When I left my ex, I found myself with a vacuum to fill: how to spend my leisure time. In all the vast, empty space of my new freedom, this was a small challenge with which to wrestle: compared to the immensity of learning safety, the question of how to choose my own activities was a walk in the park.
There were difficulties to it, and I actually felt a sense of relief when my DVD player broke, and took one choice from the terrifying new array.
All of which prompted me to have a conversation with myself: what did I want this new life, suddenly and miraculously my own, to look like. I wasn’t up to thinking about the big things – career, travel, family. I meant the little things, the day-to-day things. Those small things that go together to make up a life. And I decided: simplicity, solitude, vibrant friendships, music, hard work, and intellectual richness.
It’s been hard but I’ve built a life which – with some trial and error – maintains a balance of all of these things. It’s a sometimes precarious balance, and there are times when it feels like the merest angle’s tilt will tip the balance catastrophically, but it’s mostly in balance. With a foundation of the love of amazing people, I’ve created a life from the wreckage of abuse and violence, and it’s a good life, and I’m grateful.
There’s only one thing my life lacks, though (other than the winning lotto ticket, and the capacity to eat as much chocolate as I like without consequence): if my life is intellectually rich, it’s spiritually barren. I dwell and have my being in the loving Ground of all things, and yet, it’s an intellectual phenomenon. Head, not heart. I engage with the Sacred in the same way I engage with air: I’m aware of its flow over my body, it’s temperature, I know that without it I suffocate and die; but over the course of a month this miraculous experience might cross my mind once, if I’m lucky.
I yearn for the Sacred. To be able to live, knowingly and mindfully, in the nourishment of the Sustainer of the world: I thirst for that. And somehow, all I have to do is find a way of opening myself up to that. Of resting in that love, of submitting to that compassion. Of folding myself around the rhythms of prayer, and learning to centre myself, once more, on the Source of my life.
Not sure how to go about it; but at the moment, I wonder if the yearning might not be enough. Just for the moment.