For individuals who give credence to the energies of organisms, the intricate and nuanced working of such is undeniable. In fact, Buddhists believe that everything in the universe says “om”: my being, my mug of coffee, the tree next to me, the table at which I sit. All of it is pulsating “om” into the universe. Those energies intermingle and mix together and create the atmosphere. I am not a Buddhist, but I do believe their is a lot of profound truths to be found within this particular set of beliefs. Because, as many may know, I am a firm and ardent believer in energy.
The most powerful element of being a human being is meeting another human being whose energy connects and aligns with yours. It can be a man or woman, and it doesn’t happen all that often. But when it does, something beautiful is created; friendships, partnerships, a love, respect, connection unlike any other. Not necessarily a soul mate, per se, but certainly the energies speak to the souls of the other in some strong and powerful way.
When I think of the story that has brought me to the situations and locations in which I have met the energies and souls that move me, it is almost comical. It is most wondrous how such dark, laborious periods can ferry me to a place of inescapable beauty and light. Unsuspecting is also a key word, here. I didn’t realize I was in the place of synergy until it walked right up to me and told me so. Or maybe, I didn’t allow myself to realize; I kept it to myself, and quietly let it bide inside of me.
Biding; I’ve done a lot of that in the last bit of time. If nothing else, this segment of my life has taught me a tremendous amount of patience and presence. It is timely, to be sure. And, though exasperating and frustrating, infuriating almost, it has been relevant and mind changing. Stepping back from the things—because they were mere things—that I focused all of my desires on, has allowed me to have clarity and refocus. And, because of that, I have found things that have changed me, moved me, recreated me. Humans, souls, energies, loves. The very synergy of human life.
There is so much to this story, and there is no good place to begin. Where would the beginning be, anyway? I forget where we were. And I am not even quite sure where I am. But, things come to me. They come, and they go. But something else comes in its place; a piece of knowledge or a memory of the way things once were, or some realization about myself. To live life is such a powerful happening.
Thoughts and emotions create a powerful set of beliefs and, ultimately, some kind of alternate reality in a lot of ways. About anything, really. I mean, I have literally had the experience of hating a certain dish at a restaurant, going back a few months later and having it again in different company, and finding it perfectly satisfactory. The notion that the company in which you find yourself can change the wiring of your brain is almost nuts. But it is true. It is, because we are perceptive beings, and once that perception is built, it is bloody difficult to change.
How many times I have found myself in a situation with someone I was in a relationship with (this instance, especially), and my mind and body were screaming at me to walk away; the argument, regardless of how passive or harmless it may have appeared, was not going anywhere good. In fact, it was a perfectly packaged inkling of how the future would undoubtedly play out. “Go! Walk away! Get the fuck out while you can!” the logical part of my brain and my inner energies scream. And the lonelier, weaker part of myself says, “Give it a chance, it will be okay. Things will come around back to the way they were.” And why is that the weaker part of myself knows how to manipulate or quell the stronger, more real part? What the fuck is that anyway? Frustrating as hell; that is exactly what it is.
The saving grace in all of this, though, is that my energy catches up with me and calls bullshit on my weakness. And thank God, because it saves me from making catastrophic mistakes that will do days and months of damage if left unattended and unaddressed.
Here is an example, fresh off the press inside my head:
On my way home after a long day of work, thoughts, and extras, the notion that things aren’t what they once were with the guy I’m seeing is something that I just can’t shake. Yes, I’ve already established that he’s not my person. I have not forgotten this. On the contrary, thank you universe, today was a blessed, if not brutal, reminder. The guy that was telling me how beautiful, intelligent, fun, interesting, amazing I am, willing to cuddle me, wants to hold my hand in public and kiss me and let everyone know how he thinks about me—he’s not doing that anymore. Not today, anyway. Not since he left my flat yesterday.
We. Are. Fucked.
Not because my ego is now suffering from attrition or withdrawals—please, I am made of stronger stuff. No, what it tells me is that something has shifted. His feelings, our destiny, the potential—any of it, all of it. The truth is, the way we were talking on the phone this evening was—holy Christ—absolutely and positively sterile. Not the same two people from Friday. It has been a downward hike, a gradual one, since Friday night. Gradual enough to where I might not notice it. But, today, there was no way around it—or I wouldn’t let myself go around it. Why? Because I would say a big “Adieu” to my own personal happiness if I went along with it. And, polling the room (weak side of me, shut the hell up!), why on Earth would I do that?
I wouldn’t, and I won’t.
Theres is a silver lining though. Hard fact is, no, it isn’t going to work. I am on my own again. But, thanks to this same chap, I know even more of what I’m about when it comes to being in tune with myself and what I can stand and tolerate. That is huge. It is nice to know me better. It is a privilege that I don’t always have the presence of mind to take advantage of. And, for God’s sake, I am certainly not alone. I have an incredible social circle to keep me much more than just afloat. Not to mention the fact that I have a new found independence by moving into such an incredible new space (more on that later), and, moreover, (goddamnit!) I will hold out until I meet my person. Nothing else could possibly be worth my long while.
