Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean you can’t drown…

I gained remarkable insight this afternoon while sitting across from a wise, dear friend.  As I shared what was going on in my life and the full spectrum of emotions I experienced, she helped me connect the dots on what others have tried to tell me.  She helped me see how single focused (and selfish) I was looking at the world through only my lens.

I have had more than one person tell me ‘you are stronger than the average person’ and ‘you can’t expect everyone else to handle things the way you do’.  I use phrases like “claim your power” and “you are not responsible for other people’s feelings” often.  I insist that everyone has the ability to get out of any situation with enough willingness to change.  Some people find this inspiring; others insist not everyone is willing or able to change.  I previously thought if someone wasn’t willing to change, that’s their problem and washed my hands of it (much to the dismay of people more compassionate than me).

As my friend talked about the ripple effect people’s choices have on others, I began to think about water.  I thought about my fear of drowning and how uncomfortable I am with my face wet.  I panic quickly if my face is under water for long so I swim with my face up.  Similarly, I am uncomfortable with negative emotions for long so I flip everything to the positive as quickly as possible.

Then it hit me…

Everyone can breathe but that doesn’t matter much if someone is under water drowning.  Sometimes it takes a trained lifeguard with a floatation device to get the drowning person above water. Not everyone can be saved but that doesn’t mean drowning individuals deserve to be ignored or criticized for their choices.  Lifeguards determine the safest way to intervene and do everything possible to save, even when it’s not comfortable.  I can learn from lifeguards.

Depression is like drowning… No one chooses it.

When I was drowning in a sea of negativity, I had someone with a life preserver pay for me to go to therapy.  I had people show up with love and support when I needed it most.  I was willing to accept the help but I had help.  I didn’t recover alone.  I still have people who show up exactly when I need them and appreciate their patience with me while I discover things in my own time.

I am mindful of the fact people have differing abilities handling change and stress the same way people have differing abilities in water.  I may be a speed demon when it comes to life changes but that doesn’t mean everyone else fits my timeline; the same way an Olympic swimmer is much faster than me in water. Even Olympic swimmers can cramp and drown.  If I were to do a cannonball in the middle of a pool, I wouldn’t be appalled the people on the sidelines got wet.

There is a space between thinking only of one’s self and only of others.  There is a space between being oblivious to the impact my actions have on others and being paralyzed by the possible implications.  There is a space between being irresponsible and responsible for things that aren’t mine.  That’s the space where I intend to float.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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What I Know About Love

True love is infinite.  It can not be measured, compartmentalized or contained.  It is.  That is all.

My 9 year anniversary of marriage was last Saturday (March 19).  I didn’t post on that day because my husband and I have decided to separate.  Those who know us both are surprised and somewhat confused.  Truthfully, we are a bit surprised as well but it is a welcome change.

Break ups are opportunities for a life review.  They open the door to a deeper understanding of life, the universe and everything.  This one is perhaps one of my greatest gifts.

I love my husband and he loves me.  We respect each other.  We can talk about anything…even splitting up…with open hearts.  We want what is best for the other. We want each other to be happy.  We have both stated we needed each other to grow as much individually as we have the past decade. I am grateful for him and he is grateful for me.

He has a way with metaphors and described our split like a shuttle launch.  Shuttles need boosters to take off and get up to speed but, after a certain point, the boosters have to break off so the shuttle can soar into outer-space.   We want each other to soar.  We’re soaring in different directions and staying together would mean limiting each other’s potential.  Neither of us wish for that.

I affirm often “I embrace changes that serve my highest good”.  Every time I repeat those words, I mean them.  Even though I wasn’t expecting this change, I see it as one to embrace.  Even when change is painful, it doesn’t cause suffering unless I resist it.

Our time as a married couple has come to an end.  We know that we could deny this fact and live mediocre lives together for many years to come but we want GREAT lives.  Passionate, wholehearted, amazing lives.

I have been through divorce before as a different person with someone quite different.  I thought I would live the rest of my life with the man I married March 19, 2007.  I justified my first divorce with the success of my second marriage, telling myself the relationship issues weren’t mine.  This transition is making me question everything I have ever believed about love.  It’s making me see how I have clutched on to others to try and fill a void within myself.  It’s giving me opportunities to practice the self-love and self-care I teach while opening my eyes to yet another way of being.

