Archive | June 2017

June 17th: Distance

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Because of my past experiences, distance in relationships tends to cause me to become fearful and anxious.

It always surprises me when my emotional triggers take over because I am not the type of person to get wound or worked up if I don’t talk to a particular person for a day or two and I like a lot of independent down time and prefer not to be “joined at the hip” with anyone no matter how much I enjoy their company.

But, when someone I care for goes silent… disappears without a word… suddenly changes the pattern of our routine… I react and everything in me tells me that this is about to be a “repeat” of the pain and despair I suffered at the end of my marriage and throughout my divorce.

Unfortunately, once triggered, my shadow self appears and instead of taking a step back, calmly thinking about the situation with my emotions set aside, I begin to let fear drive me and soon… the person I love is now just as I upset as I am by the entire situation.

If I am concerned about a loved one’s distance… if I feel boundaries are being crossed… then I should approach the issue, when I am calm and ready to talk without emotion ruling the conversation, and ask for what I need in my relationship, and explain why I am struggling and triggered.

However, if someone needs distance and I an unwilling to give it to them, judging them due to past events they had nothing to do with, then maybe I am not emotionally ready to begin a new relationship.

“Dear God, help me to accept other’s as they are. Help me to give the people I love what I would want for myself.”

June 15th: Timing

June 15th-timing

When I was young, I did not believe in timing.

Timing to me was an excuse to get out of something.

Timing was a way to keep people at bay.

Timing meant that “I wasn’t really invested in the relationship.”

Whenever I heard the words, “I’m sorry. It’s just bad timing” I would emotionally shut down.

Today, I know that timing does play into relationships.

There are truly incidents of bad timing and I have to accept that this does not mean that someone loves me less, or is trying to slight me in anyway.

The truth is… no matter how much I may not like it… the world is not “all about me” and everyone in it does not operate on my specific time frame.

I myself have now said on numerous occasions to people I truly love and enjoy spending time with: “I can’t. I’m sorry. The timing is not working out for me.”

Our lives don’t always run in sync with each other.

I know that I must be patient and accept that if I am valued in a relationship, and if I truly value that person as well, there will come a time when we will be able to be together again.

“Dear God, help me to accept that life does not run on my time frame. Help me trust in my Higher Power’s time… and that when it is right, I will find a moment to connect with my loved one once again.”

June 14th: Waiting on Clarity

June 14th-Clarity

During my marriage and my divorce, I often struggled with the concept of clarity.

I would second guess every decision I made… sure that if I hesitated in an action I would appear to be a doormat and that if I rushed an jumped into action, I would be seen as irrational or later regret my decision.

I wished then… and I still wish for this today… that clarity would somehow show up in a “booming voice from the sky” or a sign that was so big it could not be denied and I would be sure in all of my choices.

Unfortunately for me, that is not how clarity works.

Clarity comes to me quietly.

In my new relationships, it usually follows a series of incidents that caused my emotions to fluctuate between highly-elated to dismal and despaired and makes me question my ability to function as a spiritually sound individual within this particular bond.

After accepting this roller coaster of emotion, I begin to hear a very small voice inside of my head question my current direction:

Is this the type of relationship you want today?

Is this the type of person you want to rely on?

Is this acceptable behavior or have you fallen back into old patterns with a new person?

If I care for the person, it can be hard to step back, let go of my emotions, and listen to the “voice” of clarity.

But when it does arrive… it is a solid sounding bell within me that holds a steady tone and assures me that the time for action is now and that my path is clear.

“Dear God, help me to listen for the quiet voice of clarity. Help me to trust that if I am patient, all will be revealed in time.”

June 13th: Trusting in my Higher Power

June 13th-Trusting in my Higher Power

I once read a book where a character said, “I have faith… I just want proof to back it up.” and I laughed because it sounded so much like myself.

Always willing to have faith… always willing to do the spiritual footwork to grow… but still expecting some guarantee from my Higher Power or the universe that once I did these things… the outcome would be the one I wanted.

During my divorce, I did everything to save my marriage: counseling, spiritual footwork, making difficult changes, all in hopes that my husband and I would get back together but…

That was not to be.

It was very difficult for me to hear people say things like… “Maybe your Higher Power is getting you out of your own way so that he can bring something better to you” when I was in so much despair and sure that I deserved my marriage to work out “my way” since I had put in so much time to fix it.

