Pebble in My Shoe

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Last night, while walking along the river, I paused and leaned against a tree to take some gravel out of my shoe. When I glanced back at the tree after resting my hand on it, I was surprised to see the name of one of my exes carved there in the trunk right there above my fingertips. I put my shoe back on, continued walking, and not more than 10 seconds later, as I neared one of the Spree’s many bridges, a familiar melody came into earshot; a street musician was playing a song that this very same ex often played. I don’t really know what this “means” or why it happened. I rarely think of him, and what has felt healthiest for nearly a decade now is to have no contact with him whatsoever. (I’m not like this with most people from my past, but a very select few fall into the “Do not approach” category, for my own personal welfare.) I have absolutely no intention of reaching out to the guy. But this reminds me of when things with him were new, and even before they began; we had a psychic connection, and it was one of the first times in my life that I’d ever experienced that with a person, much less a man I was interested in.

Having practically no experience with that sort of thing at that time, I thought these experiences meant that we were meant for one another, and I suppose we were — temporarily. Everyone has a role in our lives. Even if that role is just to help us learn our own limits and our own strengths.

I believe that he and I were connected in other lifetimes too. The people who wound us deeply and teach us the toughest lessons are not strangers to our souls. And we choose to encounter each other on Earth again and again because somewhere, on the level of the soul, we do care deeply about one another and are glad to be part of one another’s process.

So when I saw the name in the tree, when I heard the song, I just kept walking. No need to stop, no need to turn around. Nowadays, I sometimes think of “coincidences” like this as a person’s higher self — the soul self, without earthly bitterness or issues — dropping in to show that it cares. Hence, as I usually do when he crosses my mind, I wished him well within my heart, and just continued on.

This afternoon, though, my tarot reading astrologer cousin pointed out that last night was a lunar eclipse. Only then did I realize that perhaps this whole moment on the banks of the Spree did have deeper significance. Eclipses, she reminded me, are associated with the culmination and closing of karmic processes from which we are ready to move on, and I had responded to the moment with a very simple, natural moving-on. Though I don’t usually interpret life through a lens of astro trends, her comment suddenly showed me the poetry in what happened: that I cleared some gravel out of my shoe and kept going.

Maybe that’s a poignant metaphor for my healing process. I’d released the “pain” a very long time ago, sure. . . but maybe there was still a tiny pebble in my shoe, some minor “discomfort” or “annoyance” that lingered just under my awareness, distracting me from total comfort on the road I walked. Yet somewhere along the recent past — inadvertently and without even thinking of him — I’ve shaken that out. No regrets, no melancholy, no anger, no dwelling on it.

Just the freedom to continue on my own path now — with a lighter step — carrying not even a pebble of the old pain with me.

The Spree River in Berlin
Laura left a Ph.D. program at age 26 to make good on long-forgotten dreams of nomad'ing and writing. She currently lives in Berlin and writes about the magic of everyday life — most especially, the magic we find when we open our hearts and choose to follow them.

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