Waking Up from Reasonable
“He left. He’s gone. He’s dead. Imagine he’s dead,” Mom said.
I sat on my carpeted floor, naked except for panties, slumped back against my unmade bed. My bare legs splayed out in front of me like a dried up wishbone ready to be pulled. My phone laid face up in the center of the wishbone with its black tether up to a bud in my left ear, the other dangled. Silence filled my ears except for the rhythmic Click – Click – Click from the clock in the kitchen, a reminder that life was leaving me behind. It was September of 2017. I called Mom because I was at rock bottom. I had never cried so much in my life. I had crawled through grief and confusion for weeks and I wanted it gone. I wanted my life back. I wanted to go to the grocery store without feeling like a complete failure. I wanted to make it through one day without tears. The lights were out and curtains drawn. Muted daylight snuck in from the living room lanai and lit the floor in front of me in a dim swath.
“What’s killing you is you think he stole your dream,” Mom said.
It all started when my partner of more than four years hopped in his car and drove 25 hours from south Florida to Kansas to get back together with his girlfriend from 11 years prior. He hadn’t told either of us, and it didn’t work out well for anyone.
I had thought our relationship was solid, and we had big plans. Until he left.
He didn’t respond to my calls or texts for days. At 1AM on a Monday morning he called and officially dumped me with a few heartless words. The moment he confirmed my suspicions my mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls. My heart beat out of my chest. Utter panic. Complete aloneness. I felt as disposable as an old paper plate. I, again, was tossed to the curb. It sucked the life out of me. After his call I slid out of bed and couldn’t walk. I crawled on my hands and knees and only made it to the kitchen, where I laid in a heap. I heaved and howled on the cold tile and began grieving for everything that was gone.
Three weeks later there I sat, on the carpet I had crawled across that night: still naked, still lost, and still full of grief for what could have been. My life was in shambles, my boyfriend and best friend was gone. And my dream, the dream that for years I had planned and sacrificed for, the dream I was willing to give up everything for, my dream of wandering the world together . . . that had gone up in smoke too. I was an unlovable, incapable mess.
I stared across the room, into the closet. On the right, shoes and clothes littered the floor like dice shaken and thrown. Empty hangers poked up, angled in odd directions between hung clothes. On the left it was barren except for a lone unwanted wire hanger.
“You think you can’t do it on your own,” Mom said.
My breath stopped. My heart stopped. My world stopped. The weight of ten thousand dumbbells crushed my gut.
I exhaled. The lone hanger stared back at me. The kitchen clock Click-Click-Clicked through everything there ever was.
I inhaled strong and full against the gut punch of all things “reasonable.”
I didn’t know. I hadn’t considered the truth of a lie I had told myself in secret. So secret I didn’t tattle. The lie was beyond my jurisdiction. The lie was a lie, even if that wasn’t crystal clear yet.
The truth was: the Airstream was in the driveway. The big badass truck waited there too. The missing ingredient was the naked girl who, until that moment, thought she could never do it alone.
I relinquished the reasonable that September morning. A sliver of hope opened a crack of possibility. As a leaf who’d thought she had a rudder, I gave up the control that was never mine. I surrendered to the breeze and floated lighter. Anything is possible. The domain is immense, forever in all directions. Even surrender is a puff in my imagined authority. My beliefs about what I needed to be OK and who I was were lies; lies that kept me from being free. Nothing is not reasonable. Everything Is.
In two months time I quit my job, sold my house and most of my things, readied my Airstream and truck for full time living, and said goodbye to the way I’d thought things should be.
On November 30, 2017 I drove off, and welcomed the unknown. Life had grander plans than I ever fathomed.
It’s been an entire life’s journey in five years’ time. Right off the bat I fell into a honeymoon phase of wandering. Then confusion, regret and utter loneliness strangled me for more than a year. I walked through the valley of the shadow of death and came out the other side. Openness and curiosity took center stage. Now the clarity and lightness that is who I am gets free rein to be.
Deep in tangled forests, on mountain tops with views of forever, in the splendor of desert sunsets, alone and with everything, bit by bit I began to see. Worry and regret vanished. I realized that when Life itself (all of us) is understood from a universal view, everything is pure wisdom. What we call ‘forgiveness’ happens naturally, without our even realizing it. We are all on an intelligent pilgrimage and love is at the heart of all things. Life unfolds and I am.
I began living in the question: What if decisions aren’t mine to make and I can’t get it wrong?
Freedom blossomed. Fear disappeared. The heavy feeling of responsibility melted. Loneliness vanished. Seriousness took a backseat to play. Life is lighter. Everywhere feels like home. And I’ve been with and been touched by so many incredible humans from all over the world.
Heart wrenching loneliness gripped me for most of my first year on the road. When it vanished I could not explain why. All I knew was: somewhere deep inside it felt like I could never be lonely again. In March 2019, when I first shared that it seemed impossible I could ever be lonely, I said it with the caveat that I might at some point feel lonely. It’s been 2.5 years and I have not experienced a moment of loneliness, and it still seems I could never be lonely.
None of what I’m sharing was taught to me in a lecture and I did not learn it in books. It’s an indescribable reality and I often trip over my words. The best I can do is share stories of the roller coaster ride and real-life fairytales, and invite people to experience this for themselves.
When I look back to the summer of 2017, I am so grateful I got dumped. In hindsight, it’s obvious everything is a gift. I am beyond thankful. We are always in the midst of the perfect unfolding, always, even when it seems far from perfect in the moment. When I am OK with everything, everything is better than OK.
Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined any of this was possible. And it seems. . . even now, this is just the beginning.
Photo Above: Sunrise over Stinkingwater Pass, November 2019. Located at 4850 feet elevation, this preserve land in southeastern Oregon is home to herds of wild mustangs… and for a couple days, this was home for me too.
Something I didn’t mention in the article are all the mentors, coaches and fine humans that have nudged and guided me during my journey. Some were beyond helpful and pointed me to continually explore for myself, others tried to teach me what they had been taught. One of my most impactful “Ahh-Ha!” moments was realizing that to experience freedom, happiness and peace, we don’t need to add any knowledge to our inner encyclopedia. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a stripping down and letting go of our ideas, habits and beliefs. In this space, we bloom.
When considering if you would like to live more at ease and experience more success (in your own special way)… it may seem scary or like a lot of work. And then again, it could be the adventure of a lifetime. Curious?
“Kristy, meeting you has been one of the most impactful, pleasurable, and gratitude-inducing experiences of my life.
Your presence reached deep into my inner core. Your words were like roots finding their way through the rocks of my soul, reaching deep into the cool, serene pond below. I couldn’t have predicted, influenced, or planned this journey. But, because I was willing to let go, my life expanded in unimaginable directions.”
Jeanne Retired Corporate Executive; Entrepreneur, Traveler and Writer
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