the cultivation of a new life

DSC_0083The last six years have been mired in suffering:

Marital strife. The illness and death of my mother. The drug abuse and addiction of a loved one. The uncertainties of grad school and a new career.  Financial stress. Infertility. Miscarriage.

My life looks nothing like the life I thought I would have.  I’m 33, twice divorced. I am staying with my cat in a home owned by my parents.  I don’t have a couch, or a television. I don’t have a garden. I don’t have a husband.  I don’t have a baby.

The past six years may have taken away my dreams, my home, the woman who was my best friend.  But in all that I have let go, I have cultivated the gift of personal truth.

This may not be the life I planned on, the life that was expected of me.  But it is mine, a tender seedling nourished by solitude and the relentless beating of my heart. I feed my reborn life with crimson blood, honoring my truth by making it my own. I travel. I plunge into the wilderness.  I take big bites of the foods I love.  I listen to great songs twice, and then I listen again, but only if I feel like it.

Are finer things beyond the horizon? I don’t know. It is by some strange grace that I can I open up my eyes and appreciate that today, despite grief and uncertainty, is actually pretty wonderful. I’m healthy, with strong legs that carry me to mountain peaks and canyon depths. Legs that stroll the banks of sacred waters and skip along Manhattan sidewalks. Perhaps as months and years pass, the seedling of my life will transform into a wizened old oak tree, all craggy and leafy and deeply rooted. But at this point, there is too much uncertainty. I don’t know the direction my branches will ultimately point. But the missteps, the pain and the loss of the preceeding years have cultivated a new start, an opportunity to discover what to do with this one wild and precious life. I know this much is clear–

I am the flurry of beating wings at takeoff.

I am the unfinished symphony.

I am the unexpected breeze that lifts your skirt.

I am free.

23 thoughts on “the cultivation of a new life

  1. Swimming In The Mud

    Lovely photo to inspire flowing thoughts.
    I have a piece of paper that’s floated along with me for probably over a decade now. I read it somewhere and it stuck. “You have to be willing TO LET GO of the life you planned in order to GET READY FOR the life that is waiting.” The last decade has been so challenging and often a real mess. And, with each paper I’ve signed, door I’ve closed, box I’ve packed, that saying has found its way into my hands and heart just when I needed it.
    We are all on our own personal journey and it has purpose. Mine is definitely not what I planned; who in their right mind would plan such a thing? Still, we have to find a way to navigate through the challenges, the rough waters that seem like they hold us back and yet in the end make us stronger. And, yes–God willing and the creek don’t rise–wiser. 🙂

  2. liz

    the life i had planned turned out to be nothing like the life i am leading, and it has been all for the best. and, of course, i have no way of knowing what lies ahead… but i know that i will make it, come what may. so, i hold you in my thoughts, that your journey will continue to unfold with beauty and peace. and i wish you love and contentment as you seek to live in and soak up the present moment. xo

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      we are better people for all the twists and turns of our journey. best wishes to you as you make another big transition to this side of the pond 🙂

  3. Lucia Maya

    Thank you for writing of this loss and transition with such beauty and grace. I feel I am in the midst of transition, much of it still to be revealed, and many days it’s hard to see what beauty may come from this place of being, and other days I see that the beauty is here, always, already, nothing to wait for! Thanks for your reminder of life being a gift in itself.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      yes– its hard to adjust to the “new normal” in the aftershock of loss. but even without our dear ones we can find the beauty. well, most of the time 🙂

  4. Pingback: the cultivation of a new life | Shunyata's Apprentice II

  5. wildsagegrowing

    This post strikes close to home with me, because although I am a generation after you, I am in the throes of accepting that the past ten years have been nothing like I planned. I am hardly any closer to my dreams, and it hurts to acknowledge how little living I have done. The fact that you find so much hope and pleasure in the life you do have encourages me. Fly on, lovely.

  6. kellig

    so beautifully written. i wish you an open heart during your journeys. we can be bogged down by our experiences, or we can take it to heart, shake off the bad stuff and move forward, determined to enjoy the time we have.

  7. Pingback: the lesson of Yellowstone | born by a river

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