I arrived in Nova Scotia to begin life as a single person. I was happy to be moving forward with healing after leaving my 30 year unhappy relationship. I was grateful to be moving into closer connection with my son and family and I became an integral part of life with them instead of an occasional visitor. For the first several years I lived here I walked on the beach at least once a week and for the last three, I live where I can see the ocean every time I look out my window.
I had made the decision to leave and to move in early January and by April, I was tired emotionally as well as physically. In addition to my full time job, I found an apartment in Nova Scotia for May 1st, organized movers, and decided what to bring to my new home.
I said goodbye to family, to good friends and colleagues in the yoga community, and to my meditation teacher. I agreed to couples therapy to better understand the ending of the long term relationship. I scanned hundreds of pictures. I revisited some of my favorite places, including the mountains and my cabin in the interior of BC.
By the time I drove out of the driveway and hit the road, I was simultaneously filled with adrenaline and wrung out. I had a 6,600 km (4,100 mile) drive ahead of me and two weeks to get there. I love a good road trip, but the conditions for this one were not exactly ideal.
I drove south and spent some time in Wyoming and the Dakotas. I knew I probably wouldn’t visit that part of the western US again so I took my time. I had lunch in funky roadside cafes. I stopped to take in the vast stillness where there was nothing in sight except for cattle and birds. I stopped at Mount Rushmore, then followed a small sign and discovered the Crazy Horse Monument, a huge sculpture on a mountain with a rich resource center and bookstore. I’m a prairie girl at heart and love the wide open spaces and sky.
I drove through Minnesota and visited some dear friends at the Meditation Center, which was my meditation teacher Swami Veda’s US base. While there, a friend gave me recordings of An Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer. It was also on this road trip that I first became familiar with Adyashanti. My son had mailed me an iPod with music and short snippets of Adya’s teaching. I was in good company as I drove. My ex-partner had grown increasingly and vehemently opposed to my then 20 year practice of meditation. I realize now how her judgment and scorn of my teacher and “cult friends” affected me and how hiding had deadened the heart energy of my spiritual practice.
As I drove further east, through Chicago and into the eastern part of the US, the population density dramatically increased. As a woman traveling alone, I went for low risk. I stayed on the interstates, stopping at Holiday Inn hotels by supper time each day. In one, I ate watching as an Amish man clopped by in a horse drawn buggy. There was always something interesting to see. I spent 3 days on Cape Cod, enjoying the dunes and ocean, knowing that for the first time in my life, soon I would be living at the ocean.
I felt free to follow my interests and heart. I went on retreat with Adyashanti. I regularly travelled to western Canada and California to train yoga teachers and facilitate workshops. I connected with Scott Kiloby and became a facilitator of the now Kiloby Inquiries. I learned about trauma, healed my own, and became more skilled at facilitating people healing. I wrote a book Friends With Your Mind: How To Stop Torturing Yourself With Your Thoughts. I met with and interviewed incredible people through the Radical Recovery Summit. I began the daily practice live on Zoom in 2015 and we are now in our 7th year.
My life is so rich now. Most of this would not have happened had I stayed in that relationship. We got together when I was 27 and largely unhealed from traumatic teen years. For the first time, I felt like an adult cared about me. Looking back I can see how unhealthy the relationship was. I have grieved the losses and harm that came from staying because I was in denial and freeze. I was not able to see that for many years, and it took me several more to accept the truth that she would not change. I had to leave.
I was 59 when I left the life I knew to begin again. The first few years held a lot of change and were difficult. It took awhile for my nervous system to learn that I could be and express who I really was without hiding. I feel free from shame now. I know myself and have compassion for what is still healing. I am gentle with myself and I am on my own side.
Some people look at me and see someone who “has it together” and that is true now. My life has been both hard and filled with joy. Sexual trauma at age 12 and a grade 12 popular boy bragging at school set the stage for years of being bullied and sexually shamed. After decades of disconnection, I have compassion for that young girl who had no one to turn to. She has me now!
Healing is never easy and it is possible. I know that possibility in every cell in my body. We gradually allow in what we weren’t able to welcome. We take the risk of authenticity and vulnerability. We develop a kind relationship with ourself at younger ages. We become the emotionally regulated trusted adult we needed all along.
I honor and appreciate the wonderful people I get to work with. I love that I am a blessing in this world as I share my gifts of wisdom, love and attention. This is something we can all do in our own way. It wasn’t too late for me at 59 and it is not too late for you. Whether you make a dramatic change or small incremental changes in the way you live each day, life can be rich and exciting and meaningful.