Archive | December 2017

December 11th: Decisions

December 11th-Resolution

There were times during my marriage and later, my divorce, where I struggled with resolution.

It wasn’t always easy for me to make a firm decision to do something or for that matter… to not do something.

I was often worried that if I did make a decision… it would be the wrong one or…

If I decided to choose to “not act at all”… I was basically accepting behavior I found intolerable.

This inability to resolve myself to making a decision, left me in limbo and in a state of fear: too afraid to accept any action and constantly worried that I would be blamed for my choices.

But then, after spending time looking at my character flaws, I realized that my inability to commit was due to my “all or nothing” attitude and my way of letting emotions rule my world.

Now, I know that I must make decisions, even if at times it is uncomfortable to do so. I also know that my decision to act… or not to act… can be just “for today” and modified as needed if I find my first decision is not working to help move me forward on my spiritual path.

“Dear God, help me to make decisions with a clear mind. Help me to move forward on my spiritual path, and out of limbo, through the choices I make.”

December 10th: Stress

December 10th-Stress

Often when I am walking through difficult times, the stress begins to take a toll on my mind and body.

During a crisis, it is easy for me to begin sleeping poorly, eating poorly, skipping physical activities, and suddenly, the situation that was already difficult to handle is now overwhelming.

I must remember that when I am in pain, suffering, struggling to get through, I must use this time in particular to make sure that I am doing all I can to relieve the stress of the moment by working my hardest to take care of my basic needs in a way that will contribute to my overall health.

If I am able to keep stress from ruling my life, I will be able to be at my “best” self while working through a crisis.

“Dear God, help me to maintain a steady routine of good health during critical times. I must be able to take care of myself, so I will be able to make the best choices to move forward on my spiritual path.”

December 9th: Resentments

December 9th-Resentments

During my marriage, and later in my divorce, I lived with resentment:

Resentment over expectations I had related to my relationship and my husband.

But now that years have passed since my divorce, and I have had time to reflect on my marriage, I see that I spent a lot of time creating my own resentment by not living in reality.

Did I have a right to set boundaries in my marriage?

Yes.

Did I have a right to have a certain set of shared ideals with my spouse?

Yes.

We have a right to create parameters of acceptable conduct in all of our relationships.

But… when a person I love continues to repeat a behavior time-and-time again, and I expect that behavior to magically change, I am not accepting the situation for what it is… I am waiting on the fantasy.

The reality is… if I find another person’s behavior completely unacceptable then it is up to me to make the choice:

Do I change my attitude and learn to accept it?

Do I make a stand, hold my ground, and create consequences for their actions?

Or… do I re-evaluate my commitment to that person and look at the possibly that it may never be a good fit?

To let go of resentment and move forward on my spiritual path, I have to be honest.

It may result in letting go of someone I love to save my own sanity but over time, I will see that it is best for both of us to walk our own spiritual paths that match our chosen code of conduct, rather then harm each other by staying in a stagnant relationship full of anger and resentment.

“Dear God, help me to accept life on life’s terms. Help me to be true to myself and honest with those that I love.”

December 8th: Motives

zion1

In relationships and life, I have learned that I have to check my motives in my actions and my words.

I spent many years of my marriage trying to “people-please” or speaking “around a subject” in hopes of getting my desired outcome.

Today, I try to think before I speak, to think before I act, and check my motives before I speak out to manipulate another person or situation.

If my motives are pure:

Giving without expecting in return…

Loving with boundaries that I can live with…

Speaking up if it is necessary to solve a problem or…

Staying quiet when my words will only exasperate the issue…

Letting go out of kindness or need and not out of anger or frustration…

Then my motives help me to walk forward on my spiritual path and I can make choices with a clear mind and a loving heart.

“Dear God, help me to be pure in my words and deeds. Help me to have compassion and kindness with all of my motives.”

December 7th: Slips

December 7th

Sometimes, even when I know it is not in my best interest, I slip and let someone back into my life who I really should be keeping my distance from.