Well… life, unlike school, does not function like that: there is no specific formula, no amount of studying that will get me that A+ I so desire on my next big life event.

True faith is doing the spiritual footwork, giving your all, hoping for the best and then accepting the outcome even when it doesn’t seem to suit your needs.

Letting go and trusting in my Higher Power is still a bit of a struggle for me in the present… control and holding on… always my first instinct… my nature.

But the experience of my divorce has shown me that the outcome I so longed for… believed was best… was not the best outcome for me.

My Higher Power did have a much better plan on my horizon and today… my life is more than I could have ever imagined.

“Dear God, help me to have faith in your plan. Help me to let go of specific outcomes and believe that what I need will be provided for in time.”

June 12th: Trust

June 12th

I loved my marriage, I loved my husband, but this did not mean that I had trust in him.

Time-after-time, during my husband’s long periods of addiction, he would break promises, lie, and contradict his own words with his unhealthy behavior.

And even though this happened numerous times, I would somehow put it out of my mind and believe that the next time he would get it right… the next time my love for him would overwhelm him and he would be a better man for me.

But the truth is, we often love people that we cannot trust and may never be able to trust.

I did not know going into my relationship with my husband that there would be a separation of these two things… I found out about our mounting trust issues long after I had already committed myself and my heart to him.

Today I still find it hard to accept that I can’t always trust someone I love but, I have to see the reality of the situation.

If I cannot depend on someone I love to follow through on their promises, then I have to stop trusting blindly, and without hesitation, set boundaries, and even choose to keep my distance, knowing that the inconsistencies of their actions and words have created a scenario where I can love them… but cannot trust them… and therefore I must care for and protect myself.

“Dear God, help me to trust myself. Help me to set clear boundaries with those I love for my own sanity and balance.”

June 11th: Friendships and Goals

June 11th Goals

When I suffered the painful setback of my divorce I was so full of despair that my goals dissipated.

Everything I had been working for seemed pointless without the love of my husband and so… depressed and weary… I let everything go.

It seemed the smallest thing was too difficult to do:

Sleep.

Shower.

Eat.

Work.

My days were full of endless sadness.

I was fortunate to have comfort from a work colleague, a woman who became like a mother figure to me, who would see me each morning and say, “We just have to get through today. And… if you can’t get through today… just get through the next few minutes. I will be right here.”

I would go in my room and try to teach my students, then excuse myself, walk across the hallway, where she would walk out of her own classroom, wipe the tears from my eyes, hug me close, and then say, “Just until the bell rings. Just make it until the bell rings. I’m right here if you need me.”

I cannot thank her enough for being my strength when my strength was gone.

She got me through those first very painful months and each time I hit a small goal:

Making it through a day without crying…

Sleeping through the night…

Being able to keep a meal down…

She was there to cheer me on.

And when my goals became bigger:

Going back to school for my Master’s Degree…

Writing…

Buying my first home…

She continued to offer me support.

During times of despair we need someone to champion us… to see our small progress as we struggle to overcome pain.

Today, I offer my own experience and strength, and hope that my words, my presence, offers comfort to those who need it.

“Dear God, help me to give my compassion to those in need. Help me to be present for those who long for comfort.”

June 10th: Being Grounded in Reality

June 10th Being Grounded in Reality

Often times my head is so focused on future events that I forget to remain grounded in the present.

It seems sometimes that my life becomes a succession of: the next thing I have to do, the next big event, or a magical time when everything will be just as it should be.

Well, that isn’t reality.

Reality is right here in front of me.

It is paying attention to my fingers on the keyboard as I type: focusing on putting my thoughts into words. It is me… here in the moment… savoring the time I have right now.

When I find myself living “up in my head” or thinking about numerous chores, commitments or events on my horizon…

I must center myself and maintain balance by bringing myself back into the present.

Note a cool breeze… a bird as it flies past… a neighbor waving hello….

because this is life… and life moves quickly… and I must live for these moments… they may be the only ones I have…. I must find joy in the day-to-day.

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“Dear God, help me to stay grounded in the present. Help me to be in the moment and cherish what joys I find there.”

