Tag Archives: relationship

Gratitude, Day 24 of 48: Gratitude

Yep, I’m grateful for gratitude.

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!

Gratitude: Day 23 of 48


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.

Eight Years


Eight years.
Eight years of pausing,
sitting still, closing my eyes
and going within.
I remember well the day
eight years ago, when,
pregnant, feeling sick,
overwhelmed by my responsibilities
as wife and mother,
I called out to the void
I’m going crazy! I’m losing it!
Help me! What should I do?

And the Voice said
You must meditate.
And I thought,
Of course.
I had a regular practice
before I met my husband,
but (and maybe you can relate)
self-care always fell to the bottom of the list
when I was in a relationship with someone else.
The Voice said
and I remembered that this was an option,
and I sat.
I started small, just five minutes a session,
but I quickly worked my way up
to thirty minutes a day.
Eight years and I haven’t missed a day.
Eight years…I have shown up for myself.
My ex said
You meditate too much
when he gave me the list of reasons
he was leaving our marriage.
That was two years ago,
and he’s gone now,
but I’m still meditating.
Eight years I’ve said to myself
I matter. This matters.
I’m going to keep showing up.
And I will, for eight more years,
and eight more and eight more after that.
I’ll show up every single day,
rain or shine,
in sickness or in health,
for richer or for poorer,
until death closes my body’s eyes
and opens the eyes of my soul.
Then, there will be no surprises,
because in meditation I have seen it all.

What I Yearn For


I’m discovering that I need people to be happy.
I’m noticing that when I’m around people
I feel good.
I eat.
I laugh.
I feel happy.
But when I’m by myself,
I become depressed.
I don’t eat.
I feel worthless.
I’m trying to bring more
meaningful connection
into my life,
but connection takes time and energy.
And motivation.
How do I find the energy and motivation
to connect
when I’ve been alone for so long
that I’m feeling heavy and depressed?
What came first…the loneliness or the depression?
I sense that I’ve had this feeling for a long, long time.
Even as a child some part of me knew
I needed deep, meaningful connection,
and when I was made to be in groups
where only superficial connection was taking place,
I felt drained, listless.
I decided that I was better off by myself.
I labeled myself as an introvert,
and I’ve spent a lot of my life just wanting to be away from people.
But now I see a distinction to be made.
Connection is so much more
than being with someone for the sake of not being alone…
It’s being together with a sense of purpose,
engaging in co-evolution, exploration, sharing, growth.
Relating heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul—
this is what I yearn for.

It Was Worth It!


Wide awake in the middle of the night,
head buzzing with the latest fears, doubts and anxieties,
I decided to dive deep into the ocean of myself.
I discovered stories I had told about myself
since childhood.
I saw the ways that I had unconsciously trained
my husband to perpetuate the stories,
and how desperately I was seeking
love, attention and approval
even in the midst of my beliefs of unworthiness.
Wide awake in the middle of the night
I experienced a profound reckoning,
a chance, a choice to stop telling those stories
once and for all,
to witness and know and hold my goodness
in the vast space of my tender heart—
and to see the innocence in all of us.
Five hours passed as I underwent this reckoning.
The next morning I was sleep deprived
and most likely looked like a zombie…
but awakening to the truth at the core of myself
was worth it!

Your Faults Are Mine


Because everything I see
is a projection of my mind
I cannot separate my judgments of you
from my self.
What I see in you
must also be in me…
Otherwise, how could I know
what it is I’m seeing?
To see goodness in you
it must be alive in me,
to see a flaw in you,
that too must exist in me.
I want peace.
I want harmony.
I must begin my work
where these qualities exist–
inside of my own mind.
If I ever start criticizing you,
just hold a mirror up in front of my face.
Maybe I’ll remember
that it’s not you I’m criticizing
but myself.
As I love you with all my heart,
let me look into the mirror of your eyes.
Maybe I’ll remember
that it’s not you I’m loving,
but myself.
And as I deepen my understanding
I’ll remember that the labels
I and you
are convenient simplifications
of the reality we share.
I’ll remember that there are no distinct lines
between us and there aren’t
two separate selves.
There is one self,
expressing itself
through many beings all at once.

I Will Keep Writing


My husband and I had another serious talk yesterday morning, revolving around how much time I spend by myself writing and meditating.  I remained calm, I listened.  I wanted him to get that I’m doing this because I want to evolve as a person, to be more present, to be clearer.  I wouldn’t be able to express this wish about evolving if all I could do in that moment was fly off the handle, become defensive, and react.

I’m doing this writing project because I know I have a creative side that wants to be expressed.  I know that the more I work at this expression, the easier it will become.  Or if not easier, perhaps more natural.  Or if not natural, at least more familiar.

