April 19th: Projection

April 19th- Projecting

For the last several weeks I have felt that I have wandered off my own spiritual path through actions I believe to be adverse to my spiritual growth.

And though I am trying my very best not to beat myself up regarding every mistake I have made along the way… I have caught myself involved in one of my least favorite defense mechanisms: projecting.

I have been projecting my undesirable thoughts and feelings onto a person that I truly love… and punishing this person for a crime they haven’t even committed… haven’t even considered committing… and probably never would.

It is the residue from my past.

The fear of being hurt once again by someone I love.

The story of my divorce carrying over into my new relationship.

When I project, I become a shadow version of the true me and drive a wedge between myself and those I love.

It is harmful skewing of my world.

Projection creates a false reality that becomes real in my own mind and leads me down a path of constant worry, anxiety, fear, and ultimately despair.

I have to step back and address my own issues so that I can return to a strong spiritual foundation and place my trust back where it belongs: in those I love.

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“Dear God, help me to think before I act. Help me to overcome my anxiety and have faith in those around me.”

April 18th: The Little Things

April 18th-The Little Things

Going through a difficult divorce taught me so much about what I wanted in life and reminded me how much the little things matter.

What I missed most during our break-up were all of the small niceties that let me know that I was wanted… cared for:

A quick I love you at the beginning of a busy day…

Or maybe a short call saying that I was missed… in the afternoon.

Coming home to find a meal cooked… or the house cleaned.

Sharing a laugh… an inside joke between the two of us.

These were the things I pined for so much once I was no longer in my marriage.

The little things.

But the pain of those lonely days after my divorce became a valuable teacher. The moments I cherished, remembered, longed for reminded me of how I wanted to behave in my future relationships: considerate and thoughtful on a daily basis… taking the time to share the little things with the one that I loved.

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“Dear God, thank you for the daily kindnesses. The small moments that bring great joy.”

April 17th: Attachment and Change

April 17th-Change

One of the most difficult struggles in my life is dealing with attachment and change.

I am a creature of habit.

I love my world to be bound by routine.

My home life.

My work life.

My relationships.

So, when a change occurs that I perceive as threatening or negative… I tend to react poorly.

And though I have always struggled, my entire life, with attachment and change, my divorce intensified my fear.

I was told so many times by the person that I trusted and loved that:

Nothing was wrong.

It’s work. It’s not you.

I text and call less because I’m busy not because I don’t love you.

And so, I ignored my instincts, trusted in my spouse, only to find out that he was unhappy… he was leaving… and that our relationship was over.

His betrayal absolutely rocked my entire foundation and it has taken a significant amount of time and spiritual footwork to recover from that emotional blow.

I was attached.

I was in love.

I didn’t want things to change.

But they did.

Today, I must work diligently at stepping back from my emotional attachment when someone in my life suddenly changes behaviors and texts less, calls less, compliments me less, or is absent more often from my day-to-day world.

It is so easy for me to hold on to the “story” of my past and make-up a “story” about my present that says… It happened before. It will happen again.

And… I have to be honest with myself… it may happen again.

I cannot be naive about the fact that I may be hurt in my new relationship but…

I cannot stand in limbo… or live in doubt… because of my fears.

Life is constant change and I must learn how to move through it and find acceptance in the reality of my world.

And with my significant other?

I have to to be understanding and note that relationships do change over time, the honeymoon phase is always sure to end. I must choose to fight my fear as I watch and wait to see if this is a signal of some greater problem in the relationship or just the normal fluctuation of life and love.

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“Dear God, help me to be patient and accept change. Help me to detach with love as I learn and grow in this new relationship.”

April 16th: Taking Care of Myself

April 16th- Taking Care of Myself

Yesterday I woke up and felt off.

When I go through difficult times I often put my own emotional and physical needs on the back burner.

And though I had been working over the last month to restore balance to my life… I was still in the emotional trenches.

I realized, as I looked in the mirror, that I hadn’t been taking care of myself and that my mood was suffering due to this fact.

Thankfully, after years of working on this particular character flaw, I took steps immediately to resolve the problem.

I went back to a healthy diet that very morning.

I exercised that afternoon.

I chose to use opposite action when dealing with difficult people or situations and…

I spent the evening seeking spiritual counseling from one of my mentors.

I have learned that it is not enough to just work on one aspect of my life when I have allowed myself to get physically and emotionally worn down.

By taking care of myself, mind and body, I present my best self to the world and find stability once again.

I feel a rise in my self-esteem, a positive change in my attitude, and a better outlook on my life.

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“Dear God, help me to put first things first. Help me to keep my emotional and physical house in order so that I can be the best that I can be during trying times.”

April 15th: Giving Someone Their Own Space

April 15th- Space for Others

Over the course of the last several weeks I have been working very hard to make my own space, slow my life down, and get on with my spiritual footwork.

It hasn’t been easy… and I struggle each day with my task.

And as I was focused on my own path… someone very dear to me let me know that they also needed space.

It was funny how immediately I began to react to their request:

Why do you need space?

What did I do?

Why do you want to distance yourself from me?

It was so easy for me to see, when I needed space, that it was about my need to calm down and bring sanity back to my life.

But, as soon as someone I loved said the exact same words… it was so difficult for me to let go of my own self-esteem issues and give them what they needed.

Today, I must realize that my relationships with other people are not… “all about me.”

I must work towards being understanding, loving, kind, compassionate when someone I love asks for the same thing I ask for: time to create spiritual balance.

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“Dear God, help me accept another’s decision. Help me to be kind and compassionate and let ego go when someone I love needs space.”

April 14th: Anger and Fear

April 14th Anger and Fear

During my divorce, I was so afraid of losing my husband that I often acted out in angry exchanges.

I would start our conversations, in person, on the phone, with the intent of being kind, calm, ready to listen, but…

Once I realized that he was unwilling to give-in, to come back, to work on the marriage, my fear would rise and anger would set in.

I felt like a wounded animal, trapped with no escape, and all I had left to save myself?

My bark and my bite.

The conversations would always end poorly and I would be left feeling shameful regarding my behavior, and heartbroken that once again I had reacted and let my fear consume me.

I was unable to follow one of the most well-known spiritual slogans:

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

What I really wanted to tell my husband was that I was scared… frightened… still in love… so hurt by his decision that I hid it behind my angry words.

Today, I still hide my fear behind my anger and it is a daily struggle to react appropriately when I am fearful that I will lose someone I love dearly.

But now… I do have enough time and spiritual footwork under my belt to make an amends when my behavior has been less than stellar and share the truth, as soon as possible, with the one I love:

I’m sorry.

I’m afraid to be hurt again.

I feel vulnerable in this relationship.

I will work towards expressing my emotions in a kinder way.

And though it may not always change the outcome of the situation, I know that my side of the street is clean and that my amends is honest and heartfelt.

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“Dear God, help me to be true to my emotions. Help me to be honest about my fear of vulnerability in a relationship.”

 

April 13th: Requests and Answers

April 13th

Just this morning I was in the middle of an emotional conversation with a friend I deeply care about.

I had asked him repeatedly to change certain behaviors, related to me, that I felt were detrimental to our relationship.

However, no matter how many times I asked, no matter how many times I tried to explain that his actions were causing me pain, my friend was not able to follow through in regards to my requests.

He was sometimes apologetic for his behavior…

Sometimes dismissive…

Sometimes full of excuses… but nothing ever changed.

I hated asking again and again: Adults should not have to ask adults requests repeatedly, especially those they love, and I have learned, over the years, that if you ask someone to meet your request more than once and they are unable to do so… you have your answer:

They are either unable or unwilling to provide what is needed in regards to the specific request.

I must then decide: Am I able to accept the relationship on these terms?

If not… I may have to step away from the situation until my friend either understands why this is so important to me and comes back; willing to try and work towards meeting my needs or… I come back to the relationship accepting it on the present terms.

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“Dear God, help me to be calm when I feel at odds in a relationship. Help me to look clearly at the situation and be honest about my expectations and my needs.”