Tag Archive | daily meditations

August 8th: Reaching Out

Several years ago, I went through a very hard time in my life. Yet, instead of reaching out to others… I isolated. I stayed in my home. I wouldn’t get dressed. I wouldn’t call friends on the phone or return their calls. If people did get hold of me, I would come up with excuses not to speak with them. If they asked me out, I would do the same. I spent every waking moment focused on my troubles. I reached out to no one. I asked for no help. It was a behavior that was hurting me. As long as I isolated, I could dwell in my misery. I could replay over and over in my head what had happened, what I had done wrong, what I should have done. It was a horrible experience. It was like being imprisoned in my mind.

Over time, I was able to look at my behavior and see that I had been isolating. I knew, that if I walked through a hard time again, I would have to practice reaching out… I didn’t want to at first. During my divorce, I wanted to hide. I wanted to wallow in my pain. But… I did reach out. I made myself reach out. I exercised with friends. I talked about my problems with them over the phone. I sought out counselors and professionals to help me through my experience and I reached out to my family. It helped. When I broke down, they were there for me. They didn’t expect me to be stoic. They didn’t tell me to “Buck up, move on, get over it.” They listened. They offered support. They let me cry and they hugged and comforted me when words would no longer help.

It wasn’t easy to reach out, but it kept me from being a prisoner of my mind. Now, I know that when I feel like isolating, I need to take opposite action. I need to reach out. I need to let someone in. It is the only key to the prison I create for myself. “Dear God, help me to reach out to others in my time of pain. Guide me to the hands of kind friends, loving family, and caring professionals who will help me walk through my pain and release me from my prison of solitude.”

August 7th: Decisions

I knew that my husband wanted a divorce but he wasn’t moving forward with the process. He told me in December, yet by mid May, he had still not filed the papers.

I believed that he had doubts about what he was doing and so, I didn’t push the issue.

I still had hopes that we could work it out… that something would change.

One day, I called my husband to speak to him about a commitment to our son. I was calm and centered as I spoke but as the conversation continued, it turned into one of our old battles. Once again, we could not resolve our issues.

I knew then, that I had to make a decision. I could sit around and wait for something to happen or, I could decide what I needed to do and go from there.

Sometimes, it’s okay to wait if you are feeling unsure, confused, or in a high state of emotion. In fact, it may be the best thing to do. Other times, it’s best to make a move, to take an action. I found that living in a state of uncertainty was more than I could handle. I could not wait one more day for my husband to make a decision.

I didn’t want a divorce but… in my many conversations with him I could see that for us, to get back together at this point in time, would not bring either of us happiness.

I called the mediator that evening and filed the papers the next day.

I felt simultaneously better and worse. Better… that I had followed through and made a decision. Worse… that our marriage had truly come to this.

Anticipating his moves had caused me so much worry and discomfort that I had been unable to move forward with my own life. It was a difficult decision, but one I had to make to salvage my own sanity and serenity.

“Dear God, guide me in my thoughts and deeds. If I need to wait before making a decision, help me to be patient. If I need to take action, help me to follow through.”

July 30th: Listening

Sometimes I ask my Higher Power questions.

Sometimes I ask my Higher Power for signs.

Sometimes I ask… but I don’t listen… or ignore signs once they appear.

A friend once said to me, “Remember, when you ask God a question, don’t forget what the question was by the time he answers it!”

I was always asking questions and asking for signs and then forgetting to listen or watch for them to appear.

One day, I was hiking on a path.

I was having a moment where I was lacking faith and I was questioning my Higher Power.

I was feeling abandoned in my time of need.

I asked my Higher Power to give me a sign… a sign to let me know that I was not alone… that a spiritual being was with me in my time of need.

I allowed my mind to become quiet as I hiked slowly up the path.

I listened to the sound of my breathing… to the sound of the ocean… to the wind blowing through the brush.

I watched my footing on the path and took it slow.

Suddenly, there was a small white feather laying in the middle of the path. I first walked past it, not really thinking much about it, but something inside of me said, “Turn around and pick that feather up… it is a sign from your Higher Power.” I turned around, picked it up, and then continued up the path.

I was almost to the top when I noticed a small turn out. I walked over and sat down on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ocean.

I sat and cried.

I cried feeling so lost and alone.

Where was my Higher Power?

Where was my faith?

How was I to walk through this pain?

How did others walk through this pain?

I reached in my pocket for a tissue to wipe my face and the small white feather fluttered out of my hands. It started to catch in the breeze and blow off into the sky when the wind changed direction and sent the feather back into my hand.

I calmed my mind.

I quieted my tears.

I listened.

Something told me to get up… to get back on the path and walk on. I stood up, dusted myself off and did just that. It was just a few steps more to the top of the hill… to the end of the path.

When I turned the last curve of the trail, I found a giant wooden cross, standing in front of a bench, looking out over the ocean.

I sat on the bench and stared at the cross in awe.

It did not matter that the sign was significant of a specific religion.

What mattered was the sign was a spiritual one.

Something inside of me said, “You see? You were just a few steps away from faith… if you had stopped, you would still be choosing to walk this path in fear… alone.”

I realized then that I had to believe.

I  had to watch for signs and believe my questions would be answered… in time.

If I wasn’t walking in faith…then I was choosing to walk alone and in fear.

“Dear God, help me to listen. Help me to look for your signs. Remind me that I can have faith if I choose to walk with you instead of walking alone in fear.”

July 29th: In Between

I didn’t want to go on the weekend retreat.

I had planned and paid for my trip while I was still trying to work things out with my husband.

I was going with people who were trying to work things out in their lives and I felt like I was already a failure… an outcast of the group.

