The Stone City, revisited

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By Danette Vernon

“If the foot of the trees were not tied to earth, they would be pursuing me, for I have blossomed so much, I am the envy of the gardens.” ~Rumi

Once upon a time, there was a man and there was a woman, and they were in love. But in the end, they re-discovered — again — that all they knew about love “was to shoot the one that outdrew yah,” a line from K.D. Lang’s version of the song, “Hallelujah.” Poets may not agree, but heart-wringing song lyrics as the back-drop of your life is an unfortunate way to exist.

While a loss of love can certainly feel like a shot to the heart, a sure death, especially if you have fed yourself a life-time of this ilk, for these two people, this time, it wasn’t. Instead, it was a threshold, a doorway to the nirvana of the sort of philosophical exchange that can right the wrongs of a lifetime.

To wit, I found out, as the “Eve” of this original couple, that I was overly-tolerant, but not very accepting, and finally I figured out I needed to be the converse — much more accepting, but far less tolerant. Semantics? Hardly. It’s the crux of any healthy relationship.

To aide in my enacting this new philosophical turn of events, I looked to a story that I once recorded, one that is a great metaphor for life, or for my life, especially at this moment:

“A friend of mine once told me about walking home on a dirt road that ran through a dense, dark woods. Little to no moon showed that night, and in the deep of the trees, she realized she had got off of the road. I can only imagine the options you might shakily review at that juncture.

She knew she hadn’t got far off the road before she had become aware of it. So she got down on her hands and knees and felt her way around for the edge of the road. A scary proposition, as there is no telling what your hand might come to!

After a bit, as a consequence of her own calm and fortitude, she found the road. She decided, due to this near mishap, to take her shoes off. Yes. She felt that the only way to stay on the road for the balance of the trip home was to ‘feel’ her way, to be grounded in a literal sense.”

I found myself on a dark road this last spring when I commenced dating a traveling man. From the outset, it was obvious I lacked the ability to really feel the reality of the road I was on, as I was inadvertently using the past as an inner guide. As a result, I made critical mistakes. I was tolerant where I should have been forthright, and non-accepting when I should have been open-handed.

Over the summer and into the fall, I have gradually steadied and stabilized my ability to take appropriate action — based on reality, but only through a Sisyphus-like effort to turn my internal life around. From there, I was able to begin anew, with renewed bearings, and minus the barrier, the shoes, the stuff of the past, between myself and those I love, or want to love.