Visions of Emory Street Past
There are places we live where we experience so much life, that a part of us stays behind, immersed in the past. My home on Emory Street is such a place for me. It’s the home where my ex-husband and I established our family, built a dream house through two sizeable home renovations that we poured our hearts and souls into, envisioning and manifesting a modern cottage hideaway in the middle of urban San Jose. It’s the home where we slaved over the garden, planting hydrangeas and roses and irises and all manner of flowering bushes, making it a lush paradise for us to enjoy. It’s the home where both of my sons were born, where I nursed them as I rocked gently in my chair, stroking their newborn hair as they drunk themselves to sleep. It’s the home where I poured my soul out on canvas and paper, capturing the beauty of our garden paradise, and exploring my burgeoning motherhood with artworks of my nursing babies.
So why, when I left this home, was I overweight, angry, and disillusioned?
As I sit in front of the house this morning, back in town on a business trip, I let the feelings wash over me. All the joy I felt in this home, all the landmark moments in my adult life, and all the things I did not see then that I see now. I was disconnected from the only thing that mattered: connection to Source.
I remember at the time, when things were going awry and getting tense and difficult in our lives, that so many times I saw this spiritual center down the road and wanted to go in. I would pass by it on a walk and it would call out to me, practically scream to me, and yet I walked on. I was afraid to go in.
In retrospect, I see that I was afraid to go in because, intuitively, I knew going into that spiritual center would mean seeing all the things that were wrong with my life, all the places where I was disconnected and denying my heart’s deepest desires. That black shadow seemed far too immense to face; I chose, instead, to keep pushing forward and trying to make everyone happy with no sacrifices in a situation that demanded sacrifices and different choices.
It took losing this home, moving to Texas to build an even more ostentatious home well past our means, and then losing that home and property to a divorce, before I took the simple step: I looked at the shadow. By now I had let go of everything, so I had nothing left to lose, and looking at the shadow now was clearly my salvation.
As I sit in front of Emory Street today, however, I wonder if there could have been another path. If I had gone to that spiritual center, and walked in that door, and faced my shadow…would I have found what I needed to connect with my true self? Would I have had the strength, conviction, and vision to let go of the things that were sucking the life out of me and lead my marriage in a different direction? Would my decision to face my own shadow have been enough to change the destiny for my family?
I recapitulated for quite a while in front of my Emory Street home this morning, letting the emotions arise when they did, and then calmly returning to the task of breathing my energy back from this saturated homestead. As with all things, we cannot move past them until we learn the lessons of the experience. What I learned this morning is the importance of returning to my own center, to my connection with Source, with Spirit, and of deeply questioning feelings of dissatisfaction with my life when they arise. I learned how important it is to be authentic with yourself, and to clean up the internal debris so you can clearly see the garden you are growing all around you. I also glimpsed a vast truth: our attention and gratitude focused on the beauty in our lives grows lushness when we can let go of all that does not serve us. It is imperative that we let go of what we think we need to have because we are comparing ourselves to others, or because we are letting our insecurities take the wheel and drive our lives. What is essential is that we return to our center, connect with Source, and see all the beauty in our lives that truly nourishes our souls , and witness how we could help that beauty grow by simply making different choices and sacrificing the unnecessary ‘wants’ of our ego. Because as I sit in my car in front of my Emory Street past this morning, I notice the beauty that my ex-husband and I created when we lived and loved in his home. What began as tiny hydrangea bushes and spindly flowing bushes when we planted them over 10 years ago, are now lush and gorgeous and full of life.