I’m doing life; I can do life with anyone who can walk beside me for a time. And, yes, that, right now, is incredibly gratifying as well as satisfying. Bottom line (back to the business analogy) is that return on investment is everything, and I would like to be in the habit of making savvy choices for my investments. Pretty simple, in theory. Yet, in practice, things are less than black and white.
It’s a simple metaphor really; waking up from a restful sleep when the body is ready.
The truth of it, though, is that I need to wake up from so much more than sleep sometimes. I find myself in situations that I desperately need to come to some realizations about so I can open my eyes to what life and the universe is trying to tell me.
I think the best example of this is a relationship I was in for several months. It was unexpected -a truly pleasant surprise- and we had everything we could ask for in the beginning; fun, peace, potential. He was interesting and inspiring, extremely intelligent and sharp-witted. Conversation came easy and was always enjoyable and stimulating. We related well to each other and I even found that he challenged me in positive ways. As time went on, I felt myself being moved to do things for myself that I hadn’t realized were possible previously. He awoke in me both potential as well as actions that had been dormant for too long. Additionally, the amount of respect we had for each other was the oxygen to my life’s blood; it was incredible.
But, after awhile, I began to realize that he and I were two brilliant souls who didn’t share the same energy. It went beyond having different priorities, philosophies, and mindsets; I believe a partnership can work in spite of those things. No, it was not any of that. Though we still had peace and respect in our relationship and it was a pleasure to spend time with him, it was also the truth that we were both searching for something that the other would not be able to give. We both knew what we had in the other; it wasn’t that we weren’t good enough. It was that we were not in alignment. And we never would be. But this was not a fault of either of ours; it was just a fact of the universe.
At times, when I was really honest with myself, I could feel the small jolts pulse through me that acknowledged this fact. Apart from the subtle things that his body language revealed, in addition to the words he chose to express, there were also subtle signs from random places in the universe that were all gentle prods for me to break the slumber and face the day. This is where it became paramount for me to wake up. Because I think he knew it before I did. Yet he was patient enough for me to come around to it, too. And, in my own time, I did. I woke up.
Something amazing I find about life is that events or people come, they make an impact, and then things move on. The crucial moment is realizing when to let them go. In this case, he came into my life to show me some really powerful things about myself; things that, without our chance meeting, I maybe wouldn’t have realized, or they would’ve taken me much longer to realize. He was a catalyst for change in me, and together we did great things. But letting him go was also a great feat because, had I held on to him, peace would’ve turned to misery, and all the positives would’ve unraveled to become something neither of us would’ve enjoyed any longer.
Every day is full of chance meetings. Being open and receptive to them is something I have come to enjoy immensely. I’ve had conversations with strangers at tables across from mine at restaurants or in the line at a store, and they sometimes end up being the most uplifting minutes of the day. The fluidity of the exchange between humans can be the most beautiful happenings. For that same reason, letting go can be incredibly difficult, seemingly impossible at times. However, when you are ready to wake up, you will.
Then, greet the morning with a “good day”; and a good day it will be, indeed.
New beginnings are about a lot of things. Mostly, though, they are about the moments to rise from the ashes of the past, see the world for what it is, and let go in order to let something else in.
The turning of the new year, for example, was more of a metaphor than anything else; my new beginning was born on a warm day in July, over six months ago, and I haven’t turned back since.
No. In fact, things have only become sweeter. Though there was suffering, I remained on my feet with a happy soul to cling to. Looking back over the last year, I realized every trial I came up against brought me further in my journey, prodded me back onto my path.
And now, here I am. And here is good place to be.
I realize, the more I go along, that it takes tremendous strength and courage to walk away from something that is not of my soul and to continue to walk on. But, the feeling that comes with it, the one that I wake up with everyday, is the validation that gives life its meaning. Knowing I am right where I am meant to be, regardless of what happens, is a freedom unlike any other. And this knowledge, coupled with a positive mentality, has made all the difference.
My thoughts built up like the clouds piling up behind the mountains, nearly catching up to the sun at its zenith in the summer sky. Shading my eyes to look over the land, I saw the rocky pilings of the small beach where, years ago, fisherman had made a life out of the frutti di mare from those true blue and ever clear waters.
I dropped my arm and as it fell back to hang lazily by my side, I took notice of the burn beginning to assert itself on my bare arms and neck. I hastily pulled the gauzy shawl up over my shoulders and turned for home.
Everyone was sleeping; that’s what one did in the afternoons of the Mediterranean summer. We had taken lunch on the veranda, quiet today, just the two of us, and then Leo had kissed my forehead, helped me haul the plates inside, and had gone off to rest in a wine and heat induced snooze. Usually, I sat on the cool fabric sofa with a book or a magazine, successfully reading a few pages before nodding off myself, but lately I had taken to wandering the hills that composed the terrain in and around town.
