June 5th: Silence and Solitude

June 5th

Sometimes there are no words.

Sometimes, worn by emotion, exhausted from running up against the same emotional wall again-and-again, it is best to stop… hit bottom… and be silent and still.

My divorce always left me wanting to explain, discuss, analyze, to make sense of what had happened to me… the “why” of what went wrong but in the end…

when all of the words had been spoken… when every situation… every angle had been explored…. there was nothing left but for me to sit and be quiet with my feelings and accept that my marriage was over.

Today, I still push for answers, I still struggle with just letting things be… but I also know that if I seek solitude… if I allow myself to be quiet… my mind calms long enough to provide answers to questions that have been troubling me.

“Dear God, help me to be quiet and let my thoughts rest. Help me to find peace in silence and allow myself to be soothed by solitude.”

June 4th: Accepting Loss

June 4th

Just the other day I was talking to one of my mentors.

I was sad about a relationship that hadn’t gone the way I expected it to go and feeling the pain of the loss.

Disappointed I said, “I just wish it had lasted longer.”

She looked at me… and in her most loving motherly tone said, “Welcome to reality… don’t we all wish for that.”

And isn’t that the truth?

Of course I want wonderful moments to last forever but that is not how life works.

Life is endless change and we all suffer losses great and small…

A lost marriage.

A lost loved one.

A lost friendship.

The pain that I suffer during each significant moment is first grief and then… pain due to my refusal to accept the reality of the situation, admit the loss, and let go.

I cling to what is familiar… I cling to the memories of what once was.

But today, I know that I have to work to accept change and look forward to what life will bring me.

I have many more moments of unexpected joy on the horizon if I accept today, things as they are, grieve my losses, and look forward to my future.

“Dear God, thank you for bringing joy into my life and help me to accept change. Help me to trust in your path and know that I will find joy again.”

June 3rd: All or Nothing Mentality

June 3rd

I grew up in a household that was full of passion.

Intensity was a constant in our home and so… we learned early on to “bring it up a notch” instead of “bringing it down” when arguments escalated.

We were kings and queens of ultimatums and shouted them out with abandon during the heat of the moment:

Don’t come home.

Don’t come back.

Don’t think I will ever forget this.

Don’t… don’t… don’t.

And then of course, when tears had been shed, tempers had cooled… everything went back to normal as if it had never happened at all.

As if those words had never been said.

Today, I know that all or nothing mentality does not work in a relationship.

I cannot address someone I say I truly care about with, “This is just how it is supposed to be and you will have to deal with it.”

Nor can I walk around throwing out ultimatums when I don’t get my way.

That is not adult, loving, or kind and it means that I choose to lead in the relationship by using control instead of sharing in the relationship and using communication.

A relationship is defined as: a state of being connected.

How am I supposed to remain connected to another human being if I choose to behave this way?

When I find myself in all or nothing mentality, it is best that I step back and calm my emotions before I engage in a conversation with someone I love.

“Dear God, help me to be fair in my relationships. Help me to look at the situation from a different perspective other than my own limited view.”

June 2nd: How Important is It?

June 2nd

After spending almost twenty years in a marriage that was highly chaotic and turbulent, it became hard to decipher what was truly a crisis and what was merely an inconvenience.

My husband and I became masters of drama.

Every event was an opportunity to play out inappropriate behavior between our “shadow selves.”

It was our dance, one we had crafted over the years, and dysfunctional as it may have been, it was our way of communicating, creating passion, chaos, and receiving attention from each other, even if negative, when we felt neglected.

When I began to learn new patterns of behavior and try them out in first my marriage, then throughout my divorce, and soon… new relationships, I realized that it was very easy for me to bring the drama up about everything… due to the fact… that I had been doing so most of my adult life.

It was a struggle to learn that though everything may ‘feel’ like a crisis… it doesn’t mean it is a crisis.

My favorite saying became: How important is it?

If I am truly staying in the moment… staying in the day…. I find that most of the problems that I get overly worked up about are truly insignificant.

It is so much easier to ask myself “How important is it?” before jumping into a dramatic reaction.

