The Heroine’s Journey

Mystic morning Royalty Free Stock Photos

Midway upon the journey of my life

I found myself within a forest dark.

For the straight-forward pathway had been lost.

Dante Alighieri

Inferno, first canto

In the previous post, which I titled “Before Death,” I described how I felt when my life was turned upside down. The confusion, the lack of energy, the despair, all of it led to what I eventually concluded was a sort of Near Death Experience, also written about in a previous post. Poster Royalty Free Stock Images

As the years passed and I had occasion to learn more, I concluded that the NDE was most likely a sort of shamanic event whereby I died as a way to “shed” my old self and began to discover and bring to life my new self, hopefully a more aware self.

One way to express that journey from “here” to “there” is as the Hero’s Journey or, as I termed it then, since I’m female, the Heroine’s Journey. I’ve since discovered that is also a Heroine’s Journey that is not just a feminine version of the Hero’s Journey but since I’ve already written this as part of my book, I’ll let it stand as the Heroine’s Journey. For now, anyway.

If it seems grandiose to use a term like “heroine” in the context of what we see as our mostly ordinary lives, it isn’t.


1 a: a extraordinary figure often of divine descent b: an illustrious warrior c: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage

2 a: the principal character in a literary or dramatic work b: the central figure in an event, period, or movement

We are the heroines and heroes in our life stories. It takes great courage to live in this world, to dare to experience what it has to offer. We are the central Couple dating drinking coffee at cafe, Barcelona Stock Photocharacters, the “stars,” of our lives as we live them. We see life through our eyes, we feel life through our emotions, we live our lives in accordance with the choices we make. No one else sees or feels or lives life exactly as we do no matter how similar views, feelings, and lifestyles may be. We thus live a life no one else has ever lived and that no one else ever could. We truly are unique, extraordinary, and courageous and, therefore, heroic.Phoenix Bird Royalty Free Stock Photos

The Heroine’s Journey is an allegorical description of our sacred journey of individuation or spiritual awakening, the journey through life in which we all participate, consciously or not. It is an archetypal, mythological, psychological, and spiritual trek. I personally relate to the myth of the Phoenix, that is, dying and being reborn.

One of the greatest expounders of this is Joseph Campbell. He speaks in masculine terms but since this Journey is not gender specific I use “heroine” because it’s too easy to think men are the only ones who are heroic and I want to avoid that. When the mythology is understood we realize that the “warrior” male/female and the “nurturer” female/male both exist in every one of us, thus the Journey applies equally to men and women.

In our culture it’s relatively easy to find stories about warrior heroes and heroines like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil) in Star Wars and Lt. Ripley (Sigourney Hobbit house with blue door Royalty Free Stock PhotoWeaver) in Alien, but it can be more difficult to find male roles that demonstrate the nurturant feminine without parody. However, think of Samwise Gamgee in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rings sagas. Sam (his full name incorporating “wise” is not an accident) becomes the companion and helper of the protagonist/hero Frodo Baggins.

At first “simple” Sam’s greatest gift seems to be reciting and making up poetry but during their perilous journey he often exhibits great intuition and psychological understanding, qualities generally said to be feminine traits. He takes care of their baggage, cooks, and generally makes sure Frodo has the support he needs to continue his quest, all quintessentially feminine activities.

For all these so-called “feminine” qualities, though, male Sam’s role indicates the strength inherent in the nurturer, not to mention as much or more courage as is demanded of Frodo. When Frodo is about to succumb to the enchantment of the ring, it is Sam who supports him and prevents him from giving in.

The Heroine’s/Hero’s Journey is first, and most importantly, about inner transformation, not gender, and secondly, how that transformation manifests in the world.

I’ll end this post here, for now, but there’s much more to discuss in this issue of Journeys and genders.

Before Death

When I had to retire over twenty years ago, I was seriously depressed and my Depression Stock Imagemind was foggy, full of cotton. I couldn’t concentrate or use the logical thinking processes on which I’d depended as long as I could remember. I recall going to my physician one time, nearly in tears of mental anguish, and I cried, “I’m losing my words! If I don’t have my words, I can’t think!”