As I meandered, I thought extensively about what had brought us here; it wasn’t a complicated story. We had been living in Portland, the city where we had met each other not quite three years ago. I don’t think I ever would have fallen for a man like Leo if it had been another time or another place. But, the combination of his eyes, patience, and persistence had not failed to make me realize that timing really was everything, and his was the right hand to hold through the next part of life. I had been living with an aunt, one of my most favorite women to ever exist, and she had given me a job at her start-up that she shared with a male business partner. When he became her husband and moved into the condo, I realized that a menage-a-tois was not the kind of life I wanted to be living going into my thirties. So, nine months into our relationship, Leo and I began to share his small apartment located a block away from the harbor. It was the kind of neighborhood Portland was known for; up-and-coming, trendy yet inexpensive, artsy, full of musicians, artist and actors. Serious young professionals came here to eat and drink, but Leo, never being able to shut off his brilliant mind, decided that this was just the kind of place for a teacher to find inspiration everyday.
And then, one fine Fall day just over six months ago, we got a call from the Old World; he had not mentioned to me that he had been destined to become a winemaker according to his family’s legacy and tradition, and with the ailing of his grandfather, it was time for him to take his place as his father’s assistant so that he could be properly groomed and educated on how to one day run the family business.
“I know its a huge leap of faith for you to make, carina, I get that. I understand it one-hundred percent. But, if you come with me, I promise we will be embarking on the greatest adventure of our lives.” He was smiling because he already knew what I would say. Despite not knowing more than a handful of ill-pronounced words in Italian, and would likely not be able to find a job very easily, with a furtive glance around our little apartment, I nodded once, nodded again, and agreed to something of which I understood very little. What I did understand of Italian culture were that honesty and trust were of the essence when it came to family matters. Leo called me his family, and so away we went. It was like his grandfather always said: “A man has his God, his family, and his name. If he loses one of these, he has nothing.” But I didn’t learn this until a bit later.
Everybody has to have a beginning. For Italians, life begins and ends with family.
The thing about southern Italian families, though, is that they are everywhere and in everything. The first time we took dinner at an aunt’s house, I hadn’t expected twenty people, let alone thirty plus. And if the sheer volume of bodies wasn’t enough, the extreme level of noise at all times put me into sensory overload. I couldn’t understand them when the spoke, not a word, and their constant vying for Leo’s attention left me to manage the giving and receiving of kisses on cheeks to the best of my feeble ability.
“Is your family always so confrontational?” I had asked Leo on the way back to his parents’ house. He had smiled and looked at me from the corner of his eye.
“That wasn’t anything serious, carina. They were just happy.”
I felt my eyebrows raise, but I continued to look straight ahead, contemplating how one could possible tell the different between felicity and belligerence at family dinner. I shuddered to think what actual anger would look like.
For the first year, we shared residence with his parents. His sister had graciously vacated the ground level apartment for our use and had gone to stay with a cousin in the city center during her summer break from university. I realized, however, that just because we had our space didn’t mean that it was actually our own. We had family guests calling on us, or rather, on Leo, just about every minute of the day. There was business to be discussed, family matters to be exacerbated, stories to tell, food to be exchanged, and everything in between. Most of the time, they just smiled politely at me, from time to time to acknowledge my presence, but I was otherwise more of a ghost who wasn’t quite privy to the conversation.
It was strange; I understood it and I didn’t at the same time. Therefore, I was quite at a loss at what exactly I should do. I felt it would be rude to sit on the couch and be for myself, but I also found it tiring to sit with them and be useless to absolutely everyone, including myself. So, I tried to do a bit of both, and hoped I wasn’t offending anyone either way. Cultural limbo, I called it. And it was exhausting.
One night as we lay in bed, I remarked that his cousins would likely come to bed with us if we gave them the slightest allowance. He smiled, kissed my forehead, and assured me that I was completely correct. “Who wouldn’t want to go to bed with you?” he asked with a huge smile. I looked at him, took it as a rhetorical question, and switched off the lamp. And for the next several hours, I lay there next to a snoring native, wondering how in hell I would ever manage to be part of this family, part of this world, part of something of which, the more time went on, I understood less than I had previously thought. Before I finally slipped into sleep, I remember thinking that Leo would be my guide; as long as he gave me an example, I would eventually be able to follow.
On a beautiful day in July, 2016, I found myself in a place of dynamic solitude; a place that I often had come to when I had been much younger and was distraught over whatever stumbling block life had placed before me. As I sat, contentment in my heart and peace in my soul, the words came to me as gently yet as assertive as a gentle wind. There, on that rock above a modest waterfall, with these words, a perspective that would forever change me was created: