Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Intentions

I don't make New Year's resolutions. What for? They're never kept. We mean well though, we want to start again, we stare down at the three hundred and sixty five days spread out before us, and we're either optimistic about the new year, or we're scared. I was scared. Always. The unknown caused my heart to skip a beat, it made me want to pull the covers over my head on New Year's day and fervently pray that I would be spared the trials and tribulations that seemed to find me. There was a large X cut into my front lawn, had to be. Trouble was beating a path to my doorway.....or so it seemed.

I set myself up perfectly, you see. The very thing I ran from, found me. Every time. "Surrender Dorothy"! I had the nagging thought that I just needed to give up the fight. And I can truly say that over this last year I finally surrendered, and what a relief! What an absolute relief. The best diet in the world is to rid yourself of baggage, all the old fears, old worries, old ways of thinking, being, doing. Be gone!

Okay, easier said then done, but I am woman who knows this very well. It's not easy, this relinquishing of your old self. Every New Year's eve I would vow to begin again. Take better care of myself, sleep more, worry less, start a new life. Ah, that was the kicker, dearies....to begin again. Scary. My old life had gotten too small for this woman. I had shrunk so small that I could barely hear my own voice screaming to be free. Well, all it it took was my husband to walk out on me the day after Valentines Day....bless his heart! And I mean that without the slightest bit of sarcasm. Bless him for causing the very thing I knew was inevitable, to finally happen! When we're not doing for ourselves what needs to be done, something will happen to get your attention. It's the Universe shining that very bright and loving light on your life. It says look at this.....look at this.....LOOK AT THIS, DAMN IT! Okay, I got it. Once hit up side the head, I got it. Thank you very much.

Feeling like you need to kick start your life this new year? Save the new gym membership fee, put off the appointment with a plastic surgeon, quit with the big, grandiose vows to do better this time around. Just quietly affirm that you intend to be well. Repeat after me...."I intend to have a better life then I've experienced". "I intend to take good are of myself", (this involves loving yourself babe, so that leads to.....), "I intend to LOVE myself, first". "I intend to let the garbage of my life go". And please don't recycle it into some new creature, just cut it loose! "I intend to start each day with gratitude in my heart for each and every thing that has come my way", because.....it got me here. And this is where you start, my friends. Start where you are. Here. Now. Move forward with the intention to have all that your heart desires. And then act like it's already here!

Make this your best year ever. You have it within your power to create a very real and lasting change in your life. You have it within your power to begin again. I am with you in this, I am still in the process of creating all that my own heart desires. It's a fun ride when you start seeing good things pour into your life. Free up the old, stagnant energy, and usher in the new....then just watch what happens!

So, here's to New Year's Intentions!

Until next time....blessings......many, many blessings upon your precious heart! See you in the new year.....

Cindy

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day...may it be blessed

Let the following words express my love for you all.....and may this day bring you a measure of quiet joy and humble expectation.

"I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, that while I cannot give, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . . And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away".

"Letter to a Friend" by Fra Giovanni, 1513

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Season of Anticipation

How has this holiday season been for you so far? Blue? Anxious? Tumultuous? Been there. Now, take a breath and quiet your heart, if only for a moment. All shall be well. I have used that quote from Julian of Norwich for many years. I can't count how many times I've uttered those words in the dark of night, and especially when I didn't believe it. I've held onto those words as if my very life depended on it. Whatever your circumstances are right now, I wish you solace and a refuge from your personal storm. Let me say this to you....it will pass. Things change, things get better, people can have a change of heart, even the most ugly among us can turn around. I can't begin to know the personal stories out there happening right this minute. Tales of woe, heartbreaking sadness and despair. But I have a good idea, we can all imagine, we all have hearts, and we're the same at the core. I know you hurt.

If you are not religious and this very Christian holiday upon us has no meaning for you, then look at the lengthening days now spread out before us. The shortest day followed by the longest night has come and gone. Your days are going to lengthen and the light is going to return. Winter is my favorite time of year. I love the bleakness of it, I love the stark trees, and the cold. The lessons of this season are not lost on me. I look for meaning in everything, and bleakness, with all it's gloom, will yield to warmth, and light, and newness of life. You can count of this. May you feel this truth somewhere inside you. May the Winter of your discontent lead you to a new life. Wrap around you the very things that comfort you, as much as you are able. Begin to anticipate that things will change. Begin to entertain the thought that within you lies the seeds of a new life. Nurture them, tend them, and wait. For now, just keep them warm and safe within your heart....in that very tender heart of yours.

If this holiday season holds no joy for you, then I want you to know, whoever you are, that I will hold you close when I pray. If I could wrap a blanket of comfort around you, I would. If I could bring you a cup of tea and hold your hand, I would. I would also look you straight in the eye and tell you that all shall be well and this too, shall pass. And it will, my dear. In the same measure that you want positive change in your life, the Universe will respond to you.

A contented Christmas is wished for all. A season of hope and quiet joy is my special meditation for you. Dearest heart, in the midst of your pain lies the capacity for immense joy. Pain can hollow you out as sure as a woodworker's knife carves out hardened wood to make something beautiful. It's making you ready for something incredible. Be a receptacle. Stay open, ask, anticipate an answer, for it will come....and you will be filled.

Until next time.....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Power Of Intention

I intend to have a great life, how about you? If truth be known, I am having a great life....but it was hard won. It took bravery and resolve to not let the events of the last fourteen years sour me to the point of no return. I also intend to have abundance and "enough" to accommodate my lifestyle....an admittedly simple lifestyle...the way I like it, but I intend to live it to the max. I intend to live with creativity, spontaneity, joy, fabulousness, beauty and grace, which I happen to believe are a given for every human being alive at this moment. They are highly achievable and your Divine birthright, in my humble opinion. We have no time for regret, angst, post-traumatic stress or bitterness. This work of letting go, while so worth it, isn't always pretty though, it can be downright exhausting and circular....we let go of this, we acquire that, we let go again, we let God in, then we doubt and recoil and hoard all our negativity around us like a blanket....because it's all so familiar. The art of Intention becomes easy when we cut loose the ties that bind us to our old way of thinking and being. There is great joy in waving goodbye to the past. Great joy. The past got you to where you are today, so honor it, hold dear those things that nurtured you, but let the rest go.

The business of Intention is simple. I am a firm believer that the thoughts we think today are the basis for what we experience tomorrow and beyond. I remember my mom used to tell me to "tend your garden", and by that she meant to watch my thoughts, to weed out the weeds, so to speak. Sometimes it takes vigilance to keep negativity at bay. AA talks about a "fake it till you make it" attitude, and while there is value in that, I would rather "live as if" I have all that I desire now. This doesn't mean to live beyond your means, but instead to make room in your heart and mind for all that's coming into your life. And it is coming my friend, so be expectant. Give the Universe an inch and it will take you all the way. Invite this type of expectancy into your life, if only for a moment consider that we are vastly more then we know ourselves to be, we are known, loved, and cared for. We have all that we need right here, right now. Look around you....life is pouring forth more then we already accept. To ask or plead for something reinforces the belief that we are lacking, and to believe that you are lacking then creates the very scenario that will prove you're right. The Universe is accommodating in this regard. It gives us what we focus on. Trust me on this. I make it a habit to express gratitude for what is coming my way, before it's here, before I can see it. I simply trust it will show up just when I need it. And you know what? It usually does. If I ask for something, I ask for the obstacles I may have created to be made plain to me, so I can choose differently. I also ask for help in getting out of my own way. We trip ourselves up daily.....just sayin', so make clear the path for good things to come.

One of my favorite movies is "Under The Tuscan Sun". It brings home the point that you need to live as if you already have your heart's desire. If you want a new home, love the one you're in, make it your castle, tell it how grateful you are it provides you with refuge and shelter. Want new friends in your life? Then be a friend, but be a friend to yourself first. Love? Simply love yourself with a kindness and an acceptance of everything you are. Daily we are given opportunities to love one another. You don't even have to let anyone know you are loving them. A silent blessing bestowed on those around you, no matter who they are, will bounce back to you. Need more money? Give freely of your time and resources, no matter how meager, no matter how small, we can offer up something to someone, somewhere. It's not simplistic to live this way, it's not foolish or Pollyanna-ish. It's profound. It's why we are here....to give and to serve and to live with joy. And please know, I'm not perfect in accomplishing all these things on a daily basis, but I do know that when I do my best, when I give up my worries, when I give up my need to know what's around the corner....my life just flows.