You see, I had to be able to think or I wouldn’t be “me.” He looked at me rather strangely and I’m sure he thought I wasn’t losing my words so much as losing my mind. He didn’t have any answers for me, but he did eventually come up with a diagnosis.


A seemingly innocuous word merely meaning painful muscles and connective tissue. Oh, but the reality is so much more.

Psychology Illustration of Man in Depressed State Stock PhotographyThere is almost always depression, which simply piles on more misery. There’s often a host of various seemingly unconnected symptoms, all of which may come and go with no discernible cause or regularity. These can include tinnitus, vertigo, unexplained weight gain or loss, mental confusion, extreme fatigue out of all proportion to the exertion, and various organ dysfunctions, among a litany of other puzzling problems.

This inconsistent and perplexing picture has commonly led to a “diagnosis” of hypochondria and/or psychosomatic disorder with patients often feeling as if their very real distress is dismissed. Of course, all of this causes stress. Stress worsens the symptoms.

Sometimes other – incorrect – diagnoses are made based on only one or a few of the diverse symptoms. At other times there can also be overlap with other diseases that complicate matters. If there are no other “legitimate” diagnoses, treatment in such cases is generally ineffective and once again the patient is often made to feel as if she (with fibromyalgia it’s usually a woman) is somehow at fault or even lying or at least exaggerating.

The fundamental and invariable symptom, though, has always been unexplained and persistent pain of varying degrees.

After about ten years of struggling with worsening symptoms, I had finallyHands Senior in wheelchair Royalty Free Stock Photography accepted early retirement on disability, five years before I would have qualified for a regular full retirement from federal civil service. I’d planned to work at least another five years beyond that and thus unexpectedly retiring ten years early obviously made a big difference in my expected income and plans.

This was not what my life was supposed to be like.

It was not the life I’d expected. I’d done my best to punch all the necessary tickets to get me on track for a healthy and active retirement in what I’d expected to be the far future. I’d done all the right things as far as diet and exercise. I ran, I lifted weights, I counted calories and fat grams. I’d even finally listened to those who had been telling me for years that I should be more ambitious so I could get promoted and thus retire with more income so I went back to school to finish my undergraduate degree.

Maybe all of this was due to my subconscious realization that I needed to somehow grow spiritually but I interpreted it as a need to be in control of my Crash! Stock Imagelife and, at least partially, to grow in status. I did the things I needed to do to be “successful,” and in some ways I was successful. I graduated with honors and I got promoted both as a civilian and as a navy reservist. However, the stresses of doing so much built up more and more until finally all the stress lines converged, at which point I crashed and burned in a complete collapse.

My three-legged stool didn’t just tumble, it simply disintegrated as my life fell apart. I was shocked and stunned. It wasn’t supposed to work this way. Nepalese peasant woman Royalty Free Stock Photography

Coming from a long line of what I’d always described as “sturdy peasant stock,” I’d always thought I had more than enough physical, mental, and emotional strength and endurance to outlast anything. My sense of abandonment and betrayal was utter. I just didn’t know who to blame.

For most of my early life I generally felt confused and uncertain, simply doing what and going where I was told without a real sense of direction. (See the puny ego there? I had very little idea of my own needs and desires. I was a “good” girl. Do what you’re told and everything will be OK.) If I committed to a course of action, I would finish it but it wasn’t part of an overall plan. I just took whatever life presented to me and did my best to work with it. I did pretty well.

This “going with the flow” might have been the “right” thing to do, in some sense, but it certainly wasn’t because I was enlightened or knew what I was doing or why. I supposed that as long as I worked hard “something” would make it work out all right. Most of the time it did.

This time, though, my situation was nowhere near all right, not to my way of thinking.

