Being in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Big Sur after almost 30 years has brought up many layers of unhealed wounds and deep memories, the most painful of which is the youthful sense of wonder I had back then, along with an innocent trust that anything was possible. Back in 1980, on the wings of that feeling, I arrived in CA to be a work scholar at Esalen. It was a time when so much hope was pinned on the unknown, the new and untried and the radiant, sharp beauty of this part of the country.
Upon returning here, I've felt pangs and heartache for the woman I was then. So much time has passed and so many roads not taken, it feels as though my unsung heart has been waiting all these years for me to return. Now that I have, I feel a bit lost and disoriented. I look at my life now and see that while I have birthed and raised two children, I have, in a sense, abandoned myself. I left her right there that morning at Esalen when the Monterey Police Officer delivered the news that my father died in a sudden car accident (he was 43 and I was 21).. She was so traumatized that her heart never really flowered open in the way young adult hearts should. Instead, it was broken into pieces and patched together. She was no longer fearless and bold.
Instead of unfurling my wings, I pulled them close and crawled into the arms of a man I thought would keep me safe and warm. My father’s death and the year I dealt with his estate--the lawsuits and greed--shook me to the core and I was no longer willing to trust life the way I had. If it could take him away and yank me out of the beautiful life I was building at Esalen, then it could hurt me again, so I decided to seek the sanctuary of marriage.
There were so many warnings not to jump into marriage so young. I pushed the relationship away once, and ran away from it a second time deciding to write and go back to school. But I couldn't resist the magnetic pull of security the relationship offered. The decision to marry at twenty-three changed everything I officially bailed on myself, my life and my path. After that, my Higher Self patiently knocked on my door time and time again, but I refused the call, refused to answer or even acknowledge that I was running away.
Though it sounds like regret, it's not. It's simply acknowledging and facing the truth about the choices I've made in my life. This part of my journey is about healing and integrating that deep wound from so long ago. I'm pulling my younger self close, reassuring her, loving her and inviting that courage and fearlessness to come out of hiding because I need those qualities now. My deep love and mothering of my sons have gifted me with the ability to truly love myself.
I'm picking up my younger self where I left her and completing a circle. Now together we can travel together into the open expanse of possibilities.