To me the word “hindsight” smacks of regret, and worry, and wasted energy, but for this exercise I’ll lay aside my misgivings and share a brief examination of some things I wish I’d done, in hindsight, in 2014.
This year has been a time of tremendous growth and recovery on so many levels. In particular, after three years of adrenal fatigue malaise I’m finally feeling more robust and vital.
Perhaps I have a trip to Italy in early June to thank for that.
(Hindsight: how much sooner would my energy have improved had I gone to Italy for two weeks in June each of the previous three years? Hmmmm … )
For two glorious weeks we indulged in la dolce vita. We delighted in the exquisite flavours of non-GMO foods; basked under the unrelenting Tuscan sun; devoured daily doses of delectable gelato and, of course, took in all the marvellous sights and sounds that define this ancient nation.
We landed in beautiful Florence for a few days; spent a tranquil week at a magnificent villa in Tuscany, and revelled in the unique experience that is Venice. It was the vacation of a life time and, I believe, an important milestone on my healing path.
(Hindsight: more gelato would have been good … )
Then, in late June, I began a six-month course in Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning. By the end of it I was certified as a practitioner in this profound healing modality. A happy side effect was my own healing in ways I had not previously imagined.
This is another reason, I believe, the adrenal fatigue has become less chronic.
(Hindsight: if only I’d known about it sooner, I probably would have signed myself up ages ago … (sigh) … )
But this is my point about hindsight … to me life unfolds as it should. The best we can hope is to be, and make the most of, every moment.
I do my best not to hold grudges; not to make comebacks. Most people can’t help who they are ~ not that this gives them an excuse to be belligerent or rude or ignorant or insensitive ~ but to engage in their negative energy is, for me at least, a waste of my own valuable resources. As well, if I were to beat myself up for every little thing I wish I’d done but hadn’t had the presence of mind to do, there wouldn’t be much of me left. Quite frankly, I’ve spent far too much of my life doing that anyway.
If the adrenal fatigue has taught me anything it’s to release the need to stress unnecessarily and to save my energy for the things that make me feel good about myself and my contribution to the world.
It would be remiss of me not to mention that my life really started to change for the positive at the beginning of the year when I moved my horse, Shakespeare (Bear), to a new barn and began to work with a new coach. Notwithstanding the fact that I wear the badge of a woman-of-a-certain-age I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to learn and grow in my equestrian sport of choice ~ dressage.
There’s a long road ahead, but at least now I know that Bear and I are on a good one.
And so now, I thrive!
(Hindsight: it would have been a good idea to move my horse earlier, but I’ve already beaten myself up enough about that one. Where we are now is where we’re meant to be and the timing of December 31, 2013 was right. Prior to that I was too debilitated with adrenal fatigue symptoms to make such a decision or move. So, it’s all good … )
That’s awfully rich for someone with a head full of words. You keep telling me you see things to write about all the time, and yet you can’t put pen to paper?
I can’t explain it. It’s easier said than done. The words are there, but I can’t just conjure them into something of meaning. They need to find that meaning for themselves.
Nonsense! A pathetic excuse.
It’s not nonsense. For me, at least, words cannot be conjured. They simply need to find their place. But there’s so much going on in the field of my thought right now the words feel lost. Like sheep. They need a shepherd.
Shepherds guide their flock. I thought you just said that words need to find their own place.
They do … but they need some guidance, too. It’s complicated.
Aren’t you the shepherd of your words? Don’t you need to step into that maelstrom of wooly thought and create some order?
Ah … that’s baa … d. But you are, to some degree, correct. Word herding! I’ve never thought of it that way.
Of course you haven’t, or we wouldn’t be having this ridiculous conversation. Now, herd those words into that pen, for goodness sake, and get on with it. You’re beginning to sound more like a lost sheep than the guiding shepherd you claim to be.
Perhaps you are the writer, not I.
Give me that pen.
After a bit of a drought, a free writing exercise to get the sheep moving. ;-)
“There’s a gentleman I’d like you to meet,” announces my dear friend, Sara Bartholomew-McCreedy with a rustle of silk and wink of an eye.
I’m a young, childless widow, thanks to the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, and this outing is a rare treat after a year of mourning. They say “Missing in Action” is as good as dead, and since my William has been missing in action since that dreadful battle, he may as well be dead.
“Crystal Barton-Lane, listen to me!” Now Sara’s most emphatic. “He’s an officer of our age and station recently back from the war. Most pleasing to the eye, in fact. A friend of a friend of a friend. You know how it is. Not my type, but you’d like him. He owns horses and goes to the opera.”
Is she having me on? I roll my eyes. Sara’s at it again, trying to matchmake me out of social purgatory. The war has taken so many men of our age and social rank it’s hard to know where one stands. And those who have come back are often so traumatized I’ve all but given up any idea of finding a man to fill my dear husband’s shoes. Sara knows this, and still she persists.
We alight from the shiny motor carriage owned by Sara’s wealthy uncle who has offered both of us refuge in his sumptuous Bartholomew Hall until we find our feet, and make our way through the thickening London fog to the Savoy entrance. It’s 4 p.m. of a late fall afternoon. Darkness is setting in and we’re meeting this man ~ and one of these friend’s of which Sara has spoken ~ for tea at the Palm Court.
“Really, Sara, I wish you wouldn’t meddle in my affairs,” I turn to her, my annoyance on my sleeve. “I’m not quite at your level of joie de vivre yet. It’s only been a year and I still miss my William.”
Sara sends me a disarming smile.
“Crystal, darling,” she stops me before we enter the fine hotel and looks me straight in the eye, “it’s time to lift that dreary veil of tears and live. Live now! I don’t think William would want you to be moping around for him. You know how he loved life ~ the next adventure. I’m sure he’d want that for you.”
A vision of my handsome husband all decked out in top hat and tails that last night at Covent Garden and enjoying a fine performance of La Bohème makes me shiver. How excited he was about soldiering and leading a troop of his own to battle victory.
“Crystal! Snap out of it!” Sara’s voice brings me back to the present. “There he is …”
Through the amber vapours of a flickering gas light and beneath the lamppost a stranger emerges.
“The world is bent on destruction at the hands of those who would themselves destroy …”
Grandma Rose raised her tea cup to her lips and sipped. She seemed unperturbed by her words, while I sensed my rose-coloured glasses slipping.
“Fighting for peace is not the wise course, but those who know not how to love themselves can never demonstrate love, or offer true peace, to others. It is not possible.”
I felt hopeless. She’d lived her life while most of mine was still ahead of me. The world seemingly falling apart around me. Still, I could see her point. How many times had I witnessed the mask of love a-kilter on the faces of those who felt nothing but self-loathing? Their acts of redemption couched in resentment and frosted with anger. The glass half empty with a cracked smile on its face.
Fighting for peace ~ the greatest oxymoron of all.
“What is to be done?” I asked.
Grandma Rose raised herself up, replaced her tea cup to the coffee table, and focused her attention on me.
“Love yourself. Genuinely love yourself ~ warts and all. Look inside your soul. Whatever troubles you, address it, embrace it and love it away. Even those we consider unworthy just want to be loved. They act out for attention. They act out because they don’t understand the source of their pain. If people would just look inside to find, address and love away their suffering they would feel no need to cause suffering in others. Only when the people can find this place of peace in themselves will there be peace in the world.”
A sigh rose from the depths of my own suffering; a tear pooled in my eye. I knew she was right. I had learned a long time before that love begins at home ~ the home of my soul ~ and that it resonates and colours the lives of others according to my intention. Love begins with the inner journey ~ a painful journey I understood all too well. A journey that creates empathy and a liberating knowledge of self that disengages the power of pain and sets us on a course of love in its purest sense.
Grandma Rose, ever the philosopher, noted my discomfort and offered this consolation:
“When you ask the meaningful questions, my dear, it is my privilege to give you the meaningful answers. As my wisdom is born of the inner journey so will yours be. It is a hard road but one worth travelling. Remember, the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have have them do unto you.’ As long as you live by this treatise you will not go wrong … as long as you understand how you would like to be treated … and why.”