Several years prior to this I had written a retrospective of my life for a professional journal. In the process I noticed there seemed to be a sort of pattern or plan to my life, though it certainly wasn’t mine. I didn’t have one. Events that had once seemed to be obstacles actually now looked like switches on a railroad that got me back on the right track. But how could this situation possibly put me on the right track? How had I even gotten off it? Had I somehow gotten off the labyrinth path and stumbled into a maze? It sure felt like it, I was so confused.

For a long time all I wanted to do was to “get better,” to go back to work when I got “well.” I didn’t want things to change, I didn’t want to change, I just wanted to go back to what I had been, to life as it had been, to make it all work out the way I’d planned.

Instead, all I could see was that I’d been weak, that I’d failed. And after all I’dFailure - Sad Person Loser Denied and Unsuccessful Stock Photography gone through to get there, putting myself through school – twice; surviving a crumbled marriage; taking care of my health and making sure I did “all the right things.” All of it, wasted.

I tried oh, so very many things for a multitude of reasons. Maybe studies had showed a certain treatment had helped others. I’d try it. Maybe testimonials meant there was hope for me, too. I’d look into those. I spent my precious savings on a host of things from acupuncture to yoga, bodywork to supplements, meditation to chi gong and, of course, books. Many of these things were truly helpful.

But not to me, or at least not in the way I wanted them to be when I wanted them to be.

Giving Our Power Away

“In many ways, we are taught from the time we are children to give away our power to others. When we were told to kiss and hug relatives or friends of the family when we didn’t want to, for example, we were learning to override our inner sense of knowing and our right to determine for ourselves what we want to do. This repression continued, most likely, in many experiences at school and in situations at work. At this point, we may not even know how to hold on to our power, because giving it away is so automatic and ingrained.

“To some degree, giving our energy to other people is simply part of the social contract, and we feel that we have to do it in order to survive. It is possible to exchange energy in a way that preserves our inner integrity and stability. This begins in a small way: by listening to the voice that continues to let us know what we want, no matter how many times we override its messages.”  - Madisyn Taylor

I came across this in my inbox today and suddenly I understood more clearly why not being listened to as kids, by being treated as if we’re joking when we’re not, why acting as if we can’t possibly know what we like and why, etc, is so infuriating. It’s obvious but I hadn’t been able to put it into words.

Superhero kid. Girl power concept Royalty Free Stock PhotosWhen these things take place we get angry, not because we’re giving away our power, but because it’s being taken away from us. Maybe not deliberately, or maybe deliberately but unconsciously, but taken all the same. And it may take 50 years or more to unlearn the repression we’ve learned, if we ever do, and then we feel angry and guilty, maybe, and resent those who’ve caused us to feel this way.

As very young children, toddlers, perhaps, it’s often necessary for our “power” to be taken away from us. We can’t be allowed to rush out into heavy traffic, for instance, just because we want to go. Eventually and ideally we should come to grips with how our power can be used and that knowledge should make us a bit freer. We can learn to walk several blocks to school without our parents’ fear we’ll dart out into traffic. We can learn what kinds of foodsBig Power Boss Stepping on Little Employee Stock Photography we like and how we want to dress and adorn ourselves.

Except that very often our power is fragmented by what parents or society think we should do and how we should behave and what we should want. We may be trusted to cross the street but not be trusted to choose our own clothes. Not trusted to know what we want.

Which brings up two experiences I’d like to describe, one of my own, one of a friend’s. When I was a young teen, one of the rare times I actually got new clothes, my mom decided to get me a charcoal gray suit with a boxy jacket. Not exactly teen fare but by this time in my life I’d learned to pretty much go along with what I was supposed to like.

Pink woman shirt Stock PhotographyBut she also wanted me to get a pastel pink blouse to go with it. That was a popular color combination that year. Only I didn’t like pink, especially pastel pink. I mean, who ever heard of a pastel Scorpio? So I protested, maybe not loud or long, but definitely out of character. I expressed my power the best I knew how.

