In his book, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Thich Nhat Hanhsays that within each of us is a garden. "Maybe in the past, you left it untended for a long time. You should know exactly what is going on in your own garden, and try to put everything in order. Restore the beauty; restore the harmony in your garden. Many people will enjoy your garden, if it is well tended."
Reading this paragraph, I had a flash of my own inner garden: all spindly and dry and overrun with weeds. It makes me weep to recognize how neglectful I've become of my own fulfillment, how much time I've spent tending to A~ and the dream of family to the exclusion of myself. But when I finish crying, for the time being anyway, all I want to do is get to work on me. I want to roll up my sleeves and start digging, start making repairs to the fences, planting new seeds. I'm very optomistic that there is something to salvage here, something beautiful. But in the meantime, I have weeds to pull.
How to do this? So much is obvious: the work, the phone calls, the reaching out and celebrating my changes for the better and building up the friendships I've been neglecting. But there is also grief and anger I must allow and encourage to pass from my body.
Another thing Hanh says is that it's natural to share joy and good feelings. "But you also have to let the other person know when you suffer, when you are angry with him or her. You have to express what you feel. You have the right. This is true love."
I picture sitting down in silence with A~ and K~, someplace private, somewhere neutral. It would be awkward and difficult for all of us. I'm sure I'd sweat and tremble. I'd probably cry, and they'd feel uncomfortable, but I think that's a good thing. I might be tempted to say something hurtful, but I'd resist this urge. Instead I'd listen, and talk honestly about how I'm feeling, ask all my questions, express my concerns for the future, because it's not about revenge or punishment, it's about healing.
So I told A~ my fantasy. "For my own health and well-being," I explained, "I need to forgive you both. To do this, I must face the reality of K~. And it seems only right that she face me, and that you face the fact that you've brought her into a very significant position in my life without my consent. Besides, she owes me an apology too." Of course, he didn't like this idea one bit. "Please ask her," I said.
Lo and behold, they have agreed to do it. It's just a matter of setting a time, choosing a place. In the meantime, I'll make a list of things I want to say, things I want to ask, and also, I'll line someone up whom I can run to afterwards for hugs and tissues and unconditional listening. And then dear and loyal readers, I'll blog all about it. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be good.