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The radical step that changed everything

engagementringCe que femme veut, Dieu le veut. (What woman wants, God wants.) –French proverb

I hung onto my platinum diamond engagement ring way longer than I should have: 13 years past my divorce.

I had convinced myself that, because I had redesigned it, placed the diamond in a new setting of my own creation, that the ring was actually a re-engagement to myself.

And I thought, in true deluded fashion, that my son might want to give it to a fiancée should the time come –  as both his parents’ energy had gone into it  (his daddy had sold his comic book collection to buy the diamond) and it represented the last vestige of our togetherness.

I was wrong.

Every time I saw it, it reminded me of abuse and devastation.

And yet I clung on to it.

As so many of us do to our stories of rupture: clutching, hanging, picking them up over and over again like tiny pebbles, turning them over in the palms of our hands, as if, like tea leaves, they possessed within them the elusive answers to our muddled questions.   Massaging the stories, continuing to identify with them, making that much more difficult to let go.

The last 3 years I’ve been single after another botched relationship, looking to make sense of how I had attracted yet another man who did not “get me”, was emotionally unavailable, unwilling to commit fully to our relationship, was dishonest, and refused my sexual advances.  Was there something wrong with me?  Was I too demanding?  Was I too greedy?  Was I too much?  Could a man ever love me just the way I was?  Would I have to settle again?  Would I end up single for the remainder of my life?

These were questions I had been struggling with for a long time…

In those three years, reacting to them, I did what any reasonable woman would: cut off her hair, refused to shave, gave up on taking care of herself, wore the same outfit all week-end long, didn’t bother bathing as frequently as she needed.  I was a mess.  I figured I would become what no man would want: a hausfrau, unkempt, uninviting, unattractive.

After all it was what I felt.  Why not live it out?

Last fall I felt healed enough to perhaps start dating again and signed myself up for Match.com.  I went on lots of dates.  Yet the dates I attracted were lovely men who always asked if we could go out again, and then never called me back.

WTF?

First, I spiraled into self-doubt, then into anger, finally into resignation.

By the Spring I had given up on dating altogether, cancelled my subscription to Match.com. and signed up for a second round of Mastery at the School of Womanly Arts with Mama Gena in NYC.

FTS, I was going to take care of me.

I had gone through Mastery before in 2010.  The work and the tools I learned there, supported me through the breakup of my  last relationship, blended family and selling of the home we had created together.  It gave me new strength, new perspective, and tapped me into my personal power in a way I had never experienced before.

This time I figured, if dating was not in the cards for me, then my work with Mama Gena would help me dial up my business, which is where I wanted to put my focus anyway.

Hearing it for the first time…

On my second week-end at Mastery, I heard Mama Gena tell a story I had listened to many times before.  It was the story of  her diamond engagement ring – a beautiful thing given to her by her ex-husband.  She had made a choice, early on to let it go in order to make room for a legendary love affair.

I sat as she recounted the story, mouth agape in that moment, as if I had heard it for the very first time.

And I recognized in it my own desire for the same.

Unknowingly, she had planted the seed in me for a legendary love affair of my own.

Now, love affairs are not part of my experience.   In fact, love has not much part of the equation at all.  So what business I had desiring such a thing, I don’t know…  Something I had neither experienced nor could conceive of, was strange to me and yet…

I now felt I had enough knowledge, enough tools, enough to at the very least have a chance of creating this in my own lifetime.

Yes, you heard me right: creating this.  Legendary love affairs, as it turns out don’t just show up.  They are made.

On the train ride home I made my desire known to my traveling companion and sealed it into a promise to myself to let the ring go in order to make way for possibility.

I knew the ring was worth a bit.  I had all of the paperwork, so I wore it all week,  bringing it to different jewelers to get estimates, while, in my own little way bidding my good-bye as these were to be the last days we would share together.

I was determined to let it go.

A week later, after attending a Cedric Watson and Bijou Créole concert with a group of friends, I found myself at a micro-brewery sharing dinner and laughter with them.  I recounted my “aha” with Mama Gena, my week of estimate collecting and the shifts occurring in me.  With the money I received, I told them, I would invest in a MacBook Pro – as my 7 year old MacBook was showing signs of old age.  It would be an investment in my business.

That evening, I sat next to a friend of a friend.  We enjoyed lovely conversation.   He shared his sense of accomplishment at finishing his first book, at having trusted friends edit and give him feedback, and the journey of looking for a publisher. I was impressed.  Before we left that evening, he asked for my card.

The next morning, I found my highest bidder.  [As an aside.  Part of letting go process was releasing the need to get for the ring what it was worth, for those of you considering this.  My highest bidder was willing to give me half its worth..]

I stood in the jewelry store, and, as the ring was assessed, said my final goodbye.  Although tears were shed  there weren’t as I expected.  In fact, the moment I walked out into the sunshine, check in hand, I felt lighter.  My steps springier.  My heart more open.

It is on that MacBook Pro I desired, I write this first in this series to you… And on which I will recount how my desire to create a legendary love affair began to weave itself together….

In love, service and pleasure,

Joelle Lydon

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