Sunday, October 24, 2010

Engage the depth, danger, and darkness of your life

Tomorrow is my two week anniversary of Kosovo: Round 3.  It's been a great two weeks, but, as my closest friends and family know, an emotional time.  Emails arrive in their inboxes ranging from the ecstatic to the forlorn.  Some are filled with long, run-on sentences describing my day with students, visiting the SOS Children's Village, meeting another American woman who has a fun sense of humor, a friend with Celiac so she gets it, and a truck and willingness to hunt for gluten-free foods.  Some are filled with audio files of me weeping.

I'd forgotten that homesickness actually feels like you're sick.  It's a heartsick, gut-sick feeling.  My walls are thin and I'm positive my lovely neighbor Lena is terrified to visit me, or is preparing a care-package to leave at my door with tissues and prozac.  Mornings seem to be the hardest for me.  I wake to emails written by friends who are nine hours behind in time, and something is triggered in my tear ducts.  That I'm missing out on so much of their lives.  My best friend is having a baby soon, and there is nothing I want more than to fly back to be there to meet this little girl the moment she arrives.

To BE there for my closest friend, to experience her growing excitement and belly, to shop for baby furniture and soft little onesies. Talking to my father about it, he told me he worried most about how much I'd miss this close friendship, and that I'll have to grieve the loss of proximity (but NEVER the friendship).  But then I wonder, why did I create this loss? And more doubt creeps in.  Yet I also feel, when I'm not in the throes of the heartsick feeling, that this move was the best decision for this time in my life. I needed to create change in my life, to push myself.  I absolutely want to be in two places at once.  Why is that not possible?

Reading Anam Cara this morning with my breakfast and Nescafe coffee, I opened it to a section about contradiction.  Have something to teach me, Universe?  John O'Donohue writes:
"We need to have greater patience with our sense of inner contradiction in order to allow its different dimensions to come into conversation within us. There is a secret light and vital energy in contradiction. Where there is energy there is life and growth. Your ascetic solitude will allow your contradictions to emerge with clarity and force. If you remain faithful to this energy, you will gradually come to participate in a harmony that lies deeper than any contradiction. This will give you new courage to engage the depth, danger, and darkness of your life."
So, this morning, instead of turning on an episode of Gilmore Girls to escape, I'm going to try a guided meditation, to try to remain faithful to the energy of contradiction, when all I want to do is run away from it.  It's too early to start drinking, so meditation it is.


Shannon said...

This post really speaks to me... you have voiced concerns that I've wrestled with so many times and have allowed to win, thus missing out on some of the dreams I always wanted to chase...

It's a difficult choice... I feel your pain, I really do... even being half way across a country from a best friend chokes me with tears so many times, because I'm not right there with her, or with her kids whom I love dearly... but it's a conscious choice I made... and I do wonder, like you, why I created that loss.

I can tell you that those kinds of friendships are special.. because even though there's a distance... there's also not... you'll come home and pick up right where things left off... and in the mean time, rely heavily on technology and video chats. :)

You are a dream chaser... and choices are sometimes hard for folks like you... but you are living a rich and wonderful life... and touching other lives in the process...

I'm not sure I can offer any words of wisdom or advice... just know you're not alone in these kinds of situations.

How long are you there for?

Rebecca Snavely said...

Thank you. So much of life is this contradiction, and I really feel it's where we learn and grow the most and deepest. I highly recommend this book - I'm underlining and making notes on almost every page, similar to my copy of A New Earth.

I've committed to six months here, and a "we'll see" stance after that. I know it's only been two weeks, and from what I've heard from all other friends, the first three months are the hardest. More learning opportunities. Grrreat.

Katie Bond said...

Would it be Inappropriate to write, "I fucking love you"?? :-)

Really I do love you and I understand the transition you are going through. I'm only 3.5 months in to my move to Vienna and I feel like I'm reading so many of my own thoughts.

You are bright and loved by many.
I so hope to see you soon so we can meditate, do some yoga, and then start drinking together. After all of our experiences, we need it! :-)

Rebecca Snavely said...

Katie - I LOVE you! And we must work out this ticket situation. So thankful for understanding friends who are experiencing the same emotions.