I wish you peace like a river, unobstructed, swiftly flowing, moving you ever forward towards all that you desire. It's coming, are you ready to accept it?

Until next time....peace upon your heart.

Cindy

Monday, December 13, 2010

Contentment

I love the word contentment, it signifies a deep peace, an easy grace, a comfortable state of being. Happiness is fickle. Contentment lasts through the long haul. Happiness is fleeting. Contentment is stable. And I imagine the one thing you want right now is stability, it's what I needed when the shit hit the fan and the rug was yanked out from under me. My wounded self wouldn't believe I could ever be happy again. Happy. What a word! People pay a lot for happiness. We seek it.....no, we doggedly pursue it, and when we grasp it for a fleeting moment in our hot little hand, we squeeze the very life out of it. Then it flees, bolting on its merry way, laughing back at us as we stand there in its wake....broken, desperate, sad....all because we wanted to be "happy". Happy was a dwarf in a Disney cartoon, and that's where it belongs in my book. "I'm so happy"! Yeah, but I'll bet you anything it's was some external thing that happened to trigger your response. You got a new job, a new car, you won the lottery, you have a new lover, you bought a killer dress....a red one, slit up the side, sleek and daring....and you got it for a fraction of it's original cost because you are one smart, savvy shopper. Then what? The job begins to suck, your boss becomes an ass, you wreck the car....or it gets a dent in it's shiny new paint, the money gets spent....or every relative you never knew you had shows up with their hand out. The lover loves you...then leaves you. The dress, after you wore it and knocked 'em dead with your gloriously toned body beneath, suddenly is a little tight and in your mind you see yourself as fat. Oh God, then what? Happiness is the temperamental, changeable twin sister of Contentment. She's the Hussy in the fish nets, Contentment is the beauty in the flannel pajamas. One torments, the other nurtures. Which do we really want? You know what it is, we all hunger for it. A deep, easy sigh of relief is what we want. We want Wellness, Balance, Stability. For me, these equal the kind of Contentment nothing on the outside can provide.

Contentment lies in the sweetest of places. She hangs behind after the party is over and hopes you notice her looking at the the moon and stars. She awaits your deep breath, the one that says, "This is what it's all about". It's not the people, or the stuff of our lives that gives us the contentment we seek. It's the feeling that you are enough, as you are, that you will not allow your joy to be robbed by those you never should have entrusted your tender heart to. It comes from loving yourself first.

Contentment my friends, is the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, and all-wise being that resides inside you. Court her, it's what she wants. A little attention to the quiet sister and she will take your hand down the road to lasting joy. Here's how:

For starters, try living on less, downsize if need be. A divorce is very good at causing you to downsize, in fact, I believe it's a necessity to cut out the things we no longer need, and to review and repeat periodically. Cut the stranglehold you have on other people. Let them be who they are. Do you find that tough? Not surprising, since letting others be who they are without trying to change them puts the spotlight back on you, yeah, that uncomfortable light that forces you to focus on yourself for once. What a joy to embrace a certain self-centeredness though! It's the kind of focus that asks, "What makes your heart sing"? What has brought you a deep feeling of joy before in your life? What are the things that make you feel good? Find out what they are. In this season of "too much" and overwhelming to-do lists, stop for an afternoon and give yourself the gift of remembering what it is you truly love. Bet you it's something that doesn't cost a cent! Then go ahead and give it to yourself. It's time babe, to rediscover what you have neglected.

Your quiet center awaits your loving touch. Pause, ask, listen....then give yourself that special something that will make you smile inside. Be careful though, you just might start to feel a contentment that will overtake your need for the trivial. You just might find you are falling in love with yourself.....maybe for the first time. Just a little attention will put kindness to yourself back in your life. Contentment will surely follow....but then she'll lead you home. Your heart's home.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In honor of Elizabeth Edwards.....is Love ever truly lost?

Where does love go when a marriage ends? It disintegrates little-by-little I would venture, especially if it was a long slow death....like mine, like many, until it takes it's last breath and utters one last whimper, or one big SLAM of the door. I can still hear the reverberation from that day, all I have to do is close my eyes...but it's fading now. Something as real and as permanent as Love (with a capital L) doesn't really go away....I am content to think it just changes form. The investment in a marriage that goes south can leave you feeling like you wasted years of your life just to end up out of love, out of luck, broken, angry, and hating the ever lovin' ground your ex walks on. I struggled with this for many months, the unending questions, the guilty feeling that I had somehow squandered my life away......the anger at my child's father.

