It was the worst of times then the best of times.
2014 started off, I’ll just say it, in pure Hell. A conflict erupted in my family, one that had been brewing for at least a decade, one I’d been avoiding yet was presenting a clear and present danger to all of us. A conflict involving a sociopath preying upon one member of my family which I could no longer ignore. It’s hard to know how to manage that kind of evil. Poking that rattlesnake will surely awake a sleeping demon yet ignoring it allows the virus to spread, however insidious it may seem.
It was on a ride back from Sedona in very early January that I realized I needed to take action and action I did take on many fronts. There was drama in the household, threats made, my very safety in question, lawyers involved and basically a clusterfuck of chaos (pardon my language but there are times that word has to be used and this is one of them). Ultimately it landed in an arena of good– meaning protection– and I have no regrets. It just went on, in various forms and stages, for about two months. It took a hell of a lot of my time and energy and in some ways was the line of demarcation to me rising to a place of serious responsibility in my family. This happens with aging parents. I’ve said, in this year, I became the patriarch of sorts in my family dynamic. While at the same time being the nurturing mother. It’s been a demanding year yet not without extreme rewards.
On other fronts I experienced two episodes of serious betrayal that hit me so hard and unexpectedly and consecutively I barely had time recover between Tsunamis. Well, to be honest, I didn’t recover between those tidal waves. Both involved females in my life. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been outright bullied really in my whole life. I’ve always been at least mildly well liked if not pretty popular. I had no idea what/why/how all of this was going on but it most certainly was. It’s very hard to feel victimized like that and not define oneself a victim. I managed to navigate those waters riding that balance beam, sometimes falling off, always launching myself back on.
It wasn’t easy, not at all, but since I tend to seek patterns and signs in my life, I saw there was one common denominator in these traumatic events: me. Even if I didn’t find myself to blame particularly, I did find myself standing in the center and I found myself, through tears, uttering the words to my dear friend Rob “I have to change. I have to change”.
It’s daunting, terrifying yet also liberating to stand in that truth and at the same time having no idea just what needs to change. Just that you have to to be happy…to evolve.
I looked around my life and realized the path was laid out right in front of me. And it was called Myofascial Release. The modality I practice has literally saved my life facilitating my healing from the terrible anxiety disorder that plagued me for over a decade and nearly took me down. I stood in that Sedona mirror and realized this was a no brainer–I have a house there, more time since I’ve kind of semi retired this year and can take courses for half price. I set about throwing myself in to a place of Beginner again and started over my training with the introductory course I’d not taken since 1989. It was so refreshing.
I took six courses this year in about a five month window. I loved it.
And I broke down in the deepest sobs, those uncontrollable sobs that take over your entire body rendering you useless, during one of the courses that I can only guess was a turning point. Something deep was unearthed, released, acknowledged, set free.
I’d also had kind of a falling out or a distancing from a person who is very important to me and who’s been in my life for over two decades. I consciously set about healing that relationship and honestly learned some deep lessons about true forgiveness–being on both ends of that equation this year.
I learned that, if a deep injury is inflicted on a relationship and you (I) sincerely desire resolution and reconciliation and healing it takes a sincere effort and many followed-through steps. The strategy I employed was to seek any possible infraction on my part in the conflict and identify it, seek inside what might have been propelling it, express to this dear person on my knees in humility that I desperately wanted to recover the relationship, explain some things I guessed might have been going on with me, let them know what I intended to do about them to heal myself first, then go about doing them in a very obvious way. And that’s what I did. It was a matter of digging deep, owning absolutely anything I could, expressing it then setting about with my ACTIONS to prove I was serious about my intentions to heal the rift between us, starting inside myself.
I knew I was out of the woods when a tap on my shoulder came one day and a whisper in my ear saying this dear person to me had invited me to lunch with a private, intimate group and I knew then and there I’d won their trust back.
On the receiving end of the forgiveness front, I participated in a dynamic with a dear friend who, for reasons I’m sure are completely unknown to her, betrayed my trust in such a confusing and painful manner that it caught us both by surprise. However, we decided, in fear and lack of intelligence or motivation to pretend it didn’t happen and move forward as if it was a speedbump in the schemata of our friendship. This was a mistake. It was there and I couldn’t look at her without seeing it. She then behaved again in a similar dismissive fashion after that decision to not deal with things and I knew I just couldn’t trust her. I had to let it go. She tried coming back around, I believe in fear that I might throw her under the bus as she had me, and I reassured her that I would not (and have not and will not) but I never got the feeling that a sincere effort was even inside her, much less displayed that could have led to the deep healing we would have needed to regain trust again. It was sad to let her go but at the same time, it was the Truth. I couldn’t pretend that things didn’t happen/were different/were unchanged. She knew it too.
Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away with Grace and this was one of those times. Sad, yes, but necessary.
I learned this year first hand that corny cliche about how people come in to your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I let go of another friend who I realized was in my life for a reason/season but it was time to move forward. No regrets, no hard feelings. But if you stay too long at the party, you will develop just those things. As a person with such a history of abandonment, hanging on to people long after the relationship’s expiration date has been a comfort zone of mine. And not a healthy one. Finding the clarity to let that friend go, clearly and without reservation or regret, was also a sign of my growth.
I started coming out of the fog of those traumas in the summer, right around the time I insisted that my brother audition for the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus and the miracle of that lifted us all, especially me. I’d sunken so deep I’d forgotten that miracles are happening all the time around me/us so my eyelids were lifted again through that opening in the sky and magic started re-entering my life. Rather, I lost my temporary blindness to it.
Around the same time, I decided to get a puppy. That decision also was a liberating lift to my life. I’d woken up one beautiful morning in Sedona and thought “I’ve had such a wonderful weekend up here–hiking, hanging with friends, dancing with Wendy, indie films, good food–but I’m lonely”. I felt as if there was this void near me. I looked down at the foot of my bed and saw my small stuffed fox there and thought “my life would be totally different if I had a little companion to go with me places–a dog”. Just the idea gave me such joy, such incomparable relief, that I set about making a plan.
Concurrently, last summer, the notion of writing my memoir was born in me. I’d resisted this for two decades despite many people’s urging. I don’t know, suddenly I felt I had a story to tell. I knew I am not incarnated to just regurgitate a tale or tales of sorrow/trauma/woe. I had to find a bigger story. And one day it just came to me. Middle Child was born and in October a plan was seeded.
After another brilliant trip to the Seattle area I knew what I had to do and set about making plans. Two days after I returned I had secured the studio in Edmonds, laid out my life to make it happen and set myself on that trajectory which has been so utterly supported by everything, everything lifting and buoying me that it validates the very story itself. I will write a story of trauma and triumph. Of sinking and rising. A story of hope and inspiration. Which we are living in my family and that is a legacy I’m born for.
It’s interesting that once you commit to such a thing, you feel a sense of wonder and obligation to keep rising. You leap and are given wings. Making the decision to write the book has definitely changed my life.
Which leads me to the single most important thing that happened all year, perhaps all decade, perhaps my entire life.
I was found by my soulmate.
Sometime in November I was asked to join a writing group by a friend who was a member and who has written a memoir which includes other people’s stories including my own. He knew I was planning to head out to write my book and thought this small Facebook group would be a good support system for me. It’s full of people, like me, who aren’t professional writers but who are writing nonetheless.
Everyone is asked to introduce themselves and so I did with as much candor and tact I could find but the reality is this group is about soul writing and I would say more elevated lifting subjects and here comes Kathy Monkman “hey I’m writing a memoir about homicide and schizophrenia”. Well, there it is. The truth.
Let me try and smash this love story in to a nutshell right now as it’s so broad and such a cornucopia of magic, it really is hard to minimize through this keyboard right now.
Let’s just say, my love is a member of this group and reached out to me, friending me. One thing that is really unusual and cool is how many couples, literally, have a transcript of their first encounter? Well, we do. Our very first exchange is documented on my Facebook wall. I have a plan to put it in to a performance art piece and he’s made us a Youtube channel to do just that. Stay tuned. 😉
A few days after that fun exchange, I shared a poem I titled “Safe” (posted below) on that page and he replied in a curious fashion. He asked why I included a fox and not an owl in my imagery. I sat there looking at his response wondering why he would even consider an owl. That ignited a 77 public post exchange late in to the night that led one of my friends to write me privately pointing out “you were flirting with that psychic last night”. Yes, he is psychic but his profession is as a Psychologist. He’s also a published author and has written his own gritty memoir about his childhood. The similarities of our upbringings is uncanny–both having lost parents while we were still in single digits and suffered some pretty severe abuse after that. We both understand each other in very deep ways. Yet we are also both thrivers. He said he looked at my photo online and saw a “warm white aura” around me and felt compelled to contact me. He also reads Tarot cards and performed a reading the night after our first conversation which revealed to him a deep message that I was the woman he was waiting for.
