Excerpts from “One Year’s Celibacy” from my award-winning book, BACK TO THE GARDEN: Getting from Shadow to Joy
BTTG on Kindle or paperback
I was personally challenged to stop medicating with relationships for a year by one former longtime boyfriend. He also happened to be my former therapist. Obviously
I’ve earned the right to expound on all these self-defeating behaviors because I’ve lived them myself!
It sounded like a death sentence. As we parted ways he told me, “You need to be celibate for a year; you need to learn to be on your own.”
I decided to meet the challenge. It was one of the most painful, and ultimately one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I found that through taking
the path that didn’t seem so easy, I learned to be by myself; to quench my thirsty, lonely soul with the flowers in my garden or with the wet snuffle of
the neighbor’s dog in my face; to sing myself into solace as a mother would soothe her crying baby with gentle songs; to force myself to take my camera
and do shooting assignments for photography class by myself… to host special dinners on my porch and not feel as though I weren’t whole because I didn’t
have a date of my own.
All of these emotional stretches were opportunities for true inner strength to blossom…
Perhaps the biggest hurdle of all was spending numerous weekends alone in the mountains, where I owned a condo and knew no one. My solitary ventures
to Sapphire Valley, NC, and Bald Rock, the power spot at the pristine, silent mountain lake served me with salvation.
For seven years I’d bitched about my man and his many shortcomings, and finally I put the focus on me. Amazing how much less I had to bitch about!
And what an incredible blessing that was! I was so depressed I was barely able to put one foot in front of the other as I trudged around the glistening, sparkling, divinely deserted lake. But the solitude and the journey within healed me. From that long trek through the Void, creativity began tumbling out…
My heart was so broken… My own lyrics to the old Methodist hymn This is my Father’s World became my Balm of Gilead.
It was, and is, a love song to myself and to my valiant little heart, shattered as everyone’s heart is over and over in life…
The effects of this powerful little ditty on my heart were amazing. Eventually my heart began to pop out again, like a tiny chipmunk peering from its hidey-hole when the feline danger has slunk past. After having been stomped flat, truly crushed, it did begin plumping itself out and beating steadily once again. What a resilient muscle the heart is!
My heart filled with hope. Never give up.
MY LITTLE HEART SONG
“I love my little heart; I make room for it to grow…
When it peeps out, I want to shout, ‘My heart, I love you so!’
My little purple heart–it expands as it grows whole….
And all God’s love flowing from above fills up my hopeful soul.”