"Make my messes matter.
Make this chaos count.
Let every little fracture in me
Shatter out loud."
- Sleeping at Last, Jupiter (song), Atlas: Year One (album)
I was down on my knees. For real. I was in tears, begging for a break in the level of stress. I thought about praying for the strength to get through to the other side of all this, but that prayer felt like it had already been spent.
Of course I'd known that there would be some difficult transitions as I prepared to make big changes in my life, but I underestimated the sheer force of the storm that would blow through my life this past couple months. I honestly didn’t expect things to get this hard. To be this messy. This chaotic. I was convinced that I could keep myself organized, check items off lists, allow the emotions to move through me, breathe deeply, and meditate to keep myself grounded through the changes as they happened. I was wrong. I haven’t felt my feet on the ground for weeks now.
I haven’t blogged since December, and I’ve only written three newsletter articles in the past five months. The new website I planned to launch in early January is still half-finished. My belongings are packed in boxes and spread between two storage units, a friend’s house in Lakewood, a closet in the guest room at my Beloved’s home, and my car. Most of my stuff is price tagged for a garage sale next month. Some of it still needs to be sorted through – scanned, given away, thrown away, or packed for my travels.
In February, both of my kittens were adopted. My daughters moved in with their dad. My altar was disassembled, and I no longer sleep in the same bed that I’ve slept in for most of the last decade. Everything about my life changed in a matter of weeks. It feels like it's “all gone”, despite the fact that most of it was “just stuff” or leased space or relationships that are still part of my life.
I’m not sure exactly when I lost my footing, but I did. I let the chaos sweep my off my feet. I panicked and started moving through life on auto-pilot, which had dire consequences. During the final hour of my move, I made a mistake that amplified the stress level to a deafening roar that left me staggering and unable to hear my own inner voice anymore. In a frantic whirlwind of activity, I set down a bag next to my car. Then I got caught up paying the mattress removal company and rushing to return the keys to my apartment manager before the office closed for the day. Twelve minutes after I set it down, I remembered that I’d set that bag down on the curb. It was too late. It was gone.
I wish it'd been a bag of household cleansers, or clothes, or cookware. It wasn’t. Someone had walked off with a bag that had my wallet, boxes of checks (for two different accounts), and the beautifully hand-painted jar where I’d been tucking away cash for my travels. While the thief was deciding how to spend over $500 in cash, I would spend the next couple of weeks canceling credit cards, closing bank accounts, and sitting in line at the DMV. As if moving wasn’t stressful enough…
What felt like a Tropical Storm blowing through my life, gathered more strength as the insanity spread to my relationship with my Beloved.
Without warning, the Hurricane made landfall and carried me out to sea. At a time when I'd imagined us celebrating a milestone in our relationship, we were suddenly standing at a crossroads. It wasn’t clear if we would move forward together or begin to journey different paths after three years of walking side by side. I hadn’t been able (or willing) to ask for the support I needed, and he hadn’t anticipated my emotional needs. I grappled with unmet expectations as I tried to find space in his home for a car-load of belongings. He seemed distant and aloof, caught up in his own priorities and patterns while I gasped for air and tried to pretend that my head was still above water.
At a time when I needed a hand to pull me to back to shore, we brushed fingertips but missed connecting. I was completely adrift.
Instead of throwing a lifeline to me, my lover tossed a heavy weight. It was a small lie, not even about anything significant, but it was more than I could deal with in that moment. To me, honesty is the foundation on which a relationship is built. He knew this, but he wasn’t being any more mindful than I was. It was a pattern in our relationship that I thought had shifted months ago, but now I wondered if it would ever change. If I stayed in the relationship, was I giving him permission to be dishonest with me when it was easier for him than telling the truth? If I left him, would either of us ever find a relationship that would challenge us and grow us in the ways that ours had? It felt like I had to choose to love him or to love myself. I couldn’t see a middle path. I couldn’t see anything. I was drowning. I could feel myself going under.
My love never did throw a lifeline. He swam out to me instead. Together we made our way through some tumultuous waves. It felt like we swallowed a lot of water as we struggled back to shore, and I still feel like I’m sitting on the sand, trying to catch my breath, but the sky has cleared. I can see the sun again.
I'm tired and longing to get to the romance and adventure in all of this. I want to blog about courage and freedom and connection. And I will. But right now that wouldn't be genuine. Right now, I'm disheveled and panting - not how I want to be seen - but that is the truth of things. Despite the fact that I know why I'm doing this, my mind is swimming with questions and I'm awash in fear.
What if none of this matters? What if I'm just creating chaos for myself and those that I love most, because that's what I do? Maybe I'm the hurricane and not the one caught up in it.
What if my travels don't actually create more freedom in my life? What if I “fail” and can’t hack living on the road or find a way to earn a living while I’m travelling? What if my life is as beautiful as it’s ever going to be right now, and I’m walking away from the things that I should treasure and hold onto with all my strength? What if I uproot my life and simply blow away?
And then I breathe. Deeply.
A tide of hope washes over me. It's so gentle, I almost don't feel it. This storm has passed, and I'm still here. I may yet be blown away, but that's okay since my roots were never buried in a specific place. I'm still connected to myself and to the people that matter most to me in my life. I count on my roots to connect me to the things that nourish my soul. The deep, abiding love of my daughters. My writing. My Tantra practice. All of these things sustain me, like oxygen, even when it feels like I'm being tossed about in the chaos.
All of this matters. I matter. And I'll get back on my feet again soon. I just need to rest for awhile first.
When was the last time you felt completely overwhelmed - adrift in a storm of chaos? What are the "roots" that sustained you and brought you back to yourself?