Archive | April 2017

April 30th: Perspective

April 30th

It is so difficult when caught up in an intense moment of passion, anger, frustration, obsession, pain or despair, to let go of the “immediate” and embrace perspective.

There have been many times in my life, where I found it difficult to step back and allow time to bring me insight, but none as emotionally, spiritually and physically trying as my divorce.

Each time my emotions were engaged during this painful period, I would find myself consumed in the moment, reacting without thinking, caught in an all-or-nothing mentality that would leave me emotionally worn and physically ill.

I remember feeling like a small bird, throwing myself repeatedly at a glass window, trying to escape my pain and fear, yet too terrified to calm down, and wait for the window to be opened and my inevitable release.

It was a very disheartening experience for me but, my divorce did show me that time will carry me through a difficult period in my life… and that someday… I will get to the other side of any emotion if I continue to move forward and work towards understanding the situation, and my part in it.

Today when I am suffering, I use the experience of my divorce to remind myself that… “This too shall pass.”

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“Dear God, thank you for the gift of perspective. Thank you for helping me to move through my pain and for getting me out of my own way.”

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April 29th: Choices

April 29th- Choices

During my marriage, my husband and I were at a party together for one of his male mentors.

We were all in the middle of a conversation, when I noticed an elderly gentlemen, about eighty, sitting all alone, watching the activity, and hoping that someone would sit and talk with him.

I asked about him and my husband’s friend said, “Oh that’s my dad. He doesn’t really know anyone and he’s a bit shy.”

I immediately excused myself from the conversation and went to sit with him and keep him company.

Later that night, when my husband and I were driving home, he admitted something to me.

“When you left to sit with my friend’s father,” He said. “I turned to my friend and said snidely, “Oh what a good little enabler. What a lovely little people-pleaser. She’ll save him!”

My husband paused here, embarrassed and said, “Do you know what my friend said to me?”

I waited… not sure what I was about to hear.

“He said that you are a kind, thoughtful person, and he appreciated how sweet you were being by making his father feel welcome in the group.”

I smiled.

I was not smug or self-righteous.

I did not use the moment against my husband.

We had both learned a lesson regarding choices.

I knew that my choice was not related to enabling, or people-pleasing, it was my higher spiritual self, choosing to be compassionate and present for another human being.

I had not chosen to go sit with our friend’s father to please anyone or make an impression: I had chosen to sit with my friend’s father because it was the right thing to do, the loving choice.

My motives were clear.

And my husband learned… that he had used poor judgement in his choice of words; his motives were suspect and so… he made an immediate amends.

We ended our night on good terms with each other, both of us reminded, that when we make a choice we must check our motives, and listen for our own unique inner voice of guidance that will ensure we are walking firmly on our spiritual path.

“Dear God, thank you for guiding me in all of my day-to-day choices. Help me to keep my motives focused on love and compassion.”

April 28th: The Gift

April 28th-The Gift

My divorce was very difficult for me to accept.

I had been with my husband many years.

We had experienced life at its best and its worst.

We had raised children, buried parents, struggled with financial burdens, and rejoiced in financial gains.

We created a world together and when we separated, it was very hard to let the dream of what we were… what we could be… go.

I have been asked by many people since, “Do you regret the time you spent with him? Do you wish you could take it back so that you wouldn’t have had to feel the pain of divorce?”

And the answer has always been and always will be, “No.”

How could I regret the birth of my children?

How could I regret the joys I have witnessed as they have lived and grown into the truly wonderful people they are today?

To give up all the pain I have experienced would mean I would also have to give up all the joy:

The togetherness that we shared as a couple, the history of our lives during that specific period of time: a moment that will never be known by anyone the way it is known by my former husband.

I do not regret the love he gave to me.

I do not regret the love I gave to him.

I learned many things from our time together, both good and bad, and now I use those experiences to help my own grown children navigate their relationships. I offer my experience, strength and hope, my extensive time in a marriage to be a guide, a voice of reason, an advocate to help them when they struggle with those they so dearly love.

“Dear God, thank you for the gift of marriage. Thank you for allowing me to experience true joy, through giving myself honestly and openly to someone I loved.”

April 27th: Growth

beautiful ocean April 27th

Today I celebrate my spiritual growth.

The relief at a day spent living in the present instead of allowing my mind to obsess on the mistakes of my past or worry about the uncertainty of the future.

I celebrate a day where I acted loving and kind to the people I love.

I celebrate my creative accomplishments and the time I spent resting and caring for my own needs.

Often growth is messy, upsetting, and traumatic: the change… difficult to accept.

How wonderful it feels… just for this moment… just for this day… to see my spiritual growth… to see how far I have come since the pain and despair of my divorce to enjoy my life right now… and be thankful for this change.

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“Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for this moment of celebration. Thank you for giving me clarity and the ability to see the growth I have made on my spiritual path.”

April 26th: Expressing Love

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When I was in my marriage, I often expressed love the way that I wanted to be shown love:

I gave words… freely, willingly.

I believed that by expressing my love to my husband verbally, I was giving him what he wanted: and affirmation of my love and commitment to him.

But what I found out after my divorce, and after years of spiritual footwork, is that there are several ways to express love and that just because I like words, affirmations, to prove someone is committed to me, it does not mean that my partner feels the same about that form of expression.

Today I know that when I want to show love to someone I care for it is best to find out what makes them feel most cherished and secure in the relationship:

Is it words of affirmation they need?

Do they prefer that I clear the calendar and spend quality time with them… no distractions?

Would they prefer that I show my love through simple acts of service, bringing them coffee? Cooking a nice meal on a night when they are feeling worn?

Is it a gift that they need? Something that truly makes them smile? A book they love but haven’t bought? A gift card to a favorite store?

Or would my loved one like some time alone. Some time to relax and unwind and not worry that I will be offended at their need for solitude?

A relationship is like a dance and I must learn how to move with my partner, to find our own rhythm and language so that our expression of love compliments each other’s needs.

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“Dear God, help me to express my love. Help me to give what is needed to those I care about.”

April 25th: Instinct

desert1

My instinct in life has often served me well: except when it comes to romantic relationships.

Having been raised in dysfunction, and then married into a relationship full of chaos and addiction, my instinct failed me when it came to the best choice of partners.

I always looked for what was familiar to me: what I had grown up with in my family of origin.

And even if my romantic partner’s words and actions swayed towards the negative, I accepted them because it felt like what I had known in my childhood home and I believed that was how people showed their love.

It took many years of spiritual footwork to let go of my skewed belief that to be loved meant that I accepted what came with it: to be humiliated, ignored, belittled, verbally abused, and surrounded by boundaries that were okay to be broken.

Today, I am with someone who is loving and kind. Who does not choose to control me by making me feel “small.” However, it is still a day-to-day struggle for me to accept this kindness, to believe that I am worthy of this attention, and to let go of my own need for drama and chaos, so that I don’t repeat the patterns of my past.

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“Dear God, thank you for bringing people into my life who are loving and kind. Thank you for reminding me that I am worthy of love.”

April 24th: Staying on the Path

Staying on the Path

There have been times since my divorce that I have doubted my choices and the spiritual path that I walk.

In the beginning, it seemed that I was traveling blindly… no markers… no compass… to help navigate my direction.

But as time went on and my footing steadied… I realized that there were guides all around me: in the strength that I carried inside of me and in the people I met who had walked the path before. People who were willing to share their experience, strength, and hope as I carried on.

Today, I have very little fear of what lay before me on my path.

I have survived so many ups-and-downs, so many painful moments; divorce, the death of precious loved ones, and I know… that this is life and I cannot control it.

I have learned that holding onto the past, setting my mind on one fixed point and refusing to change it, only causes me heartache and pain.

Once I choose to walk the path, I cannot look behind at the turn that now obscures what was once my world. I must look ahead, excited to see what lay around the next turn: my future and so many wonderful opportunities for growth, change, and happiness.

“Dear God, help me follow my own path. Let me not be swayed by my own doubts or the doubts of others.”