I thought I’d start at the end of the story because it’s not too different from the beginning, as is often the case with affairs of the heart. My yoga teacher often reminds us that the practice is a practice of beginning again – and so today, I begin again.
The contractions came in waves, just like I’ve always heard and seen from friends and TV, but mine were self inflicted and laced with layered sorrow. Each one with its valley and peak, each one with light and darkness, each one testing my faith. The baby came to us, I’m sure, under the full moon on the beach in Saint Tropez. It was the kind of sexy night you never forget in your life – this part of the story is my favorite. If she were to be born I would name her Sarcelle which means “teal” in French, it is the closest word I know to describe the color of the sea there.
I guess when I think about it conceiving at the age of 45, naturally, with a 46-year-old partner IS rare, but I don’t often live by any rules other than the Universe’s. We were being reckless; him jaded from past relationships, and me taking “letting go” to an irresponsible level. The first time it happened four months ago we barely knew each other, and after nearly three years of self-imposed self love and no relationship time for me I suppose I was feeling wide open.
The trouble is I knew after the second date that I would be here today, and even though in my nearly three-year sabbatical I promised myself that if I ever loved again that I would trust my intuition implicitly, in the end the old pattern kept me engaged. I remember that night vividly, the Universe handed it to me in the most dramatic way; likely because the last time the signs were subtle and this time I needed it with a slap. He had all the makings of the perfect fantasy for me, and a few things on the list of a man that I was beginning to manifest. French, professor, full head of hair, witty, kind eyes, beautiful hands, fit, spiritual, open-minded, full of energy…and I could keep writing here because that’s what I do. I focus on the good traits, I see them before anything else, and even though my intuition is telling me by energy and a law that is deeper than ego or time that the connection cannot be trusted I still look with stars in my eyes.
I had stars. I was beginning to create my fantasy and the list and then the end of the second date came at The Tunnel Top bar in San Francisco. It was a long night and we ended there when we both should have been home. It was sloppy, innocent and then suddenly too much. The drinking scared me, this is what I remember first. I married my college sweetheart, an alcoholic, and I have a sensitivity to it for sure. It wasn’t that he was drunk or a bad drunk even, it was the scary energy that I felt. The loss of control on his part, the lack of judgment and complete abandon – and the fact that he had no governor and continued despite the alcohol in his blood. I left him there that night and said good night as gracefully as I could and left the bar with a huge deep breath as if I had successfully escaped something bad. I walked blocks alone to my car and I remember saying aloud “I’m in over my head with this one…” and I knew in that moment that I would be here, right here, today.
It’s been almost six months. I’ve lost count of the drunken times, or the things he’s shared with me during these episodes that if I told any of my friends they would check me in to a hospital for staying with him. In my heart I have known for many days that we are not a match, and that the things I had to start making an actual list about that are big compromises for me are indeed big compromises. How is it that a life that includes Cocaine, lying and life-altering debt, doesn’t outweigh the magic we had in Paris this month? How is it that I hear him talk about how he is only attracted to skinny girls and then I make it my issue to be skinny? How is it that I’ve overlooked all of the negative talk, thoughts and actions when I’ve worked so hard to create, live and practice a life of love, kindness and positivity? How is it that despite the years I’ve devoted to loving myself, mending the relationship with my father and other past men, I still find myself drawn to and staying with the same man?
This time, with the exacting clarity that I cannot deny but continue to avoid, I am in it with my eyes wide open. I’m full of awareness of both his and my story, aware that I’ve created the exact same scenario for myself yet again.
At the end of a month of magic in Paris, away from the San Francisco influences and living in La La Land together I missed my period, again. He predicted it just like he did the first time, a sort of narcissistic premonition that he said he wanted but wasn’t walking the walk. I knew better. I knew better than to accept the third date, I knew better than to make myself so available, I knew better than to fall in love, I knew better than to accept each apology the morning after, I knew better than to be careless with sex… Yet I fell, and I lifted, and I walked along and humped along and deep inside of me as I was beginning to get farther and farther away from myself I slipped into a familiar pattern. In yoga we call these deep patterns samsara. There’s a special name, and they are included in the practice and study of yoga for this exact reason – they are carved so deeply from lifetimes maybe that autopilot happens.
I’m taking full responsibility, just like I do with the beginning of the story. The heartbreak that was the catalyst for major healing and shifting in my life. It was a repeat, like I said at the beginning of this story – the end is the beginning and the beginning is the end. With him, I saw it in his eyes and had a gut response, a direct message to my intuition and I ignored it. Nearly four years later he left me suddenly for someone else.
Immediately after I put the two pills under my tongue as instructed by the French doctor I started to have a panic attack. I didn’t know it at the time, I thought I was reacting to the poison. I later Googled the purpose of sublingual ingestion and found that the medicine travels faster this way. It hit me directly and I panicked. I was alone in a new Air BnB in a part of Paris that I did not know, all by my choosing and pushing away – and I was in a panic that I had suddenly miscalculated the severity of the situation. What ensued for nearly twelve hours will always be a day that I will mark in my life as one of the worst. The sorrow and pain were at times unbearable. I’m writing this on the fourth day after and my body is still recovering – from the inside, out.
I’m remembering where this story began, exactly three years ago. The panic attack I managed secretly on the plane back from a work trip and everything was a blur except the stark white page in front of me. I was in the middle of my yoga teacher training at the time and I was trying to focus on the essay assignment which was about Pranayama. The paper was about finding your breath, and I couldn’t for the life of me find mine.
The Paris breaths came easier but with much more weight. The time I’ve spent “working on myself” and the illusion I’ve been selling of this “delicious alone time” was suddenly in question. The two weeks leading up to the separation and forced miscarriage are so messy that I’m embarrassed to claim them. My body was changing, hormones raging, I wasn’t feeling well, or myself. I was tired and trying to keep up with the pace of a Frenchie on a vacation that was almost over. I was ignoring my intuition, patching my heart and drowning out a loud voice within to keep a peace that in the end is killing me. I pushed him away, as he pushed me. Instead of being honest and true, I pushed. And in a time of complete sorrow and medical need I was exactly where I had asked to be – alone.
I’ve been thinking for months about the irony of yoga, and the practice of non-attachment and letting go to heal samsara. Is there a danger of getting too independent? Too alone? The past three years I have cherished solitude, coined the phrase “loneliness is an invitation from the Divine,” from my intuitive healer. I’ve judged others who have a hard time sitting still and from my sacred solo perch I’ve written and talked about this idea of giving everyone the time in their lives to be alone with themselves and find inner love, that it would solve all of the problems of the world.
If it is a true mark of practice and practiced, I failed and I’m failing. I found such peace with myself that I can let go. I found such love in myself that I can love again with a new whole that is intoxicating. I found a place of solitude that is a false sense of security and anything big or worthwhile in my Universe-loving, hippie-talking, yoga-practicing life is still eluding me. I’ve cut cords, asked for forgiveness, let go, ripped myself wide open and put myself on the table to receive and I’m still in line for a slice of scar.
This one is deep, karmic. It’s old soul stuff.
Today I’m literally bleeding into a new life, cords cut from the inside. Part of me goes kicking and screaming championing for the man who holds my hand in his sleep, and part of me goes with drishti focused inward and a mantra of numbness for now – to get through. To get to that known, comfortable, safe place…the practiced place, the place coveted and praised – alone.