When he decided our marriage was over, I didn’t know how to let go. When he collected his family, colleagues, clients and friends and drew a line in the sand, I didn’t know how to let go. When he began seeing another woman and spending nights out, I didn’t know how to let go. When he introduced our children to the other woman, I didn’t know how to let go. When our house went into foreclosure, I didn’t know how to let go. And I was dragged. I was dragged. I was dragged. And it hurt, how it hurt, how it hurt. But I survived. I began to pray to God Show me how to let go. Show me how to surrender gracefully. Slowly but surely, Life revealed to me what remained when what was no longer serving me was dragged away. I’m finding more stable ground, and learning how to love what is here, now. I’m discovering that I’m happier by myself, healthier living in alignment with my deeper self, more confident speaking with my true voice, grateful for the simple things, the simple grace of being. I am grateful for this sweet surrender to life.
I’m learning how to simplify… I can’t anticipate what’s next, but I can be here now. I can’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I can attend to what needs to be done today. I can’t know if my friends will be in my life forever, but I can love who they are right now. I can practice this willingness to stay in the simple present moment so that when the time comes, I can simply let go, simply let go.
Trust…this ability to have no idea what’s happening next but going ahead and trying anway. Today I had a chance to practice trust as I created a painting. Two years ago I had a chance to practice trust as my marriage fell apart. Every day I have the opportunity to trust the process of life. I give thanks to the teachers, mentors and guides who have shown me that it’s safe to let go and trust. May you trust the inherent wholeness of your life!
Halfway through this challenge, and I have to pause to be grateful for gratitude itself. I began a gratitude journaling practice years before my marriage ended, and had made it a habit to focus on what was going well in my marriage, so I was shocked when my husband announced it was over. Turns out he had been doing the opposite, focusing on what I did that annoyed him. Although I pleaded with him to step back and look at the good in our lives, he had made up his mind that I was the worst wife ever and there was nothing I could do about that. I continued to write in my gratitude journal as my life fell apart at the seams. I continued writing in my journal even as the voices in my head told me I’d be better off dead. I continued writing in my journal as I weathered storm after storm after storm. I have learned perseverance, strength, discipline, will, resilience. I have learned how to put things into perspective. I have learned that I don’t need a man to feel worthy— I am worthy because I exist. I survived. And I attribute a large part of my success to the mindset I developed while practicing gratitude. Thank you gratitude!
I’ve always been a sensitive person, wanting to understand myself, my world, who I am, why I’m here. I’m glad I found my way to my journals; I didn’t always have someone readily available to hold space as I explored the contents of my mind. This ability to tune into my thoughts and feelings and put them to words enabled me to also articulate them clearly to another. When I can share who I know myself to be with you, and you can share who you know yourself to be with me, then we create a space for authentic relationship, whether we are friends, family, colleagues or intimate partners. These days I am only interested in authentic connection, with you, with me, with this world. Self-awareness made this connection possible. I am grateful to my teachers who led me to this space of self-exploration through meditation, therapy, contemplation, writing, being. I am grateful to know that my Self is bigger than this woman I am, in this body as it is, with this mind, with this identify. Self-awareness taught me that I am this world, I am you, I am this universe. Only gratitude now, as the self within me reminds me that nothing more needs to be said.
I’m a writer, have been since elementary school. I’m grateful I can wield my pen and my words and my voice intentionally, and share what’s going on with me in a way that engages others to share their stories with me. I’m grateful I was taught to read and write. I’m grateful I can create worlds in my mind and assign words to the worlds in a way that will paint vivid pictures in your mind. Words are power, like wind is power, and fire is power, and water is power, and love is power. May the fact of my sharing help one person know that they aren’t alone. May these words written from my heart reach out into the world and make it a more loving place!
She has been there, and she has gotten through it. She has felt deep pain, and she transcended it. It’s amazing to feel love for someone I don’t know, and who may never know I exist, but I love this woman, Iyanla Vanzant. She took her experiences and turned them into teaching opportunities, sharing what she has learned with the world who yearns for authentic teachers. That’s true love and true generosity, and I am truly grateful. Thank you Iyanla!