October 24th: Self Control

It is not always easy to maintain self control.

Situations can be infuriating.

Life can be heartbreaking.

Relationships can be devastating but to react with pure emotion, with no thought to logic or consequences, can make a horrible situation worse.

I have learned that maintaining composure at times of great stress and strife is difficult for all of us but, something we must strive for if we search for growth on our spiritual path.

Sometimes, we make mistakes; allow our anger, our hurt, to get the better of us and react to the offending person or event.

It is easy for me to be hard on myself when I fail and lose self control but each time I do… I am humbled by my experience and reminded how I want to behave differently in the future.

If we can find a way to exercise self-control, take a step back, wait before reacting, we can think through our actions and ensure that we are acting according to our “higher self” and not our “shadow self” or our ego.

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“Dear God, help me to maintain self-control in trying times and heartbreaking situations so that I can make decisions that will heal and help all who surround me.”

October 23rd: Self-Pity

Sometimes I take myself to a place I know I shouldn’t go: a place of self-pity.

Self-pity does nothing to help me grow, and everything to make me feel miserable in the moment.

In the past, I would often run to self-pity, look for it, let it consume me, and therefore, I didn’t have to look at the work I needed to do to move past my pain.

Self-pity is always a distraction from the work at hand and a way to live in our sorrows.

Today, when I am feeling sorry for myself, I allow myself a moment to grieve, a moment to cry, a moment to feel down, and then I do what I need to do to get back on track:

I call a friend who will offer me support.

I busy myself with my tasks and chores for the day.

I write about my feelings so that I can address my problems later when I am in a better state of mind.

I help someone else… and use my strength to help them combat their own pain and suffering.

Self-pity is a crutch that I choose not to lean on… a bad habit that must be removed… if I choose not to indulge in it… I choose to move forward with strength and faith.

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“Dear God, help me to remove self-pity from my day-to-day life. Give me the strength to move forward with courage and dignity.”

October 22nd: Celebration

Each day on this Earth is a gift.

Each moment a celebration of life.

I have often been surprised during the painful times by impromptu joyous celebrations that took the sting of my heartache away:

A moment with one of my students that made me proud.

A family gathering where everyone was lively and entertaining and the love could be felt throughout the room.

My pet, acting silly, or making a face that seemed close to human, sending me into fits of laughter.

There is much to celebrate in this world even when things seem at their bleakest.

It is our job to keep our eyes open and be aware of it.

When we are pained, when we are troubled, it is often hard to find something to celebrate. But if we have faith, we will see celebration, in even the most mundane day-to-day moments.

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“Dear God, help me to celebrate life even in my darkest days. Help me to see joy in the smallest moment and celebration even when my heart is heavy.”

October 21st: Taking the Bait

There are some people in our lives that seem to want to pick a fight.

They know us well.

They know our triggers.

They know just what to say to get a reaction.

During my divorce, my husband on his bad days, would say something and hope that I would “take the bait.”

If I did, it validated his reasons for leaving and it left me feeling shameful that I had behaved in an inappropriate manner.

After many months of personal work, I learned that with practice, I could choose not to engage.

Today, when someone tries to get me to “take the bait” I let it go, and over time, they realize they cannot get the reaction they hoped for from me… and they stop trying to provoke one.

If I truly don’t want to get into a series of emotionally draining ups and downs with another human being…. an argument that will only cause me to wear myself out, and will in no way help me to evolve as a spiritual person… than I must practice daily… not taking the bait.
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“Dear God, help me to see that a person’s words and actions say more about them… then about me. Help me to disengage with empathy and compassion.”

October 20th: Personal Space

When my husband first moved out of our home, the absence of his presence in my day-to-day life was of course, huge but… what I hadn’t thought about… was how I would feel once so many of his personal items were gone: The bathroom now seemed bare without his toothbrush, his shaving items on the counter, his robe hanging on the door. The closet was now half empty and seemed abandoned and unused. Paintings had been removed from the walls, furniture had been taken, large gaps of what now seemed like transitional space lay everywhere around me. And though I was in pain, saddened by my loss I knew I must take to the task of making this place that was once ours… my own. I spent several weeks on this chore: organizing family photos, separating my husbands accidentally “left behind” items and boxing them to be picked up later. I cleaned out everything that was no longer useful from my past, and rearranged everything to start my future anew. I was surprised to admit it, but it was lovely to put all of my things, exactly where I wanted them, without concern for anyone else’s opinion. I couldn’t help but smile to myself with a sense of accomplishment and independence. Personal space becomes a home base of security and serenity when dealing with painful situations. It is the place we come to at the end of the day to feel soothed and at peace. – “Dear God,  thank you for giving me a place to live. No matter how small, no matter how empty… it still holds my faith in your guidance.”

October 19th: Joy

Today is my daughter’s birthday and I was thinking back to the day she was first born.

Some people say after a divorce, that they made a huge mistake…

that they should have never married their mate…

And during a difficult time in a person’s life, I can understand why they may feel that way… But… imagine all that would be lost.

I think of my daughter, how much I love her, how she is grown into a beautiful young woman, and I am so proud of her and her life accomplishments…

And I am grateful that my husband and I had this child together and spent so many years enjoying our time with her.

I have learned that every person I connect with in life and every event in my life… yes… good and bad…. leads me to the joys that I have today.

Without my love and commitment to my husband… I would have never had the gift of my daughter’s love.

Without my daughter’s love, I would not have the joy that fills my heart today.
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“Dear God, help me to remember that there is joy in the smallest of things, that there is wonder in every life event.”

October 18th: Rememberance

When we lose people to death, we take time to mourn the loss and celebrate their lives.

When we go through a divorce, we are often told to:

Move on.

Get over it!

Don’t you shed even one more tear for that ex of yours.

When I lost my husband… it felt like a death… and… it felt like I was unable to mourn his loss.

He was still walking around in the world… he had chosen to leave… I was left behind… shouldn’t I be too angry to mourn his loss?

The truth was that I missed him terribly despite the pain that we had just experienced together.

I missed our shared history, the way he could make me laugh, the proud knowing look that came over our faces when we watched our children at play.

It was a hard loss.

Today, my ex-husband stands in my kitchen as I write this… I can hear him laughing with our son, chatting with my mother… and when I step out to greet him, we will hug and laugh and remember our years together with joy.

In the beginning… remembrance brought pain but now… it holds us together as a family. And even though our lives are now separate… they are still connected through our shared past.

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“Dear God, help me to remember that all is not lost. That the record of our lives is still held in the passage of time and that it is safe and ready to be shared when the pain subsides.”