Usually, it is when I’m feeling melancholy or nostalgic, especially around a special event or the holiday season.

When I’m caught up in the moment, it seems that I am being foolish, silly actually, and that I should just let this person know that I miss them.

But the problem is… my feelings change from minute-to-minute… especially, when I am recovering from a loss or a break-up.

One minute… I do truly miss that person terribly… but the next minute… I’m afraid that if I open the door even a crack, they will come back into my world, hurt me, leave me suffering, once again in pain and despair, and then I will have to start the process of healing my broken heart all over again.

I know that it is hard to keep my physical and emotional distance when I so long for the attention of someone I once loved or still love, but I must make a concentrated effort to stay the course,  and allow time to heal my wounds.

I must not be hard on myself when I slip… I am not perfect… I will falter now and again but, it is in my best interest to stay away until I can make a sound decision regarding contact.

“Dear God, help me to move forward on my path and allow time and distance to heal my heart.”

December 6th: The Questions

December 6th-The Questions

Every once in awhile, no matter how I try to stay on my spiritual path, keep to my moral high road, or work to follow my Higher Power’s direction, I still find myself wallowing in self-pity.

This self-pity almost always has something to do with losing a person that I loved.

It has always been hard for me to recover from a loss, especially when the loss is related to someone who chose to walk away from what I was offering: myself.

And when I fall into self-pity, I am left feeling wounded, abandoned, and disheartened.

When I am in this place of despair, I have learned to ask myself several questions which help to pull me out of my pain and back into a place of loving-kindness.

The questions are simple, but straight to the point:

1. Do I regret the time I spent with this person?

2. Do I regret the love I gave them?

3. Do I regret the memories of our time together? The things we created together?

4. If I had a chance to “do it over again” would I take it back? Choose to never have this person in my life?

My answer to each question is always the same… No.

Even though I suffer the pain of the loss now, maybe even regrets related to things I feel I could have done differently in the relationship, I know that the pain I feel is one of mourning and that mourning is how I pay homage to important people or events in my life.

The intensity of my emotion, of my attachment, reminds me that what I gave was valuable, that I was true to my heart, and no matter the outcome, I am thankful for my generous spirit and my bravery in being willing to share myself with another human being.

“Dear God, thank you for bringing people into my life who have taught me how to love, and how to bear loss. Thank you for showing me that love is a gift that should be cherished.”

December 5th: Feelings

December 5th

Sometimes I let my feelings control me and suddenly, I am overwhelmed with emotion and off balance.

It can be as easy as someone sending me an email saying, “Hey, can I chat with you for a minute? I need to talk to you about something” and the next thing I know, my stomach is turning, I’m running through a mental list of what I may have done to upset this person, and I’m focused on what might happen next instead of staying in the moment.

I have a bad habit of creating a story, running a thread, allowing my feelings to take over before I even know the facts.

When I find myself overwhelmed with emotion I have learned it is best to step back… to curb the feelings… until I do know what’s really going on.

Worrying, fretting about something that might happen in the future, is not going to help me solve the problem… if there even is a problem.

I must learn to quiet my mind and find focus in the moment.

The more I practice not letting my feelings gain control of me, the better I become at keeping a quiet mind.

Emotional turmoil will not help me walk my spiritual path.

Emotional turmoil will drive me off balance and create chaos.

Feelings are not facts.

I must learn to calm my feelings and wait for the facts so that I can logically approach each situation and then choose to “act” instead of “react.”

“Dear God, help me to stay calm when feelings overwhelm me. Help me to make my decisions with a clear mind, a calm head, and a loving heart.”

December 4th: No Contact

November 18th

When I was younger, before I really began to focus on my spiritual footwork, I believed that the No Contact rule was cruel.

How could I just stop talking to someone I once loved?

How could I act as if they never mattered in my life?

Would I really just walk by them; barely acknowledge their presence, as if they were merely an acquaintance?

