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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

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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.”

November 3rd: Inspiration

Today I spent time playing music with one of my favorite students.

She is in college, preparing for her first big recital, where she will play the Bach Cello Suite 1 Prelude.

She is already an established rock musician, barely 22 and has already toured the world, and yet she was nervous about playing a classical piece “live” in front of me; her teacher.

I watched as she turned shyly, moved her bass away from me and finally, turned until her back was towards me and her face was barely visible.

I smiled to myself, letting her have her space, refusing to chide her as I usually do when I find my students becoming shy with me… I sat quietly… waiting for her to play, and then listened as the most beautiful music echoed out into the room and stopped everyone within the immediate vicinity, in awe of what they were there to witness.

Each of us, paused and listened, stunned by her brilliance, her talent, her shy yet lovely way in which she held her head down, as if a tiny bird, and played.

I felt my heart swell with pride, this music… so inspirational… this moment… where we all stood together in time.. in awe of this young person.

I looked at each of the faces around the room, each smiling… eyes fixed…. amazed and inspired by her talent.

I thank God each day, that I have people like this in my life.

People who stand out as shining beacons during times of pain and hardship.

If I had been in despair today… I would have never been able to hold it… or wallow in self-pity.

She inspired the best in all of us by sharing one of her many gifts that God gave her to present to the world.

When I find myself struggling, I must remember that God brings me gifts each day, and it is up to me to be aware of these moments and thankful for the joy they bring to me.

“Dear God, thank you for surrounding me with friends and family that inspire me to rise to my highest self. Through these joyous moments we share, you remind me that there is light even on my darkest day, gifts too beautiful to ignore.”

October 16th: Time and Perspective

It took time for me to see my marriage and my divorce clearly.

Friends would tell me that, “I just needed time to get over my wounds.”

Others said, “You will have perspective on this situation once time passes.”

The advice was hard to swallow when all I wanted was an immediate release from my pain but…

Time did bring perspective.

I was able to see that my husband had suited me perfectly for many years of my life, and even though I was disappointed and hurt when he chose to leave, after a significant amount of time passed… I could see that what had suited me perfectly as a young woman no longer suited me as the woman I had become.

My husband and I were on different life paths and once I had perspective…  I knew that we were better off as friends than as a married couple.

Today, after going through my divorce, I have found that it is easier for me to accept that emotions, passions, and turmoil will calm with time.

I don’t always enjoy waiting for perspective… but I do look forward to the clarity that will come with it.

“Dear God, help me to be patient. Help me to wait for time to bring me clarity after enduring my hardships.”

October 15th: The Journey

My divorce was a painful journey.

It was a journey that I didn’t want to take.

I had married believing that I had journeyed towards my husband… and together… we were now “the destination.”

It was hard to let go of our life and begin again… alone… on the road.

Like any journey, I learned that it was important to watch for signs, enjoy the view along the way, and be open to the surprises I would experience.

I made new friends and learned to love again.

I now know that I will never end up at a specific destination.

I am constantly on the journey and must find a way to have peace in the idea that we are always traveling.

“Dear God, help me to be aware on my journey. Help me to find truth and maturity along the way.”

October 14th: Outcomes

Before I went through my divorce, I never truly accepted an outcome that didn’t seem to work in my favor.

I always thought that I knew what was best.

I always believed that the other person must be absolutely wrong and if they would just stop being stubborn, we would both end up with the correct outcome: My outcome.

The best outcome of course.

But then one day, I heard a friend say, “I have to stop playing God. I think I know best for everyone but that’s just not true.”

I had to admit to myself right then and there that I liked playing God.

It gave me a sense of control and honestly, I thought if everyone would just do what I would say, my outcome would protect them from future pain and harm, and keep them on the right track to a better life.

Well, that isn’t how life works.

People have to choose their own path to walk.

I can offer my own experience, strength, and hope to help guide them on their way but…

their choices, and their inevitable outcomes… must be just that: their choice.

I know now that this is how others find their spiritual growth.

I don’t have to like every outcome in life… but I must accept that it is a necessary part of learning.

We may see others on a path of destruction, but maybe that is the path they must walk to find their salvation.

“Dear God, help me to accept all outcomes. Help me to see that you have a bigger plan than I have the ability to imagine.”

October 13th: Relief

After months of fighting to save my marriage, I was surprised to find that when the end of our relationship finally arrived, I was relieved.

I felt a soothing calm over my entire body.

My mind slowed and relaxed.

It was no different then any physical struggle: I was worn by the constant battle… the constant expenditure of energy.

I still had my moments of sadness, of melancholy… that quiet longing for what I could no longer have… but the relief filled me with a new found strength and hope. I could now see that there was a release to this painful time in my life.

There was a sense of drive again… of wanting to move forward.

I began to conquer little things I had been neglecting for months during my emotional turmoil:

Washing clothes.

Paying bills.

Cleaning the house.

Getting the car tuned-up.

Each chore that had once seemed so overwhelming to me during my pain, now seemed like a small accomplishment.

And each small accomplishment, added to my relief and soon… I felt pleased with my progress and actually happy that I was moving on.

Relief soothed my soul and brought me peace as the door to my marriage finally closed.

“Dear God, thank you for bringing me relief from my pain. Thank you for walking with me through the pain I endured.”