In the past year, two significant female friendships have ended as well.  One of them specifically told me I was trying to use her for connection I should experience with my husband.  Her words angered me immensely at the time but now I see she was right.  Another held my hand while I crossed the bridge to a more spiritual life and then withdrew because it’s what she needed to do.  I took that withdrawal as abandonment but, in reality, we needed to part for our own good.  We are all better apart than we would be together now.  Both of those friendships helped teach me what love is and what it is not.  Both of those friendships prepared me for this time in my life.

There are pieces of my heart that belong to every person I have every loved, romantically or otherwise.  Whether we remain lovers/friends or not, that love remains.  That piece of my heart is theirs and I cherish it.  The words that triggered the most emotion (especially hurt, anger and fear) held the deepest truth and taught me the greatest lessons.  Resistance to the shadow parts of myself causes destruction, embracing them heals.

As one door closes, another opens.  I am experiencing connection at a level I have never experienced before.  I now understand there is no competition in love.  My love has no end.  The love I experience with one does not take away from the love I experience with another.  Finite things can be owned, bartered, divided and taken away…not infinite love.

Resistance to loving myself unconditionally blocks love from coming in or going out.  Every fear I have had about how someone is going to treat me, stems from the way I treat myself.  I have accused others of abandoning me, disrespecting me, not listening to me, manipulating me, taking advantage of me…And guess what?! Those are things I have done to myself!

Identifying what I was afraid of in regards to relationships inspired the set of affirmations below.  Reading them aloud daily has been life changing!  May they be as helpful to you as they have been to me.

Trust Affirmations:
Everything is working out perfectly.
I am grateful we found each other and are brave enough to do what we need to do for our highest good.
I trust you.
I trust myself.
I trust your connection with spirit.
I trust my connection with spirit.
I trust your timing.
I trust my timing.
I trust your instincts.
I trust my instincts.
I release my need to control, trying to make myself feel safe.
I am safe.
All is well.
I am open to receiving the best I can imagine and anything better.

And so it is (x3)…

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

 

It’s Not About ‘Having it all together’

I have been thinking a lot lately about the statement, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.  That statement tells me a student’s progress isn’t just about how good the teacher is. It’s not solely about the potential of the student either.

The alignment between the two determines progress.  Both must be in complimentary places.  Teachers come in all shapes and forms.  Some of my best teachers have been the worst examples.

Within a month’s time, I have experienced elation at being exactly on the right path doing the right things with the right people.  I have also experienced feelings of failure and unworthiness that made me question my abilities.  That dichotomy has been a historical pattern for me thus far.

I’ve had enough intimate conversations and read enough to know I am not alone in this.  However, I don’t always understand how to embrace it.  I have been told one needs to embrace the shadow (negative/dark) part of one’s self in order to be healthy.  I know that the more I try to suppress it, the stronger it seems to get but that doesn’t keep me from sometimes wanting it to just go away.  My mode of operation, if I’m not paying attention, is to put my head down, muscle through and tell myself “I just have to get through this…”.  I forget I have choices…

A wise friend and mentor reminded me yesterday that I choose my actions and I choose my thoughts about my actions.  I knew that but I forgot.  Yes, there are times when doing something unpleasant is necessary to reach a goal but if I lose sight of my intentions because I am only telling myself “I have to get through this…”, I bring much unnecessary unpleasantness upon myself.  I lose sight of my purpose and I start to cry unhappy tears.

It is imperative for me to stay tuned in to spirit.  This means I need quiet time to myself, in a big enough chunk, my mind can settle from the endless task list that sometimes rattles around my brain.  This means I choose to stay tuned.  I always have a choice.

It’s maddening to try to understand why things happen when knowing (if I could know) doesn’t make a bit of difference.  People have feelings.  Relationships ebb and flow.  It doesn’t mean anyone is ‘wrong’.  When I am tuned into sprit, I feel love and appreciation.  I remember to love myself even in the dark times.

I am both a teacher and a student.

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading