Learning to Understand and Accept Change

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Photo by Ramiro Martinez on Unsplash

There is something important that I’ve recently learned to understand and accept. Things change. And they don’t always change permanently. Analogies about the cycles of the moon have become cliché but maybe there’s something to it after all.

I never really noticed the changes in the moon until I moved to the rural desert. The living room of our desert home is mostly windows, which makes the moon-rise, and the sunrise for that matter, very visible. Through our mostly uncovered windows, it’s obvious that the sun and moon rise and set each day more and more to the north and south as the earth wobbles on its axis. It’s amazing to watch and makes one see very clearly why ancient people might worship this cycle. It’s very comforting.

While the sun takes its sweet time moving across the sky, the seasons change day by day, week by week, the moon gives us a whole different feeling. To me, the sun is the big picture, the whole life, but the moon is our daily struggle. She rushes across the night, coming up at different times of the day or night, in different shapes and sizes. Her cycles are quicker and more dramatic than the sun’s. One week she comes up at sunset full of herself. The next week she’s late and half-dressed. Sometimes she comes up a shell of her usual self, right in the middle of the day. Some days we can’t see her at all. And yet, no one stresses about it. No one thinks, “Oh shit! The moon! Something has upset her. We have to fix it!” We just wait, because we know she’ll be back if we leave her to her own devices.

And the moon? I don’t see her as caring much about what the sun is up to, or the earth, or us. She just does her thing and we love her for it.

What if we were more like that? What if we became more aware of our own cycles and simply accepted them? What if we understood other people will have different cycles that have nothing to do with us, and accepted them right where they are?

And why is it that we think that we must live in a straight line or a climbing staircase? These analogies cause us to believe that if we fall to the left or right of the line or reach the end of a set of stairs with no way to go up farther, we fail. We look at our relationships with the world around us as if they can only escalate or die, reach the next level or die off.

For me seems to be more of a cycle that comes around again and again, sometimes with the same person, sometimes with a different person, with any type of relationship. Whether we’re talking about a romantic relationship, a platonic friendship, a sexual relationship, or a parent, child, or sibling, etc., makes no difference. All relationships cycle through and around and back, spiraling up, down, or laterally. Even the relationship we have with ourselves.

My relationship with myself is complicated. There are days and weeks that I feel like she’s doing a fine job of all the things I expect of her. I’m proud of her accomplishments, her strength. She’s a good, responsible friend to have. And then, even though she has not changed one bit in reality, my feelings toward her change. She forgot something I wanted her to remember or took a day off from responsibility to play. I blame her for everything that has gone wrong with our life. In time, again though she’s not changed at all, I begin to fall in love with her. She’s sexy and confident and I want to be close to her, to spend time alone with her. Then it’s gone again, she’s just another woman in my way and I long to break free. Days later, there she is again impressing me with her strength and brilliance. And we’re coming around on the cycle again.

In every relationship we have, each time we go around this cycle we learn more about each other. With every successful ebb and flow of the tide of emotions, we learn to trust each other more. What constitutes “successful?” We don’t walk away from the relationship and we don’t throw hurtful words or actions at each other to make the other do or act the way we want them to only to make us feel better. Success is loving the other unconditionally, regardless of our feelings at the moment.

The more I come to understand that how I feel is not necessarily a reflection of anyone else’s behavior, but merely a season or phase of the moon, the stronger my relationships grow. Every time I learn again that the cycle will return, that every feeling is temporary, the stronger that cycle turns into a spiral ascending into the sky.

Pretty “out there” isn’t it? It’s the truth though. You won’t always be happy. You won’t always be sad. No one needs to be fixed. No one needs to be set straight. It all just is. Accept it. Be in it. And wait for the moon to cycle back again.

Love Story

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“I love you and I don’t want to.” She whispered as she lay there beside him. Her back against him in the dark, she could feel him breathe beside her, quiet, rhythmic breaths that indicated deep sleep. He couldn’t hear her. If he could she wouldn’t have allowed the words to slip out.

A deep sigh escaped her lips as a tear fell from her eye and hit the pillow, audible in the quiet darkness of the night. She started to spill the rest of her feelings, quietly beside his silent form.

“I wanted a night or two, maybe an ongoing thing to return to when I felt the need to let loose. I wanted a place to go when I wanted to pretend I was young and free from all the responsibilities I’ve built up over the years. And now here I am, falling in love, feeling that pull to care for you, to need you. The feeling scares me. It gives me more to worry about instead of less. I’ve added more responsibilities to my life, not escaped the ones I had. I don’t want this.”

In his sleep, he turns to her and pulls her close to him. His hand runs over her hair and he sighs, resting his hand on her hip. Her tears flow as she realizes how special this moment is, how much she doesn’t want to lose this man that has worked his way so deftly into her heart. But how?

Can there be other ways to love a person? Do all romantic relationships have to follow the same course? If I love you both, do I have to have two husbands to care for in the same way?

Hours later, she’s restless and rises to shower and dress. As she’s gathering her purse and keys, he raises a hand and beckons her to him. She sits at the edge of the bed beside him and leans in to kiss his face. “See you in a few weeks?” He quietly asks in that sleepy satisfied voice she loves so much.

“Sure baby.”

“I love this.”

“Do you?”

“Just like this. As long as you want me.”

She smiles and runs her fingers through his hair, kissing him before she leaves. It feels so good. Maybe it can go on. Maybe she can love him just like this.