It wasn’t enough. With protestations of, “It looks so good on you,” “It’s such a good color,” “It’s so pretty,” my mother overrode every protest I made until I caved. And cave I did. A picture taken of me in that suit with the pink blouse shows me hunched over, head bowed, trying to disappear. I literally look caved in on myself.

And it wasn’t until earlier this year that I finally realized why pink has made me feel sick to my stomach so often over the years. It wasn’t the pink color, per se, but the battering of my soul that took place when I was made to do and wear something I really didn’t want.

The second event happened to a friend of mine. Another friend of hers had decided Nails manicure Royalty Free Stock Photothat she’d give my friend a manicure as a gift. My friend, however, didn’t want a manicure, didn’t like manicures, would have preferred a gift of a massage. Over the course of several conversations and meetings with other friends where her refusal of a manicure was treated as a joke, my friend’s resentment grew. Why was it so difficult for her friend to see and hear what she said?

It was, to my way of thinking, a power struggle, albeit likely an unconscious one. Because her friend loved manicures (as my mother loved pink) she simply wouldn’t acknowledge her friend’s desires as being legitimate. She probably didn’t even hear her, not really.

Until my friend finally blew up and got angry. And then her friend was amazed to discover that she didn’t like manicures. Well, duh!

Of course, anger is one way, a very potent way, of expressing our power. But it Young female expressing her anger Stock Imageoften leaves us feeling uncomfortable and vaguely guilty. Why should we have to get angry to accomplish our desires? We shouldn’t. Have to, I mean. When we have to, it feels as if we’re being unheard, perhaps belittled, our desires given no shrift. And under certain circumstances we’re overridden and we give in.

My friend expressed her desires often and clearly and yet it took an explosion to get her message across. I wasn’t allowed to get angry, much less explode, and I carried the consequences of that assault on my power for over 50 years.

You’re entitled to your wants and desires and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not. Not that you should ride roughshod over people like you may have been overridden, but I trust you to know right from wrong as well as when you’re right and you have that right.

May your sense of knowing what is right for you be expressible and expressed. Let us hope you can express your desires and wants and that people will hear you.

I wish this for you.

The Beginning

In the beginning, I died.

But you already know about that if you’ve read my previous post about it.

Frankly, I can’t prove I died and maybe I shouldn’t call it the beginning,Shadow play about a monk riding a white horse Royalty Free Stock Images either, but I have to start somewhere and I have to call it something. You’d think anything so momentous would leave a more specific impact on my memory. Be that as it may, I suppose my death actually occurred about the middle of my life; it was also the beginning of my journey to greater awareness, known in mythology as the Hero/ine’s Journey.

The complete Hero/ine’s Journey is not linear, directly from point A to point B, but is actually more or less circular, a journey inward to our center and then a return journey out again. It’s not a straight shot into the middle, though, and, as with a labyrinth, though the path may be true, it doesn’t lead directly to the goal. There’s a lot of ground to be covered before we get back to where we began.

Labyrinth Royalty Free Stock PhotographyThe labyrinthine path follows a specific pattern that time after time takes us tantalizingly near to the center and then away from it, arcing around again and again, approaching the center but never crossing the threshold until the entire interior of the circle, our interior, has been traversed. And then we finally enter the core.

The circle of the labyrinth symbolizes wholeness or entirety and thus in one way represents our fully realized Being. It must be traveled in both directions in order to be complete. A circle is the symbol of pure potentiality, with all things being possible and with nothing being manifested. That’s us, when we’re born. In the dimensionless center of this pure potential dwells our Self-consciousness. This is the goal of our exploration, our search for Soul. It is the Authentic Self we’re meant to birth into our physical consciousness.

On our Journey of search and exploration we will, we must, become aware of allClint Eastwood Stock Photo that is contained within the circle, including “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” As we do this, we will come to know and understand the relationship of our selves to our Selves. The path to the center is the same path we will negotiate in reverse. Getting to the center is only half the Journey. On the way back out we’ll revisit issues that we may have thought and even hoped we’d finished with. These are opportunities for us to once more come face to face with our selves/Selves relationship.

