Sunday, September 22, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

There is a spiritual component to learning to wait, and waiting well takes practice. I knew the first night I moved into my Rumford, RI home three years ago that I had miscalculated the emotional fallout from leaving Providence's eastside. I felt disconnected from the neighborhood where my children had come of age, and I was unaccustomed to driving everywhere. I also knew that the move made financial sense, and so I became willing to stay. Through the waiting, I lived my life. I opened a studio and my business thrived. My faith deepened. When I happened upon a third floor loft overlooking downtown East Greenwich (that would ultimately become my residence and growing practice) earlier this year, I knew that God's plan for me was infinitely greater than anything I could have imagined. When that same benevolence whispered in my ear, "Earth's School Of Love," over a year ago, I had no idea where spirit was going to take me, but I heeded my inner promptings, took a few risks, and today I am living a creative life that is deeply satisfying on many levels. Who knew? Again, God's plan for me surpassed anything my mortal mind could have conjured up. Thus, I have come to believe that being single is not a curse, but rather God's way of readying me for the best that is surely yet to come. I date. I do the footwork, but I no longer get wrapped up in the outcome. In sharp contrast to my non-sober life, I no longer need a man to fill the spiritual hole deep inside me. I'm content. I'm free. I'm open to the possibilities, but I've learned to trust my instincts (that when someone shows me who they are, I believe them the first time), to recognize that all that glitters is not gold, that while dating a nice guy is essential, dating a nice guy with purpose, passion, ambition, and healthy relationships, is a requirement. My downtime this past year has revealed that there are worse things than hanging out at home, alone, on date night. I'm no longer lulled into participating in any relationship that doesn't foster spiritual growth. As my sponsor reminds me, I choose to remain single.  In Single for a Reason, blogger Mandy Hale writes:

"I haven't met Mr. Right, and I deserve better than Mr. Wrong. I am fiercely independent, and I won't apologize for that. I have high standards, and so far, no one has met them. I would rather be a woman who is single than one who has settled."

On my one-year anniversary in recovery, I separated from, and ultimately divorced, my third husband. Up until then, I had sought the safety of committed relationships in order to avoid dealing with the soul sickness within me. Sober today, the buck stops here. No human power can fill that God-shaped hole. I am responsible for loving myself before I can hope to love anyone else. On most days, I am willing to bring my imperfect, work-in-progress self to the table. I invite others to join me, but my reasons for attending the banquet have changed. I don't need to be fed, and I can't and won't do that work for anyone else. If you tell me you've done the 12 steps, I'll presume you did more than read them off a banner on the wall (unless your actions prove otherwise). When I ask you what you're passionate about, please be a lifelong learner who stays tremendously interested (and thus, interesting). Finally, if you lay your financial immaturity at my feet, don't expect me to be amused or interested. I don't expect a perfect partner, but I do expect a partner who is perfect for me. Meanwhile, I practice. And practice makes perfect.