“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ― Gautama Buddha
A picture of a couple on a coast, sand-colored marble underfoot, an endless blue sky above them is mirrored in the ocean behind them, the beach separates the earth and water. This picture keeps appearing, evoking some emotion, triggering some memory. Last night I remembered. This morning’s quote helped me find clarity and relief.
I was in Miami for work. The evening event was at a luxurious oceanside resort. The busyness of the previous day, coupled with daytime events made enjoying the venue a challenge. The moment when I wanted to luxuriate in the surroundings of the resort came to me late that night. I wanted to be alone. The sky was clear, stars punctured its blackness and a luscious moon glowed. I was spent, tired of the chatter, the company, and the demand of being on. I so wanted to sit there on the beach in my beautiful dress, fancy shoes off, feet in the sand, and just listen to the water. I yearned for an escape, even if this was temporary, I wished for it, just a moment, not to be shared. I felt like I was fire dancing between earth and water, grounded nowhere, fueled by both, and extinguished inside. The busyness of my career allowed me to ignore the crises outside of it; tactics of immersion and avoidance failed me. My wish to be alone was ignored. The company would not depart; touted fake concerns about my safety. I was physically safe. In this grand space listening to the waves gently crash into the sand, the only threat was the truth. The company knew that’s what needed to be avoided. My vulnerability and honesty always led me to the truth. Had I recognized the truth then and the true absurdity of the situation before me, had I been given a moment alone to disconnect from life and reconnect with Earth, I would have likely run from both. Maybe I would have just run into the water and been swept up, absorbed by the oceans that connected the vast expanses of land, one of which I lived and walked so heavily upon. My heart was so broken, my soul so heavy, and my spirit so thinned from the tides that pulled me in opposing directions that I feared that one more full moon would have the force to tear me apart. To be alone was not in the cards then.
Months would pass, during which more crises came, awful, ugly, corrosive events, spawned by people who truly hated me. I only saw hate like that a few times in my life. I knew it came from a place of insecurity. I hated that I was its target. They probably wished I walked into that ocean, never to be heard from again. Dramatic? Hardly. Truthful, yes. Accepting the evil in people is a monumental task, moreover relinquishing all of my will to fight it and them was that much greater. Seeing the ugliest side of people, of humanity, and recognizing myself as its recipient, does not make for an awful day. Quite the contrary, it is an empowering one. It’s beyond an aha moment. It’s the moment, when we say, I got this. I can’t change you. And hating you will not better this situation. So I forgive you. I forgive you for hating me. For hating yourself. And I’m moving on. I’ll walk a path that in time will make you a very distant memory. And yes there will be days when you and your smallness, like today, periodically peek out of the recesses of my mind. I’ll acknowledge you because God made you, and you are a person made in His likeness so you can’t be all that bad. But then I’ll say goodbye again. I’ll tell myself that I forgive you, but I know I’m not there yet. If I were there, I wouldn’t think you are small; I wouldn’t think of you at all.
To be lonely is a curse. To be alone is a gift. To be comfortable and content as I walk my own path, away from the fire, is bliss.