Pieces.

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What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.

 

Beautiful Dysfunctionality

Allowing this morning’s counseling session to sink in raises my awareness level, and that feels wonderful.

Unless you’re a deadbeat parent, the need to mother, to nurture, and to care for is like a flower that instantly blossoms.  It’s natural and totally one-sided, and that’s ok because that’s what you do as a parent.  Your kid takes and you give, and hopefully you find some morsel of time to replenish so that the well never dries completely.

Things go awry when adults materialize beside the same water source, and now it becomes an unconscious giving.  You love them too, and they need you to care for them for unseen, unrealized reasons, so you dish out for the adult.  Oftentimes, it’s not even a conscious thought; you just do because you have to.  Because this is what you are supposed to do.

You might have the opportunity to restock but you know that if you step away, the one person you have been supporting might crumble, and with it, the life you know. It’s not the best life for you, you know it deep down somewhere, but you daren’t let go because he needs you to be strong, to be the source, to be in his pocket.

Eventually, and inevitably, the well will dry up for him.  Not for the kids, because really their supply is unending and unconditionally always there.  But for him, that well is just a parched, dark brick round reaching down into nowhere.  You stand up; the world tilts for a while as you process what has been happening and finally, with the help of an impartial spirit, you realize what it is  you have been doing.

For a few weeks, he and I have been treading our own paths; seeking our own truths.  It is lovely to see him shed some of the weight that he swore he’d never be able to put down. He is stepping out to investigate and discover about himself and I’m glad for him.  He is learning that it’s ok to drink from his own well, and for my part, I am learning that I don’t need to mother him.

That said, the woman who was part of this union, is but a dried up, withered spirit.  I don’t know if there is life in her because I am not her anymore.  And, I don’t know if who I truly am can ever be part of it again.

It’s been a beautiful awakening for me.  After years of struggle and spiritually backbreaking work, I can now stand up straight.  I can see how strong and powerful I really am. How free I am to breathe, and be, and give as needed.  To give for the want of it and not for the sacrifice.

The Way Forward

I have spent years in the wilderness.  I found a clearing a few years ago but it did not lead to any sort of opening or escape.  On more than one occasion, I thought that I could bolt through the forest to find my way out but that proved to be futile.

Now is my time, and I have found the path.

I speak metaphorically, of course.  The clearing I speak of was discovered when I began the practice of meditation in 2013.  For some, tuning in to self cannot come from simply sitting and being, but I fell into it with ease.  I understood that chatter was okay; that it was fine to set an intention but at the end of each practice, nothing need be accomplished.

It just is.  I can just.be.

Currently, there are major shifts in this soul’s life, so I returned to practice.  I came home to the sangha and was welcomed as if by family.  It’s been only two weeks since I picked up where I left off but the clarity and stillness cultivated long ago never left.  Just like seedlings in a field; they have been dormant.  The only thing they needed was for me to notice.  To provide awareness.

My path ahead is uncertain.  I know to some degree what I do and do not want.

My practice will help me through.  And forward.

Living in Echoes

I read something recently, some piece of advice. I can’t for the life of me recall where I saw it and I will have to paraphrase, for I really just have a feel for the meaning as opposed to the words, but it went something like this:

“When we have a memory, particularly a painful one, we tend to live it as it actually just happened, or is happening. We play it out in such a way that we harness the emotions and run around with them which causes the pain to feel as it did when the original event happened. It would serve us better when the memory surfaces (as they always do, there’s no way around that) to let it sit and try to feel for it as a jumping off point to something better.  Instead of it being a portal to pain, remember the benefits that came from it, be they immediate or some time after.”

Ok, so I totally embellished what was probably just a one sentence affirmation, but you get it, right? I mean, who hasn’t ridden that crazy horse time after time?

“Letting it go” isn’t an easy thing to do. You can fling it away but it’ll come back like the ball attached to the bat. You can hide from it, but it will still be there drumming its fingers on the dining room table waiting for you to continue feasting, dejected, on the scraps of the past.SONY DSC

But, what a concept to be able to see the event, the memory, to view it as if it were a screenshot from a movie. The moment your heart broke when he/she called it quits.  The last evening of your beloved restaurant. The day the realtor stuck a For Sale sign in the front yard of the house you could no longer afford to keep. Anything like that, any hurt moment…grab it and face it, look at it, don’t run, don’t hide.

Then know where you are right now, who you are, and how far you have journeyed from that moment.

Getting caught in echoes from the past is the easiest, least resistant thing we can do.  If you want to prolong hurt and anger in order to keep searching for answers, or to fool yourself into thinking that there must still be work done before the pain goes away, that is your choice.

Wouldn’t it be a more compassionate thing for yourself to see the positive of the now; the benefits of lessons learned, even the most difficult?

Take a deep breath, because those echoes will just keep you in ever decreasing circles, and that’s no life for you to be living.

All That’s Left is the Apple Pie

What a shake-down it’s been lately; sorrow swept in, and with it much chaos. It thoroughly blew up the inside of my house. Shit that I’d been hanging onto with the barest of fingertips snatched from my grip. Things that I had tried to keep in existence, thrashed from the fireplace. It’s a shame that it took such depth of grief to clean up. The loss of a person so important, and who left in such a way that I’m not sure how long it will take to understand.

Her chapter in my life sits in a red book on a bookshelf *over there*. From time to time I am sure I will revisit as I sit in my comfy rocking chair with the bay window behind and the safest and prettiest of views behind that.

I feel a settling. Am liking the change; embracing the deeper knowing; a new level of self-understanding.

Aware, too, of the layer of hurt that remains as if not all the junk was swept away. Some resemblance of certain things remain. And I am a terrible cleaner or picker-upper; they will likely stay.

I feel the cool, clean, new interior. It feels workable, I can do something here without the old restraint.

Sometimes you go down in order to go up. Or is it the other way around? You blow up to dive down, maybe? Either way, what’s left is most welcome. For me, I see apple pie on a farmhouse kitchen table.

I will chow down every bite and savor every sweet morsel.

And all around I will hear classical music.

Not Forcing

The Summer of Me took a turn down a different road; the things I had hoped to achieve physically, thwarted by health issues. Perhaps the barriers were raised because the roots of planning grew from negative soil. Soil in a field rife with self-judgment, and skewed views of the way things needed to be in order to be pleased with myself –  if I could just be the weight I want to be; if I could be shape and size I want to be, things will be much better; I will feel better about Me.

Self, the all-knowing Mother, so calm around the bouncing, impatient child Ego, says in translucent tones, “No honey, this is not what you should be doing right now.”

Impetuous child. She pouts, thinks she knows better and does it anyway.

It has been “settle down time” for a while. In it, gentle daily lessons and reminders of self-acceptance. Doing as I please in moderation, even though it is often accompanied by a certain unease; breathing into being with the transitory nature of now.

Soon, when I am confident of my health, I will return to the road I had started upon. I should take Self with me; she will be an invaluable guide and a steadying force in the company of a headlong kid.

Mother and Child; Self and Ego.

BritInterrupted

A car needs all its parts to work together to create successful propulsion. Our major parts, if we consider ourselves as a car, would be the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. All of these aspects require a cohesion for us to function optimally.

My car has broken down, and sits on the side of an unknown road with two flat tires, and smoke billowing from the engine.

I tried to keep things going, push myself to reach my goals, to work toward an obligation later in the year, to keep up, keep going, achieve the goals, get out, get moving. It started out great; I was gung-ho, throwing myself into this activity and that, but I’m not a new model and will admit to not having had a tune-up in quite some time. Before long, my efforts began to sputter. Essentially I leapt into a road trip without checking my shit out first.

The physical, I have often thought, is a manifestation of the troubles on the inside, and if the current situation is any indication, I must be in quite a disarray.

I asked myself, actually asked myself with the view to getting a response, what I could do to heal? The word ‘investigate’ came to mind, meaning to sit in quiet dignity and go to source. I haven’t been there in a long time; perhaps that is the root of healing. I sat in the darkened office at work, with the rumbles of trucks and reversing beeps outside, and meditated. I asked again, in that state of mind, what I could do to heal. Over and over. “What can I do to heal?”  I threw the question out to the Universe and let it go, having faith that I would be given an answer at some point.

I could say that this part of me wasn’t working properly, or the other part wasn’t in sync, and I couldn’t say when, how or even which one lost its footing. All I know is that it took a while and now here I am, the result of purposeful oblivion.

To return to my favorite horse analogy (because that’s totally how I see myself)…this filly needs to stop racing and head out to a nice field to graze for a while (within caloric limits, of course)…and be at peace with the decision. Yes, I’m feeling like it’s time to slow right down.

Come Lately

Lately I’ve not practiced meditation, lately I’ve not written a anything significant. In fact, it’s more than lately but how do we measure ‘lately’ anyway?  By my standards, my journey being what it is, lately is almost two months. There was a time when I might have felt a pang of guilt, coaxed on by the ego to make me feel bad, to make me feel inadequate, to make me feel as if I have no idea what I’m doing, to make me feel unworthy of being me.

