Cutting Cords with Love

2017 has been full of A LOT of change for a lot of people!  It seems things are coming up to be dealt with that have been dormant for some time for lots of people in my life.  As I enter my birthday week and my personal new year, I am reflecting on where I have been and where I want to go.  It’s been a particularly tumultuous 12 months…  I have divorced, moved twice, got a new full-time office job, lost friends, gained friends, started a band, lost a band, started another band, legally changed my name, lost co-workers, gained co-workers… There’s just been A LOT going on!

My last divorce was finalized in February but my ex husband and I were getting together regularly to watch Dr. Who on Sundays.  When the season ended, so did the 12th doctor (Peter Capaldi … swoon…my favorite actor ever!!!) and so did the last thing my ex husband and I were sharing in our lives…at least for now.  The regeneration of a Doctor is always emotional but the timing of it made it even more so for us.  We both grieved pretty heavily.

A short time after the end of the season, my ex husband packed up the remaining items of mine and asked me to remove them from his house.  He asked that if I didn’t want any of it, I still figure out something to do with it.  Once everything was out, I handed over the key to his home I still had in my possession.  It was a necessary boundary and a necessary stage but it was painful.  It drove home what I already knew but didn’t quite accept… our marriage was really, really over.  I wasn’t going to get away with just abandoning the things I didn’t want to look at; I had to face them and decide what to do.

Last night, I unpacked a painting I had made for him of a tree created on two separate canvases that lined up together to make a complete piece. There was a heart with our initials that spanned the base of the tree and into the roots.  I signed it on the back and wrote “To the most beautiful man I have ever known”.  It hung in our home until, ironically, the year our marriage started to come to a close.  I meant those words when I wrote them.  I still think he’s a beautiful man; I just don’t want to be married to him anymore and he doesn’t want to be married to me.   I also unpacked wedding gifts, souvenirs from our honeymoon taken at our five year anniversary, a piece of artwork he made for me that used to hang in our bedroom, a plaque with the definition of love and engagement photos.  There are more boxes to go through but that was enough for one night!

I am feeling a bit raw today…  I am grateful he loves me truly and deeply enough to let me go.  I am grateful for all the good times we shared.  I am grateful we are both better people now than we were when we got together.  I am grateful to have been with such a beautiful, wise man and always will be.  I am grateful our split was so cooperative and peaceful.  I wish him to find someone who matches him in ways I couldn’t while encouraging him to be the BEST version of himself as I did.

As I think about my failed marriages (yes, I have had 2), I did a lot of things right, I did a lot of things wrong and there’s SO MUCH I want to do better in the future.  I was still a teenager when I got married the first time.  I was trying to make my mark on the world and did what I thought all ‘good’ women did…. get married and have children.  Our incompatibility and my son’s special needs were just too much to bare.  We split when I was 25 but did a pretty smashing job co-parenting.  My second marriage was between two people trying to fill voids within themselves.  Our hurts and strategies for masking those hurts were compatible.  We were/are extremely mentally compatible and polite to each other.  Too polite… So polite we avoided conflict for almost a decade and when it came up, we weren’t committed enough to our marriage to get through it.    I see now I was trying to create a successful 2nd marriage to prove the end of the 1st one ‘wasn’t my fault’…  Yikes!  The truth is, in any relationship, it takes two to make or break it.  If it’s ending, it’s partially due to what I brought, or didn’t bring, to the equation.  The same is true if it’s continuing.

In all my relationships, I am learning how important it is to speak my truth with kindness and respect even if it’s uncomfortable.  I need to express what I am okay and not okay with but not try to control what other people do.  The only things I can control are my thoughts and my actions.  Everything else is outside of me.

I am committed to making this next year one of my best yet!  My home is already the most beautiful place I have ever lived in and I am excited to have a music room to share!  My relationships in my inner circle are strong.  Healing is happening with those that I’ve been apart from for some time.  I am in the process of getting back on track with my eating and exercise habits.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

Cheers to the next phase of life!

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading

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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

Real Can Be Messy

Do you know why I create a roller coaster? Do you know why I withdrawal and tune out when someone is trying to be close? Do you know why I sabotage myself?

I do.

