As the afterglow of summer lingers in my soul and in the air, I pause to filter through my drifting thoughts. Emotions float in my soul and morph into words within my brain. The journey of my life has changed again—as unpredictable and wild as the seasons have become. There is no use in struggling against the shifts and turns. I ponder my capacity to will my own will into a place of true acceptance. I am not the woman I was a mere year ago. Love has changed me. The woman who walked upon a wholly different path a short 12 months ago is not the woman I am feeling and learning about today. Love is transforming me at every turn. Love is teaching me. Love is challenging me. Love is allowing me to evolve yet again.
So much has changed in my big-small world. I have moved my life to meld with my husband’s realm. The myriad changes I have encountered–from ghostly infinitesimal to stunningly huge–leave me ever more humble and ever hopefully confused. To leap from a safe, known haven into the wild and wooly arms of the unknown reveals a faith deeper than I knew I possessed. To leave my familiar routine and the self-possessed power of my independent life has taken more courage than I naively thought it would. Had I understood then what I now know in my heart and bones, I might have paused before leaping. Yet, even armed with prescient knowledge, I know in my soul that would still take that leap of faith. My leap was necessary to challenge the deepest corners of my heart. Such is the power of love.
Life has taught me that I cannot grow in any deeply important realm unless I take a true risk out of faith. It is through my trials and risks that I have truly grown. My soul has asked that I face the greatest human challenge of all—allowing myself to freefall into every corner and crevice of love. Oh, to give and receive love in absolute faith–to open the heart so fully that I give until I am beyond fear. What courage it takes to leave defenses behind and give beyond the mind’s cautions and limitations. It is in these deep spaces of give and take—and giving again—that I am ever learning to move into love. It is in challenging myself—and feeling the risk created by fearful thoughts—that I have dared to dig deeper and linger. It is here that I have savored the roots of love. Here there is tenderness, and here there is true awe. Such is the courage of love.
Leaves rustle and thoughts scatter as a wide-eyed doe leaps along the path. The leaves whisper, and a tiny fawn appears. I pause and wait stilly. The little babe hesitates and then follows its mother with leggy bounds. The pair disappear into the dense, autumn-toned foliage. It is quiet; I am peacefully alone. My thoughts wander and circle, pondering some of the changes I’ve come to know.
A wistful smile glides across my face, for no longer do four or eight paws prance by my side as I lope across Sonoma County hillsides. Those days belong to another woman and another time. Instead, it is often the steady footprints of my sweetheart that mark a loving presence at my side. With his hand in mine, we talk a different language of love and life than that which I knew with my four-legged friends. Such is change. Such is the evolution of love.
My footsteps touch softly upon the earth as I walk in the evening twilight. The ruddy dirt awaits my every step. How I cherish the certainty of the path that never fails to meet my feet. Looking beyond the shadowy trees, I am drawn into the warmth of the sun’s fading rays as they cast an apricot glow on the western sky. A massive granite boulder invites my presence. It waits for me, timeworn and hardy. I survey its countenance with curiosity; my inspection finds bits of moss and countless lifetimes of the Earth’s etchings. It waits–ever steady, strong, and true—as I crawl up upon it with childlike hope and delight.
As I sit, a gentle veil of warmth comes over me. When the sun awakes tomorrow, I will have been a wife for nearly 60 days. What a tremendous gift it has been to become my darling’s partner. My curious eyes and willing spirit ever reach to draw him closer into the sacred spaces of my heart and soul. It is a rare and love-filled, fearsome journey as we discover each other in precious new ways. There is much to be witnessed, much to be honored, and much to be held dear. I am finding that exploring the fields and mountains of his nature—and our relationship–is a never-ending lesson in love. This is good, for I am an explorer to the depths of my soul. This is wonderful, for I am a questioning, freedom-loving colt at heart. Oh, this is splendid, for I am not one to sit for long upon a rock.
The sun’s rays have turned pale during my respite. It is good to soak in the steadiness of a giant boulder now and again. I leap to my feet and pat the hefty boulder in gratitude. It is time to move on, for dusk is calling. A gentle breeze tickles at my shoulders as my feet move steadily upon the not-yet-familiar pathway. Settling into a new life with my sweetheart has taught me to be humble. It is teaching me to be ever more patient—with myself and with him. I think of a certain hawk I often spy as it waits upon its customary perch above the lake. My eyes and spirit often search for this majestic bird, for it speaks to me of patience, steadiness, and perseverance. This is good, for the hawk inspires me. This is lovely, for I wish to be more hawk-like in my soul. Ah, this is magnificent, for I want to learn to fly fearlessly.
My feet keep their pace even as my mind turns to my husband yet again. How lovely it is to know and feel that I have been willing to open up my world to the unknown—to the mysterious, shifting depths of love. Oh, it is a tremendous adventure to be sure, but I am up for the voyage. My love is no ordinary man. He is wild and complex; he is a deep, deep sea; he is vast and incomparable. This is as it should be and I would have it no other way, for I am a searching mermaid at heart. This is perfect, for I am a swimmer of life and cannot wade for long. Oh, this is quite magical, for I am ever learning how to be one with the sea.
Looking skyward, a slice of the moon catches my eye. Its faint glow rests just above the darkening tree line. Home is calling, and I smile. I am learning that home is not where my possessions rest, but that home is that safe place that cannot be bound by human structure. Home is that nest within my soul and the soul of my beloved that is ever being knit out of love, trust, and faith. Oh, this place is sacred and filled with the intimacy that comes only with true acceptance. There is no hurrying this process, for it has a rich, painstaking life of its own. Ah, such intricate knitting takes dedication and perseverance; such artistry of the soul takes time. Tears come to my eyes, for I know I am growing yet again. An incomprehensible wave of love shimmers through me. This is good, for I am learning to accept the waxing and waning of my new life. This is precious, for I know I am a shining moon of my own. Ah, this is perfection, for in my starry-eyed way, I now know what it is to love. Such is the magnificence of love. I am in awe. Thank you, Love.
© Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Dr. Carla Marie Greco and drcarlagreco.wordpress.com (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
© Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Dr. Carla Marie Greco and drcarlagreco.wordpress.com (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Dr. Carla Marie Greco and drcarlagreco.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.*