If I have to write the typical answer to this question, I would say…
Belinda is a 51 year old women. She is in her second marriage, but is now married to the love of her life, whom she has loved since she was 16 years old. Yes, it’s far more complicated than that, but we said ‘typical’ answer. She has three children she has given birth to, a daughter of 29, another daughter of 27 and a son who is 19. She also has twin daughters who are now 22, who came with the package of her husband. She has a beautiful, spirited granddaughter who has brought so much joy and energy to the family. This little girl is now 2 years old, and is the daughter of Belinda’s second born daughter, who has chosen to navigate life as a single mother.
But if I’m going to give you my heart-answer, it will contain far more intimate and sincere information. All of the above is true, of course, but each of us is far more than the sum of our achievements that we can stack on the wall.
I consider myself a ‘seeker of deep and unknown things’. I love to delve into mystical depths and try to figure out the meaning of life, over and over again. I have found, at least for me, that my truth is ever-changing. What I knew to be my truth 10 years ago, is nothing like the truth of my life today, and, because I’m always looking for more, I know that truth will look different in the next 10 years. But, in the past, it was important for me to know the truth. Now I absolutely know, we will only see it in levels, or iridescent layers. Nothing is set in stone because we are always evolving, and that no longer scares me. In fact, it’s a welcome and wondrous thing!
For almost 21 years, I spent my working life, nursing others. Whilst I was studying, at least 2-3 times a year, I would want to give up, but something larger than me, kept me going. After I qualified, I didn’t ever spend more than three years in each job, of which I had several. I used to get excited and fired up with each new job, but within as little as 2-3 months, the boredom would set in. Oh how I tried to make these years work for me, and honestly, now, looking back, I learned so much about myself through each new job. I was not a creature of habit. I loved new things, new challenges. At the time, I didn’t know that about myself. I always saw myself as a mousy, non-entity who could easily fade into the background. And yet, as I aged, I became aware that I did in fact, sometimes enjoy the spotlight. I did enjoy being the centre of attention, and I did enjoy discovering new things. I could never admit these things about myself, to that jittery, scared and pathetic me who existed in my 35 year old body. Thank God for change, for growth and for wisdom – if we choose it!
I left nursing and opened up a Christian Book Store which I sold after 18 months as it wasn’t doing well, and I was beginning to question so many of my beliefs. The books I was selling, no longer appealed to me. I was being drawn to different spiritual teachers, people like Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson and the wonderful teachings of the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. I was having a crisis of faith!
Over the period of about two years, I left a career I’d done for 21 years, I took my son out of the mainstream educational system to home school him, as he was struggling with a learning disability, I left the church where my leadership position was stripped from me in the most painful way and finally, I left my marriage of fourteen years, because I could no longer deny that I loved someone else, and always had. My marriage had been in trouble for more than five years, but my first husband refused to admit we needed help. Little did I know at the beginning of our issues, that I was still in love with someone else, and actually, marriage counseling would have only provided a temporary fix. I withdrew from him on many levels and finally decided to make a clean break. It was the longest nine months of my life, from the idea birthing within me of making the necessary changes I needed to live the life I wanted, to actually walking out of that marriage. It was indeed one of the scariest things I had ever done. Even as I write this, I am aware of the irony, that from the birth of this idea of leaving my first husband, to actually being able to go through with it, was akin to a pregnancy, that finally came to fruition.
This colossal decision, brought with it, it’s own set of painful repercussions. Because of the dogmatic church I was a part of, I lost many friends, almost instantaneously. I was also a part of an intimate and close home school group, that ostracized me, and because of that, my son suffered deeply. Everything I knew to be “Belinda”, was being challenged. Now, when I look back, I can see that everything was as it should have been. I would have doubted my decision to leave the church and religion behind, had they been supportive and loving to me. All of the separateness I experienced from so-called friends and even many family members, made it easier for me to eventually leave the town I’d lived in for over 20 years.
Leaving behind the small town and moving to a city, where no one knew me and I could start over, was just what I needed at that time of my life. However, looking back, those first few years were incredibly lonely. As parents, we make friends with the parents of our children’s friends at school, we make friends at work and we make friends at church. Well, I had moved towns, my son was no longer at school and I was working from home. There was also no way I was going to get involved with another church, not until I knew what it was I believed. But that was such a necessary time in my life. I needed to be alone with my thoughts. I needed to discover what it was I believed. I felt like a little boat, adrift at sea. This was a feeling I became used to for many years to follow the massive changes I had made.
And so, here I am today, fully functional, fully awake and fully aware, living a conscious life that is far from a picture of perfection. I am now married to the love of my life, who can sometimes drive me completely nuts. We have our blended family and will soon start with an extended family as one of my hubby’s daughters will marry early next year, in 2020. We have worked hard to get to this place. I do believe that no one person is to be praised for the beautiful family dynamic we share today, but each one of us, after much pain and heartache, have found a way to make space in our hearts for each other. We have been in hell, and consciously choose not to go back there. We all make choices daily, to stay connected, to love and to forgive. We are a messy family, but we would have it no other way.
And so it is, from this messy place that I will write these blogs. I hope that in some small way, my messy and chaotic life, touches yours. Where I have failed, I hope to do better. Where I am still in pain, I no longer run from it. I welcome these glimpses into what’s going on beneath the seen and I dive head first, into healing that unhealed part of me. I hope that after reading this, you will stick around, and come with for the ride. My life is anything but boring, I promise you that!
Thank you for reading this far…