Finding Myself in the Embrace of Solitude

As the car glided past the magnificent playground, nestled within the verdant embrace of Herentals’ thick green forest, a familiar sensation gripped my heart. I could sense the soul of a little girl beside me, a reflection of my own past. I could vividly envision us, laughing and playing in the lush green garden, sheltered beneath the sprawling canopies of ancient trees. My gaze was drawn towards a towering tree, its branches cradling a colossal nest holding two eggs. He whispered that they would hatch into mythical creatures, humanosaurs.

In this tranquil sanctuary, a small white house stood along the canal, initially built for the canal’s guardian. However, the canal remained desolate, free from the presence of boats. Here, he dwelled in peaceful solitude, the warmth of the crackling fireplace permeating every corner of his abode. Cooking was his passion. Are you hungry? he asked. Shall I whip up a comforting pumpkin soup from our garden? Or perhaps some homemade spaghetti Bolognese? Let’s keep it simple. Ah, he recognized the pleasure I found in savoring the joys of food and drink; he called me a bourgondier as a kindred spirit.

The home exuded a welcoming ambiance, and in that moment, I could feel the happiness it had the potential to offer. Emotions overwhelmed me, and tears began to flow uncontrollably. It was a surprise, for I hadn’t shed tears in quite some time, and certainly never to this extent. This year, I had vowed to embrace the truth within myself.

The little girl’s soul seemed to beckon, as if yearning to emerge. However, he firmly voiced his non-negotiable stance against such a transformation. Gratitude welled within me. Uncertain of my own emotions, I grappled with the fear of solitude. When my mother eventually passes, I will be alone. Not truly alone, of course, but the fear lingers nonetheless. Curiously, I also relished solitude, as I had spent my birthday alone in the Dolomites, an experience that became one of the highlights of my year. To embrace who I truly am, I sensed the arrival of an era of emptiness, an essential pause.

This pause would provide an opportunity to reconnect with my core essence and shed all that I had become, severing ties with those who truly matter. It was a time for cleansing, despite the accompanying pain, in search of a brighter future. Transforming into an observer, I acknowledged the pain, allowed myself to feel it, but refused to let it dominate me. No longer attached to anything, yet connected to everything, I yearned to be a pillar of support and presence, even though I realized people may no longer need me. I was becoming obsolete, and strangely, I found gratitude in that.

The embrace of the home whispered promises of refuge, assuring me that its sanctity would be mine if I so desired. However, full commitment was required, and I remained uncertain about my desires. I questioned whether a conventional family life with children would truly bring me happiness. The forthcoming Vipassana retreat held the promise of answers, and I eagerly looked forward to it.

After four long years, I had finally allowed myself to experience pain, and I was eternally grateful to have found this wonderfully kind and delightfully peculiar man who was ready to love me and potentially build a family with me. Finally, I had let him into my heart, a man who embodied health, nurturance, creativity, and the harmonious blend of masculine and feminine energies. He was a stark contrast to my father, an abusive and destructive alcoholic, who had embodied the same destructive patterns. I was aware of the pattern and fervently hoped that this man would be the last one resembling my father to exit my life for good.

In this moment, as I gaze upon the horizon, I affirm my love and acceptance of myself. With cautious optimism, I eagerly anticipate what the future holds. After spending three transformative months with my mother in Gili, all my energy is now dedicated to nurturing my own being. It is time to slow down and allow the natural flow of life to guide me forward.

– Julie Spark

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