please forgive me,
I love you.
These phrases sound so lovely
when repeated sincerely in your mind.
Now can you repeat them
with the same sincerity
to those you think have been unkind?
It’s his 40th birthday today,
and I pretended
that my whole entire life
hadn’t been torpedoed
almost a year ago.
I had the kids make cards for him.
I took them to REI and
we got a present for him,
a colorful Eno hammock
and strong Atlas strapping
to enjoy peaceful moments
swinging and relaxing
surrounded by color and light.
I texted him and wished him well.
I sat in meditation and prayed for him.
I woke up and mentally sent him
the phrases of metta,
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
I meant it.
I think my spiritual practice
is bearing fruit,
and I’m happy to be released
from my anger and sadness.
Today is a good day.
Today’s prompt asked us to take a familiar phrase and upend it. I had trouble with that, most probably because I began the poem when it was so late, and I am tired in every fiber of my being. But then the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” came to me. So maybe I can upend that.
When the stopping gets easy, the easy stop.
Yes, that about sums up the end of my marriage.
Today, it is easy to leave a marriage,
it’s easy to give up, to just stop.
It’s so common now, so normal,
that no one is ever really surprised by it.
But I was surprised.
I was surprised when he came to me
and announced he was done.
I wonder how many people
have gotten sick of hearing this story,
and I feel ashamed for telling it…again.
He wanted things to be easy,
he identified with easy.
So it was easy for him to stop, to just leave.
Meanwhile he stayed in our house
and I was a puddle on the floor.
I’m wondering how I’ll support my children.
There is nothing easy about the feelings I have
as I write about my fears,
but I guess that means I won’t stop.
I won’t give up.
I’m not an easy woman;
maybe that’s why he had to leave me.
And now that the going has gotten tough,
I suppose it’s time to get going.
Hmmm. In today’s prompt we were invited to write a poem in which something big and something small come together. I immediately think about (big) ideas like love, marriage, hopes and fears, beginnings and endings, and (small) units of time, like just one day in the life. The trajectory of our (big) lives is made up of countless (small) days. If I were to examine one small day in the life of my marriage (which, now that he has moved out, is swiftly approaching its endpoint) do I pick a day when things were going well, or do I pick a day when it had already gone to hell? Do I count the years of our marriage as a (small) period of time in comparison to the (big) trajectory of my life? Is this how I find healing? The (big) emotions of grief, pain, betrayal and loss meet the (small) moment to moment experiences of breathing, eating, sleeping, and taking one step at a time. In order to live skillfully as humans we must be deeply aware of all of these juxtapositions and learn how to navigate among them with grace and intention. Can I let the (big) vision of stepping into my highest self be embodied within the reality of my shortcomings as one (small) woman?
I see her now,
how she tried so hard to be good.
I see how she wanted it to work
and in ways big and small
sacrificed the best of herself
for a vision she held
of the grand institution of marriage
and the complexities of life with young children.
He held no such vision.
Unlike her, he saw their conflict
as symptoms of a mismatch.
Where she was ready to confront the issues
and find solutions,
he invested in the belief
that things should be easier than they were.
So he took the easy way out.
He blamed her for his pain,
told his story to countless others,
created an army that supported his victimhood
and started a war in their home.
She dove deeper into herself
to find the sanctuary promised by the scriptures
of all the world’s faiths.
As she came to rest in the arms
of divine union with self,
he sought the embrace of another,
one outside their sanctified union,
because by that point,
what they had once shared was dead to him.
She grieved. She lost weight. She lost sleep.
She lost friends. She lost hope. Almost.
From the tiniest stirrings of hope almost lost
emerged a new awareness, a strength
forged in the fires of mourning.
One day she looked in the mirror
and realized that it had to happen this way.
He needed to reject the self she was
so that she could discover
the self she was born to be.
Yes it hurts sometimes still…
but behind the hurt there grows
something that will never be tarnished
by the stories of victimization,
justification, and rationalization:
the big Self,
the miracle of existence,
the song of gratitude,
the promise of forgiveness.
Forgiveness leads to peace.
You can give yourself the gift of peace.
Search in your mind
for those against whom
you hold grievances.
Do I want to carry this burden any longer?
Really listen to the answers that emerge
from the depths of your truest self.
Your truest self is peace.
Grievances hide this self from you.
set this self free from the prison you made.
There is so much beauty in the world
beyond your story.
I was waiting for an apology from him,
an expression of guilt and remorse;
it hasn’t come yet,
and it probably never will.
I was waiting for him to do the right thing,
to acknowledge his role,
to make things right,
but it sure doesn’t look that this will happen either.
I was hoping he’d awaken,
hoping he’d zoom out and look in
and see how his behavior
has been egregiously unfair—
he hasn’t awakened, and my hope
is turning to hopelessness.
The moral is,
focusing on the other
and hoping they will change
(when they don’t want to and aren’t capable)
will only lead to sadness, frustration and despair.
I’ve decided that I’m not going to wait anymore.
I’m going to move forward in autonomy,
thanking him for my freedom.
I realized that
the kids and I are happier without him.
I realized that I’m glad to see him go
and be with another.
I realized I’m grateful to her;
she helped to set me free.
I’m grateful to him; I forgive him.
and the whole Universe
is behind me
and with me
and ahead of me
and below me
and above me
and all around me
and inside me.
I realized that
ALL IS WELL.