Ode to Albuquerque

Tomorrow is my last day in Albuquerque, often referred to as “the land of enchantment”, or in my case “the land of re-enchantment”. When I was very little, my father headed west with the dream of moving his family to San Diego. He never made it that far. He got to Albuquerque and said, “This is it!”

Albuquerque is “still it” whenever I am at a crossroads in my life…I’ve been back so many times I’ve lost count. This time, even though I tried to make it my home again, it respected a different path. It had a role in ensuring I didn’t find an apartment, didn’t find a car, didn’t find a job, didn’t have to give up so easily on my heart’s desire, and didn’t have to live so far away from Stuart (and with an eight-hour time difference) for long.

abq snowI am filled with gratitude for this place, because instead, it gave me lots of space to stretch out; it gave me its big beautiful blue sky, hikes in the foothills, snow, and plenty of time to learn to dream again. The powerful, purple Sandias gave me a grounding strength and reconnected me to my own inner strength and the home I can never lose…the one in my heart. (It gave me medicaid too, my first health insurance in over 10 years…even if it was only for three months!)

I want to thank my sister and her frequently-belly-laughing family for their patience, generosity, support and compassion during this big transition in my life. You’ve been such a huge blessing to me in ways I could never fully express, except perhaps to say, my faith in myself has been restored through your kindness…and that has to be the most important of gifts we are ever able to give others.

I also want to thank the people I’ve met here who have had angelic roles (Jeff, Jill, Tonita) in my rebirth whether via their friendship or healing abilities. Thank you for being there for me…and most especially, for helping me to embrace this transformation happening to me and for the most empowering of sendoffs!

Sweet ABQ! I will miss you, but I suspect I will be back…whether for a visit or to stay….one day.

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The Hell that Never Was

This blog has been dedicated to my journey in a long-distance relationship and the challenges my partner and I have faced on our way to a life together. I’ve shared practical experience, frustrations, and deeply emotional stories , but it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. That isn’t because nothing’s been happening. A ton has been happening on so many levels!!! But it has been very nearly impossible to understand myself let alone write about.

Ever heard of Matt Khan? He’s an amazing being with a refreshing perspective that is a great relief to me. When he speaks, it’s kind of like hearing something that I’ve known all along and just couldn’t quite bring into consciousness. Matt’s most recent video had a big impact on me and helped me awaken to the realization that everything here in this blog is now part of the past. While it is recorded and here for others to read and perhaps glean from, it has nothing to do with me now. And that will be true of any post I ever leave here…even this one.

It’s stuff that no longer matters, really. The hardships, the traumas, the obstacles and frustrations…they are here for the world to read, but they are not here for me to cling to and relive. It has been difficult to remember that while things still felt close and very personal. But Stuart and I are totally different people now, having both grown so much this past year. We have many upgraded ways of thinking and feeling. We’ve both learned so much about ourselves and each other. And thanks to Matt Khan, I’ve come to realize that all we’ve been through is nothing more than “the hell that never was.” It may have felt like hell. And it certainly seemed like hell. But really, it was everything just as it had to be. It was just life…messy, surprising, unexpected, challenging and mysterious (and to be fair, some of it was “the heaven that never was” too…the unmeetable expectations, the bright-eyed fantasy, the blush of perfect romance and happily-ever-after).

Since my return to the states in August, I have been taking serious inventory. WTF happened? Why was I getting what I was getting? Did it actually have anything to do with me? Did I have control over anything? Where do I belong? What is it that I want? What’s my purpose? What must I change or simply accept?

For months, I’d been reliving that moment at the airport when I had to decide to stay or go within minutes. It was impacting my ability to make decisions, contributing to states of anxiety I hadn’t experienced in years, and set off all kinds of irrational and negative thinking that I have sometimes successfully and others times not so successfully managed. It had become the dark lens through which I began to see our future, too. Thoughts of, “this is never going to work” and “we just aren’t meant to be together” echoed in my head.

Matt’s words helped me to re-imagine that worst moment of my life differently.  After months of flinching at the memory, I was able to remember it all with new clarity what had transpired before and even after, with love in my heart and a deep knowing that is was perfect. I was able to celebrate everything I was feeling in those moments, to love the airport and the people there, to love the inner battle and confusion I felt then and ever since, to send love back through time and space to the me I was then, and to acknowledge that something not only survived to live on but was learning a great deal in the process…the dream hadn’t died. It was still breathing!

Having reframed that experience, there was no stopping me. I started reframing everything (yes, me the woman who wrote a book telling other people to reframe). I felt like a kid who had finally learned to whistle after trying and trying with no success. You won’t believe what happened. The very next day, Stuart put a deposit down on our new house! Just like that. After months and months of searching. After months and months of everything being so damned difficult. After months of feeling like I would never belong anywhere ever again, had lost all purpose, failed miserably, and didn’t know which way to turn.

I wondered when in the thick of it if I’d ever understand why things played out the way they did…if I’d ever feel gratitude again and come to recognize the gifts that came with the pile of crap. I told myself some day…maybe. Who knew someday wasn’t as far off as it seemed?

I entertain no delusions that going back will suddenly be a piece of cake. It’s going to take work, and there will be the same issues to face…language, bureaucracy, constant unknowns! But I’m a lot more sober now and about 10x stronger, and having laid the accumulated past to rest, there is a new lightness and breathing room once more to start over.

So to anyone who’s feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I can only say, “you’re in the hell that never was” and the way out is loving it all.