June 9th: Resentments

June 9th-Resentments Lately I have been struggling with resentments. It happens from time-to-time and even when I am working really hard to stay balanced or focused on my spiritual footwork, situations… relationships come along that create problems. In the past, I chose to hold resentments… for a day… a month… a year…. unwilling to admit that it damaged me… my self-esteem… my self-worth… my peace… my balance: and not the person or situation I was resenting. In fact, they usually continued on in their own life, most often blissfully unaware of my perceived slight, as I reverted farther into my shadow self and allowed my anger and frustration to consume me… obsessed with how I had been “wronged…” how I had been “damaged…” how I deserved an amends. Today, after many years of spiritual footwork, I take time to calm down from the situation and ask myself “How important is it?” and if I find it is really something silly in the grand scheme of life… I choose to let it go. However, when I am truly suffering through a more serious struggle, I find myself able to ask for clarity from my Higher Power, consult with a trusted friend, and then… when the time is right, express my feelings regarding the particular situation or the person I am feeling resentful towards. I cannot be sure that everything will be resolved through the conversation, but I can be sure that my side of the street is clean, my voice has been heard, and that if I am unable to settle the matter at that moment… more will be revealed by my Higher Power over time and maybe… lead me to resolving my own pain. – “Dear God, help me to have peace of mind in a moment of frustration. Help me to find relief from my resentments and trust in your guidance.”

June 8th: Obsession

June 8th-Obsession

Sometimes my mind becomes so distracted by a problem that I fall into obsessive thinking.

Unable to control my thoughts, my mind races through scenarios, until I have imagined every worse case outcome and have become triggered and worn by my mental toying.

If I allow myself to become overwhelmed by my obsessive thinking soon… it escalates to obsessive talk.

I will search out anyone and everyone and find a way to bring “my obsession” into the conversation.

Unfortunately, this is me allowing my mind to hold me hostage and… this tires the person having to deal with my runaway thoughts and feelings… and leaves me to “spin my wheels” since nothing can be reasoned out or accomplished when my mind is inundated by negative noise.

It doesn’t matter what device I have devised to keep me from my obsessive thinking:

A command I say to myself to “STOP…”

A rubber band on my wrist to snap each time I allow my mind to obsessively wander…

A hiatus from social media that may be triggering my obssession…

Or a visit with a trusted mentor to gather strength and support when I am feeling vulnerable and triggered.

Despite what my emotions tell me… I can choose not to engage in obsessive thoughts.

Obsession will not solve my problems and allowing obsession to control me will leave me in a poor mental and physical state and lead me to my “shadow self.”

“Dear God, help me to pay attention to my thinking and let go of my obsession. Help me to calm my mind and contemplate my problems when I am emotionally ready to do so.”

June 7th: Fear and Unhealthy Relationships

June 7th- Letting Go

I was in a constant state of anxiety during my marriage.

Part of the problem was my own internal fears that I brought into the relationship:

I was afraid of losing my husband and being abandoned and…

I was afraid of being neglected or seen as unlovable.

These were beliefs that I had carried with me since childhood and nurtured by choosing unhealthy relationships that amplified my negative self-talk.

So, when these fears came true during my divorce, they once again validated my own internal fear: that I was not worthy of love.

Today, there have been times when I have gone back to the same type of relationship as my marriage, not because I want fear and dysfunction in my life but, because the unhealthy relationship is familiar: it is what I have been programmed to accept; fear… anxiety… drama… despair.

But I have learned through spiritual footwork that the other part of this relationship problem is the people I choose to get involved with…

Their actions cater to my own negative beliefs.

Their unreliable behavior leads me to always believe, even when they are on their best behavior, that there must be a catch and that sooner or later they will let me down again.

Basically… it is my shadow-self seeking another shadow-self to recreate patterns from my past.

A way of playing out negative beliefs… or becoming lost in the fantasy that this time… it will somehow… magically… be different and all work out.

But it is never different.

An unhealthy relationship is an unhealthy relationship.

If I choose to engage with someone that brings out my fears, my short comings, I am allowing myself to be controlled by my negative beliefs.

If I choose to keep someone in my life, and accept short bursts of attention and validation to make me feel “better in the moment” then I am selling myself short on what I can truly expect in a relationship with a kind, loving person who is willing to commit to me fully, and does not trigger my fear or my shadow self through inappropriate and unhealthy behavior.

“Dear God, help me be willing to let go of unhealthy relationships. Help me to be strong enough to walk away from what is hurting me.”