Archive | July 2017

July 18th: The Horizon

July 18th

I spent most of my marriage always looking towards the horizon:

When we have enough money to pay our bills… we will be happy.

When we buy that house we’ve always wanted… things will get better.

Once the children are a bit older… we’ll finally have some quality couple time together.

I was so busy focusing on the horizon that I never looked at the reality of the moment: that we loved each other but we were struggling.

Our day-to-day compatibility was faltering.

After my divorce, I continued on with my pattern, hoping that on the horizon I would find my perfect life:

As soon as I get my Master’s degree… I won’t have to worry about supporting my children.

As soon as I get in shape again… I will feel so much better.

As soon as I begin a new relationship… I will know true love and commitment.

Spending all of my time looking at the horizon, always looking ahead, keeps me from seeing what I must see: my life as it is today in the moment.

Sometimes, in despair, it is easy to fix a mark on the horizon and point to it…

But to live for the horizon… to constantly steer towards it without stopping to really look at things, assess my wants and needs, I am blindly walking towards a future that may be contrived of illusion and fantasy and not in my own best interest.

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“Dear God, help me to stay focused in the moment. Help me to use this present day to guide me in the right direction.”

July 17th: Coming to Terms

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There are only so many times that I can ask for what I want before I must stop asking.

My divorce taught me that no matter how I may love someone… no matter how I may want to be with that person… if I keep asking for what I need and their answers or their actions continually express the word, “No…” I must come to terms with the relationship and decide if I can carry on with it.

How much am I willing to take?

How much am I willing to give?

Have I set up a relationship where I am constantly the nurturer? The giver? Allowing someone else to take from me at all costs?

If I am left wanting… spent… worn from sharing so much of myself… then where do I go from there?

I know now that I have to love myself enough to let go of what is no longer working for me and find a relationship where my love is valued and cherished, sought after by the person I choose to share my life with today, and that together, we will build a mutual loving relationship based on honesty and respect.

“Dear God, help me to let go of old behaviors. Help me to move forward in faith and know that my future holds a better life for me.”

July 16th: Expectations

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I have expectations for everyone and everything and it is one of my character flaws I seem to refuse to let go of.

I am so good at creating “my fantasy world of choice” that I can basically map out an entire scenario for something that hasn’t even happened and then, feel totally deflated when it does not work out the way I planned it.

But, having these unrealistic expectations for every person I love and every life experience I am inclined to be a part of, leaves me vulnerable to two things:

Never really accepting the reality of my world and…

Constant disappointment.

Today, I am working very hard to “hope” without “expecting.”

It is difficult to let go of the fantasy and stay present in day-to-day life but, the more I practice keeping my mind where it should be… in the moment… the easier it will be for me to one day let go of my unrealistic expectations and my illusions.

“Dear God, help me to accept people and things as they are. Help me to live each moment in the moment and appreciate what it has to offer.”

July 15th: Regret

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I have a friend who likes to say, “I have no regrets. Everything I did led me right to this very place.” And… I would have to agree with her that yes, that is absolutely true… but I still have regrets: Things I said poorly… Choices I wish I hadn’t made… Incidents and actions that changed my life… But I do not use my regrets as a way of chastising myself for an eternity:  I believe that regrets teach me lessons that I could not learn in any other way. I cannot go back in time and fix things… change things… re-run the tape of my life. I must accept life as it is today: regrets and all. But, I can choose to use my regrets as poignant reminders of actions I do not wish to repeat. Today, I know how I want to treat a loved one in a relationship because of my regrets. Today, I know how I want to interact with my family and friends because of my regrets. Today, I know that just for this day, I want to be a kind and empathetic person with no regrets. So instead of obsessing over what cannot be changed, I use my regrets to guide me in the present, to be the person I wish I had been… in my past.

“Dear God, help me to forgive myself the mistakes I have made. Help me to learn from my regrets and move forward with a humble heart.”

July 14th: Respite

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When struggling with a difficult, seemingly impossible situation, sometimes I find it best to take some time away from the problem.

It was difficult to do so during my divorce because the pain was in my heart, the obsession was in my mind, and how would I be able to distance myself from that?

But I did so by finding moments of respite from my day-to-day life:

A walk in the park.

A weekend trip to the mountains.

A week long trip up the coast to visit my best friend.

Each time I allowed myself this time to briefly get away… it gave me a bit of physical and mental breathing room that I could not find while stifled in my own home with all the memories of my marriage: The memories that threatened to hold me hostage at anytime.

I learned that sometimes, a break, was all I needed. A break to make it through and garner the strength I would need to continue on through the pain of my divorce and move forward with my new life.

“Dear God, help me to create mental and physical space when I am feeling overwhelmed by my surroundings. Help me to find relief in the beauty of the natural world, respite in nature.”

July 13th: Other People’s Opinions

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It is easy to get caught up in the fear of what other people may think.

During my separation, I was worried about people judging me… judging my marriage.

I didn’t like the idea that my personal life was on display for all to see and that if people didn’t know the details… they could just make up some of their own.

It was difficult not to “blurt” out my version of the whole entire mess of my situation.

