I had jumped off the cliff of security to be with him, to reclaim my drying spirit and dwindling sexuality. I’d left my 16-year marriage and adopted family, shocked and shattered friends alike, to pursue my life. I’d given away too much of myself and no longer recognized who I was or what I wanted. I needed to return to my deeper self, the one I’d long ago forgotten.
I was putting everything I had into our newfound romance. My last hopes for a family with a man so interested resided with him. I believed him to be my muse. I saw myself sitting beside him, creative life exploding. I felt myself a passionate, soul-centered animal advocate. Our unity inspired me to live a life filled with organic meals and herbal teas, early morning side-by-side meditations and Saturdays spent wandering deep into Indian Peaks Wilderness in the company of my dogs. I’d dreamed of a life’s work so deeply satisfying that my final words would be, Yes, I did what I came here to do. I’d shared my crayons of that 64-count box with him. He’d walked into my death ceremony on my vision quest, declaring his everlasting love for me. What of the twelve years between us? I asked of my 32-year old catalyst.
It doesn’t matter, Bo, he’d pulled me close into his presence in that Canyon. You are the one I dream about…
I took a breath. Leaned in, held on. Our time spent together surged and pulsed into just that moment. He stood upright. He was tall. His head blocked the campus security light.
No, Bo, I don’t. His words pierced the silence like a shattered bulb on a concrete floor. Then he turned and walked back into Eco-Literature class, the one we’d signed up for together…
It’s been years since that moment. And now I can see it as the moment that I turned against myself. It was from that moment that I began to dwell complicit in a belief that I was too many years into life to create a career anew. I’ve had my 25 years in law, my discursive thoughts cycled like the gears I once turned on the roads, I guess there’s no room for me in the professional world any longer. It’s all filled with Google geeks and gig-contractors, 20 and 30-somethings steeped in the digital world.
It’s been nearly a decade of feeling thrown away by that 30-something man-child, as though he represented all of his younger generation in its entirety. As though I had nothing to offer any longer — not since reaching mid-life.
Sometimes, when we pursue our dreams, we trip. Other times, we fall. In just that moment, I fell down hard. Something in me had turned away from myself. I used his judgment of me — that he couldn’t have a bed baby — to feel old, infertile, used up. I told myself, my time had come and gone. My hopes of birthing anything — a baby or a new career — were now the province of the 20 and 30-somethings.
I stopped pursuing the dream that spurred my entire life change — to find my own authentic voice, cultivate my creativity, fuel my passion for speaking on behalf of animals and following my intuition. I let the voices of self-doubt drown out the Spirit-filled guidance that had called to me to write on behalf of wolves. For it was the energy of that Canyon on my vision quest (a story and identification of that Canyon, for another time) that called me to write and advocate awareness for all of God’s creatures, encourage a culture of coexistence and advocate on behalf of the homeless ones.
I let the fear of running out of funds during my very divorced and sparsely single life overtake my belief that I could convince mountain road cyclists to wear my cycling apparel to save animals. I gave away my unsold cycling apparel to HawkQuest, rationalizing they could use the proceeds to buy field mice for their golden eagles. I stopped showing up at cycling booths promoting my work. I shelved every article I began to write as the voice of Who will read this? screamed louder than my morning dose of creative passion.
I shrunk myself small, stopped myself every time I took a step forward, tripped myself up and closed my own door, before I ever got over the threshold.
Having left my audibly superior, empowered and loving former spouse for whom I once blamed for silencing me, I had no one now to blame but myself. I had managed to silence my own voice.
Sometimes, we need others to help shine the light on our self-inflicted darkness. Sometimes, we need to step forward out of our shadows, look at what turns us around and say to ourselves, if it was important enough to create a new life for, it’s worth trying again.
Sometimes, you just have to pick yourself up and try again.
Finding ways to reconnect with our passion isn’t always easy. There’s a lot that gets in the way. Getting back up when you fall down is quite a bit like getting back on the pony my father often encouraged to buck me off. I know now that he did it just to teach me how to get back on.
As a writer with a persistently nagging frustration to create into the wind or write for the sake of expression, I feel the energy pulling me forward deeper into every blessed waking day. I feel the passion previously turned inward into something akin to depression beginning to feel liberated into a new life. I feel the unity in other creatives pursuing their bliss, telling their stories, following their path. This is a new time since I sat crumpled in a heartbroken heap on that Naropa grass, but when you feel born to create and pursue your life’s dream — whether it’s writing, cooking beautiful foods to share with the world or sharing your scientific genius with a wanting public, no one should give up or allow another to ever, ever, throw them away…