We met on 6th March 2010, one day after my 35th birthday. We were at a Movement of Being workshop in Devon. The week-end workshop was my birthday present to myself. I have heard of the workshop leaders for years from one of my housemates. She used to rave about them every other week-end when she immersed herself into deep self-enquiry at their retreats and workshops. Sitting in a circle with nine other people, I felt fidgety and uncomfortable.
The first enquiry was simple. We paired up and took turns to ask each other ‘Why are you here?’ Good question, I thought, only to realise that I was there because I ran away. I could not tolerate my birthdays in those days. There was a part of me which craved feeling welcomed, special and dreaming about a big celebration. Equally strong, or perhaps even stronger, was the part which felt undeserving, hurt, unable to receive or bear any attention. It was easier to hide with strangers in Devon than to celebrate my birthday with friends and housemates in Birmingham.
The second enquiry took us deeper: ‘From your heart, why are you here?’ I don’t remember what I said because at the time of sharing a big black cat prowled into the room. My heart skipped a beat. I loved cats. But what I loved more in that moment was the unconscious desire to cuddle up to this furry creature for comfort and distraction. Cats are normally drawn to me, but despite my numerous attempts to lure this creature, he completely ignored me. Instead, he went and plonked himself on a lap of a man sitting across the room from me. I felt frustrated. While all this drama was going on in my head, the facilitator invited volunteers to share with what came up during the enquiry. A man sitting on my right said he’d like to speak.
‘I came here… to find my heart.’
A woman who was paired up with me sobbed loudly, and a moment later the man with the cat asked to share.
‘I am so touched by what you just said,’ he addressed the man and cried.
What are these people getting that I don’t? What did I miss? Why are they crying? Why am I not crying? I felt at a complete loss. I didn’t know that the sobbing woman was the partner of the man who came to find his heart, and that the man with the cat, who subsequently became my husband, can be touched by pretty much anything that’s heartful. I now know that he can be in tears if he hears his favourite song or… reads one of my blog posts (that’s when I know I really nailed it).
But little did I know that underneath of running away from my birthday was the desire to find my heart too. Paradoxically, on this occasion, I was not running away, I was running towards… my future. These last five years have been the best years of my entire life, because I have finally found my heart. But even more importantly, I have found myself. For the first time in my life I am fully me, and all parts of me are accepted in equal measure. No reservations, no limitations, no judgments.
I remember in early days, my husband used to complain that I was never angry.
‘What’s wrong with him?’ I ranted to my friends. ‘Why does he complain that I am too nice?!’
‘I want all of you,’ he explained when I voiced my puzzlement. ‘I may be scared of your anger, but I still want you to be whole.’
This sentiment was beyond my understanding at that time. It is truly extraordinary that life gave me such a loving, brave man who can say “I want all of you,” when so many men (and women) are afraid of emotions. It’s only now I appreciate that it’s impossible to be authentic when we deny our shadows; that what we resist persists; that appropriately expressed anger is healthy; that when we suppress our anger, we stifle our creativity.
So, happy wedding anniversary, beloved. Thank you for loving me the way I am, even if I insist on putting extra layers on kids like my grandma used to, and don’t always say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ as those words are not used among family members in Azerbaijan. Thank you for letting me grow and revelling in my achievements. Thank you for the life I once considered the impossible dream.
I love you.