pick it up again. Think of the attention you give when you ask how they are – and really listen and want to hear the reply – as those oil changes. Date nights and *making* time for your partner(s) as those routine check-ups that keep you up to date on making sure that all is well.

And if something isn’t all well and good? Would you go to the garage, see that your car has a flat tire and jump in and drive it anyways? Destroying the wheel and causing massive damage that will cost a small fortune to fix… The “check engine” light comes on and you drive it anyway, hoping the light will go out; and when it does (it always seems to!) then you pretend it was ok anyways and put it out of mind.

How often do we do that with our relationships? The little warnings signs are always there…we ignore them, consciously or subconsciously…we pretend we don’t see them, or worse, we actively choose to ignore them and hope for the best – raging at the injustice when it not only doesn’t get better but actually has the nerve to get worse!

 

Neglect the care and maintenance of your car and the reality is that it’ll drive great for a while, not so great for a while after that and eventually it’ll just be one issue after the other until it simply gives up and packs it in.

Not a surprise that relationships go the same route.

Ah, relationships (part one)

Out for a run today and for me, running is therapeutic. My mind wanders and my issues that are stirring about in my life rise to the surface to be attended to. Some days my running allows thoughts of turmoil and strife to settle and quiet and provide me with a sorely needed solace of quietude and calmness. Other times, my running brings those issues to the forefront and I use that time to focus and problem solve; bringing a determined process of resolution to something that needs the attention. Today was a different type of thought process all together for me.

Today’s run was both introspective and productive which is a new one for me. As I began my run my body felt heavy and slow. Sluggish and hard to move as I felt as though I was lifting and dropping each foot with tremendous effort.  My spirit soared though and it felt, inside, good to run. Such a disconnect between my body and mind however had me seriously considering turning back and just going home instead of pushing through. I kept going though… giving myself permission to move slowly and to stop and walk when I needed to. After about half an hour of this my body started to settle and as that happened, my thoughts came up, as they do. One of the things that came to the front of my mind was the following…

I was thinking today about a workshop I attending this past weekend on jealousy and communication and it made me think about the how’s and whys of relationships.

I’ve had 2 marriages and a few longer term relationships and they have each been unique and different in their own ways. I have, after much thought and soul-searching, accepted that they were not “failures” in making it work but rather experiences that have allowed me to grow and learn and move forward. They have brought me to the place where I am now with a better knowledge of myself and an understanding more fully of what is, for me, a need versus a want in a partner and in a committed relationship.

Having just recently ended a long term, committed relationship with a partner that I loved deeply and was hurt by I have been taking time to sort through my emotions and to start to move past the hurt and the sadness of it ending and look to what I am taking away from this experience. A big one for me is the truth that I need to not allow myself to be treated as less than what I deserve. I value respect, honesty and a willingness to communicate too much to not have them as an integral part of a relationship. Lesson learned.

I also am taking away a very distinct belief and understanding, true understanding, that I am enough for myself. I don’t need a partner in my life to fulfill my needs and my desires for companionship and caring and love. I have found that the love I have always had for my own company and solitude is still present. That in order for me to be content, I only need to know myself and understand myself. With that realization has come a freedom from the sadness of losing a partner and a joy in knowing that I am choosing to be single now. That I am making a conscious decision to take the time that I need to be with my own thoughts and my own musings on finding and enveloping who I am so that when the time is right I will find the partner that complements my life and time and energy. Someone who will enhance my life and be there to enjoy the moments of joy.  A partner to journey the rougher times with and offer support to each other, out of love and compassion and understanding. An understanding that will be fostered from 2 people who know themselves well enough to know what they need from someone else.

A wonderful ideal and one that doesn’t just happen but rather takes time and work and commitment to being willing to put in that time and effort. The rewards are worth it though. The reality is that the effort and the commitment start with putting in the work and the brutal honesty needed to build the strongest foundational relationship of all though – my relationship with myself.