I moved to Alexandria, Virginia more than six months ago, and I have one girlfriend. One. She is wonderful, hilarious, and super generous. She also has her own life (surprise, surprise), already has a ton of friends and cannot be my one and only girlfriend. This has only recently become a problem for me because I am feeling the extreme vacancy in my heart of my girlfriends being close to me. A call, a text, a subway ride away and we were in one another’s living rooms, walking in Prospect Park or at my favorite local watering hole. I felt safe. I felt known. I felt loved and I relished the feeling of being that for someone else. Living in New York for close to ten years, I had friends from high school, college, and graduate school, all within a five mile radius. I also had a huge network of clients who had become dear friends. I had community. And it was easy. It was simple. I didn’t really have to try too hard.
It’s very different here in Virginia.
I spend many nights feeling kind of lonely, craving a drink with a girlfriend, longing for that sisterhood, for someone that immediately gets me, that I don’t have to explain anything to. I miss the history, the ease and the intimacy. It pisses me off. I hate that I have to try now after not having had to try for so long. It’s not necessarily easy to meet people when you work for yourself in your own home. I feel resentful at the idea of putting effort in. I know there are ALL these steps I could be taking. I could look up Mommy groups, I could introduce myself to people on the playground and ask them for a coffee date. I could be brave, and put myself out there and all these excuses are popping up. I’m too tired. I don’t have the energy. Getting to know people is laborious. I hate FaceTime (necessary to connect with my life in NY). It will come easily when it is supposed to. It’s not the time. Other things are more important.
Underneath it all, I feel resentful that circumstances changed, that relationships change, that past relationships don’t just feed themselves, that they are either in a state of growth or decay, that being here is REQUIRING new things of me; time, effort, bravery, consistency, vulnerability, showing up getting to know someone new, to invest in people. I want to skip all that and go straight to ease, comfort, intimacy, and trust. It doesn’t work that way.
Speaking with my clients, I know I’m not alone in this. A huge barrier to actually creating change in our lives is the resentment that it is going to require something new of us, that we will have to acquire new skills, step into vulnerability in a bigger way or show up in ways that are uncomfortable.
Maybe someone was used to working as an actor, and because there is a dry spell, they are left feeling like a nobody and resent having to show in a humble way and develop or hone their skills. Maybe someone had it “easy” because they were thin for most of their life and didn’t have to think about food. Now they do, either because of their health is failing or because they have gained weight, and there is anger there. It sucks! Maybe a relationship was awesome and fluid and now it is proving challenging. The people involved find themselves pissed off that it is shifting and changing, asking for them to communicate courageously or grow. Maybe they even want to leave because of that resentment. The easier something was, the more obvious it is when it becomes challenging.
So, how do we overcome the resentment that we need to show up differently in our lives then before?
Well, I’m still trying to figure that out.
What came to me today as I pondered this very thing, however, is an Eckhardt Tolle (author of “A New Earth) quote that I love:
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
Damn Eckhardt. (He always breaks it down in a way that I love)
So, literally, every circumstance is teaching us how to elevate to a different perspective, a different level of understanding of ourselves, to discover new truths about our human condition, others, the world around us, and our understanding of the workings of the universe.
Do I know this to be absolutely true? No.
It could all be arbitrary and random and have no order, and life could be a toss of the dice, but that idea doesn’t help me move forward in any sort of productive or empowered way. It leaves me terrified, depressed, defeated, and since I don’t know it to be absolutely true at all, I reach for perspectives that DO help me feel good (that are equally as possible).
Maybe this situation is preparing me for becoming a better friend, a more willing and selfless member of sisterhood. Maybe practicing putting myself out there will prove to be hugely beneficial for my business or add exponentially to my feeling connected in life. Maybe the old way of doing things, like relying on what already feels comfortable and easy will help me discover more fully how to love others. Maybe there are big things in here for me. One thing is certain, I am being forced to flex muscles or I will continue to feel isolated and disconnected. I may be forced to do things I don’t like doing (like FaceTiming) because ultimately I will need to if I want to feel connected to life in NY. Life has a way of forcing us to change if we don’t initially listen to its requests.
If you are feeling resentful that you are being forced to rise in a new way, it’s totally natural. We almost need to mourn the loss of it having been easy!
Try on the idea here that it is going to serve you in ways you cannot see yet. It is preparing you for life situations that haven’t arisen yet, and is teaching you who you really are and what you are really made of; skills like perseverance, grit, determination, presence, grace, surrender, self-reliance and trust, and that only this particular situation could teach you in the way that you need.
I full on lost it watching Moana yesterday with my son. Number one, because it’s really moving! Number two, because of the lyrics during a particularly moving and beautiful part of the movie resonated with me deeply. Number three, I just needed to lose it (world events are making my soul feel sick).
Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are
The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you
And when that voice starts to whisper
Moana, you’ve come so far
Do you know who you are?
I’m going to try that perspective on, because this girl needs community. I start to wither without it. Although I adore my husband and son, I crave sisterhood. Not really having it here has taught me how much I love and miss it. It might be time to roll my sleeves up and do some work.
Rock On & Be Well,