I peered into my backyard, and time momentarily stopped.
Scattered in the green lawn lay the torn pages of my wedding album. The glossy photos on their black pages glistened with water droplets from the early morning’s sprinklers. Fallen yellow leaves dotted the pages.
I stared, unable to move.
It. Was. Just. So. Beautiful.
I had it all: A great family, a handsome husband, lots of shoes, and a successful dental career. I built a home and traveled the world.
Life should have been fabulous.
Daily life and business made for an almost insane level of busyness, yet I felt bored, and increasingly frustrated and angry about almost everything.
I didn’t feel any growth in my soul. Instead, I felt like a stagnant pond.
Some days, I was overrun with guilt for being dissatisfied. I would lie unhappily in my hammock, unable to cry, completely out of touch with my physical body. I wished for a terminal disease, an ethical excuse to quit my obligations and to change everything.
I had been fully committed to building the life that so many aspire to and my public image was probably enviable.
Then on an autumn Monday morning, my marriage exploded. My grand image was gone. I deeply grieved at the loss.
My emotions reeled like a pin ball in the maze. I became paranoid to walk down the main street, to be in the questioning public eye. I had no answers about the present or the future.
The truth was, I been married to my image more than my husband. Both were gone.
In an effort to re-connect to my physical being, I tried to simply notice more about the world around me. I tried to be aware of the small details, to be in the present moment.
Slowly, I began to look at myself differently, and the real me began to reveal itself. I was relieved. And unnerved.
I was doing what was expected of me! Could I evolve into a more authentic version of myself without the destruction of my carefully crafted life?
In the fall morning light, I looked into my backyard mesmerized. The rising sun changed the nuances of depth and color in the damp photographs. Reflections and refractions off the water droplets bounced as randomly as the emotions in my heart. In utter destruction and sadness there was fascinating texture and beauty.
Suddenly, I was thrust into motion. I reached for my camera, compelled to capture this incredible contrast. I photographed every angle until my heart broke; then I sat for a long time, camera still in my hand, overwhelmed, with my tears and the beauty,
For the very first time, I felt free.
That morning in my backyard, I consciously articulated texture…texture in the torn photographs decorated with beads of water and fallen leaves.
Texture became a lifeline. My self-metamorphosis focused on adding observation of texture to my life. Through many tumultuous months of change, I spent hours observing the incredible textures in nature. Watching the delicate feathers of little birds at my feeder. Staring at the imperceptible motion of new spring leaves unfolding. Listening to the choir of cowbells.
As I faced heart-wrenching decisions, I sat with my anger and grief. I embraced the textures of my inner soul: a knife stabbing the heart, cloudiness, the energy of hope, snippets of dreams, the icy cold of abrupt change and the embrace of good friends. I returned over and over to the tiny textures in the natural world around me and focused on gratitude.
My curiosity of texture became an avenue of personal growth. Through this filter, I began to see new perspectives and ideas, a deeper layer of detail. This opened my mind to possibility. Opportunities began to emerge and I began to feel the courage to accept them.
I still experience some anger and guilt. I still feel a strong tug to live according to the expectations of others. I still occasionally feel grief over what was lost. But I also feel freedom, and joy, and the satisfaction of continued growth.
Texture has become my inspiration. My reminder that I have the freedom to live my own life every single day.
The beautiful scene of my wet and torn wedding album grew into a lifestyle–a lifestyle which has given me the happiest years of my life. A lifestyle filled with texture.