I suppose it was inevitable.
Many of us, myself included, saw it coming. But when you want so bad for something to work out, when you’ve embraced the idea of holding tight to faith against increasingly bad odds, when you want to be the one who finally makes it work and you really believe you can, you’ll turn a blind eye to all kinds of signs. Even the ones that (figuratively) smack you in the face.
In an entirely predictable twist in the tale of Em and I’s journey to Skye, to making a home in the Highlands, we’ve left the place we were staying. The crazy-beautiful forest garden, wild, overgrown, surrounded by crystal-clear blue sea and filled with birdsong, trees and wildflowers, a place so stunning that it had me under its spell. And a place so filled with pain and anger, bitterness and rage, that it seems impossible to live with integrity and warmth.
The practical stuff: We’re out, three short van trips to a new friends’ house, a spare room, barn space to store our lives while we land and get our heads around what the heck just happened and what happens next. I don’t know where my clean clothes are, but I know that I’m safe, and I haven’t slept so well in months. There’s peace, perspective, love. There’s no phone signal, internet is sketchy, I feel isolated, but safe, held. There’s freedom. Space to breathe.
So what the heck did just happen? By all accounts, something that has happened over and over. As we have gradually come to realise, Em and I were the latest in a long line of folks who were sold the idea of creating a home in that magical-seeming place…yet within months of arriving, found that the vision crumbled to dust, that the promises were hollow, that masks were worn and heavy, heavy issues hidden. One by one, stories have emerged, of others much like us who were invited in, who tried and eventually were driven away by the the anger, the tantrums, the violence, the gaslighting, the impossibility of working with the owner.
Of course, I heard these stories from the other side, from her side, stories of the terrible people who had come and taken advantage, made the most shocking mistakes, behaved in all kinds of terrible ways. I went along with those stories, shook my head in disbelief, vowed that Em and I were different, felt the weight of inheriting such a sad legacy.
Eeesh. We were no different at all.
I drew the Ace of Swords this morning.
Truth. Justice. A new perspective. Tough stuff like that. I decided to get it done, wrote my truth in a rough half-poem and stuck it on my blog. That’s only today’s truth. Emotions shift, anger, love, sadness, next week’s truth will be different, lessons will emerge over time. It’s easy to say what was wrong with someone else’s behaviour. Harder to turn that round to myself. My shadow work is long overdue.
It’s drizzling, warm and damp, white mist closing in this valley, holding me. I walk and walk in the soft rain, letting thoughts flow through my mind, watching where they go, watching my heart speed up and slow down, what hurts, what doesn’t.
I feel like I’ve spent the past few months deluding myself. Coming to the almost-truth, but wanting so badly for things to be different that at each crunch-point, I ran away from what was staring me in the face, pretending it might actually be okay.
I look back over recent blog posts, such as this one: tarot cards telling me to be strong, to be brave. Tarot is a game of interpretation, we all know that. I interpreted those cards as the strength to stay and pour more love in, because that is what I believed I should do, before I even picked up my tarot deck. Now I look at Strength and Death and see ‘find the courage to get the hell out’. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The Ace of Swords is a hard card, but it gleams bright. I flinched when I saw it. I don’t want a sword. I’ve seen enough violence, especially the violence of words. But as Anne Lamott says, “you don’t have to chop with the hard sword of truth. You can point with it too.”
I’ll use my sword of truth to point the way, at a time when everything is, yet again, in flux.