Living in Alignment

I have spent most of my life preoccupied with being happy “when _______”… When I have more money.  When I am out of debt.  When I lose weight.  When I have a better job.  When I don’t live here anymore.  When I catch up.  When I get more organized…  If I wasn’t thinking “I’ll be happy when…”, I was thinking I would be happy ‘if only’.  If only that person wasn’t in my life.  If only that person was still in my life.  If only my son didn’t have special needs.  If only I had been born into a different family.  If only I looked like her…

This past year has been one of the most painful and joyous of my life.  Many things have worked out perfectly and many things have felt like they were going terribly wrong.  I’ve faced fear on a level I never knew before.  I’ve also experienced love, acceptance and a sense of belonging on a level I never knew before.  I’ve grown more than I ever knew I needed to.  I’ve felt the greatest joy and the deepest sorrow of my life.  I recognized most of my suffering boiled down to wanting something to be different than it was.  The roller coaster I’ve been on was created by pretending things were the way I wanted them and then being crushed when reality reminded me they weren’t.

Today, I felt something new… I am happy to be here.  HERE… NOW…. The future is full of promise but it’s uncertain.  None of us know how many days we will have breath on this planet.  Everything we think we know can change in an instant.  But none of that has happened yet!

There’s a chant we sing in a women’s circle I regularly attend with the line “now is the only moment”.  Truly… NOW is the only moment.  Happiness isn’t found in the next thing.  Happiness is right here, right now.  Contentment.  Peace.  Being.  Belonging… It’s all RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.   Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”… “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”  I GET IT NOW!

I survived for a long time by suppressing unpleasant feelings.  Distracting myself from them.  Pretending they weren’t there (I’m VERY good at that!).  Sadness, loneliness and anger still aren’t my favorite feelings to feel but I’m learning if I block them, I miss out on a big part of life.  I block my growth and I ultimately sabotage myself from being able to have the life I desire to live.  I keep myself from feeling fully joyful too…

I like to think I have no problem being outspoken or going against the grain.  Sometimes I have been caught being contrary just to prove it to myself (blush).  I am often described as “strong” and “free-spirited” but…. I’ve had trouble speaking my mind in my most intimate relationships.  I didn’t want to risk losing the person I loved.  I thought my last husband and I had it figured out, having difficult conversations instead of avoiding them.  We DID do a good job having tough conversations but… we avoided the toughest one for over a decade.  When we finally had it, we decided to end our marriage.

It’s through our breakup that I realize how much he loves me and how much I love him.  True, pure love.  Not romantic.  Not the kind for selfish interest… The kind that wants the very best for the other person.  Friendship love.  Familial love.  I feel sad thinking about the good times we shared in the past.  We had some really GOOD TIMES… But they are over now.  In a lot of ways, I missed out on all they could be, worried they would end… but when they did, it was for the best.  Go figure!

I was reminded at a recent conference in order to have a healthy life, our hearts, heads and hands need to be in alignment.  If our heads are acting in conflict with our hearts, or vice versa, we experience stress.  If our heads and hearts are in conflict with what we are doing, that’s addiction.  I’ve done all three…

So, friends… I’m working on living in alignment.  My heart is strong and knows exactly what it wants.  My head is smart and watches out for potential trouble but it’s not as wise as my heart.  And my hands will do whatever I choose… May they bring blessings to everyone I touch.

 

From my heart to yours,

 

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Creating My Own Space

I started dating my son’s father (first husband) when I was barely past puberty at 17 (he was 27) and married him when I was 19, giving birth exactly 9 months and 3 days later.  We were both in a strict, patriarchal religious system where choices in partners were limited and women only had a voice if they were married.  I was trying to get on the proverbial ‘map’ and really wanted to get laid.

Looking at my son now, who is the age I was when I was writing love letters to his father, I realize how much of a child I was then.  I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my son’s father in Java Joes coffee house when we were on the verge of breaking up forever… I asked him what first attracted him to me and he said “you smiled a lot and had nice boobs”.    Yep…. You can see why that marriage didn’t last.

However, I am grateful we have been able to co-parent for the last decade.  Despite our differences and anger with each other at times, we have always put the well being of our son first.  Our kid is turning out to be a responsible, sweetheart of a person and his father is a big part of that.  When I was nursing my son watching daytime TV, Judge Judy said often “love your children more than you hate each other” and I took that advice to heart.

I was married again within 2 years of my first divorce being final.  I thought I got it right the 2nd time and, in many ways, I did, but we are better as friends than husband and wife.  I am aware the statistical likelihood of future marriages lasting goes exponentially down with every one.  I’ve learned a lot about what destroys relationships and the shadow parts of myself in the past year.  I am hopeful I will find the love I am looking for in a partner but my mission for this next year is to find my voice without one.

It’s requiring me to set and keep emotional boundaries with people in my life.  It’s making me set aside time to be completely alone doing things that connect me with how I understand spirituality now.  I am practicing saying what I think and how I feel with kindness even if it’s not convenient at the time for the other person to hear it.  I am back in the saddle of hosting workshops, enjoying exploring my potential with music, and trying new things with new people.

The trickiest thing about romantic relationships with me is staying true to myself while in one.  I can adapt to anyone but that’s not always good for me.  And if it’s not good for me, it’s not good for ‘us’.  I am a hellava lot more than someone who smiles with nice boobs!  It’s time I prove it to myself, for reals.

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading