Tag Archive | divorce

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.”

June 30th: Caretaking

natural-arch-big-sur-california

A very well-known spiritual speaker once said at a lecture:

“We love to get in the cage with the gorilla. We climb right in and try to take care of all the problems and then wonder why our arms and legs are being ripped off.”

I remember laughing at the thought of it and also the reality: I was doing this almost every day at that time.

I was trying to take care of everyone and everything around me, with no thought for my own well-being, and then wondering why my life was in such a total shambles and why every time I looked in the mirror I found a woman who was worn and frazzled.

To be a nurturer, to be caring, compassionate, empathetic is a gift and a characteristic of myself I value greatly. I feel fortunate to have been raised to think of others when they are in need.

However, I must let other people do what they can for themselves, and accept that if I jump in too quickly and try to “save the day” I am robbing them of their own learning lessons and robbing myself of balance.

“Dear God, help me to allow others to grow. Help me to nurture without over-stepping my boundaries.”

June 29th: Is it Really that Important?

June 29th

 

Though my divorce was a very painful experience, it taught me a lot about when it was appropriate to react and when it was better to let go. In my marriage, I often reacted immediately instead of calming my mind and waiting to decide how important the problem really was. I would constantly get worked up about things that wouldn’t even be remembered 24 hours later. I allowed my resentments, my emotions, to constantly rule my words and actions. A good friend, at the time, told me to take just a moment before reacting and say to myself, “How important is it?” before calling someone out. I was amazed at how many times I was being nit picky, judgmental, really just saying something to say it or using my words as a way of holding my illusion of control. I started to see my character flaws appear in each scenario and I didn’t like it. Today, I still sometimes react without thinking but more often than not, I hold my tongue and wait to allow time and clarity to set in before speaking.

“Dear God, help me to let go of the little things and stay focused on more important matters.”

June 28th: A Moment of Clarity

June 28th

It amazes me how I will struggle so hard and for so long with a particular problem and suddenly, when I least expect it, comes a moment of clarity. It appears in my own “aha!” thought or… in the words of a dear friend or… an image I see on TV… something… anything… that somehow drives me to finally connect the dots. When it happens I always feel like saying to myself, “I can’t believe you didn’t see this sooner” but the truth is… without the journey… there is no moment of clarity. It is a series of events that leads me to that moment and it is my Higher Power that brings me to clarity exactly when I am ready to accept it.

“Dear God, help me to be aware and in the moment so that when clarity finally arrives… I am willing to move on and away from my past problems.”

May 14th: Love

May 13th-

I have been fortunate to have been loved and to have loved in my lifetime.

The joy I have felt during the moments when I was most at ease and engaged with someone I held so dear were beyond what I ever expected love to be.

But as a young child, I never understood that with the highs of love also come the lows.

Like most children I believed that like in the fairy tales: Your one true love would come along and make everything right in your world.

That just isn’t true.

Even in the best of relationships, life does not stay static… changes occur… adjustments must be made.

I see now that my love for someone, does not guarantee me a constant high in life, but gives me the will to move through the lows, to work within the parameters of our shared life, to understand another human being and cherish and love them flaws and all.

It allows me to be vulnerable… attest to my own strength of character… and reminds me constantly what I am willing to give of myself.

“Dear God, thank you for giving me the gift of love. Thank you for blessing me with those I cherish.”

May 13th: Hurt

tetons

In the beginning stages of separation and divorce I found that nothing could override the hurt:

Not a kind word.

Not gratitude.

Not spiritual footwork.

No matter what good surrounded me…. the hurt still permeated my heart.

This did not mean that I didn’t appreciate the kind word…

Cling to my gratitude…

Struggle to move forward through spiritual footwork…

I did… and I worked my best to keep my spirit strong for my children.

But hurt still ruled the day.

Sometimes in life… there is no getting around the hurt and the pain… the despair caused by a great and terrible loss.

The only way to ever heal is to allow time to mend the wound.

We give time to our physical pains: a broken arm… a broken leg…. but what about our broken heart?

I have learned I mustn’t be so hard on myself when I have a feeling… I must accept that today… I am hurt… and tomorrow I might still be hurt…. but if I continue to appreciate the kind word, hold fast to my gratitude, work to move forward on my spiritual path, then someday, hopefully in the near future, I will feel well enough again and able to move on with a strong heart.

“Dear God, help me to accept my pain. Help me to see it as a marker of how deeply I loved… how much I was willing to give… and bring me the strength to be open to love once again when I am ready.”

May 12th: Gratitude

May 12th- Gratitude

When I find myself feeling full of self-pity and frustrated with my lot in life… I turn my attention to gratitude.

Gratitude is a way of reminding myself of how much I really have left when something dear to me has been taken away.

My divorce was painful beyond measure.

My heart… full of despair.

Yet even in my darkest hours, I was able to remind myself how fortunate I was to have:

The love of my children…

Dear friends to help me through my troubled times…

A job where I was valued and cherished…

A college where I could improve my mind and also my financial stability…

And the mental and physical fortitude to move through my pain by making a conscience effort to complete my spiritual footwork.

Today, I am reminded once again of everything I am grateful for: even my divorce.

Without suffering the loss of my former husband… I would never appreciate how dear my new relationships are to me today.

“Dear God, thank you for standing by me in my darkest moments and for reminding me of all I have to be grateful for in my life.”