The Ritual of Self Discovery
by Judi Moncrieff

Abandonment-it began over 20 years ago. Coming to terms with it has taken its toll, but I am stronger for it. It is hard to realize that my entire marriage was a ritual of abandonment and that the train rumbling down the track was empty. In the end he ran-he couldn't even face me in his derailment-an act of cowardice.

I felt so empty. I felt so alone. My energy had been spent living a life that really did not exist. It was an amazing thing to realize that a marriage-a family-ripped apart-derailed-had never truly been on the right track to begin with.

The abandonment began almost from the beginning. It was very hard to realize that I had lived a lonely life in a marriage that was a runaway train to nowhere. It began with the wearing of a bridal train and twenty years of my life was spent being trained to live his lifestyle and think his way.

In 1987 the train ran out of fuel-the cars uncoupled and I found myself standing on an empty track facing the unknown. I didn't realize, at the time, that his act of cowardice would become a life changing experience for me and though I felt abandoned and very alone I wasn't as lonely as I had been in that relationship. It was a scary time and yet, it has been exhilarating.

It is interesting that my ex-husband married again almost immediately and I don't even date right now, but I have a strength that I never knew existed. The other side of the ritual of abandonment is the ritual of self discovery. I am lonely at times, but I know that I will not abandon myself. That is a long way to come from a position of not having a self.

A ritual implies ceremony and ceremony can be both sacred and profane. It wasn't until time had passed and strengths and weaknesses were seen and dealt with that the new train was available for boarding.

The ritual continues and I live with a new train of thought-my own. This train is clacking down the high speed track of discovery and curiosity. I absolutely love this sleek, modern, strong person with a wild and wacky sense of humor who isn't afraid to blow that whistle at every crossing.

The old train was abandoned in pain, but in the pain was growth and change. Change is difficult sometimes, but WOW what a journey. My train still carries freight, but it is freight of my choice. I celebrate my train and believe I am on the right track.