The Curse of Freedom

Recently, a friend, a fellow divorcee and I were talking, I posed the question, “Is it harder to build a family or disassemble one?”. We each agreed the disassembling is the greatest undertaking. I admit at times a collapse would have simply been easier. In matters such as this, I’d rather have no choice than to wonder if I made the right one.

One on hand, my desire to be free, emotionally, physically and spiritually supersedes all, but there is another side of the equation. I find myself sympathizing with my captor- real, imagined and emotional, like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. I’ve developed a certain attachment to the less than stellar way things were, embracing the responsibility and conquering the fear that comes with the freedom I so desire is not easy. Most days, it’s simply quite impossible.

Joe bought the Tao Te Ching for me just before I left for my trip to NYC and one of the affirmations reads: When my cup is full, I stop pouring. My cup is brimming with liquid so torrid, my face is flush. One false move and I fear it’ll spill over and burn me.

>A writer in motion…

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I sat, ruminating on the future, breaking my pensive gaze from my frothy mug only to wince fleetingly as the tug of the past seven months dared to lure me away from the beauty of this moment. What a privilege and gift it is to be deeply loved, I thought, as I shook away the still very raw feelings of what the antithesis of this recognizance holds.

It’s been so trying the past few months, wanting to connect with my readers, wanting to express my feelings in words, yet wanting to keep the wounds under wraps. I was in a literary stranglehold and, now realize that the only way to breathe again is to look toward the screen, tilt my head slightly to the left and type.

I recently remarked to a fellow wordsmith that I’d felt as though my creative and emotional outlets had been infiltrated by the influence of well-meaning friends and supporters. That, in their quest to help me regain focus and, “find myself”, I’d in turn become more “lost”, lost in their ideologies and emotions about what was happening in my life. I suppose, I still find my way best in silence and solitude.

Like this morning, whilst checking on my feral friends after a rough, stormy night in the valley. There was this little yellow leaf, stuck to my window. An isolated hint of beauty was the only evidence left of the tempest. It inspired the summation of where I am emotionally at this moment: shaken from my roots, displaced, clinging to hope, yet still filled with beauty and the capacity to make someone smile.

Where are you at this moment?

Peace and words

New love, New York

Where do I begin? First, take note of the glistening cheekbone, this girl is joy-filled and brimming with love. But- and, there always is one, this journey is an arduous one.

This is Michael, formerly known as the new “beau”, he’s joined me on this journey. Although Michael is presently, a whopping 3,000 miles away, we’re on a parallel road to happiness. A healthy happiness where there is enough room to grow together, apart- as in, without casting a shadow on one another.

As I travel this new road, picture me becoming weary and pausing to drop some of my previous load off at intermittent stops along the way. So far, I’ve dropped off some self-esteem issues, some bouts with self-flagellation and swapped them for a little thing called self-preservation. I’ve dropped some duties off and picked up a couple delegates and the best part is, in the glimpses I’ve caught of my Self along the way, I believe I’ve picked up some joy!

Michael gets me in a way that I haven’t been understood since I embraced a thing called reality and shelved all of my imaginary friends. He is my muse in the art of living. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a journey on which to continue…

>XXXVIII

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Today marks the auspicious start of my thirty-eighth year. If I sound self-assured and confident, it’s because I am. I have no resolutions, no bucket list, no promises to fulfill, but one: live it.

My worst fears were recognized as 2011 raced in, and as I struggled to make rhyme or reason of it all, my greatest mistake was recognized: I had stopped living and began the mundane practice of existing.

As my 37th year passes out with the stale summer wind, and the promise of a new year’s revolution lies before me, I acknowledge where I went astray and mark that place in my journey as one I never intend to revisit. It was a place of futility and great angst, one of pain and shame and sadness, one of misgivings and mis-forgivings, one of self-deprecation and self-flagellation, versus self-preservation. I assume we’ve all been there before- like the undertaking of laboring in love or childbirth, it is the final chapter in our old lives which inevitably shapes the next story, a fresh page in herstory.

