When thinking through my reason for staying in a 19 year marriage that was very difficult, I gave this explanation to a friend about why the decision to leave my marriage was so difficult. This was my description: “You live on an island– it’s not perfect, but you have learned to navigate and manage the environment that you have been stuck in. The Island is a rough existence, but you wake up and conquer every day – you grow stronger and jagged in your emotions so the pain is manageable. You grow accustom to your place and revel in the sunshine and beauty of the exotic surroundings– it seems ok. You have built a boat over time but you don’t leave because it would mean abandoning the life you know to an unknown future. Even though you are not comfortable, you don’t have many options or a clear direction. One day a fire starts on your island– you try with everything that you are worth to stop the burning embers from spreading– but you can’t… the wind, and the environment around you accelerate the burn until the forest is a blaze. You are able to jump in your boat…paddle out a little ways, only to watch everything you built burn with ferocity to ashes. There is nothing that you can do– it is out of your control, but you have this intense desire to rebuild. It is all you know– survive, rebuild, adjust, fix… and repeat. This has been your pattern for many years while abandoned in this place. Now, after many building attempts– you are tired, but feel the obligation to the place you have protected from the world. And yet, there is the wide open space of the ocean calling. With fear, questions, excitement and hope you decide to paddle out to the unknown expanse of a world that is ever-changing and foreign to your soul. Wounded from your isolation and trauma on the island, you wonder if it is better just to go back…. but the call of the “fire of desire” to conquer the wild, feel the adventure, and move into a stronger place calls you forward… You have now left the island with nothing but a blank canvas to paddle into with the deep knowledge of where you have been. You stay in the boat, and each morning with the rising sun, you smile since you are alive– the sun is beautiful–the day is promising and you have a paddle to assist you moving forward.