I sometimes think I was born under a dark cloud. I have never experienced this thing they call “luck.” My mystic says this is my dharma. I came into this world wanting things to be harder for me. She says I designed it this way before I even got here.
Can I un-design it?
I see the value of challenge. I even see the value in toil. When you work hard for something, it tastes sweeter. You appreciate the little things all the more. And you have greater empathy for the majority of the world who have practically nothing in their lives that resemble comfort or prosperity.
I get it now. Lesson learned. Empathy elevated! Done.
Ahhhh, but no. Still the toil and struggle.
I see that I am lucky in lots of ways. I have never been seriously ill. I have an unexplained source of inner confidence and optimism. I’m naturally smiley. My children are healthy in mind and body. And I am surrounded by a vast community of friends. Right there, is all I can ask for.
But for the sake of Christ, at almost 45 years old having worked hard all. my. life. I would very much like to be able to pay my bills. Professionally and financially, I seem to be missing a wingnut. Somewhere something needs tightening down…or maybe loosening up. I’m not naturally mechanical but that shouldn’t stand in the way of my financial independence.
Since long before the break up of my (last) marriage, I’ve had trouble connecting the professional and financial. I’ve worked plenty hard, graduated with a great GPA (if only I’d known how little that mattered in the real world) and took every work opportunity presented. I have often worked 2-3 jobs at a time. I don’t have a spending problem either. Although I like to reward myself on occasion, I can live frugally.
Presently, I live quite frugally. The kids and I don’t take vacations. We don’t have cable. I don’t have a gym membership. I color my hair at home. There’s not a lot of extras. But despite the penny-pinching, there’s just not enough to pay the bills.
My biggest obstacle is a common one for many. I’m both the mom and the breadwinner. The child support I receive although appreciated, is quite honestly, a pittance. And at any rate, it’s not intended to be something to live on. I never thought about marrying for money. At the time, my spouse seemed like a good earner…certainly good enough, but over the years that shifted and post-divorce, his sense of responsibility for us has been annihilated. He would only give the minimum ordered by the court and God damnit, I say So Be It.
The issue at hand is greater than that and the solution does not lie in squeezing water from a stone. Although life would be easier if I could rely on my ex to help support the kids, the fact is I can’t. And anyone in a divorce situation cannot. Those days are gone, that ship has sailed. It seems on some levels, both right and just that I am shoehorned out of any reliance on my ex. I am an independent entity and solely responsible for the success of every aspect of my life. There’s the dharma.
(((Insert uncontrollable fear and subsequent weeping.)))
I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
I don’t exactly romanticize modern marriage. It hasn’t worked for me. But this single parenting doesn’t exactly work either. I have strived and connived but I still cannot strike the balance between being Mom Extraordinaire and Head of Household. The hardness of it all has crushed me. I’m a little tin can smashed flat by an anvil off a tall building.
The struggle has laid waste to my sense of self and my hope for the future. I have put my dreams on hold and worked 60 hours a week for 5+ years and have little (in my short-sighted vision) to show for it. I ask myself again and again,
What am I doing wrong?
I know this is the “wrong” question. I know I’m not doing anything wrong. I know I am loved and valued. I know I am loved and valued by a God that created me OUT OF his love for me. I know I am love. My heart beats with nothing but love. It is the breath in my lungs, that little song in my heart, the living embodiment of my gorgeous children. It is what causes a smile to spread clear across my face when I hold a tiny leaf of a plant in my hand and have the great honor and pleasure to wipe off an aphid and I hear it whisper, thank you.
I know. I know.
And yet…the bills pile up. The clients don’t pay. The children want and want and want. Rates go up. New things are invented every day that cost a $1,000 and you will not be able to deny them or live without them. You will get letters from school saying your kids are truant. Your ex will hit on you. Your family will want distance rather than intimacy. Your friendships will shift and people will grow apart. Your children will develop wicked tongues. Everyone in your privileged home town will seem to be getting ahead while you get left behind.
Shit breaks. Shit costs more than you can afford. There are a finite number of hours in a day and a finite amount of false happiness you are able to generate. This is the truth. This is reality.
Truth and reality are perhaps not so cut and dry. That little song in my heart, that little glimmer, that shimmery mirage of hope…like heat on asphalt, you can’t touch it and you can only see it from a certain angle, that stuff still lives. It believes in miracles and divine intervention. I firmly believe there is MORE. More to life than bills, and custody arrangements and IEPs and petty disagreements and pimples in your wrinkles and late bills and mounting debt, there’s MORE. In fact, there’s a whole other life. In my mind I’ve always called it the Life Under Life. It runs under our day to day, our physical world, like a river. A life-giving, unconditional river of love. It’s where we are from and it’s where we will go. It is the true truth. It is the real reality.
I have touched this river and felt its flow while doing yoga and meditating. I have experienced its magic while laboring and birthing my kids. I have experienced it every time I didn’t follow despair all the way down the rabbit hole.
I need to get in constant contact with this river. I need to pull out of this present rabbit hole and get healthy and hopeful. I have toiled and tried and it has only gotten me so far. I need less toil. I need a new truth. I need a new reality.
I would like to journey with you through my commitment to meditation and yoga. I spent 15 minutes this morning with a guided meditation on my iPhone from an app by Abraham-Hicks. Abraham is a non-physical being who speaks through a woman named Esther Hicks. They end every session with their message, “There is great love for you here.” And even though the idea of a non-physical being talking through a human gives me wicked heebie jeebies, that message brings me undeniable comfort.
I am not a great meditator. I am an antsy pantsy kind of person. Prone to itchiness and unable to sit still for long this is not natural for me. But I have seen the benefits. I know that this practice clears the mind, dredges that river so it can flow and is the ultimate reboot.
More than this, I have felt every day of my life, from when I was a very small child, through school and despite my total anonymity and all the failings of my adult life, I have felt inexplicably called to a higher purpose. I have felt that strong connection to the rest of the world. I have experienced the power of a smile or a kind word, and somehow I have felt it ripple all around the world. The power of meditation is universal. I know sulking around my life, feeling despondent and worthless and unlucky, does not serve me nor does it serve the world I was sent here to influence. Meditating and putting myself in the mindset of love for 15 minutes a day can change so much. I’m gonna give it a try. This was from my guided meditation today:
“Your life continually calls for expansion through you. And All That Is benefits from the important part you play.” Abraham
See you in the river…