Unlike traveling a two-dimensional labyrinth, however, the Journey actually Spring steel. Royalty Free Stock Phototakes place in a more three-dimensional manner. Each round completed is actually one circle of a spiral, like a coiled spring. As we travel along the coils, each cycle takes us to another level. We go ’round and ’round and thus it often seems we encounter the same issues over and over. One famous quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay says, “Life isn’t one damn thing after another. It’s the same damn thing again and again.” But it’s not quite the same thing again and again. Each time we re-meet an issue we will, or at least we hope we will, have a higher perspective of it.

A labyrinth is not the same as a maze though many confuse the two terms. TheNight City Maze Game Stock Image path of a maze can meander into various dead ends and it often brings us back to the same dead ends over and over again. A maze may also have more than one way to reach the exit, which, unlike in a labyrinth, is not the same place we came in. It might even have more than one exit and we may not come out where we expected to.

A maze, then, is designed to mislead and intended to be confusing, so when we find ourselves repeatedly hitting dead ends or even hitting the same dead end over and over in our lives we know we’ve gotten off the true path. We’re not on our labyrinth path, we’ve wandered into a maze. A maze can be in any shape while a labyrinth is a perfect circle or at least a slightly squared circle or a slightly rounded square. It always has only one path to reach the center, which is also the same way out, no matter how convoluted.

Since I’d already reached an indeterminate point in this labyrinth we call life when I began to become aware of the Journey I was on, perhaps I should more accurately state, “Somewhere in the middle, I died.”

But I see this death as the beginning of my real life so, “in the beginning I died.”

We Are Never Alone

I believe I am (and most likely you are, too) part of a huge but as yet undefined groundswell of a change in humanity’s consciousness as a whole. There are Single wave Stock Photovarious ways to describe this happening in our world today. The metaphor of birth that I use describes one way we can become partners with our Authentic Self. Various widespread myths, collectively often called The Hero/ine’s Journey, also describe what it is we’re setting out upon as we seek our partner/jewel/treasure, although we’re generally unconscious and unaware of what that means at first. This myth of the Journey will be the primary frame for my narrative over the next several posts.

Because of the nebulous nature of this transformation and birth many of us have very little idea about what is occurring or how to respond or even how widespread it is. It’s especially difficult to see and believe in, considering the dire straits most of the world seems to be experiencing now. For the most part we’re aware only of our own, usually confusing and often painful, situations. But there is hope.

All great changes are preceded by chaos. – Deepak Chopra

Our conscious natures and various belief systems color our perception of this Colorful lenses Stock Imagestremendous evolution. We can view it through the lenses of mythology, of psychology, of established religion, of undefined spirituality, of shamanism, perhaps of science fiction and fairy tales, maybe even of some forms of “hard” science like physics and astronomy, as well as other belief systems. Varied as they are, these perspectives often point to a central truth. What that truth might be will be as personal as the experience itself but it will be no less true for all that.

Here’s a metaphor for how I perceive the terms spirit, soul, and ego inLight bulb Royalty Free Stock Photography relationship to each other. Imagine that we are light bulbs. The translucent glass envelope is the physical body and ego that the rest of the world sees when it looks at us. This is what we see in the mirror and who we usually believe we are.

The Soul is the filament inside the bulb. When stimulated by electricity it shines through the glass envelope but because of the frosted glass, it’s not seen clearly although its effects can be apparent.

Electricity is Spirit, the invisible energy that enlivens the soul/Self and makes it glow and shine through the surrounding glass envelope. Like electrical energy, Spirit energy is neutral, neither “good” nor “bad,” it just exists. Our job is to figure out how to get connected or, more explicitly, realize our connection to Spirit. Expression of this energy depends on the shape, size and structure of the soul/filament. The soul is built and refined in lifetime after lifetime of experiences. The glass envelope will have some effect on this expression, too, depending on whether it’s dirty or dusty or hidden by a shade of persona, for example.

