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Camilla Ahlqvist

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A Blonde Buddhist on Karingön has to be a Sign, right?

In my gypsy life, traveling and moving to-and-from 4 continents, there are few places I love as much as Karingön. It is an idyllic island off the west coast of Sweden, tiny enough that no cars are found on it, but large enough to host a few fantastic food places, a soccer field, tennis court, mini-golf, and a playground.

It was the spot where my husband and I celebrated our first, and every subsequent wedding anniversary; it was where we imagined the kids would grow up in the summers running in between the picturesque houses and diving into the ocean. So, when we had moved officially to Sweden in the summer of  2018 and my husband told me he “wanted space,” 9 months later, I was shocked to say the least. 

One minute I was married, with beautiful children, starting a new life in a home in Sweden, and a few minutes later, everything changed. This is how it goes with bad news, right? There is a pre and post experience as you make your way through receiving, understanding and processing bad news. Panic attacks and full-on shock were de rigueurs of the day as I hobbled through April and May wondering what was happening to my life. In June, I believed that if my husband was given some proper space that he would return to us, so I set about making some “fun” plans and trips that would distract me and my boys from the absence of their father.  Thus, a week on Karingön. 

I packed up the car, grabbed the boys, their life vests, fishing gear and summer clothes, and set upon the ferry. After settling into our adorable rental, we went to the kiosk for some ice cream. This is where I ran into the Blonde Buddhist. She was with her family: I assumed her husband and two young kids.  We struck up a conversation and our kids played. In conversation she mentioned that she was with the father of her children but that they were no longer together. They vacationed together and traveled together but were no longer a couple. She was a Buddhist and she believed in loving presence everywhere, that life passes through many seasons and that where love exists–everything flourishes. Damn it! I realized then and there that this was a sign that I should probably heed. But, I absolutely did not want to end up vacationing with my ex-husband; I wanted to be married, vacationing with my family. That could certainly be fine for them, but that is not what I wanted. This reaction felt a lot like the tantrum of a small child taking place in my mind. How do we hold on to anything when we feel everything has been lost?

Yet, this was one of those foretelling moments that is sent to you to show you another option, to open your eyes to different types of experiences than the one you’ve imagined for yourself. Whatever lingo you want to use that may seem a bit woo-woo, like:  “everything happens for a reason,” “signs are everywhere to guide you,” “tune into your intuition so you can receive the message from the Universe,” or “trust your higher power,” this seemed to be one of those moments.  You see, my Ego and my programming had enforced in me that there is only one type of family structure that is secure and stable; I was never to get divorced and the children would need to grow up in a loving stable home.  It shut me down emotionally and mentally to considering that any other options could be equally good (or maybe even better) than the one I was living. 

Funny thing is that we create these worlds ourselves, and it can be about relationships, jobs, friendships, family structures, or even what we believe is possible for ourselves in our lives. We get stuck in a certain way of thinking or a rigid perspective that doesn’t allow us to consider that something else may be better for us. Better, meaning, make us feel more whole within ourselves, more peaceful and with more expansive joy in our souls.  I thought a lot about this woman through the bumpy two years that followed, as we untangled our lives as we had known it to discover what this new constellation would be.  It was painful, challenging, and difficult. It forced us to consider, question and search for new answers and solutions. As you open yourself up to a new world of possibilities, you will receive signs and messages that you are on the right track. Your personal, unique path leads you to a place of greater self-knowledge and thus greater self-reverence. It’s less based on what your Ego needs and instead prioritizes how love and openness can expand you into infinite possibilities. 

Life may have its ups and downs, but we belong to ourselves. Lead with your heart. Allow yourself to embrace all the unknowns–rather than limiting you, you may expand into things far greater and larger than you gave yourself credit to imagine. Today, I am so very proud that my ex-husband and I have a strong friendship and that we caringly support each other.  The ‘couple’ may not have worked out but we are still a family unit. We vacation together and we watch the inspiring journeys of our two beautiful children grow up into their own light. Rather than keeping myself closed off, restricted and unhappy, I chose to embrace this new world where everything is suddenly possible. I hope this serves you. 

With love & light (on this one-year anniversary of my divorce). 

Camilla

This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

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