November 10th: Self-Preservation

There have been times in my life when I knew absolutely… that I must walk away from a relationship.

Walking away didn’t mean that I loved this person any less; it meant that I could no longer bear the pain of the relationship’s dynamics.

While going through my divorce, there came a time where I had to completely let go of my ex-husband and walk away from all contact so that I could mend.

Each time I would have contact with him… I would be so deeply hurt…that I suffered again and again.

It was as if I purposely kept opening an old wound.

Recently, someone who means very much to me… acted very similar to my ex-husband. He said that he, “Didn’t want to hurt anyone” with his actions, but then this person continued to come close to me, then pull away, making plans and then breaking promises… until this back-and-forth behavior had worn me out, wounded me, and left me full of sadness. His choice to come in-and-out of my life with what seemed like such “ease of thought” felt, to me, like he had little regard for my feelings.

His actions, in my opinion, did not stand for “I don’t want to hurt anyone…” he didn’t seem to realize that he was hurting someone each time he did this… a person he claimed to love very much: me.

I knew, that no matter how much I would miss him; I had to step back completely from the relationship. The dynamics were not working for me and I would have to decided over time and distance, if they ever would.

Sometimes in life we have to take a step back and do what is important for ourselves. It is not a selfish act to need time and space to get clear about a relationship. I know today that if I step back with love and honesty… so that I preserve my emotional, spiritual, and physical health… and protect my friend’s feelings while gaining clarity… then I am doing a kind service to both of us.

“Dear God, help me to let go and walk away with love and honesty.  Help me to find clarity and to have the strength to stay away, with kindness, until I know what I can offer this person as my friend or partner.”

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November 9th: Obsessive Thoughts

When I was first going through my divorce, I would often fall victim to obsessive thoughts.

I would allow myself to pick up a thread of an idea and run with it thinking the worst possible things… until I was completely drained… exhausted by my own making.

I would torture myself believing that my ex-husband suddenly had it all: the perfect life, the perfect person, that he was off running around the world care-free and I was left behind… miserable and alone.

It was a story, a movie of my own making, that I would run over and over and over again until I fell into self-despair.

Obsessive thoughts are addictive.

Obsessive thoughts are dangerous.

If I allow my mind to wander into territory that I know harbors past ills, and caters to my shadow self then I will end up distraught… unable to let go and move on.

Today, I still struggle with obsessive thoughts, but I now know the consequences of picking up that thread and running with it…

It will only bring chaos and pain… it is better for me to stop my mind from holding me hostage… I must learn to exercise control over behavior that is self-destructive.

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“Dear God, help me to let go of my obsessive thoughts.  Help me to have the strength to walk away from my obsession, to control my mind and use it to move forward on my spiritual path instead of falling backwards into despair and disillusionment.”

November 8th: Making Promises and Following Through

When I make a promise to someone it is important that I follow through.

During my divorce, I would become terribly frustrated when promises were made by my ex-husband and then not kept.

Part of my anger was due to my own personal pain:  I was hurt that he had left me and I felt the burden of the family responsibilities were all down to me.

But the other part of the problem, the one that could not be changed with time or spiritual footwork, was that if he promised to do something like watch our children while I was working, or provide financial support on a specific day and then did not follow through, then my life and our children’s lives were suddenly thrown into chaos.

As an adult if we are unable to keep a promise… unable to follow through, then it is our responsibility to let the other person involved in the commitment know as soon as possible.

Yes emergencies arise… unforeseeable problems occur… life happens… but repetitive breaking of promises without good reason is disrespectful and irresponsible behavior.

Being an adult means communicating, keeping promises, and following through on all of our commitments.

Today… my ex-husband works very hard to keep his commitments to our family. I am thankful that through spiritual footwork, we are both able to follow through on promises that we make to each other.

“Dear God, help me to keep my promises and follow through on my commitments. I know that I am not always willing… but if I have promised to be present and responsible.. help me to do just that.”

November 7th: Disappointment

Note to my readers: please excuse the tardiness of several posts! I have been a traveling writer recently and often in locations where internet is not accessible… know that if I am unable to be with you in words… I am with you in thought… and that my prayers for you are: May you be strong… May you be happy… May you be well… May you be at ease. D.

After my divorce, my disappointment over the end of my marriage and my struggle with obsessing on the “what it could have been…” left me terrified to open my heart to another.

I was afraid to care for someone again.

I was afraid to want someone again.

It seemed easier, at the time, to remain… “closed off” or “behind a wall…” and refuse to let anyone in.

If I remained distant… then I wouldn’t be hurt and that way… I wouldn’t be let down… I couldn’t be “left behind.”

