It is January 1st, the dawn of a new year, and I have much to be grateful for. After eight years of struggle and sacrifice, I feel that I've finally made it. My daughter and I moved into our own home this week... the first time we've been on our own since she was born. I can't believe it took so long for me to get here. I sit in my apartment, drinking tea, practicing yoga, watching television, reading a book, and I feel a deep sense of peace. I feel like I finally have space for my life—space to do my practice, space to be me.
I used to really lament about being alone at this time of year... It was important to me to be with someone when the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Day. It was important to have someone to hold on to, someone to make out with, someone to love. This year I'm alone but I'm not lonely. I have my daughter. I'm learning what it means to be truly present for her. It makes a difference.
I think about the relationships that have passed through my life over these last eight years and I have no regrets. I don't think about going backwards anymore. I don't want to be in a relationship bad enough to settle anymore. I am hopeful... I hope for a deep love, a deep connection with someone. I hope to get married someday... to share my life with someone... but I am no longer in a hurry. The restlessness of my twenties has passed.
I think I am only beginning ot understand what it means to love. I spent my early twenties trying to find love through passion. Like the fire under a pot of boiling water, I would burn only to be doused and extinguished by the water I was boiling. I would do the same thing over and over again. Writing that makes me think of a Rickie Byars song—My Connection with God. There is this spoken prelude before the song begins:
Well... there have been times in our lives when we didn't know who we were or what we really represented. We may have felt so desperate and so alone that we always reached out to somebody to make ourselves feel happy. We did this over and over and over again, but it always turned out to be the same—no peace, and no satisfaction. We ended up with a sense of fill-fullment but never with that deep sense of fullfillment... until one day we turned within to the kingdom of God and we heard the still small voice saying "I am your somebody." And then from that moment on we were able to say "I used to think that I needed somebody but all that I needed was my connection with God."
I used to volunteer for Iyanla Vanzant. This was right after the first publishing of Acts of Faith when I was a student at Howard University. She would play this song as she came to the podium to raise the energy level before she started her lecture. I used to bounce to it along with everyone else, but I can't say that I fully connected to the message. I fully connected to the "fill-fullment" part... to the "reaching out to somebody to make myself feel happy" part... but never quite the "all that I needed was my connection with God (feel free to substitute Buddha/Allah/Spirit/whatever works for you)" part. It's different now.
This past year has meant so much... finding Still Point, completing the Precepts Ceremony, beginning Intensive Practice, really settling into my practice... I feel lighter than I've felt in years. I'm learning what it means to forgive and how to love others without being dangerous to myself. I am seeing how pervasive that scarcity mentality has been in my life. (Scarcity mentality is one of those New Age terms... it basically refers to the thoughts and reactions of one who is of the mindset that there is never enough... in Buddhism, it is akin to the concept of the Hungry Ghost) I used to think that love meant giving something up... and I always gave too much regardless of the return on investment... "until today," as Iyanla would say.