It seemed that if I did just that… at least they would know my side of the story and I could rest easy believing that they would now “understand” me and therefore not judge.

But what was I to do?

Run around making sure everyone got it right?

Would that stop them from gossiping, creating their own opinions, judging?

Then one day, two very important things happened.

First, I accepted the fact that everyone has an opinion and there is nothing I can do to silence it: People will believe what they care to believe no matter what I say or do.

Second, while I was stepping up to tell yet another friend everything about my divorce to fend off a future judgement, they stopped me and started ranting about their own relationship problem in fear that I would make a judgement about them.

Right then and there I stopped speaking out to each and ever person.

I realized that just like me, each person I was choosing to talk to was worked up about their own problems, their own lives, and though my separation and divorce may have been interesting fodder for a few moments of time… it was not consuming their days as it was mine: they were dealing with issues in their own world.

It was funny to know that all of the time I was so concerned about what others’ thought of me they were actually focused on what I thought of them; worried that I would judge them unfairly for how they were dealing with the problems in their own lives.

“Dear God, help me to let go of pride. Help me to focus on moving forward on my spiritual path instead of being caught up in my own ego.”

July 12th: Knowing

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There came a moment in my divorce, when I truly knew in my heart that it was over, and I accepted things for what they were.

I didn’t cry.

I didn’t exalt.

I didn’t shout angry words or curse my former love.

I just sat quietly and embraced the truth: that I was at the end of my marriage and grieving the loss of my dream.

I had fought for so hard and so long that I was exhausted from my emotional battle, weary from my broken heart, and numb at the prospect of rebuilding my world.

I wasn’t sure where to begin, but begin I did, and though it was one of the most difficult changes in my life, time moved me through the pain of the moment, and I began to find my way.

I know in my heart, that for me, endings will always be sad… change is never easy… and beginnings will always generate a certain amount of fear.

But I have learned, through my experience, that relationships and life, are ever changing, and that if I can love the moments I have had… instead of despairing over the moments that I believe I have lost… I will have so much more of life to embrace and so many memories to hold dear.

“Dear God, thank you for the gift of love. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share part of my life with another human being.”

July 11th: All About Me Mentality

July 11th

Recently, I was fussing to one of my trusted mentors about a relationship.

I was going on about how I thought my friend should do this and I thought they should do that and that if they would just behave the way I wanted them to… we wouldn’t be having any problems… when she stopped me and said, “Oh… so everyone should act and react on your time table? It’s your world and everything should be done as you say?”

I paused, at first a bit taken aback, when I saw the smile on her face and realized how ridiculous I sounded… how very rigid… when I always had proclaimed that I was so “open minded.”

The only person I have the ability to control is myself.

I cannot make people “jump” to my beat.

A relationship is bound by trust, love, and mutual agreement.

I have to be willing to accept the people I love “as is” and not bend them to fit into my world. Together we have to find a compromise that works to strengthen the relationship so that each of us feels valued within our commitment.

“Dear God, help me to be understanding. Help me to let go of demands and control and work towards being fluid, fair and balanced.”

July 10th: Choices and Slips

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I am not a perfect person.

Each day, I struggle with choices I make and sometimes even emotional slips that I fear I will regret.

It isn’t always easy to make a choice of opposite action when worked up during an argument or when I have surrendered to a struggle with my self-esteem.

When emotions run high… it feels good, for the moment, to unleash my hurt feelings… to let the tears flow… or say all of the angry words that I have been holding inside…. but as soon as I have finished “losing control” the shame and guilt that consumes me, from acting as my shadow self instead of taking the moral high ground, sets me into a worse spin… and often generates more poor choices followed by more emotional slips.

Feelings are not fact.

And when I allow myself to be controlled by them, I tend to make decisions that do not bode well for me, or the people I care about.

It is hard for me to forgive myself in these moments where I lack self-control but, it is imperative to my spiritual growth to do just that, and work towards making a better choice tomorrow.

“Dear God, help me to forgive myself when I make mistakes. Help me to learn from my choices, my actions.”

July 9th: Staying in the Moment

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Over the last year in my life, I have been watching my ability to stay in the moment improve.

It used to be that I was either despairing over the past, or constantly striving to accomplish things, which kept me focused on the distant future, instead of paying attention to what was right in front of me.

What I have learned? The past… is the past. There is nothing I can do to change what has happened. I cannot magically go back in time and “fix things.”

I can however choose to behave differently today.

And the future?

I have faith in what is to come and I believe it is good to have goals… to have things to look forward to…. but not if I’m using them to distract myself from the present.

The only moment I have is now and it is important to learn to find satisfaction and contentment within it.

I have accomplished many things in my life by setting my sights on the future but often, once I would achieve my success, I would immediately put it to the side and focus on the next goal on the horizon instead of ever stopping to relish in it.

Today I know that wasting my precious time on despairing over what I did in the past, or quickly moving on to “the next big thing,” leaves me living in a world that doesn’t really exist.

In front of me… right now… is this day.

I need to focus on making the most of it and living it fully… aware of my surroundings and how precious this time truly is.

“Dear God, help me to let go of my future and my past and stay firmly focused on the present. Today is the only day I may have… help me to live it to the fullest.”