My fresh page begins here, just 11 days past my 3rd blogoversary, with a dissolved marriage just behind me, a debilitating emotional illness under aggressive treatment, a new love, a fresh promise and a birthday cake baked by my sweet Yael Rose. Life is indeed good. And, getting settled back into my writing chair is even better. I’ve missed you all, thanks for your continued readership and all of the messages of love and support during some of the more trying pages of my last chapter.

Peace, love and joy

Hats off to ya’…

“I’d like to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary as a final tipping of hats, a celebration of our history together and and all of the hard work we’ve put in to get this far”. Joe said this as we discussed our divorce, and I embraced the concept. What’s not to celebrate? Surely, I can’t just let the unhappy ending absolve all of the journey’s good.

It was a bittersweet discussion as I revealed some scant details about my new relationship and we ran through some of the tougher lessons we learned along our way. There were tears and awkward laughter, there was resolute silence and plenty of love-filled energy. I’m OK, dare I say happy with where this road has taken us.

For the first time in a long time I feel true boundless hope. In our damaged relationship, all there ever was to hope for was a good spell, a time without conflict and betrayal, a time without hardship and subsequent guilt. Now, I can look forward to new feelings, new feelings that have no cap: the freedom to enjoy a person and a moment without waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s all very freeing and without the pruning I suffered to get here, I’d never have the room to bloom as I am. I feel liberated and that is worth celebrating.

I’ll be on vacation in NYC for the next month (Ain’t I fancy?), and during that time alone with the children, I’ll prepare them for a different kind of anniversary celebration than the ones we’ve previously shared on this 20 year junket of summer celebrations. I hope by them witnessing and participating in the end of one type of relationship amidst the infinite presence of friendship, due respect (which I am working my ass off to embrace) and love, they will glean from it a heightened sense of strength, grace, growth and the awareness that everything in life has its season.

How have you dealt with the many end times in your life?

>On Pruning

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For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

-Khalil Gibran

It’s been about 6 months since my painstaking pruning -both literally, as you can see from my blooming roses above and, figuratively within the scars left of the excised relationships I write about here.

I’m learning to accept the coming of the seasons by being deeply introspective, aligning myself with nature, her order for things, by being flexible in thought and action, and by practicing acceptance.

Though the protective thorns fill me with awkward reticence, if I am to reap the beauteous rewards of rebirth, it all begins with the pruning.

Peace and rebirth

In praise of abandonment

“I must be honest.” “I must be true to myself.” These words are almost always a preamble to a speech of abandonment or betrayal.-Hugh Prather
Page 40, “Spiritual Notes to Myself”: When I read these words and read them again, I played through the many occasions in recent months when I’d spoken them. I felt wrapped up in the epitome of ambivalence. “Have I now abandoned my commitment?” “Have I been abandoned?” I have both uttered and received these words quite frequently of late. “Am I doing something wrong?” Am I absolved of all guilt because he said it first?” “Are we equally to blame?” As is the general consensus of culpability in all matters of the marital dissolution variety. “What have I done?” “What have we done?” “Have I cursed the outcome of my new partnership by abruptly ending the old?” Questions, questions and, more questions without answers-or so I thought.
I sat on it for a while- still, silent, listening only for the heart’s truth and I realized that I am guilty of abandonment, and proud of it. I abandoned a cycle of self-betrayal, I abandoned a cycle of abuse, a symbiosis in which neither party was truly living. I have indeed let go. Yet, nothing feels incomplete. On the contrary I feel weightless and alive, I feel a peace fluttering about in my center. I feel a truth in my words and deeds, a truth to my Self and even a truth to my marriage. I’ve owned that we had reached an end. Endings are never easy, but they are cyclical and omnipresent if you desire to go on living. If you desire a life of growth and vitality, you must excise that which is no longer thriving. I’ve abandoned an anchored ship for a life among the open seas of growth, wonder and boundless possibilities.

>Reclaiming My Whimsy

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My $8.00, “Happy” dress
I have been battling a major depressive episode since December and while I’m on a series of medications to help me better cope with the symptoms, the disease does require that I do my part in the healing process as well.

