Maybe it’s an Easter thing, but this weekend I found myself thinking a lot about healing wounds and forgiveness. It was sparked off by reading a Rumi quote “The wound is the place where the light enters you”.
I came across it this afternoon as I spent time developing a workshop I will be running with a friend in a few weeks time (or perhaps, more accurately, I came across it during one of the many hours I spent procrastinating and avoiding getting down to the real work of designing the workshop!!!). The theme is self-love, self-forgiveness and letting go of limiting beliefs and, for my part, I am going to be running a session focused on giving yourself permission to be vulnerable and learning to open your heart.
Whilst expertly avoiding-getting-down-to-the-task-in-hand, I also came across a poem I wrote in 2001. Other than writing a poem called ‘The Hoover’ in school, I have never penned any verse in my life, but on this occasion I was deeply compelled.
It was July and my ex-husband and I were holidaying on the paradise island of Bali. In the weeks leading up to the trip I had worked hard to feign enthusiasm, because I suspected that the growing distance between us would only be amplified in such a romantic location and I would no longer be able to contain my feelings that I had worked so hard to control. Every time he talked about it, my husband referred to the holiday as “our second honeymoon” as if this would be the trip to wave a romantic wand over our marriage and make everything okay. I veered between feeling contempt for his naivety and failure to face up to some tough truths, to beating myself up for harbouring such resentment and anger. I remember we went for a meal with his brother and sister in law the day before we flew. They had been happily married for over two decades and chirpily pointed out that we had almost reached the ‘magical five year milestone in our marriage’. When I asked what they meant by this, they said “well, you know what they say …. that if your marriage survives the first five years, the chances are you’ll be together forever”. Mustering as much self control as I could summon in that moment I excused myself, cried in the toilet for a few minutes, re-did my make-up and returned to the table, unnoticed. I had become very adept at this over time.
The day that inspired my poem was near the end of our holiday. My husband had taken ill so I walked along the beach alone at dusk and sat down on the sand watching fishermen haul in their nets. In that moment, something about the light and the gently lapping water and the serenity and peacefulness of the scene, seemed to give me permission to let go. And for the first time in over four years I stopped beating myself up about being a failure as a wife and leaned into my own deep sense of sadness about the state of our marriage, simply allowing myself to feel deeply, deeply, upset. It was the moment I finally realised how lonely I was and admitted to myself that we would not survive.
Second Moon Sunset
If you’d been there
we would have shared
our wonder at the world.
I would have whispered
words and pictures,
If you’d been there
you would have shared
your colours, smells and sounds.
And told me many stories
of loves you’d lost and found.
If we’d been there
we would have kissed,
lips rapt in dusky light.
The sunset would have lingered on
sweet passion through the night.
But on that beach, that day, that life
you weren’t there by my side.
And I sat there all alone instead
as embers slowly died.
One more magic moment’s memory …
wistful and lonely, sighed
I left my marriage three months later, and whilst the wound healed it took me many more years to forgive myself.
In thinking about how I might open our workshop this afternoon, I imagined myself reading this poem aloud to the group, sharing this as the moment that planted the seed for my own awakening, when I began the journey of learning to express my full potential.
Another significant milestone on that journey happened last year when I took part in an exercise where we were invited to draw a picture of our heart; to visualise that strong amazing organ that sustains our lives and imagine what it looks like below the casing of protective armour we wear to keep it safe. My picture was of a vibrant, happy, smiling heart, with arms extended outwards – bearing a few scars, but otherwise healthy and strong. One of those scars is the one I bear for causing pain to my first husband.
Today, I recognise this scar as a teacher. I imagine the wound as a crack that opened up inside my own universe, and I can see how so much light entered my life because of it, shining in glorious colour, just like that beautiful Balinese sunset.
Shine on. Love LHKD xxx