I don’t these days.  I’m strong to my core, for it’s a place I’ve visited and come to know intimately. I know I’m there and that my light shines like a beacon for me to find when I’m ready to return.  So, I don’t feel any guilt.  If anything, I feel right and ‘where I’m meant to be.’

I read: http://findyourmiddleground.com/2014/06/09/accept-the-seasons-of-your-heart/  (I had trouble naming the link so had to post the whole URL) one of my favorite, spiritual, healthy, and loving bloggers, Val Boyko.  “Accept the seasons of your heart.” reinforced what I already knew; I’m in a great place with a few niggles from history which, by god, I think will be nipping over my shoulder forever.  However, I’m ok without meditation.  I’m ok with not writing.  I’m ok.  My energies are focused elsewhere.  Not that I can’t do more than one thing at once, it’s just the way it is right now.

Occasionally I’ll stop and check in, usually when I’m at a traffic light, or washing dishes, or cooking, or folding laundry, and feel the smile that flows from the very insides of me right up to my face.

Right there, I know I’m doing what’s right for me.

 

Harnessing the wrong horse

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Doubt. I named it. Immediately after an impromptu inner pep talk. During the talk, a fact so certain and real lit up my heart.  It brought forth a brief, and not often felt certainty and acknowlegement. Couldn’t help but smile. Was allowed to view truth.

Doubt is crafty; often barely heard or seen or felt. The inner dialog hums like the continued strum of a guitar chord and doubt weaves its way in and around the sound.

Doubt is devious. It grabs like a wretched Granny with a bony claw at memories it knows will capture your attention, and throws a harness over the neck of that ill-flogged horse. This only serves to stall progress.

Doubt seeps into life in some form or another. Sometimes it’s palpable, “I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to carry anymore moving boxes.” Sometimes it’s trivial, “Hmmm…I don’t think the chicken’s gonna turn out the way I wanted.” And sometimes it’s a whisper, “Why can’t I…?” “I’ll never be able to…” “What’s wrong with me…?”

The self-doubt prose is so finely honed that we only become aware of it when we question the wheedling whine. We have to confront it, and shove it aside to reveal the treasures it doesn’t want to be discovered. It has no choice but to step aside when faced with truth.

The trick then, is to remember that fleeting feeling of gloriousness from a potential met. That solid gold in the heart like light pouring from an open book.

Remember it. Feel it. Doubt will reel from it. And that worn historical horse can go live out its days in pasture.

Fortunate.

This blog was forged at the beginning of the year; it began lightly, dancing over a veneer, oblivious of its purpose beneath. I remember at the start trying to be witty; ad-libbing funny in a thought out manner, writing about me, me, me. It felt narcissistic and full of ego and I don’t mind saying that although I enjoyed the act of writing, of sharing, it felt awkward and sometimes embarrassing; the attention-seeking sense of it all.

It is known now that this was not created by the part of me that is offered to the world; the funny, make-em-laugh girl with an easy smile and helpful manner. I know because it has become something much deeper, as if the words themselves have carved away the inside of me allowing spaciousness for soul, allowing room for spiritual growth and development.

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Journey. I love that word –  an odyssey, a quest, progress, adventure. Life is this journey. The goal is clear in that eventually we will leave our bodies, and since this is already figured out for us, shouldn’t we make the most of our journey? We have no idea of the length of time, or what the surface will be like along the way. It’s wild and woolly sometimes, heartbreaking and filled with sorrow. Other times it’s so joyous we could burst, sometimes simply quiet and comforting.

This place here has become a proving ground, a learning ground, a welcoming hollow to write about the highs and lows. All the valleys with their dark undergrowth that seemed to go on forever, and through which I stumbled, weeping and blind. The peaks that looked out onto sunny skies. Over there, the roller coaster rides that rocked and stunned. All around, moments, people, situations…life. 

I am fortunate to  have this place, these pages, and as this year closes I acknowledge the time I have spent digging down to truth, making way for self.

I tip my hat to my friends who read. I hope I have helped or maybe *pinches thumb and forefinger together* inspired a tiny bit.

A lesson I have read many times, but only recently truly taken to heart is sitting with emotion. Thanks to Tara Brach by way of this lovely group, I am learning this: Whatever comes up, and whenever it comes up – take pause. Breathe into the feeling, allow yourself to feel it, give it room, acknowledge its presence, and it will pass. By doing this, a wiser choice can be made.

I hope to practice this during the coming year, and all the ones beyond.

Merry Christmas!