This is the second in a series of three posts about the process of intentional growth. I would like to warn you that in all posts there is potentially triggering content regarding eating disorders and abusive relationships.
Last September, I wrote a creative essay called Equinox, A Story of Love and Landscape. In January, I blogged about Over-Training Syndrome and my inability to continue ski racing this year. In April, after leaving Oregon, I wrote about the process of searching for home. These themes are intertwined. If you read Part 1 of Mosaic, you will recognize them.
In the weeks after the eclipse, I didn’t know how any of the spiritual action items on my list were going to come to pass. I had suspicions, but few things happened in the way I expected.
The Universe’s first gift to me was a relationship that, all in one fell swoop, contained every skeleton in my romantic/intimate closet, and probably many of his skeletons too. It happened very suddenly and unexpectedly. The first time I looked into his eyes was in the rearview mirror of his car as I sat in the backseat. I knew in the deepest level of my Being, well before my brain knew what was going on, that everything had just changed. I was called to this person with a ferocity that, naturally, scared away every living thing within miles, setting the stage for the disaster that would follow.
The second gift was a re-assessment of my athletic identity. Apparently I didn’t learn that thoroughly enough the first time. The way I have treated by body has been problematic for years. I’ve struggled with eating disorders, I’ve punished myself with my sport, I’ve pushed myself too hard even when I’m enjoying my sport. The method the Universe had in mind for allowing growth was to take it all away.
First it took running. A series of injuries kept me out of the sport for two and a half years. The constant injuries were a warning, as was my sub-par ski race season in 2018. I was pushing my body in an unsustainable way. I chose not to listen until I was literally no longer capable of continuing to do it.
I am still in a period of forced rest. My coaches and I are watching my body’s physiologic signs, but after 9 months of partial rest and 6 months of complete rest, Over Training Syndrome is trying its best to put an end to my competitive ski career. I’ve never been this inactive in my life.
Naturally, to complete the trifecta, what followed was a series of shake-ups around the places that have been my “home.” I have thought of home in three different ways while I have traveled over the past few years: the place where I come back to in between things (New York), the place where I’m actively exploring (in the past year it has been Oregon), and the place where my soul feels most comfortable (New Hampshire, where I’ve spent almost no time in the last 4 years). The Universe thought it was time I reassessed where and what Home is.
Things didn’t end nicely in Oregon; not for me, and not for anyone remotely involved. The relationship the Universe had given me had no chance of panning out happily; there was too much intensity wrapped up in the situation; too many people experiencing radically challenging circumstances. It took me a long time to realize I just needed to get out. Over a year, I lost every single friend in my local social group, one by one. It was the worst interpersonal nightmare I have ever experienced.
Oregon came to feel no longer like a home because it couldn’t support my ski racing, and because interpersonal conflicts had reached too high a price to pay. Similar forces were at work in New York, and over the winter of not being able to race I felt increasingly like the people and places I had come to rely on and trust were walking out of my life. I returned to Oregon from New York in January, but I left within a month, this time for good. When I did, I went wholeheartedly.
True to my nomadic nature, I booked a plane ticket for a month-long trip to Europe in May, and hit the road for the month of March. Two weeks into the trip news came of a sudden death in my family. There was no question of being able to return to New York and I was isolated from everyone but my one travel companion, who had too much on their own plate to offer me any support. Two weeks later I listened while the same person told me that, following the difficult and unpleasant stage of life I’ve been in, they just don’t like me as much anymore. Within twelve hours of that, I learned that the airline I was supposed to fly to Europe had gone out of business.
My hands literally fell to my sides.
I felt as if my slate had been wiped entirely clean. I had no home, no plans, and a shrinking support network. Semi-pro skier and semi-nomadic adventurer became who knows if I’ll ever ski again, and I exist nowhere. Not as good of a tagline.
The powerful wave I was riding picked up and carried other debris with it, like a flash flood carrying away rocks and trees. Other situations presented themselves for my attention. I had the opportunity to finally bring an end to a relationship that in the past had been both emotionally and sexually abusive. I was able to turn down work offers that tempted me but sounded very unlike the person I want to be. Though it all sounds like a lot of destruction, I see terrific opportunity for creation as well. That little voice of intuition has been telling me, just keep going. You’re on the right track. Have faith.
I do have faith.
Interpersonal relationships have been changing or ending. My relationships with place as well as with my athletic identity have been in the same boat. Any one of the pieces along the way could have felt like the end of the world. Perspective is the only thing that keeps them from feeling that way. The perspective that has kept me sane comes from the Mysterious workings of the Universe. I will try to explain in Mosaic Part 3. Tune in next week.
Think you’re ready for an energy upgrade? Old life systems not working anymore? I might be able to guide you. As always, if you enjoyed this, considering joining my email list or sharing with a friend.