Both of us had pretty much let go of the search for a mate and were finding fulfillment in other arenas and BAM, we got hit like lightning.
Neither of us has ever felt like this before–a camararderie and ease and understanding and intense intense passion. We live across the country from each other and, oddly, have no worries or fears about how this relationship can find it’s way together. I think when you reach this age (I’m 55, he turns 55 in Feb, my father’s birthday) things look different. We’ve decided to challenge the paradigms of love and create our own unique form of how this will look and work for both of us with ease and aliveness. We are both fiercely independent and kind of loners so too much togetherness is kind of a hazard. It’s so nice to not have to explain that to someone and breathe the same sigh of relief.
All I know, without a doubt is, this man is The One I’ve been waiting for. Over Thanksgiving weekend I went to a Stupa in Sedona to send prayers to an injured friend with Rob and afterward shared with him I’d had three dreams, three nights in a row, that I was in love. That I’d woken up feeling in love. That lingering glow I’d not felt in really fifteen years to be honest. Rob said to me “maybe someone is coming your way”. I likely shrugged and said “nah I’m getting a dog”.
John contacted me that very night.
And we’ve been off and running ever since.
Rob had a dream over Christmas that he was walking me down the aisle to marry this man. Then he convinced me later that weekend to fly out with him to the East coast so I can meet John before our scheduled plan (he has a plane ticket to come to Seattle at the end of my writing Sabbatical and drive back to Phoenix with me). So, two days from now, Rob and I are flying together to Rochester NY and John is driving there to pick me up and we will be together in the physical world for the first time for a week. Yeow! I’m so excited I can’t stand it! Yes I can!
I know this conjurs up fears and doubts in people but neither of us have any. None. We already know each other and thanks to lots of technology (8 ways at least including our own private blog we created) we communicate all day long. In fact tonite, New Year’s Eve, due to the fact I’m stuck in Tempe waiting out a blizzard while my friends and family party in Sedona, we are meeting on Facetime to meditate together as he rings in the New Year in Pennsylvania. << We ended up staying on Facetime through my NYE for 4 hours (I was writing this last night and got interrupted with Happy New Year).>> At the time HIS clock struck midnight, fireworks went off outside MY window two time zones away. That’s just the way things are with us.
That all was a pretty big nutshell I guess. I’m just so grateful, excited, blown away, shocked and dumbfounded that this all happened. Yet, when I look at my treasure map, there he is, all over it. And proudly displayed in the upper left corner are the fox and owl, just waiting to find each other off the map. The owl even has binoculars which he clearly used to seek me out. It’s just bliss, what can I say? I’m so happy.
We will make Treasure Maps together next week at his place. We’re already gathering supplies. 😀
As soon as I return I leave again for WA and I’m so ready to write it’s constantly knocking at my brain. Please stay tuned over on the other blog for all the updates I’m doing there. I’ve started packing and am ready. Another MFR practitioner dropped out of the sky to be available to treat my clients as needed while I’m gone. The support around this project is just unfathomable.
My puppy situation is on hold at the moment. I need to just see how this new relationship shakes down before I take that on. I’m not ruling it out but I’m just being smart about taking on too many big tasks. And as John said to me “dogs are all about loyalty–and you found that with me”. Awwww.
Well that’s kind of a year in review for me. I hope you all out there reading are having a wonderful NYE and doing exactly what you want to be doing with exactly who you want to be doing it with, even if that’s with yourself which is it’s own blessing. I know this very very clearly.
And thank you for coming along with me all this year. It was a wild ride and will likely get wilder this coming year but now I’m not alone for the first time in a very very long time in that intimate partner kind of way.
I feel so lucky I’m likely covered in bruises from pinching myself.
Happy New Year.
I love you all.
Safe (a love note to Rancho La Puerta)
Home, my Neolithic stone head
Grinds on it’s axis
Crackling and vigilant; always vigilant
The old guard stands tired, hunched.
Parking lots, sidewalks
My own front door.
Eyes pierce dark corners; dangerous curves
Here, my helium filled head
Bubbles beyond it’s spine
Borders; floating, bobbing in curiosity
Three hundred sixty degrees, breezy.
Alert, yes; eyes wide open
Through black trees at dusk
Begging a visit with a friendly fox;