Obviously, it’s difficult to describe this process of alteration of consciousness with common vocabulary and knowledge even though it’s happening on an unprecedented scale. We need a new terminology. Until then we have to use myth and metaphor.

Mystic Ascending Royalty Free Stock ImageWhile the scale may be new, however, the experience isn’t. Mystics and sages have tried to depict it in various ways over thousands of years. One way is to try to describe and explain it by myth and metaphor, as with my use of the stool and the light bulb. This brings difficulties because when descriptions are not well understood as metaphor they’re often taken literally and become something either to be rigidly adhered to or mocked as patently ridiculous.

For example, if someone took my metaphor of the light bulb literally and then saw only physical “meaty” people walking around, s/he might conclude that all humanity was filthy and sinful because there was no Soul, no light, to be seen in anyone. It makes no difference whether the metaphors are found in the Bible or in The Brothers Grimm, whether they are referring to ancient gods or UFOs and space aliens.

Both literalism and ridicule mislead us. Our culture greatly lacks conscious use of the symbolism of metaphor and myth so misinterpretation is common.

Myth is another term often misunderstood as something imaginary and fanciful.Icon set of mobile devices , computer and network  Royalty Free Stock Photo Myth is symbol. It is a symbolic way to present a profound truth, not as data or information, but as a pattern or blueprint. To do this it’s necessary to bypass the logical linear and analytical brain we use in understanding language. Symbols do this. Symbols are simply “shortcuts” pointing to some greater truth, like the icons on our computers point to and link us up with much larger programs.

Our souls speak to our egos in symbols. We need to become skilled at looking for and understanding the symbolism in life’s happenings, such as dreams and even common events, like songs, to help us understand what we’re being told.

Mind Body Soul Venn Diagram Total Wellness Balance Stock PhotoMost of us rarely give any thought to the idea that our bodies can be and usually are a reflection of what’s occurring at the deeper levels of our being. Physical issues can have extraordinarily profound symbolic messages for us even if they may at times be difficult for us to acknowledge or decipher. Our bodies are not separate from our minds and thoughts, including and even most especially, our subconscious ones. Many researchers are now using the single term “bodymind” to indicate that.

Some of us medicate every little ache and pain or, at the other extreme, ignore them as insignificant or something we just have to put up with as part of being physical creatures. We might even pride ourselves on our ability to function in spite of how intense they become. I did. Not a good idea. If I’d been more aware of what my body reflected of my thoughts and beliefs I might have experienced fewer or at least not such distressful symptoms.

Less “scientific” cultures have long recognized that we are not only the physicalAuras and chakras Royalty Free Stock Photos beings we all know and love so well but that we are, in fact, complex organisms actually composed of and surrounded by interpenetrating “layers” or fields of energy that affect each other in subtle ways. I believe my rigidity of mind and thought was eventually reflected in the way my muscles, my whole body, became hard and inflexible.

Various researchers in traditional sciences have shown that all organs of our bodies respond to various stimuli, both internal and external, subtle and overt. Consider how our heart rate increases or how we might blush simply in response to our thoughts or even our unconscious beliefs. Lie detectors work on this principle.

Investigators have noted, based on studies of the activity of living brains, thatBrain waves Royalty Free Stock Images merely thinking about or concentrating on a behavior or action, such as shooting a basketball, can cause those areas of the brain that function when we physically perform those activities to “light up.” This kind of “practice” is then reflected in our physical performance later.

Candace Pert, Ph.D., has stated that our bodies are our subconscious minds. If so, then it would behoove us to learn what’s going on in our veiled psyches and make it conscious so we can understand ourselves better and interpret our bodies’ messages with greater clarity. We would be more real, more authentic. Not to mention healthier, too, perhaps. The knowledge that this confounding and yet breathtaking experience is both unique and universal may be comforting.

