True transformation is not beautiful. It’s not a bunch of yogis sitting in a prayer circle breathing with enlightenment. It’s raw, grisly, and when we finally break free/surrender and can begin to see the light; we realize we are quite a different creature from when we entered. Even if we’re ready for a change, why does this process feel like we are being drugged along kicking and screaming? One word, resistance. I’ve recently become a Tolle reader, so I will more accurately state this fight as resisting the Now or the present. Tolle and The Buddha teach that resistance is the root of all suffering and it is impossible to make big changes until this resistance can be calmly monitored and observed. Tolle (probably Buddha too) also explains how there is no past or future, these are only trappings of the mind. Unfortunately, we spend most of our time here dwelling on the past or the looking forward to the salvation of the future. Never simply enjoying the present, which is all there is. Which is why we have to keep catching ourselves over and over when we begin to think about the past or future. Only here is where the true work resides.
My plane landed in Denver on May 11th, 2019 and I was not the least bit prepared for the shift that was already taking place. I felt like a flower that was violently ripped from the ground and forced to take root in a completely new environment. My body and mind were in the US, however, there was a part of me still back in the United Kingdom. That part was very much alive and this contrast was tearing me apart. I would wake up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe. It felt like I was in the wrong place! I wanted to be back in England having breakfast, taking a walk and petting ponies. There is a very real condition known as reverse culture shock and it made my integration back to the US extremely difficult. I had so much resentment toward border policies, pretty much the US as a whole, my former romantic tryst for leaving me to the wolves, and then anyone and everyone that didn’t understand what I was going through. It was like existing in two separate worlds simultaneously and completely alone. Unfortunately, this tail spinning continued on for months because my resistance was so strong. I was determined to blame others for my current situation. Not to mention fending off onslaught attacks from those I once thought of as allies. I quickly became an enraged victim filled with spite, caught within a whirlwind of pain and despair. To say this was the most difficult time I have encountered, would be an understatement. This shook me to my core and forced me to allow, accept, and eventually discover the Now.
This suffering mainly happened on my own behind closed doors. This was both good and bad. Because although I felt very isolated in my grief, I came out of it realizing that we are never, ever truly alone. I’m not talking about other humans, I’m talking about our inner self/source/ancestors/God, whatever you want to call it, they are always there supporting. Understanding this and the fact that others humans are also important; there are a few individuals I want to personally show my gratitude toward helping me reclaim my power. I am very grateful to my roommate Bill, who without realizing, provided a great distraction and sense of normalcy that was invaluable to me during this time. With his support, I was able to get out of my head and stop the downward spirals. Also, I am forever indebted to my most wonderful friend, Yamila, who expertly and repeatedly held the space for me, allowing me to sob and purge this resistance that was consuming every part of my being. I didn’t know what was wrong at the time, but I knew I had to release it, whatever it was. I owe a huge thank you to Yamila and her husband, Gene. Finally, my dear friend Traci, who never shied away from hearing my pain. There were very dark moments when I was stubbornly determined to linger in agony and she brought me back from the brink, several times. I will always treasure these strong relationships with these amazing and wonderful individuals. Friends are so important to me and there was a time when I thought they were all I had. I have a history of blurring the lines and falsely associating friends as family and when they didn’t reciprocate to my standards it felt very traumatic. I felt this huge void, which as it turns out, actually wasn’t empty at all. This brings me to my second and most valuable takeaway from the past five months which was to understand the tremendous power and value of family.
My mother died on June 27th, about 6 weeks after arriving back in the states. In fact, I arrived just a week before I had to make plans to go to Kansas to see her before she died. I had no money, no car and no way to get there. Here is where my incredible family stepped up and became a solid rock in my life. My cousin Kim, who I think of more as a sister now, paved the path to bringing me to my mom. She and her father enabled me to get those final moments with her. This was a gift that is beyond the price of any measure. Before this experience, I didn’t realize anyone (besides a partner) was capable of such an offering. It is a little sad that this took so long and I had to be at my most desperate time to truly understand this. My mother raised me under piles of her own resentments and the lessons from which were to “not trust family,” and “no one ever has your back.” In a strange way, her death enabled me to let go of her pain and accept this fresh new bounty with open arms. I finally have a family!! Something I have fought and strived to achieve for as long as I can remember. They were here all along.
Currently, I am happily living in North Carolina. I was welcomed without hesitation by Brynn, Kim’s mom, now my new mom. 🙂 She is sharing her wealth of wisdom on a daily basis and more importantly teaching me how to receive and trust. I am understanding the value of allowing someone to give in order to have the space to create. I honestly don’t know where I would be without her. Chewy is also settling in nicely. He seems very weary from so much traveling and I have made the decision to stay put as much as possible until he passes. I am finally in a place where I am happy, present and looking forward to the future. A future that isn’t someone else’s dream and I’m just tagging along in the background. A future that doesn’t include being trapped in a job I don’t like because I think it’s the fastest way to bring me fulfillment. I am going after my true dreams and abundance. I am already there. I have arrived in the Now.