It seemed that to follow the No Contact rule was a way to punish the person I had once loved, a way of skipping the moral high ground when ending a relationship.

But… as I grew older, I realized that the No Contact rule was not about the other person… the No Contact rule was for me.

I was able to see that by holding firmly to my rule, I was allowing myself the necessary time to heal by breaking away from the person I loved.

This was a way of creating space, so that I was able to:

Fall out of love…

Forgive…

Open myself up to the possibility of someone new…

But if I held on to my past… I couldn’t move forward.

The No Contact rule helps me to have control over the only thing I can control: myself and my actions.

The only way for me to let go of someone who no longer chooses to share their life with me, is by creating a significant amount of no contact time, while I work through my pain and my past to move forward towards my new life.

“Dear God, help me to have the strength to keep my distance. Help me to be loving and kind to myself and allow myself the time I need to heal without an interruption in my spiritual process.”

December 3rd: Emotional Manipulation

December 2nd-Triangulation

One of the most unattractive aspects of my divorce was the amount of emotional manipulation that I dealt with while trying to separate from my husband.

I never knew which one of us was going to fight for the position of: victim, martyr, or punisher.

Each time I thought of how he wanted to leave me, leave our relationship, leave our family, I would become angry and want to punish him for every transgression he had committed throughout our time together.

Each time I felt betrayed by him, and sought out comfort from family and friends, the role of martyr, the long suffering spouse, arrived on the scene to protect my fragile self-esteem and comfort my bruised ego.

And when I was full of despair or fear… I could blame my husband for my pain, feel sorry for myself, believe that other people had it so much better than me.

My husband played his part in the game as well:

He embraced each role as fervently as I did.

I learned through this addictive emotional manipulation, that nothing was getting solved; neither one of us was moving forward, because we were always so busy acting out our attachment to our particular roles.

I had to train myself to choose not to engage… to catch myself when becoming a victim, a martyr, a punisher and walk away from a fight instead of instigating one.

Over time, this became a habit, and once I chose to no longer participate, the manipulation ceased.

It was so easy for me to fall into a destructive pattern when I was suffering but, by doing the spiritual footwork to become aware of my shortcomings, I was able to move away from each role and focus on what was truly important: forgiving the past, finding gratitude in my present life, and moving towards my future.

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“Dear God, help me to be kind and forgiving. Help me to move forward with love and compassion even when I feel unable to do so.”

December 2nd: Trials

flame lips nature

I know that I cannot walk through life without experiencing trials.

I have been through many… and I’m sure there will be many more before my days are done.

Each of these trials has tested my faith, and when I am wrapped in the emotional and physical suffering that tends to drive a trial, I struggle to keep balance.

How can I possibly make a decision when I can barely keep my mind focused?

How can I move forward on a spiritual path when I am in a moment of great turmoil or despair?

When I find myself in a trial, I have to spend as much time as possible: praying to my Higher Power, discussing the painful issue with those I love and trust, and when doing so, remembering to be fearlessly honest so that I can make the best decision that will help me get through it.

I have learned that prayer quiets my mind and and helps me to receive clarity about my situation.

I go to my friends, my loved ones, for counsel, because they are often able to see clearly, what I cannot see, due to my emotional or physical attachment to the problem at hand.

I have also learned that time will move me through. If I use my resources to stay in the moment, remain as calm as possible, reach out as much as needed for help and guidance, I will get to a point where I can make strong decisions that will move me forward.

Today, when I walk through a trial, and find myself in despair, I remember each trial I have walked before, and I remind myself that because of these experiences, I am where I am today.

Because I have suffered, I have empathy for those that suffer around me.

Because I have experienced trials, I am able to use my wisdom to offer counsel when requested.

Because I have survived pain that I never believed that I could survive, I now have perspective for when I must walk through a trial again.

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“Dear God, help me to be aware of your presence as I walk through this trail. Help me to remember, that on the other side of this pain, I will find a better spiritual path.”