The biggest things about taking responsibility for me is the gut wrenching knowledge that if things stuff up, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Which is why I am rather prone to not taking responsibility at times, sticking my head into the sand and letting the world go by. And every time I do this, things turn to crap. Once I step up to the plate again, things get better. Things start to happen. And I begin to get happy again.
Being honest, I've had my head in the sand for a while. There are many ways of describing this. Work woes. the Blues. Out of sorts. The health issues. Things aren't quite right. I've not been looking at things clearly.
And it takes a funeral and a card reading to see this clearly and start to set things in forward motion again.
The funeral on Wednesday was a turning point. I'd took the day off, not knowing how long proceedings would take, not knowing what my reaction to the whole situation would be. It's not that I was close to Maria - but as a member of my lodge, the person who bumped me into freemasonry and a guiding light in the lodge, I had to be there. In the end, I was very glad I went. Most of the service was in Greek. The Church was packed to standing room only. Maria's husband and children were up in the front pew, distraught. And all I could do was observe.
The Greek Orthodox liturgy was beautiful. The sung sermon and responses resonated through the old church. Women crossed themselves continually. Men hung their heads. Candles burned quietly in the back. People appeared from every door until well into the service. A true mark that Maria was loved and respected.
Most of the lodge were there. Women ranging in age from their mid thirties to their mid eighties. It was strange seeing some of them in civvies - I'm used to seeing them in their mason's garb. This too was a lovely thing - we came out as one to see one of us off to the great beyond. We know that wherever Maria is now, her bubbly, bossy presence will be making herself felt. She'd be pleased at the turn out.
Walking my dear old friend Barbie back to her car, we got talking about things. Barbie is 87. She's wonderful. As sharp as a tack and funny as, like most of the older women of the lodge. Her husband Reg is in hospital with some minor ailment. She still drives herself around. She's an enigma.
"You know Maria was only 54," she said.
"You have to love a person who lived a loved life."
I felt myself well up, turning my head away from Barbie.
"You have to admire a person who takes life by the bollocks, like Maria. She lived life on her terms."
"Very true, Barbie."
I thought back to Maria's last months. She allowed nobody but family to see her. Until that time, she really was her own woman. Shunning many of the norms of Greek Orthodoxy and social says so's to get out there and do things her way.
"I see you like that," said Barbie.
I saw Barbie into her car and watched her drive off to see Reg.
Kick in the guts of the day number one: People see me as taking life by the balls. Me?
So, I have something to live up to.
Later in the afternoon I went off to have my cards read. As a tarot reader, this is something I do only once or twice a year. I wait for the inner voice to call me in for a reading and then I call in the best. You can't read your own cards objectively - soembody else, and somebody you trust has to do it.
As the ex head of the Tarot Guild, dream group facilitator, counsellor, practical Kabbalist and all round good person, Viv greeted me at the door.
"You've had your head in the sand for a few weeks. What's going on?
When Viv says something you know you're in for it.
What it comes down to, time for me to start taking responsibility. Time to start looking at I want, not what I think everybody else wants. And I will be fine. Take the sabbatical. See what life deals you. Go on. Viv shows me the Fool card. "Take a leap of faith. You know what it means. What are you waiting for? Oh, and there's a relationship there waiting for you soon."
I've mentioned in past posts that I'm a happy, positive card reader, practical, full of insight and very straight to the point. Viv's readings are in the words of a friend, "Like being ripped a new arsehole" half the time. Brutally frank, honest and intensely confronting at times.
"Me, a relationship? You never, ever say that."
"What do you mean, relationship?"
"You will meet somebody who wants to be with you. Who wants to love you."
"And you are going to be frightened beyond belief. This one you can't afford to mess up."
Glumph. I reach for the tissues.
"Because the universe sees you as deserving this. It's about time."
"Oh, and to get this, you have to get your head out of the sand. This will push every button that you possess. You'd better be ready for it."
Okay, so here I am, I have to get on with things. I have to fix the work situation. Get moving.
So the decision has been made. The following morning I talked to Popeye. Let's investigate the sabbatical option. The wheels aren't in motion, but the car has started.
Since making this decision, things have begun to clear. I've got my diet back on track. I started running again , albeit slowly and carefully - doing an hour and a half on the treadmill today - and loving every minute. I know the marathon is probably out of reach, but the walk/run/bail option is there - and I'll do what I can in October - and I'm okay with this.
Most of all, I've been instilled with a sense of hope. Something that's been lacking for months now.
Watch this space.