If I suddenly dis-identified myself with my pain,
how would I show up in the moment?
If I no longer believed the stories told to me
or the labels I’ve been branded with,
who would I be, right now?
If I could no longer see myself
as the victim of my past circumstances,
how would I relate to this present experience?
I keep praying. I keep saying aloud,
I’m ready to let go of the past.
I’m ready to feel beyond my pain.
I ready to know who I really am.
And yet the old story persists.
What do I need to do to be free?
Ok. Brace yourselves.
I’m almost all the way moved in.
Just one or two more CARLOADS.
I mean…how did I accumulate all this stuff?
People are telling me
Just be patient.
You just moved in.
Unpacking takes time.
And I’m thinking
I have way too much stuff.
I hoping that my letting go muscle
will get stronger and stronger
as I go through this.
I took one carload to Goodwill today…
toys, shoes, baby clothes, rugs,
shower curtains, towels…
and a beautiful (expensive) bedspread
that we got as a wedding present…
I looked at it last night and thought,
I couldn’t possibly take a new lover
into my bed with this thing on it.
(I mean, I’ve been celibate for 2.5 years,
but maybe someday there will be
a lover in my midst…)
And so this bedspread had to go.
I keep holding a vision
of myself in a better place
and I look at these objects
and ask if I want to take them with me
into my future.
If it doesn’t fit with my future vision,
I let it go.
I didn’t realize that I had been working so hard
my whole entire life
to arrive in this moment
with enough strength
to simply let go.
Turning adversity into opportunity…
being willing to see value in difficulty,
not complaining, but doing what needs to be done.
Rewiring my brain is difficult.
My brain wants to complain.
It wants me to feel sorry for myself,
to feel like a victim,
to focus on the abandonment, the betrayal,
the grief and the loss.
It wants me to feel envious of intact families,
and look at women with their men
and ask, Why not me?
I’m tired of being tortured by my mind.
I don’t want it to remind me of everything that went wrong.
I want to focus on what’s going right.
But after four decades of negative programming,
I don’t know if I’m capable of seeing the positive.
All day long
I breathe in
I breathe out
most of the time unconsciously.
All day long
my eyes open
my eyes close
All day long
my heart beats—
but I don’t notice,
because I’ve been programmed.
The program tells me
I’ve get to get somewhere
and I’ve been living in this program,
asleep my entire life.
It’s time to wake up,
to ditch the old operating system
and install a new one.
It’s time for an update, an upgrade,
to remove the virus
and declutter the hard drive.
I’m ready to run the new program.
I’m ready to love just being alive.
It occurred to me
that if I want more joy in my life
I need to choose to enjoy each moment.
Life is made up
of everyday, simple moments,
repetitive tasks, things that need to get done.
If I’m rolling my eyes and groaning
every time I need to tidy up,
go grocery shopping,
do the laundry,
pick up after my kids,
I’d be constantly miserable.
But if I could cultivate a mindset
of gratitude and joy
for each of these simple moments,
day by day and breath by breath,
they would all add up to a joyful life.
I don’t need to defer my happiness
for someday, for one day,
for whenever this or that comes to pass.
Happiness is now,
where it always was,
where it always will be—
right here in the present moment.
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.
You can’t heal what you can’t feel…
and so my biggest task
has been just allowing the feelings to rise,
to be seen, acknowledged, embraced,
and finally felt.
For a long time I attempted to deny my feelings,
because they appeared too painful to accept,
and I was afraid of what might happen
if I allowed the tidal wave to crash over me.
It turns out that I was giving my attention
to my fear of the difficult feelings
rather than to the feelings themselves.
The fear made it all seem so much worse
that it really was.
Once I peeled back all my layers
of distraction, denial and defense
and exposed my tender heart to myself,
I saw that there was nothing to fear.
As the grief came up, the doubt,
the self-blame, the regret, the anger,
the loneliness, the abandonment,
the resistance and all the others
emerged as a procession,
one by one, to be fully received
and welcomed by me.
As I allowed these feelings to flow through,
I sensed underneath them my resilience,
my strength, and finally my hope
for new feelings to arrive
once I’ve made enough room for them
by letting the old feelings go…