I was fearful to leave my children behind during this troubled time.

I felt that it was my responsibility to stay with them until things were calm again.

I almost didn’t go but… I went.

On the boat over to Catalina Island, I stood outside in the cold sea air. The sea was rough and the bow of the boat slapped hard into each of of the crests and dips as we headed toward the island. I had to hold on to the rail so that I wouldn’t fall. I had to accept that I may get cold and wet if I wanted to stand outside and enjoy the sea air. I kept looking back to my home, at the city I lived in. I thought of my husband and I wondered what he was doing with his new life.  I thought of my children and wondered what they were doing right now without me. I felt dread at the thought of my family being split up all over the city and the loss of my dreams.

I watched the mainland fade farther and farther away. I looked forward, but all I could see was the ocean… The island was nowhere in sight.

I knew it was there.

I knew that somewhere out in the ocean was the place that I would land but still… it did not appear.

Then… the ocean surrounded me… no land in any direction.

I felt fearful.

I felt that it was symbolic of my life.

I could no longer look back to the shore of my marriage, and I was unable to look ahead toward the shore of my future.

A new and different life lay ahead and like the island that I was going to, it would provide a stable landing spot once my my boat came in from sea.

I would have to trust that it was out there… even if I couldn’t see it.

The boat continued on… fighting the rough seas. It dipped and slapped and rocked and swayed and I held on.

I was a little scared.

I was also exhilarated.

I smiled and tried to find enjoyment in what I could see.

We passed sea lions swimming fast and hard… birds coasting on the ocean breeze or diving in long straight lines into the sea.

I wondered if the boat would stay afloat each time a large wave slapped up and sprayed across my face and then laughed at myself. How many times had this boat crossed this rough passage to land? Others had crossed this passage as well. I was not alone. I was not the only one who had felt scared and stuck and “in between.”

Suddenly, the island appeared out of the ocean mist ahead of me and I could once again see the shore. It wasn’t a familiar shore… It wasn’t what I was used to seeing.

I smiled to myself.

I looked back once more, still searching for the familiar outline of the mainland but… there was nothing to see.

The mainland was gone.

The island was the only place to land.

The only land in sight.

It may not be the land I wanted… I may not have wanted to go on the retreat… but that was beside the point.

It was where I now was.

“Dear God, help me to walk through the in-between times. The times when I don’t know where my life is going. Let me have faith in your plan for me. Let me believe that there is a stable shore where I will soon land.”

July 28th: Tears

When I would leave my job at lunch time, I would find myself walking somberly to my car, quietly opening the gate at work, quietly opening the door to the car… no expressions crossing my face… the perfect picture of calm yet once inside my vehicle: the tears would flow. I couldn’t stop it. I would find myself crying each time I reached the sanctity of my car. It wasn’t just a lunch time thing. I could be driving to the store, coming home from the gym, heading back from taking the kids to a water polo practice… always alone in my car when suddenly… the tears would flow. I would sob like an injured child. Sob, trying to find a way to come to terms with my loss. I would try to understand. I would try to find logic, but I just couldn’t. They were feelings and my feelings had to be released through tears. Tears are good for us. They clean our souls. They help us to heal from our wounds. They provide a much needed release from our stress and our pain. Allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself your own private place, your own sanctuary, where you will not be disturbed…where your tears can flow freely until they flow no more. Cry. Allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself to release your pain through your tears and when you are through, take a deep breath, calm your mind, and go back to the business of your day. “Dear God, help me to work through my feelings. Allow my tears to flow and clean my soul of pain. Allow me to express my sadness through the release of crying.”

July 6th: Filling the Well

End of the Dark After my divorce, I did not magically move on… magically become sound and happy again. I was emotionally drained, physically worn, and spiritually lost. I had nothing to give and yet… I had to find a way to do just that: give to my children, give to my students, and find a way to once again be present in life. One day, I showed up to speak to a trusted mentor. She took one look at me and said, “Until you fill your own well, you will be unable to give yourself to others.” And she was right. How was I supposed to help someone else meet their basic needs if I was too tired and worn to meet my own? I went home and I made a list of everything that drained me emotionally, physically, and spiritually and step-by-small-step, I began to change my life. Filling my own well, meant that I took better care of myself: making time for sleep and exercise, housekeeping and bill paying, prayer and communion with trusted friends, and in this way…. my emotional, physical, and spiritual well began to fill once again and I was able, overtime, to become balanced and serene and capable of providing experience, strength and hope to those I love. – “Dear God, help me to take care of myself when I am feeling drained by the struggles of life. Help me to make choices that will result in my best emotional, physical, and spiritual health.”

July 1st: Anger

July 1st Anger

During my marriage I found that it was never truly safe for me to express anger.

Each time I would try to share my feelings, my husband would become defensive, angry, and soon… I would be apologizing for upsetting him.

We went on this way for years with nothing really being accomplished… nothing changing… it was frustrating for me to feel that I wasn’t being heard.

Each time he would deflect my anger I found myself becoming furious until finally, at the boiling point, I would bubble over and spew every hurtful word I could think of to show my frustration.

And what would happen then?

Things would become even worse because once I had expressed my anger inappropriately, I was full of shame and despair regarding my verbally abusive behavior.

Today I know that if I express my anger rationally, and someone chooses to fight from their shadow self, that it is not “on me.”

It is best not to take it personally but step away from the situation and give them time to think it through.

If they choose not to address my issue… then I can make choices to protect myself and change the boundaries of the relationship if necessary.

“Dear God, help me to express my anger appropriately. If I have concerns and frustrations let me share them with a calm mind and with pure intentions to make things right.”