I realize my appearance plays a huge part in the cycle of mood traps depressives often find themselves battling to escape. I’ve been making a conscious effort to keep up with the right amount of food, sleep, exercise, sunlight, grooming, and of course, my wardrobe. NO more heather grey, I say!

I bought this whimsical little dress when my CIO visited to get me out of bed and out of the house in early Spring. I haven’t worn it yet, but I have just the event in which to wear it coming up soon.

On June 10th I’ll be attending the 2011 Etsy Craft Party Meetup where I’ll be showcasing my wares, my NEW! dress and a smile.

Peace and healing

Love Smarts

Admittedly, sometimes I think I can defy universal law, I think of myself as an exception to the rules, I test the status quo. So, it’s no wonder I approached this new (actually, old-but that’s for a later post) relationship with what I like to refer to as “love smarts”. It seemed plausible at the time just like my other go to phrase, “Work smart, not hard.” I thought I could love smart, not hard. Wasn’t I foolish?

There can be no greater more exciting, fulfilling, dangerously captivating way to love than to love hard, and I’ve quickly come to realize it’s the only way I love. The moment he said to me, “I love your beauty…the beauty of your soul, I love you for you, I subscribe to your brand of crazy.” I felt the aluminum foil cap slide from my head, the armor unfold from my chest and knew I had surrendered to this crazy thing called love. A place where two hearts meet and all else is secondary, where there are only arrows and no protective thinking caps, a place where anything is possible and nothing is improbable- the center.

But, “You’re still healing!” some might ponder aloud. I am, and there is no greater healer of all wounds than an open heart and more love.

The only powers worth having, everyone already has.

Practice healing and you will become a healer. -Hugh Prather

The Universe has rewarded my struggle in kind.

Challenge: Forgiveness One

It should be obvious that the evidence of love, unity and wholeness in our lives will begin to disappear whenever we choose to be special and separate.
Hugh Prather

“Why did you lie? I asked you from the moment you said you needed space and I felt the sting of affairs past. I asked you if there was someone else. You said you needed space, what you needed was room to be unfaithful, again”.

“In my mind I had already decided the marriage was over just as we met, so I didn’t see it as an affair, I saw it as an opportunity; a new door to walk through…”

“New door, same doormat”, I replied in closing.

This is from a conversation Joe and I had just two days ago. I’ve swallowed the bowling ball and lost the piercing pain in my temples just long enough to steady my now dry gaze and root my feet into the earth once more.

On one hand it reads like total abuse of power that one person could so haphazardly end a family two people agreed to build; that which has become four. It all seems-for lack of a better word-completely “unfair”. How could he make this kind of executive decision about US?

Yet, it is consistent with what he said to me the very first day he announced his need for a separation. He is seeking “fulfillment” from the outside. He is seeking fulfillment in being special and separate, rather than choosing to be fulfilled with who he is, directing his efforts toward the center and perceiving and achieving fulfillment from a oneness within.

When I look at it this way I find yet another reason to forgive. I forgive his seemingly blissful ignorance and I forgive myself for negatively assessing his ignorance as a willfulness to shirk off and abandon what may very well have been his greatest fulfillment in life for what’s behind door number two. Actually, I think she may be door number seven, but who’s counting?!

I suppose I had forgotten that we’d been here every several years, or rather chose to forget it, as to rule out any hope for the reconciliation which follows every several years. There will be none this time. I can FORGIVE whilst moving FORWARD. I can and will love from a distance. I must continue to grow although I’ve been pruned from where I’ve been so comfortably planted for many years.

Our children, whom I do not speak of often, have been a great sense of accomplishment and support through this transitory time. Both of them support my growth and together without coercion have banded around their dad and done their best in recognizing his pain and uplifting him. At a time when I was feeling like such a failure, it was the two of them that reminded me just how successful I had been at being a nurturing, uplifting and supportive mother. This makes me feel deeply rewarded and infinitely fulfilled.