In the last 49 days I’ve become quite familiar with the voice that says, “Don’t bother.” And I’ve become familiar with the focus that it takes to find the words hiding behind the voice.  I’ve called upon strength I’d forgotten I had–the strength to have a thought, and then try, try, try again until I find the right words to express it.

I also have become more familiar with the editor.  This is the one that won’t let me go on, that won’t allow the thoughts to gush forth, because it must go back countless times and reread every sentence I’ve written, to make sure that there is some cohesive flow to the whole thing.  Progress is painstaking, and there is always a better way to say what I have said. Trying to find the best way to say something takes time.  And hence, three hours later, I might present the blogosphere with around eight hundred words that are reasonably understandable, sentences that are acceptably articulate, instead of three thousand words that are the raw contents of my mind.

Because, the editor says, No one wants to know the raw contents of your mind. It’s not pretty.  They want art, and art takes devotion, attention to detail, meticulous planning, skill, discrimination.  They don’t want some petty stream of conscious bullcrap–that’s so unrefined, so beneath them, it insults their intelligence and reveals your ignorance!  No, you must take time with what you’re thinking, and craft beautiful gems of sentences that glow and evoke awe and awaken everyone to the beauty of this life.  You must evolve past the primordial every day slop and say something amazing for God’s sake!

My mother in law is in town for a few days.  We had this amazing conversation after we got the kids to bed, in which I divulged every gory detail of what is hanging my husband and me up in our marriage.  He was sitting right there beside me at the dining room table, and I talked to his mother about how our sex life is suffering because we can’t iron out the birth control thing, and besides we’re tired from raising two small kids.  And I talked about how my husband is going crazy with this blog project, how he sees two to three hours spent writing every night as excessive, and if I were to continue with this pace, how he doesn’t think our marriage could survive.

Yep, I candidly talked about the lumpiest, hardest to swallow bits of our relationship, right there.  And then we talked about how I think I should finally go on antidepressants, how I’ve been resisting medication for a long time.  The whole time, during this conversation, my experience was one of being refreshed.  Isn’t that strange?  To feel refreshed when you’re talking about the things that bring you the most pain?  But that is exactly what was happening.  I think I found it wonderful to be able to just talk and connect, no pretense, not trying to impress anyone or attempt to cover over what is ugly and sad and confused in me.

I just laid it out on the table, and damn, it was refreshing.  We could’ve been talking about our favorite movies or books, so light was the tone of the conversation.  We laughed and smiled, and all of a sudden these heavy problems in our marriage, the heaviness of my depression–well, it wasn’t so heavy any more.

My mother in law’s solution was that I cut back on the time spent writing.  While I agreed somewhat, I answered that I hope to be a professional writer some day.  This is something I shared with my husband only yesterday, in an attempt to gain leverage in our argument about what my priorities are.  I surprised myself, suddenly blurting out my secret plan to one day be a professional writer. I knew I could use blogging as a tool for developing my ability to write well, just the daily practice alone could help me progress in articulating my thoughts efficiently.  But I wasn’t planning on sharing all of this with my husband, not then, not in the middle of a serious discussion about the future of our marriage.  And, right there, in the middle of the argument, it just happened.  All of a sudden there I was, blurting it out…I hope to write professionally some day, and the only way I can become a writer is by writing.

I blurted it out yesterday, and then it happened again this evening.  My mother in law sounded a lot like my husband.  She didn’t say the word “priority,” but this is what she was getting at.  And just as before, when I found myself in the serious conversation with my husband, I also wanted her to get why I’m writing.  I waited, I listened…

I heard my mother in law too.  She said, Nothing is more important than your relationship.  You are fortunate to have a husband that loves you and wants to be with you.  You are such a cute couple.  You don’t want to lose your closeness.  Don’t let it happen.  Don’t let yourselves grow farther apart.

Okay, I get it.  A couple needs to spend time together.  Yes. I agree.  And also, a writer just has to write.

A couple of days ago, I explored how science and spirituality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  It’s  the same thing right here.  I can be a writer, and I can be happily married.  I can be a good mom, and yoga teacher, and wife, AND I can be a successful writer. I don’t have to give anything up, especially not the thing that has provided an incredibe opportunity to awaken and grow in awareness of my self and my life.

I’m in this intense period of time, trying to iron out my crazy schedule, and make time for the things that matter. I have my eyes focused forward, believing that this moment will reveal to me what the next step is.  I often become tired, depressed, and a bit discouraged, but I also see the spiral dance that is this path of awakening. I have faith. I know that there are good things ahead.

And by God, I will keep writing.