2009 flipped my life inside out and shook out anything that wasn't super-glued down. It started with an angel card in a yoga class on the first morning of the year. Of course I pulled the birth card, and of course I interpreted it in the easiest way possible - a baby. I wanted one. I wanted to go through pregnancy, childbirth, babyhood. The man I married said he wanted the same thing, and I suppose it was a true gift that he never stepped up to the plate. We never had enough money, he said. He wasn't ready yet, he said. We'd be ready when his music career finally took off, he said.
Meanwhile I began to prepare my body. By the end of '07, I'd nixed all refined sugars, flours, animal products, and non-organic foods from my diet. I ate mindfully, I exercised more. I practiced meditation. I found a yoga studio and went to classes every day. Quietly on my mat I sweated out the toxins, let my breath expand my lungs and heart, let my body dance so that I would be strong enough to carry a child. Then on New Years Day 2009 I pulled that birth card and my heart fluttered around in my chest as my breath caught in my throat. Was this the year?
They say that as we deepen our yoga practice, things that no longer serve us begin to fall away. I became stronger, more flexible, more balanced. But just as they say, the things that were no longer serving me in an positive, authentic, healing way began to fall away... like my marriage. After 8 months of untangling a nagging feeling that had started as a funny feeling and then permeated every waking thought and sleeping dream, one day I looked over at the man I had married and realized that I did not want to raise a child with him. I did not want to navigate life with him. I did not want to wake up and go to sleep with him for a lifetime. My life with him - the life in me - had shrunk smaller and smaller until I felt like I'd been painted into only the tiniest spot of light. My inner light was still shining, but it was like a candle in the darkest of nights. He was a good man but not good for me. I was too young to settle but old enough to appreciate how precious life is. I could not write the next 40 years or so away for a tarnished ring and a misplaced vow.
Ultimately it was the nighttime dreams of shattered windows and dark corners that reminded me of the greatest relationship I would ever have - the one with myself. I could no longer settle for the least common denominator of good enough. My spirit wanted, needed, to be lived fully, to celebrate the gift of whatever may be left of my 70 or 80 years. My heart banged at the bars of my ribcage, begging to be set free. If I cut myself loose from my marriage, without a solid promise of romance or child in my future, at least my spirit would be free. I came to the point where I could not live any other way.
Through the months of unraveling the stitches of my life, I filled journal pages in self-exploration. What did I want from life? What did I want in a relationship? What was I looking for in a partner? What were my deepest desires, my hopes, my values?
As I unpacked the boxes for my new apartment, I embraced solitude. I spent quiet evenings curled up with my kitten, reading yoga philosophy and indulgent novels. I took photos with my new camera and sat in the glow of my computer learning how to crop, dodge, and burn. I cooked meals and poured crystal glasses of wine, just for myself, remembering how to nourish myself. I slowed my pace at the flower stand and brought home peonies and lavender, because they are beautiful and completely un-useful.
Darby and I met on July 4th that year, divine '09, and slowly invited each other into each others lives. We spiraled inwards for months with brief conversations at the yoga studio or online, until Sept. 3 when he came to my apartment for an evening of music exchange, conversation, cookies, and prosecco. We kissed that night for the first time. From the very core of my heart-wisdom, against the logic of my mind that told me we still barely knew each other, I knew that this man would be my deepest love. We moved slowly, toeing the edge of the cliff for weeks on end, but the gravity of love tugged at my cells and it was everything I could do to keep from falling fast, far, deep. We practiced yoga together, both on our rolled out side-by-side mats, and in our careful, conscious movements as we entangled our hearts and lives.
We spent the lazy day of New Years 2010 in each others arms until we laced up our hiking shoes and climbed some local trails. Darby and I made it back down the mountain just as the sun was setting on the first perfect day of a new year.
I do not know why today I am writing about those months of '09. This blog was not created for writing my life story, or at least yesterday when I began this I didn't think it was. I've never written about those last months of my marriage, except in my closely-guarded journals, but it feels right to me now, without knowing where any of this is going, to just write what comes and worry about the direction later. It feels somehow like that's where the story of my current life begins, so perhaps it is fitting.
Besides, I've been having only fits and starts with #98.
#98 - Embark on a new writing project
Maybe whatever comes out here will help birth the new project. Or perhaps this is the new project.
I began today's post about New Years '09. The List Of 100 Things To Do in 2012 also began on New Years. Forgive the abrupt fast-forward. There is no easy way for me to close up the entire unraveling that occurred in '09 and then quickly knit you the tapestry of what emerged later that year. Just know that Darby and I fell completely in love, and have entirely entwined our lives in a beautiful, sexy, conscious way. These past years I have grieved about not having a baby of my own, and I am learning about the other ways to be a mother, as step mom for two incredible girls who just this week began 3rd and 7th grade.
On New Years Eve, as the calendar flipped into 2012, Darby and I rolled out our yoga mats next to each other at the studio where we both teach and often practice. The NYE intention-setting class was the only plan we'd made for our holiday evening. We'd created a new cooking project that autumn - Love Them Apples - and we were entirely exhausted. What would 2012 bring? More of all the good stuff life had lately been sending, along with some extra sleep, I hoped.
I always have my journal with me on NYE, so I don't miss anything in case some insight on the past year strikes. Without any plan to do so, sitting on my yoga mat that night, I began this list of 100 Things To Do in 2012. Maybe it was the need for a vacation with my man, or the desire for a few quiet days in nature, but #1 surprised me.
#1 - go back to Big Sur with Darby
Last autumn, just after Love Them Apples started, we ran off for two wonderful days in Big Sur. We fell in love with the moody coast line and redwood forests. Neither of us had ever been there before, so Big Sur is entirely ours to share and explore together. We found a delightful place to stay on the south side of the region called Treebones and are smitten with the charming folks who work/live there, the magical organic garden that feeds the restaurant, and the quirky places to spend the night.
As I started creating and living through The List, Big Sur has been on the top of my mind. We did go back this past Spring. It was perfect, as I knew it would be. We spent our days jade-hunting on the rocky beach, hiking through golden grasses high above the Pacific, enjoying indulgent meals at Big Sur Bakery and Treebones, breathing in wildflowers everywhere, talking about everything and nothing, and holding each other through the chilly nights in the Sibley tent campsite.
Between the kids' school schedule, music festivals that we're playing, and yoga retreats we're cooking for, it looks like I won't get to cross off #85.
#85 - go away for a week with Darby
We still need a holiday though, so we may end up running off for another short 3 day/ 2 night trip to Big Sur this Fall. Perhaps in 2013 we'll get our week away. For now I'm not at all bummed about possibly having a few more days this year in what may be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.