I made a lot of mistakes during this time period.

I let a lot of great people leave my life for fear that they may get too close and I may be disappointed once again.

But living life is not about “hiding behind a wall” and refusing to let others into my heart.

Life and love are about connections, shared history, and messy emotional ups and downs.

By fearlessly giving myself entirely over to another human being… heart and soul… and accepting that with the sadness will also come great joy, I live life to the fullest and I walk my true spiritual path.

“Dear God, help me to be brave and open my heart to others.  Help me to see that by being generous and fearless with my love I live a life full of grace and joy.”

November 6th: Making an Amends

Yesterday… I yelled at someone.

Had this person done something wrong?

Yes.

Was it worthy of my anger?

Yes.

Was it necessary for me to lose my temper, and act out in a heated moment and publicly shame this person?

No.

Sometimes, we act rashly… we react with emotion… or we wait until the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” comes along and then unleash our fury.

It was a horrible moment for me.

It was a reminder of how I often lost my temper in my marriage with my husband.

I spent the rest of that hour, hands shaking, trying to calm down and acting “as if” everything was okay… while everyone else in the room worked to keep the peace between us.

Sometimes… we try to justify our bad behavior:

Well, if she had been behaving appropriately, I wouldn’t have had to yell at her or…

If he had only done what I asked him to do, I wouldn’t have had to call him out.

But… when you use your anger as a weapon… an amends is in order.

I waited until we were both calm, and then, in front of everyone, I apologized for losing my temper as my friend apologized to me.

Our amends to each other was necessary and immediate, the bond it created changed our relationship forever in that moment.

My friend stood before me, hugged me, sure in the knowledge that I would never use my anger against her unfairly again…. and I hugged my friend, humbled by the experience.

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“Dear God, if I have harmed someone with my bitter words, grant me the gift of humility. Help me put my ego aside and ask forgiveness for my poor behavior… let your grace fill my voice with words of apology.”

November 5th: Belonging

No matter how much I love to be an individual… there is something inside of me that longs to belong with the people I love, admire, and respect.

But there are groups… groups that I have been a part of over the years… that have not always brought out my best self.

My shadow self emerges when I am with these people and the urge to belong drives me to act in ways that no longer suit the person I am today.

I find myself either full of ego, self-doubt, or struggling with my self-esteem and it still, to this day amazes me, that after all of my footwork in spiritual recovery… I can so easily fall back into my former ways with certain people.

These relationships are important to me. I am firmly connected to them through shared history, love, and family ties.

I want to belong with these groups… I just want to act as my stronger, higher, spiritual self when engaging with them.

If these relationships are relationships that I choose to continue… I must work to see what is driving me to “act out” and learn to take opposite action so that I can create healthy relationships and belong with a peaceful mind and heart.

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“Dear God, help me to be my best self around all of the people I love and cherish. Help me to overcome my ego, and self-doubt, and move forward on my spiritual path.”

for Mary 10-8-35 to 11-5-17

November 4th: Letting Go with Awareness

When people sometimes choose to leave my life, or change the parameters of our relationship, I tend to think… Oh God, what did I do? It must have been something I said… some way I acted that brought on this change in our status.

And yes, maybe I did do something or say something that created a change, caused a riff, or prompted a move.

This is when I have to step back and really look at the situation with awareness.

When I was going through my divorce, I was speaking to a close friend one day and I said, “I don’t understand why he left? I looked at my part in the problem, I moved to correct my mistakes and clean up my side of the street. Why is he not making an effort to do the same?”

She looked at me and said, “You have to let him go. Look at all of the other wonderful people that are here around you. They want to be a part of your day-to-day world, they love you dearly and enjoy your company. It is good to be aware of your part in things, but you dwelling on him leaving basically makes us all feel that we are not as important as the man who has chosen to leave you.”

And she was right: It was his decision… not mine.

Today. I still struggle when friends leave, relationships change or end, but I also know that I am not willing to go running after anyone and try to “make” them see that being with me would be a good thing.

If they value my friendship … want to be my friend… they will put in the effort just as I have, examine the relationship, and work to hold on to it or mend it.

If they don’t value my friendship, or if my friendship does not meet with their current life choices, then I have to let them go.

People choose to leave and change… this is a part of life that I must accept.

All I can do is examine my part in the relationship, work to clean up my side of the street, and then let go with awareness if they choose to walk a new path on their own.

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“Dear God, help me to see that people’s decisions are not “All about me.” You have created a path for my friends that may lead them away from my life. That does not mean I cannot let them go with compassion and pray for them as they embark on their new journey.”