Am I Living the Life That I Wish to Live?
Ok, it’s time to address the third of the three questions that occupied my mind and emotions at my recent retreat: “Am I Living the life I wish to live.” To do so, I realized that it is necessary to accept change as inevitable, and that resistance to change--especially in relationships-- was preventing me from living the life I desired. Change impacts everything, even something as simple as blue being my favorite color for years, now replaced by shades of green. Perhaps, it’s because I live near a body of water and see shades of blue (and grey) every day. Perhaps, it’s also because I live where there are two seasons—dry and rainy—and in the dry season, my plants, shrubbery are brown, lifeless, uninviting. But, oh, to see the transformation to green when the rains come is another sign to me, of the Great Spirit’s gifts.
Changes in relationships, whether sudden, or gradual, if associated with feelings of betrayal or helplessness, can be difficult to accept. For example, a sudden change may be the loss of a loved one through death, or a job requiring a move to a distant location. A change that takes place in a long-term relationship can be even more difficult because there is often a sense of betrayal.
“We’ve been friends since we were in high school together; she was my maid-of-honor at my wedding, and I’m her son's godmother. Now, whenever I call her, she’s ‘busy,’ or she won’t return my calls when I leave a voicemail. One day I even drove over to her place—she only lives about half-an hour from me—to see if she was ok. It took her about 10 minutes to answer the door, and when she opened it, she just looked at me and said she was taking a nap (it was 10 am!), and didn’t even ask me to come in! A few weeks later, I asked if I’d done something to upset her, and if I had, to forgive me. She said I hadn’t, but after a few more weeks of not hearing from her, I decided to let it go, and gave thanks for the good times we had shared over the years."
Another example of changes in a long-term relationship, is gradual incompatibility. Activities once mutually enjoyed are now rarely shared. Changes in music, food, or tv series preferences, can sometimes appear to be threatening to someone whose ego is fragile.
“How can you not like ‘Insecure’?"
“Are you still eating red meat? I don’t see how anybody keeps eating food that’s killing them, when a vegetarian or vegan diet is easy to adopt.”
"Valerie June is my girl; she’s better than Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and India-Arie put together!”
These changes are usually unpleasant because of implicit criticism and judgment of a person’s character, rather than their choices.
Another example of a sudden change, is when a single friend meets a ‘significant other.’ No longer ‘girl time’ to hang out for a few hours, or days on a cruise to exotic ports trumpeting romantic encounters. Is this now an opportunity to take on a project that had been put off to make time for friends? Or, do you ‘take it personally’ that you’ve been consigned to the ‘less-important’ group of friends?
To live the life I wished to live, meant that I had to accept the changes, to honor my intention to be non-resistant, to let go gracefully and gratefully, without feelings of resentment, or judgment. Above all, not to take the changes, personally.
To handle these changes by examining them with gratitude for all the wonderful experiences that enriched my soul, and lightened my steps, allows me to move forward to embrace the life I wish to live. So, I’ve begun taking steps to talk to strangers, paint my nails in colors that catch my eye, join a dating site (lots of interesting men to sort through!), make plans to sail the seas, (cruises are no longer anathema!), and write, cook, and dance to my heart’s content.