For months now, I’ve been practicing detachment. I’ve tried to acknowledge what I can control and what I can’t, and that sometimes, the only thing I can change is my attitude. I stopped shopping for extraneous things. I started writing a novel in November without a plan, and let the plot and characters carry me along. I’ve been going to yoga at least once a week, reading books about spirituality, Buddhism, Christianity. Many nights in a row, I’ve dreamed of riding in buses or losing my car——once, even, that the car was driving me.
I’ve also been deepening my faith by overcoming fear. Under my habit of worrying has always been fear. And fear is the opposite of faith. The more I allow myself to trust, to believe, the less I worry that bad things are about to come. In fact, I feel like I’m finally inviting the good stuff in.
Last Thursday, I lost my job. It came out of the blue, with no warning. My first emotion was shock. But three seconds later, I felt a deep sense of freedom. I had learned so much, truly tested and applied the principles of my faith, and come out stronger. I realized right away that I could take all the energy I had been devoting to an organization and begin applying it to my writing, to the work that brings me the most satisfaction and the most joy.
I was happy to detach. It felt good to let go.
On the train ride home that day, I saw a man from my yoga class. I happened to have a bag with me, my purple yoga mat sticking out awkwardly from the top, and I raised it in the air like a fist to show him. The next day, I went to yoga class, and when the teacher said at the end that she was starting yoga teacher training this month, and that there were still a few spots left for stragglers, I realized that this was the next step for me. It was as if a higher power had laid it out, set it up for me, gently showed me the way.
I’m not angry about losing my job. I feel as though I’ve been given a tremendous gift——the opportunity to be who I really am. I’m going to become a student of yoga, and by next year, a teacher. I’m going to finish the novel I’ve been writing, because if there is any time in my life I’m supposed to write a novel, it’s now. I’m going to be more present for my family, drop off the kids at school and pick them up, focus on what they have to say rather than be stressed and distracted. I’m going to let myself be buoyed by the support from my faith community so I can give back to it. And when all of that’s done, my husband and I are thinking of starting a magazine.
My spirit is strong, and so is my faith.
But back to poetry.
Twelve years ago, my husband (then-boyfriend) gave me a watch. It was small and dainty, something I never would have picked out for myself, even though I quickly fell in love with it. This past December, it stopped working. It wasn’t the battery; the hands had just started to slow down, and they got slower and slower as the days progressed. First, the jeweler tried to save me money by cleaning it. That didn’t work. Then he sent it away to be fixed, only to have it come back still broken.
I considered getting a new watch, or whether to wear a watch at all. But last week, when the jeweler called to say it was finally ready, I picked it up and knew that I had gotten back more than my watch. I had gotten back time. I had gotten back my family. Maybe I had even gotten back myself.