I ended up in a twelve step meeting a couple of months after my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married anymore. I was devastated; having trouble eating and sleeping, feeling isolated because I had lost a lot of friends in the separation. The coach I was working with suggested a meeting, and found one for me in town. The first meeting I inwardly criticized the room, thought it needed to be redecorated. The second meeting I realized everyone in my life is codependent. The third meeting I started to believe that the program might help me if I worked it. Two and a half years later, I know my program has saved my life. I have found a sponsor and am working the steps slowly but surely… getting ready to do a fourth step soon. When I was ready to give up on life, this program showed up to demonstrate that grace is active in my life, and I am truly grateful.
Just letting this moment be enough and exploring the idea of contentment, realizing there are no missing pieces— finally, the freedom she had been seeking revealed itself eaily and naturally, as if it had always been there. Then she realized that it really HAD always been there. The moment she chose to pay more attention to her inner experience than to the judgments of others she recognized the sweet truth of it all.
Forgiveness cannot be forced. When my family fell apart I tried to rush to forgiveness, thinking that it would speed up the healing process. But I was just engaging in spiritual bypassing— using my spirituality to circumvent the messy trenches of deep grief and traumatic loss. I prayed to God to show me the way, hoping I could fly over the dark valley and avoid what lurked there in the shadows of my deepest, darkest memories. I read books and listened to speakers, I attended meetings, I thought I knew what I was doing, but I was really attempting to avoid the inevitable. Finally I discovered that what I really needed was to allow myself to feel. I had to go through the grieving process. I had to face the loss of the life I knew, I had to take each day one at a time. Some days the pain was so intense I didn’t think I could live through it. People would tell me It won’t be like this forever; I didn’t believe them. Over time, as I remained clear and focused on my goal to find a place for me and my kids, I noticed the fog was lifting; I felt more like myself with each passing day. Looking back I see that it was my effort to heal that blocked the healing. It was my belief that things should be a certain way that kept me from embracing things as they were. And now I’m still working on forgiveness, but at least I have the sense now to allow that grace to come, naturally, when the time is right and my heart is ripe for such sweetness…
I’m not feeling good and I just want to distract myself. For the first time in months I watch some Netflix. It occurs to me how similar this is to drinking or shopping or any other numbing out behavior: when the show is over, the feelings are still there. This is why they say You gotta feel it to heal it. But when will I be ready to feel?
Slowing down, taking time… Body run down says Stop. Rest. I listen. I rest as much as I can in between classes. It would be so easy to blame. To go back into victim mode and complain about the upheaval. But that’s not congruent with who I am. Who I am is strong. Who I am is loving. Who I am is resourceful, creative, inspired. Who I am is kind. So instead of looking out and blaming, I look in and ask, What can be done now? My body says Rest. I listen. I rest.
For a long time it felt like something was missing. I had been a Mrs. for so long, and now he was gone. There was an empty place in my bed, a hole in my heart, an vacant seat at the table, a void of presence in my life. But slowly, slowly, as time went on, I faced the one inside me who believed I couldn’t make it on my own. I worked hard. Day after day, I recommitted to my healing. I began to enjoy the company I kept in the quiet moments of solitude when I wasn’t working or mothering. It’s Saturday night and I’m alone. The highlight of my evening was a long soak in the tub. I love this moment. I love that nothing is missing. I love that I can feel my wholeness now. I love that I stayed alive for my healing.*
*If you’re reading this with a broken heart, having gone through a loss of a relationship or the loss of a loved one or the loss of something by which you formed your identity, please hang in there. It gets better. There were so many moments during my separation and divorce that the pain was so intense that I really thought I wanted to die. Thankfully I had Twelve Step Meetings, therapy and a few really good friends who helped me stay on this planet. On the other side of that terrible trial, I can look back and see what a gift it was. I am stronger now, and more capable of loving authentically. I have a clearer sense of who I am, and a much better idea of where I want to go and what I need to do to get there. There is hope, friend…hang in there.
Overcoming the old programming by taking action in direct opposition to the fear. I was told I was terrible with money so I retaliate with a budget. I was told I was lazy, so my answer is hustling with all I got. I was told I was a squatter, so I found my own place to live. I was told to get a real job so I tripled my work at the job I already had. Go ahead. Keep talking. Every criticism makes me stronger.