This piece was written for a website and community where I had been a member, ambassador and editor. Sometimes the process of writing about my life has a more powerful effect on me directly. I think this was one of them.
I am not totally sure if the event is linked to this, but was it coincidental? I have been trying to get to a yoga class weekly and last week I managed to go. What I like about the class is that it engages me in something that is both physical and spiritual, it works for me. I arrived as normal and chatted with my instructor briefly before we began the class as usual and then climbed the staircase to the studio in the beautiful loft space situated at the top of the old French house. It has plenty of windows overlooking the surrounding countryside too. After about 20 minutes into the class, towards the end of one exercise where you go into a relax pose I suddenly became overcome by emotion. I had no idea where this had come from as I was fine when I left home that morning. It took a lot of effort to control the tears that began to run down my cheek, but I did.
I continued without my instructor noticing. The session always ends with a ‘death pose’ to relax, where we lie on our backs, arms and feet outstretched, eyes closed and controlled breathing. We go into a mediative state for a few minutes while some appropriate music plays quietly in the background. All was just about ok until an indian woman began to sing to a melodic accompaniment. That was just too much and the tears flowed down my cheeks. I’ve been an expert all my life at hiding my feelings, but I can’t do that anymore. We sat up and went through our closing posture and chants at which point I felt that I had to explain what had happened. I later asked if others had experienced similar to be told that some have sobbed uncontrollably. Perhaps it was just a release that I needed at that time. But reading this article again brought back a few tears this morning, so maybe it was the return of the question sitting in my consciousness?
I am someone who has spent a large part of their life married or in a relationship. All of which came to slightly awkward endings for different reasons, but all making me feel guilty and broken.
That is all behind me and in the past now, and there it will stay. Pastures are new, fresh and green now. My reasons to pursue a life as a woman was not fuelled by any sexual motivation, only to fulfil my underlying need to settle the internal turbulence I have endured all of my life. Thoughts of having a partner have not been an aspect of life that I have felt that I want or need at this stage in my life. However, looking to the future I am uncertain if that will remain my point of view. Part of me feels that I am protecting myself as a result of my past experiences. The other concern is where do I begin? While I have doubts, I also know what having the company, love and closeness of another in your life feels like. Now, as I am more settled in myself I feel that the desire for companionship may grow stronger as time goes on.
There are times when I have shuddered at the mere thought of having someone else in my daily life; upsetting when, what and how I choose to live my life. Perhaps it’s simply an automatic reaction after two failed marriages and a long term relationship. On the whole I am a very positive person, and once I decide to do something I can become single minded in that pursuit. A trait that may not have helped too much with those close to me in the past. Nevertheless, I am a woman now with a completely different stance in the world and all that goes with it. I have lived alone for the past six years and quite happy with my life, although a certain question has re-entered my thoughts more recently. Like a butterfly that settles on a flower for a short while and then flutters away leaving the flower intact and unchanged. Will I spend the rest of my life alone?
The future remains a mystery. Can we help mould it by our actions? There are no guarantees of that. But, perhaps we can make a difference in just how things can play out in this living theatre. I believe that we all seek love and companionship in our lives, but it should not be to make us feel complete as an individual. And so, it’s quite natural to feel that you need to have someone else in your life. I started thinking that finding a person who could find me desireable in view of my lifestyle changes, and I them, could be almost impossible given my age. Take into account my social activities and the prospects look a little bleak. What about if I were to shift my perspective on this situation? Maybe it is I that need to re-align my perspective on life now and take a fresh look at this world I have placed myself in? It’s also easy to forget that I spent a very large part of my life as a male, something I in general try to smother with anything that will subdue that part of my consciousness. At the same time I need to acknowledge that my past has also made me what I am now. I am beginning to quake at the enormity of that as I am typing!!! I feel that I am doing my best and perhaps making it sound a little dramatic, but that is what I am doing? Isn’t it?
Basically I need to remain positive and hope that things may move in the right direction, at the right time, without me pushing it too much. While it is still summer and lots of things are happening along with plenty of work, being alone is not an issue in the slightest. When the darker, colder, bleak winter season creeps across the glorious view from my kitchen and I am not so keen to set foot outside into the chilled air, my thoughts may well return to being alone once again.
In the meantime I have my evolving personal life to distract me from any such thoughts, and hospital appointments before winter arrives. Also a few things to look forward to and perhaps a trip to see family in the UK if finances permit
Yoga Studio Photo: Robert Howard