Our greatest glory is not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.
If you squint, you can see a wee person near the entrance.
The sentiment expressed in the Confucius quote comes in many forms. Bits about getting back on the horse or failing only when you do not get back up again have been spouted for centuries. So what's this have to do with Abu Simbel or me? Why thank you for asking!
You may have noticed that recently I've not been traveling as much as I'd like. I've also mentioned feeling hurt and rage over betrayal. And my posts are not about Italy or my Italian family. Well, they aren't my family anymore.
I know folks like Adventurous Kate have said that most bloggers can handle this kind of stuff discreetly, and up until this point I've mostly kept it off the blog. Kate chose to share some of what was going on because her ex had been a major presence in her posts. My ex, for that is what he is now, was likewise present in some of my most favorite adventures.
Calf + castle = comedy.
In retrospect, and with the help of a good counselor and great friends, it's clear that his cowardly acts have actually done me a favor by setting me free. Free from being with someone who thinks nothing of lying and manipulating, free from an emotionally unhealthy situation, free from the frustration that comes from attempting to have a rational discussion with a bleedin' looney. (That's right, I said it!) Admittedly, it takes two to tango, but it only takes one to cheat.
I've been working on getting back to center after being figuratively kicked in the gut. I've had my beliefs in intuition reinforced and also learned to listen to my body more. Wow, your body is an incredible instrument for telling you when something is wrong – something that your brain doesn't want to hear. "La la la! I'm not listening!" says the brain. Well, your gut (nigh literally in my case) had some other things to say, as did various other bits of my anatomy.
In the past I've been pretty resilient after breakups, but this one was hard, really hard. It wasn't helped by the fact that the ex and his family are holding my belongings and my kitty hostage at the moment. So not only am I without my clothes, family heirlooms, travel treasures, camera equipment, and purring furball, I have lost a family. I really, really loved them and even defended them against the many vitriolic rants of the ex (yeah, weird, huh?). It seems that, despite the smiles and apparent gestures of affection – even tears in Mamma's eyes when I left for Ireland the first time – none of it mattered. The perfect, beloved son ("La la la! I'm not listening!") has spoken and I have been discarded. Sigh.
It used to hurt a lot more to say that. It's still sad, but as I said, friends have been great. Surprisingly, a number of my fellow travel bloggers confided their stories about being on the receiving end of infidelity in me. Some had chosen to stick with it and repair the relationship, others moved on. In each case, the message was the same: you are not alone and it gets better.
Life gets better – and sweeter!
As you can imagine, the shakeup also led to some sifting and re-evaluation of existing friendships. There was quite a bit of wheat-from-chaff action going on. The folks from my very philosophical and very non-dogmatic church stepped up to the plate (or, in some cases, the bowl) in magnificent fashion over the holidays. A handful of blogger pals and I embarked on a new project, I've got a few business ideas I'm exploring with a friend, and I was recently hired to do some freelance writing work. The pay is wee, but at least it's moving in the right direction.
Oh, and Abu Simbel? Well, it was in danger of being submerged in Lake Nasser due to the building of the Aswan High Dam. It was deconstructed then reconstructed above the water line in 1968 (scale model here). The solar alignment was even maintained to preserve its orientation toward the sun on ancient holy days, allowing light to enter the temple. Yeah, a bit of a metaphor for keeping what's precious and true on the inside, and adjusting the surroundings when needed.
So… a little bit of Chinese philosophy, a big chunk of Egyptian architecture, a downpouring of Irish rain, and a lot less Italian everything. And now I've got to get ready for a friend who is coming over to conspire about a glorious new future.
Chin up! The world is still turning and you are loved.