It saves my peace and serenity… it keeps me confident in my ability to exercise some self-control in a trying situation and it reminds me that “this too shall pass.”

“Dear God, help me to stay calm when I feel irrational. Help me to be a source of confidence and serenity when situations seem unmanageable.”

June 1st: Letting People In

June 1st After my divorce, I was afraid to let anyone new into my life. I was fearful of the pain that might come from loving someone again or, even wanting to love someone again, and ultimately… maybe losing someone again. Almost a year passed by as I worked on my own spiritual growth and put dating to the side until I felt strong enough to deal with my emotions. My first attempts at opening myself up to someone new was difficult to take: I felt vulnerable, I felt uneasy, and more than anything, I still felt that I was not entirely over my husband and not truly being fair by starting something up with someone who was ready for a new relationship… who was interested in dating me. But as time went on, and my emotional and physical well-being continued to improve, and I became more sure as I set boundaries that were not too loose and not too rigid, I found that it was lovely to have new experiences with people who were genuinely interested in me as a person. It was nice to feel desired once again… attractive…. intelligent… beautiful. And through these friendships, I began to heal. It wasn’t always easy, there were times when I opened myself up to the wrong person, found someone similar to my former partner and tried to recreate old patterns of behavior that even though chaotic, felt familiar. But each time I “slipped” my recovery time became shorter. I would catch myself, realize my mistake and quickly work towards righting my balance. It was not easy to open my heart again after such a great loss, but today, I know… that life is about taking the risk… about letting others in. I have found so many wonderful new friends and loved ones by being brave… by moving forward… by taking that risk. – “Dear God, help me to be brave. Help me to open my heart and let others in.”

May 31st: Repeating the Same Pattern and Expecting Different Results

May 31st

Lately I have been catching myself repeating old patterns of behavior.

I have been allowing someone very dear to me to break promises, break boundaries, and let me down over-and-over again.

At first, I was very understanding.

I know my friend has a hectic life and that…

Everyone gets busy

Everyone can end up overwhelmed and unable to keep commitments.

But, as time continued on, and promises of change were made, but the behavior continued to be repeated,  I was suddenly reminded that my friend was not the problem in this situation… I was the problem.

Why?

Because I was choosing to accept behavior that was unacceptable to me.

I was allowing myself to be hurt… to become resentful… again-and-again.

I can’t keep doing the same thing and expect the outcome to magically change.

I have to change my behavior and the outcome will change accordingly.

I must be willing to address the issue, even if confronting someone I love, can be very uncomfortable to do but…

If the friendship is valued… I believe it will weather the storm and if not… my Higher Power is trying to tell me that it is time to move on with my life and find people who do value my friendship and who are willing to work on creating a relationship that is acceptable to each of us.

“Dear God, help me to set clear boundaries. Help me to stand up for myself when needed.”

May 30th: Validation and Self-Esteem

May 30th-

In the past it was easy for me to let my self-esteem rest on someone else’s validation.

A quality I learned growing up in a gregarious and charismatic family, where each and everyone of us, fought to be the “most sought after child” by our parents who loved to pit us against each other believing sibling rivalry would only improve our chances of being successful.

We learned to excel at school, sports, music, wit, in hopes that we would be perceived as the best of the group and each time we waited for validation from our mother or father, and failed to receive it, somewhere inside, we began to feel “less than” no matter how bright and beautiful we appeared on the outside.

Today I still struggle with validation: wanting someone to like me and believing if they don’t there is something ultimately wrong with me.

When my husband left me for another woman my first thought was: I’m not thin enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not talented enough. If I had done things differently, if I had tried harder, if I had been more perfect… he wouldn’t have left and I would have continued to receive validation from him.

The truth though… is it had nothing to do with his validation at all: The validation I so long for needs to come from me.

I have to believe I have worth.

And if I don’t… no matter how many people tell me I’m bright and beautiful… I will never accept it… never receive enough praise… because inside I will still be rejecting myself.

“Dear God, help me to believe that I am worthy of love. Help me to be the best person I can be today and accept that I am loveable just as I am.”