Loosening the ties that bind me
to an old, outdated mode of being,
learning to breathe deeply and slowly
and really see how unique this present moment is,
seeing how life has always provided me what I need,
and trusting that it always will,
it all becomes so simple.
Life isn’t meant to be figured out, dissected,
overburdened with assigned meaning—
but one breath, one step, one moment,
one day at a time,
life is meant to be lived.
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
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…
The resistance rises up.
Wanting to be more energized, less tired.
Wanting to feel more confident, less worried.
Wanting to feel more supported, less alone.
Wanting to feel more peaceful, less stressed.
On the heels of the resistance, stories…
Stories about injustice, mistreatment,
a wish for vindication, retribution.
I can feel my body contract.
I know this thinking isn’t healthy
and I feel powerless to stop it.
I know I need to pray,
and even this evokes anger
and the question
Why do I have to try so hard?
I guess I haven’t really surrendered yet.
I guess I’m still trying to control the moment.
I want to let go.
Lord God, show me how to let go.
I’ve been turning my will and my life over
to a power greater than myself…
At first I was just dipping my toe into these waters,
foreign waters, ones I was told to deny and mistrust.
But it struck me one day that those who were telling me
that a Higher Power didn’t exist weren’t happy people!
Rule of Happiness #1:
Don’t take advice from unhappy people.
So I decided to try something different,
and admit I knew nothing,
and I had no control,
and things had become unmanageable…
and I began to pray…
I turn this day over to you.
I turn my life over to you.
Guide me, let me surrender to your will,
show me how to surrender gracefully,
and let me do your good work this day.
I’ve been praying like this for months.
You know what is starting to happen?
I think I’ll keep praying.
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.
I know now that it had to happen.
I’ve come to this realization before,
so bear with me, but you know how this works.
We keep circling and circling and circling back
to the same old stuff until one day we get it,
and we can finally set off on a new trajectory.
It had to happen.
I was comfortable, and comfort was making me complacent.
I knew deep down I was meant for more.
I longed to be met at my depth,
to be seen and held and loved by someone capable
of seeing my value and loving the woman that I was.
It wasn’t happening, and a part of me grieved deeply.
It wasn’t happening, and I resigned myself to a love
not quite deep enough to be congruent with my true nature.
I yearned for more, so deeply in my heart I yearned,
and a voice said that I was fooling myself,
that such a love wasn’t possible in this world.
I was determined to do the work inside myself,
to search for where I felt unmet and dissatisfied,
and discover how I could meet and satisfy myself.
Hence the meditation, the writing, the reading,
the sewing, the knitting, the kombucha making,
the therapy, the workshops, the trainings,
the research, the practice, the commitment to arete.
I secretly thought I was doing him a favor
putting up with his lack of depth, his lack of vision,
his inability to penetrate me fully to the core of my being,
to flower me open to bigger possibilities,
to take me open to God.
Well if this is it, I told myself,
then I may as well make the most of it.
So I kept going.
And then it happened.
He dumped me. ME.
Me, the mother of his children.
ME, his WIFE.
Me, his yoga teacher.
Me, his partner, his best friend.
He threw me away.
It had to happen.
It took a while, but I see this now.
At times I look jealously at intact families,
and I’m triggered by what was stolen from me.
But then my new mindset arrives and reminds me
It had to happen.
The comfort was making me complacent.
I had to be made extremely uncomfortable
to be forced out of this nest, this cocoon,
this cage of material wealth,
where my needs for food, clothing and shelter were met,
and the price I paid for it all was my authentic happiness.
I look back on who I was and I shudder.
I look forward to who I know I will be and I shiver.
I look within to the one I am now and I smile,
at peace with the fact that sooner or later,
it had to happen.
I’m amazed I’ve been able to keep up this pace,
2-3 yoga classes a day for two months,
but I’m not just doing this for me,
I’m doing it for my kids and for my students too.
I’m doing it for the ripples of peace and goodwill
that flow out into the world
when I make just one person’s day a little brighter.
It’s amazing how I can find the strength to go on,
day after day, feeling tired, feeling wiped out,
feeling like I have nothing left at the end of the day,
and yet, each morning I wake up,
and I’m ready to do it all over again.
This feels like I’m being trained for something even bigger.
This feels like an opportunity to flex
my resilience muscles,
my endurance muscles,
my persistence muscles,
my faith muscles.
A year ago, I felt weak and destroyed,
devastated, betrayed, abandoned…
But now look…
Just look at how strong I am now.