As lonely as it often feels, we are never alone.

I had a not uncommon thing occur a few days ago and I think iWoman head profile hair music concept Royalty Free Stock Imagest might be interesting to write about.

I woke up with a song running through my head. Maybe you remember it, Terry Jacks’ version of Seasons in the Sun. Not the whole song, just a few phrases. I’ve only heard Jacks’ version of it though I understand there are others that don’t sing it quite so blithely or liltingly. Anyway, it was this:

“We had joy,

“We had fun,

“We had seasons in the sun,

(and then I think there’s a break from the lyrics, then it continues)

“And the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.”

Now, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up with songs in my head but they usually don’t stick with me for any length of time. This, however, kept coming back. I wondered why.

Double meaning Stock PhotoSo, being the meaning-making human that I am, I pondered it and other things going on with me. It occurred to me that it could relate to the stuff around some late blog entries that seem to have so stirred up "the other woman" so I worked with that.

I finally figured it out, to my satisfaction, at least.

It’s a message from "the other side," from my former husband, telling me that what we had was good but that there were difficult hills to be surmounted and they had nothing to do with the good stuff, they were "out of time," i.e., out of sequence, maybe, or out of step. Or maybe decided upon “out of time,” i.e., not of the physical world, before the physical world.

I think that he was telling me that it was time to get over those hills, to let go now. I feel that I’ve done so, or almost, anyway. It’s near.

Then, if you remember the song, you realize that it’s a song about death, about how it’s "hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky" etc. Now, I happen toBirds in the sky Stock Images believe that no one dies before their time, that the time and manner of death are chosen before birth. If that’s true, then he’s also saying that he’d done what he came to do and while it was hard to die, his time was up.

That’s pretty woo-woo for most people to buy into, especially those who’ve lost someone "before their time" or something like that. For instance, I was told my former husband wasn’t supposed to be on that plane that crashed but he was filling in at the last minute for a guy who couldn’t make it. Make of that what you will, whether it wasn’t the other guy’s time or it was my former husband’s time, whatever, but that’s what I was given to understand.

Even so, I had a lot of grief around it all. Knowing and believing and feeling can be so far apart sometimes.

I think I can finally let go of the song now. I can also let go of him, I think. We’ll see. I won’t forget him because he was so much a part of my life in so many ways but he won’t continue to haunt me. So this will probably be the last blog post I make about our marriage, divorce, etc. If I do blog any more about it, it will be with much more distance and in a different context.

As I said, we’ll see. If I interpret this happening correctly, I’ll move on to something else.

In A Hotel Room

I’ve had quite a debate with myself about posting this, it’s so very, very intimately personal. And yet, that debate is clearly insisting in some way that I should post it. I mean, I wouldn’t be debating it if there weren’t some need of my Soul to have it out there. I think. My ego would just withdraw from something so raw.

But when it comes to debates between my ego and my Soul, it’s almost always my Soul that insists that discomfort is necessary or at least inconsequential. My ego feels that this is personal, none of your business, nothing you need to know. So the debate continues. But I’m pretty sure how it will end.

I wrote this several years ago. It occurred at a time when my husband was having an affair though he hadn’t yet been “outed.” For decades after our divorce I gave him the benefit of the doubt and blamed the affair and subsequent divorce on “the other woman.” She has to share complicity, of course, due to becoming involved with a married man but then, he probably came across as “sincere” when he complained about his marriage. I mean, isn’t that how most cheaters start their affairs? I can’t help but recall what so many had said about him when I was still a naïve college girl: “He’s the most sincere guy I’ve ever met,” iterated so many of my dorm mates.

I guess sincerity doesn’t preclude perfidy.

He was incapable of being sexually faithful, either to me or to her. If I’d paid attention I might have seen that much earlier, figured things out sooner.

First, there was the failed temptation of the “working girl” in Korea, failed only for lack of money, though. Who knows after that? Then there was his affair with the other woman, when he cheated, big time, on me. And there was this event when he was in the midst of the affair and he “cheated” on her with me, his wife.

I wonder why I ever gave him that benefit of the doubt.


I’m in a hotel room somewhere around Pecos, Texas. It’s a long time ago but not so far away.

I had hoped this trip through the west Texas desert and down to Big BeA man in the swimming pool Royalty Free Stock Photographynd would be a second honeymoon. My husband is outside in the swimming pool. I’m elated that he’s home but I’m also uneasy. He’s already been home for almost two of the three weeks’ leave he has coming, and we have yet to make love.

We’ve been married for over five years but even old married couples should have found occasion by now. Besides, with his various assignments we’ve only actually lived together about half that time so it’s not as if it’s old hat.

He spends his days at the stable with the Major and the horses. Our evenings and nights at home feel strained and quiet as we sit in separate chairs to watch TV. I often turn to look at him but I never see him looking at me. Something is obviously amiss but I don’t know what or how to address it.

I was young then, passive. And naïve.

Be thaLuxury infinity swimming pool caribbean sunset Stock Imaget as it may, I’m in that hotel room now. My husband opens the sliding glass door and for a second all I can see is his rangy silhouette against the late brilliance of the Texas desert light and the still blue water of the pool, his wet footprints already drying on the hot concrete. I want to think his hesitation is because he glimpsed me in my white gown and negligee, but it could as well have been that he was simply blinded by coming from the outside glare into the dim room.

He turns toward the bathroom without a word. I don’t know what I expected after carefully donning my nightwear and perfume, but it wasn’t dismissal, rejection. My heart drops into the hollow shell I immediately become. My eyes are suddenly hot and dry. I can’t swallow the lump in my throat or all the fiery anguish will come pouring out.Pretty woman in her negligee Stock Photography

I sit on the edge of the bed forever, a pale statue in flowing sheer robes. I’m not thinking, just lost, drowning in confusion and pain. If I were thinking, I’d be wondering what I did to cause him to become so remote. I mean, it must be something I did, right? What else could it be?

He’s been gone for nearly a year and it’s been some time since his letters held the longing and suggestive phrases of his earlier ones. My phone calls never seem to find him in his barracks room. I do find all sorts of excuses, though. I can’t call them reasons. I might have to face what I don’t want to know, don’t even want to vaguely consider. So I don’t.

Finally  Beard and Mustache Royalty Free Stock Imagehe comes out of the bathroom, dark hair damp and glistening, beard stubble already soft and thick enough to nearly conceal his lower face. He always grows a beard when he’s on leave.

He still hasn’t spoken but he’s coming toward me and my heart lifts as I look up into his dear but oddly expressionless face. He presses me back onto the bed, not harshly, but not gently, either, not like someone being careful not to hurt something precious.

He deliberately separates the edges of my negligee and pulls up my gown, helping me lift my hips to ensure that it goes all the way to my waist. Still not a word has he spoken. It’s finally going to happen. We’re going to make love!

My hands roam over his slim body as he positions himself above me and slowly lowers his weight after very little foreplay. He doesn’t look at me. He doesn’t kiss me, either. I wonder about that. And then his breath comes fast and so does mine, as I rise to meet him. It’s done.Broken heart Royalty Free Stock Image

My heart breaks, though I don’t quite realize it yet. That will come. All I know is something I never wanted to learn, the difference between making love and having sex.

He rolls off me, pulls the sheets down on the other side of the bed, slides between them, and is soon snoring, his back toward me. I haven’t yet moved, trying to process what just happened, unable or unwilling to. I finally sit up, remove the filmy robes that I’d hoped would entice him to love me, slip between the sheets on my side.

Crying 2 Royalty Free Stock PhotosAs I stiffly lie there, arms clamped to my sides, I watch the desert sunset quickly turn to night. The lump is back in my throat. I’m numb, but I feel a hot tear course down my cheek, becoming icy in the chill air-conditioned false atmosphere of an impersonal hotel room.


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