Learning to Share Through Abundance

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“Of course, they aren’t!” I can just hear people scoff when I post that statement. But then I hear the way they talk about the people in their lives and wonder…do they know what that really means?

We treat people as possessions when we get angry that a child is not “living up to his potential” and doing something other than what we had planned for them. We treat people as possessions when we insist that our romantic partners spend all their free time with us and never even look in the direction of another. We treat people as possessions when we get angry that our parents move to another state away from our young family.

Each of us has a life to live independent from the others around us. There are times in our life when we come together and work toward a common goal, a family, a job, a project, but ultimately, we are responsible for our own lives, for achieving our own goals, making ourselves happy.

When we choose to work in relationship with others for a short or long term, both sides of the relationship are voluntary. The relationship lasts as long as everyone in it wants to be in it. And when one person in the relationship no longer wants to be there, they are not monsters, they are not mean, they are not evil. They are acting in their own best interest and they should be encouraged to do so, even if that means we must be sad or hurt a bit while we adjust.

These things seem to be so glaringly obvious to me lately, but still I see the way people treat the ones they love and wonder what it would be like if we all respected each other more.

The possessiveness I see reminds me of a small child.

“My friend!”

“My lover!”

“My wife!”

“My parent!”

“My child!”

They gather all their precious toys around them, clutching in desperation to keep their possessions from being stolen away by others. When someone makes a move to see what it is that they are holding so dear, they snatch it close and holler, “Mine!”

Children haven’t learned to share yet and to learn to share, they must at first feel secure that things won’t be taken away by force. We allow them to horde their things and build up the strength to share with the presence of abundance.

Do we not think this will work with relationships as well? When I have filled up my bucket of love so to speak, I learn to share that love with others. When I spend time and energy in any relationship, I know when that person spends time away from me, they will return. I am sharing my precious with others, not giving it away.

My children will grow into independent and fully functional adults, that go into the world without me and bring back to me the new relationships they have built with others to share with me.

My husband spends some of his after-work time meeting new people, following new activities, without my presence. And when he returns, he is happier and brings new feelings and energy, new people, and new activities to our relationship.

My parents, while not right down the street while I raise my own children, have moved to another state and now I can bring my family on vacation there and enjoy their company on completely different terms than the way I grew up.

Possessiveness is only jealousy in disguise. There is no faster destroyer of love than feeling as if one is a possession of another. “If you love something, set it free…”

What Could Have Happened

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Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

“Let’s not stand on ceremony.” she said “Just say what you want to say and get it over with.”

He stood there looking down at his boots, not daring to lift his eyes to hers. He knew he wouldn’t be able to go through with it if he did. He wouldn’t be able to say the words he needed to say to set him free if he had to see the disappointment and pain in her eyes. He promised to love her forever and now, well, he just didn’t and he couldn’t go on hiding it another day.

She suspected there was something going on for months, maybe even years. When they were first married, they slept warm and naked, side by side, every night. The comfort of his body near her somehow made her feel safe and secure. At any time she could reach out and touch him, and most times when she did he responded to her touch immediately, pulling her close and pressing against her, kissing her neck. Sometimes the snuggles progressed to sex, sometimes they just lay together secure in each others arms and fell back asleep.

After a few years, the closeness started to fade. She reached out for him less and less in the night, and when she did, he didn’t always notice and respond. For her, she felt rejected each time she put out a hand to him and he only responded by sighing in his sleep or rolling away instead of toward her. She knew, logically, that it wasn’t fair to blame him for something he did in his sleep, but what had changed? Would the warmth return? Feeling rejected, she started to reach out less and less until finally it would be a month before he’d reach for her and she’d grudgingly give him what he wanted. Sex had begun to feel like an obligation to fulfill, not the sharing of intimacy it once was.

Life started to change rapidly after the birth of their second child. She worked so hard with the kids all day long and she always did such a great job taking care of the house and feeding them all. Work was getting harder and harder for him. This new job was mentally exhausting, doing things he never thought he would be. Sure, all he was doing was sitting in an office, but dealing with people daily, talking with the customers, hearing their complaints and problems was more demanding than any physical work he used to do. At the end of the day, it was all he could do to come home, play with the kids a bit, eat dinner, and then fall into bed. He tried to stay awake while she finished putting the kids down, but by the time she crawled into bed next to him, he was always fast asleep. He’d wake to find her there, gently snoring beside him. Knowing how exhausted she was, he didn’t have the heart to wake her, even if it was for something sweet and pleasurable for both of them. She didn’t seem to reach for him in the night like she used to. He had begun to think maybe she didn’t love him like she used to. Maybe something was wrong. Or maybe this was just how marriage was after kids. He wasn’t happy, but he didn’t know how to communicate the feelings he was starting to have, so he left it alone.

Without that intimate connection at night, they started to drift apart emotionally. Both desperately wanted to love the other but neither knew how to start the conversation. They avoided it and eventually they both found someone else. She put all her focus and energy into the kids and he found someone that would reach out to him.

“You know you don’t love me anymore. I’m leaving.”

There it was. The big statement. And here they were, another failed marriage, another broken family, just like everyone else. She felt numb hearing those words. She knew he would say them. She knew they were coming for a long time.

“Ok.” Was the only way she could respond without falling apart, and her pride would not allow her to fall apart in front of him.

He walked away without another word. Both were broken. Both cried alone. Both felt they had failed. And both wanted the other to beg them to stay.


Thank you to Writers Write for the October prompts!