I say I want real and authentic. I do. Because anything less than isn’t satisfying.

But…..

I want “real and authentic” packaged in a pretty little box with a perfectly tied ribbon. I want just the good, sweet, fun parts. I want sunshine and rainbows and kittens to be real all the time.

But it’s not.

Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes all of us are less than stellar in our thoughts/behavior…and that’s real too.

Real isn’t ever going to be as convenient as plastic. Real isn’t predictable. Real isn’t controllable.

I don’t get to pick which parts of real I want to feel any more than I get to pick which feelings I feel. It’s an “all in” or “missing out” proposition. Any attempts to numb the uncomfortable or prune away the inconvenient, comes at a steep price… it also numbs the good.

Same as I don’t get to feel happy all the way unless I feel sad all the way….. I can’t get the rewarding, euphoric,
wonderful parts of real unless I am willing to experience the messy, hard, painful, miserable parts of real. Denying the latter doesn’t make it go away, it just blocks me from the bliss that’s possible.

Much of what I thought needed to be fixed isn’t actually broken. It just isn’t fun or convenient. Much of what I question if I can live with are things I am going to experience with anyone being real…. at some point, anyone being authentic and true to himself/herself is going to do something I am not happy about. The parts I don’t like in others are parts I don’t like in myself. I can break up relationships but I still have to live with myself.

If my last husband couldn’t figure out how to make me happy all the time, no one can. He learned how I operated so intimately, he could side step conflicts before they could even start. He knew exactly what to do so I always felt safe. His only mission in life was to support me and make me a happy wife. And you know what? That wasn’t enough for me…. it wasn’t satisfying any more than aspartame gum.

Shit……

That’s why I want catch phrases and “rules”. That’s why I try to dissect meaning out of every little thing…. I want to try to figure REAL out so I can genetically modify it into just the part that’s pleasurable to experience. But then all I get is the equivalent of a Stepford husband. It’s not real anymore.

(Sigh) ……..

I want to learn how to speak up for myself when responses aren’t guaranteed. I want to learn how to be unconditionally loving and accepting. I want to give wholeheartedly from a pure place.

It ain’t always going to be easy…but I believe it’s worth it.

 

From my heart to yours,

thanks for reading

Hold Space – Aim for the Horizon

I heard the phrase “holding space” several times but didn’t grasp what it meant until recently. I am grateful for all the loving people who hold space for me to realize what I am subconsciously doing, how I am feeling and my potential in life. I am learning to hold space for myself now.

Space to feel. Space to grow. Space to change in ways that serve my highest good. Space to be uncomfortable.

It’s both terrifying and liberating to be where I am in life. I see how much I have defined myself by my relationships. I rushed into two marriages and they didn’t last. I forced intimacy with friends only to lose them later. No matter how they turn out, relationships provide opportunities for me to see both the best and worst qualities within.

I am starting to see my relationship issues stem from trying to maintain a feeling of comfort. A fully present, conscious life isn’t always comfortable. In my experience, sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful.

I am practicing applying a concept learned on my yoga mat. When it’s uncomfortable, I am on my way to new territory. When I focus on the process (the muscles I need to flex, the movements I need to make on my way into position, my breath… keeping my gaze steady and my fingers wide) progress happens. When I get too obsessed with the destination (ultimate pose) or start to define myself by the progress I have made, I get off track. I aim for the pose I am working towards like a pilot aims for the horizon. I believe the ultimate pose is possible for me with time and consistent practice.

When it’s uncomfortable on the mat, I have learned to relax into the discomfort. Sometimes I remind myself I am not going to die. My body won’t go too far if I am relaxing into it while being fully aware of where I am in space and time (gaze and breath). I tried straining through it and stalled. Relaxing into the discomfort of life is a bit more daunting but I have faith it will work just as well eventually.

I have started journaling again. It’s helped me immensely in the past and it’s helping me again. Reading through old entries, I see how although I still struggle with some of the same issues, I have grown. I have peeled back layer after layer and keep going deeper.

Personal growth isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s been worth every heartache I have experienced. When faced with discomfort, I can run, fight or lean in. I now choose to lean in and learn…hold space and aim for the horizon.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading