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A New Chapter
2010.09.04 / Sophia Butler
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The time between August and September is not recognised in the West as a separate season, but it is known in popular films and literature as the Indian summer. It is the transitional time from the light and warmth of the summer, into the rusty colours and sounds of autumn; when the energy of intensity begins to settle. A certain pause takes place when we stop to feel it. This sweet and mellow time of year ushers in the harvest.

In love, passion recedes into introspection; it is a time for addressing and assimilating the
sometimes flashing tempers of summer and
highly charged emotions in relationships. As the conkers drop to the ground, life feels a little more serious than in the heat and we tend towards nostalgia and a touch of melancholia as the evenings draw in and the colourful carpet of leaves weans us from the bright days into the bleaker mornings to come.
After eating macrobiotically for just six months, you respond to natural rhythms. They guide you like a compass, as moods and cravings calm themselves; the whole grains and vegetables hold you on an even keel, not often rocked by urgent cravings for sugar or comfort foods. I find myself living according to the law of attraction and repulsion with regards to ‘rubbish’ thoughts and words, phrases and associations which we are constantly accumulating (mostly unconsciously). I can hear my inner voice in the quiet times now; she tells me that when I start skidding – I must steer in the direction in which I am pushed – only this way is eventual equilibrium regained.

After a two year wait, Ania’s wedding finally arrived and our ‘Snob Club’ reassembled in Krakow, where we met and lived together for six months. Our little conglomerate hails from Australia, America, Holland, Hungary, Germany/Italy and the UK; a mixture of pure
bloods and mongrels, all living in the Polish diaspora. Krakow came to all of us the first time as a stop gap: we were reluctant to completely
relinquish student-dom and begin ‘serious’ life.
I was pleased to see that some things do not change; our favourite barman and dear friend Maciek served us our remembered favourites in ‘Wodka’ bar. We had to recognize that each of us was adrift in the world and once again, the homeland brought out the spark we needed to return to our lives with renewed gusto; for soulless jobs to left, dissertations to be written and serious plans to be laid.
The wedding was a wonderful fusion of traditions and cultures; the Italians were not sure what to do with the rice, how to handle the
Polish vodka which was flowing ceaselessly from open buckets and the meaning of the ‘bramy’ positively baffled them. In the spirit of the World Cup; vuvuzelas were pulled from the Italian cars during the negotiations to allow the bride and groom to pass!
At some point during the reception, the language barriers began to fade away and the Italians began something of a show to rival our Polish waltz and chants. When we shouted “Gorzko! Gorzko!” – meaning ‘bitter’ – the bride and groom had to kiss to sweeten the atmosphere, the kisses became passionate embraces and the guests howled with delight. At which point the men on the groom’s side put a shoe in their mouths and began a tango of sorts amongst themselves. We are still unsure whether this is a custom, or simply the effect of our ‘Wyborowa’!
Living together in Krakow as a family would be a brilliant prospect for the Snobs! We struck up a deal: if in time to come we find ourselves isolated and lonely, we will all return and open a bar together. A contingency plan made in heaven! Even if it never comes to pass, the thought itself cushions the harsher blows of life in which we learn the lessons we need to become who we are.
My closing column signals the end of Ania’s life as a single woman and the close of living at Ladyholm. A new chapter begins for Ania as Mrs. Esposito, and for Ross and I: new paths. We jumped into our ‘experiment’ of living together, in the wilderness. Unfortunately, our journeys have led us apart.

In times of acute distress, I always find myself reaching out for philosophies which put things into perspective. The urgency of despair drives us to the brink of madness and sometimes beyond. How can we love fiercely and passionately and be expected to ‘get over it’, ‘move on’ and ‘accept it’ when we don’t want to?! It is an incomprehensible business. It is difficult to know when to fight and when to accept; does surrender mean inaction? How can we act when we cannot trust our instincts, because they are so coloured by our emotional drive? Can we ever come back from hurting each other deeply?
By all accounts, this seems to be a ripe time for spiritual development. There is something about the depth of agony and pain which activates the immediateness of life; colours look more distinct, everything tastes sharper, every conversation you engage in feels divinely inspired; gleaning untold pearls of wisdom. For those of you who, like me are experiencing this state, intermingled of course with a total trust in the universal order, the consolation is that many people have become enlightened in these situations. The great mystic Osho would instruct couples who had parted to kneel at one another’s feet, expressing gratitude for the opportunity of coming into contact with our own pain, provided by the other (something which never comes into our minds to do when things are going well).
I feel that our general approach to ending relationships in our civilisation is comparable to war. Both sides are hurt in different ways and suffering heavy losses; there can be no winners. I know that a day will come to our planet, when people will leave relationships peacefully, lovingly and respectfully. According to Neale Donald Walsh, this will take the form of the “As you wish” and the “I want for you what you want for you” ethos which will govern all human relationships as we continue our spiritual and emotional evolution.
I grow tired of being suspended between healing and growth: thoughts and impulses battle one another as I sit, surrendering all to the universe. On miserable days, when positive thinking would get a kick in the posterior, I think back to something I once heard: each soul has agreed to this life, to learn the lessons offered. Many times, it is the souls who are the closest to us, the ones with whom we have shared many lives, who agree to teach us the toughest lessons. When the dark night of the soul comes calling, this belief helps me. Perhaps it is worth examining any ‘enemies’ we have declared in our lives, any people we have condemned. A reversal of this process is fundamental to the completion of it: we must also let ourselves off the guilt-hook with compassion, for any wrongs we have committed. In the eyes of the soul, there is only love – sometimes it is misguided – but each person will be reduced to this vibration again, until we are pulled into the next adventure!
Forgiveness happens. It is a spontaneous combustion, not something which can be rushed into or consciously attained. I comfort myself with the knowledge that if something is meant to be, it will be and that everything happens according to the divine plan. We never lose when we love because wisdom and tenderness only grow when we tend to our inner landscapes. In the words of Randy Pausch, a man who knew he was dying when he gave his last lecture, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want”. Even when all cheerfulness abandons me, nature’s declining and resurgent cycles are a source of hope, even for a bruised heart like mine! One thing is certain – we must always have the energy – no matter how poor the harvest, to sow the seeds of hope once again. The beauty of life is; the wonder of tomorrow.
As the house returned to bricks and mortar, slowly emptied of our memories; of the goats who ate our vegetable plot, of the exceedingly numerous potato yield, the ordeal of finding Caine the bachelor some company, Hamish our friend appeared bearing pomegranates. We sat with the ruby juice rolling down our chins, recalling the beautiful moments Ross and I shared. I giggle before Hamish delivers his parting speech – I wondered how this would go, but clumsy or emotional ‘goodbyes’ are obviously not his style. The old goat never fails to disappoint and I only realise the full impact of his last ‘teaching’ when I am in solitude. “You know my dear”, he begins, with a coy smile which quickly fades as his eyes sweep over the meadows, “There is not one person who has truly lived, who would wish to be young again. It would be hellish, to repeat all one’s lessons, to experience the insecurities of youth! It becomes obvious that there can be no regrets, because we have done what we can with the resources available to us at the time”, he sighs and smiles, “But
these are just words, in time, you will see”, with these words, he turns on his heel and is gone before I manage to extract a promise to write
regularly. I know that we will meet again, if not in person, then frequently in our thoughts.
I am planning a move to London in time to come and I have no doubt we shall meet again in print as the vibrancy of the metropolis guides me in the future. So long as I am blessed by inspiration – the writer’s most revered muse – I will continue to create and I intend to publish my articles as a book. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my amazing parents, wonderful friends, fantastic editors, every single one of my lovely readers and the one brilliant Scot without whom none of these experiences would have been possible – Thank You and Farewell for now, Zosia.

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