Let the anger go....please, and I'll tell you why:

If there are children involved, you need to love the father of your children more then the husband you've come to dislike (hate?). I was lucky, I didn't live with a philanderer. My ex never cheated on me once, I never doubted that...I would have been able to feel it if he had. But what went down was enough for me to curse every hair on his head. The tangent I let loose one day upon him was alarming....to him, to me....and to my little girl who heard me. My heart broke into a million pieces that day, not for my own reasons, but for that little face that saw me screaming at her daddy. I'll never forget it the longest day I live. Never.

Elizabeth Edwards died today. A more graceful and eloquent woman would be difficult to find. In an interview with her a while back, after her husband's terrible, terrible infidelity, she quietly stated that while she may not be able to love her husband anymore, she could still love him as her children's father. What Grace it took to say that. What a powerful truth it is too. Love changed form for Elizabeth Edwards, but it was still Love....again, with a capital L. That kind of love knows no human estrangement. It withstands anything, because it is Love....and that is Divine by nature. I learned a lesson from this lady that day, and her quiet strength brought me up short. Goddesses do that, you know. They stop you dead in your tracks.

Your marriage may be over, but the love that was once shared is still there, in a different form. If there were no children, then know this....your spouse loved you once, and they still love you. Deep in their conflicted heart, they still have love. Letting go of a marriage may be the right thing to do......but don't fret over having "wasted" your life just to end up divorced. Let love evolve now, let it shape shift, let it be what it needs to be. Don't own it, don't limit it, and don't curse it. And for everyone who may want to tell me to shut up about love, because after all, I don't know your personal story, I don't know what terrible thing it was they did to you....I would say this: letting love go so it can find it's own way will bless you beyond belief. It will free you up so you may embrace a new love, an evolved love. It's an endless cycle, but love knows what it needs and it doesn't leave us no matter what we may think. Let it fly.

Rest in peace dear Elizabeth, I would have liked to have had tea with you.

And yes reader, you and I are loved......and that is with a capital L.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Good Divorce

I've gotten dubious looks when I've said I had a "good divorce"....and yes, ultimately, it has been good on so many levels. My friend the other day who I'd not spoken to for a while gingerly asked me how I was doing. My response kind of shocked her. "What do you mean you had a good divorce? Side note: and she won't mind my saying this, her divorce was from hell. Three years and $30,000.00 down the tube just for her to come out with a permanent crease between her eyes and a broken spirit. As we talked I told her all the bad parts over that last nine months that I had experienced, but the point was not to dwell, it was to say that without the bad you cannot know the good. Without the dark you cannot know light. Trite, I know, but it's the simple truth. I chose to make my divorce good, and since the alternative was hell on earth, I just didn't have that kind of stamina or endurance...nor the will, to come out looking older and angerier for the rest of my life. I fully accepted the demise of my marriage, and then I let it go. I told her that perhaps divorce could be a catylist for the change that would ultimately lead her to a better life. She and I continue in an ongoing conversation about this now, and I'm glad she is gaining some new insight. So much bad karma was burnt over the last nine months in my life. I mean stale, stagnant, rancid stuff. I was in a dark rut that was going to completely destroy me if something had not happened to kick me upside the head. For me divorce was the perfect answer, and at risk of sounding rather flippant or cavalier, I would say it can be for you too.

I subscribe to the belief that the people who have been in our lives were there for a reason. There are no random acts. Yeah, some are dumb mistakes we make when we're vulnerable, some are downright painful, ugly, simply exasperating or just plain poisonous, but it all works out so beautifully. The people we encounter are our teachers. "When the student is ready the Teacher will appear". We either learn through pain or through wisdom, but by God, we learn. Have you ever ended a relationship all the clearer about what it is you don't want?....then it was for your higher good, that relationship was to show you what you don't need, the players in that scene were there to push you to the next level. The lessons are all there. It's up to us whether we want to see the point to it all or just bitch and moan about how our life seems to be a magnet for bad luck/relationships. My other belief is the very thing we feel is tragic or devastating can be the very thing that saved us from a real tragedy. Things just some how work out, we may not see it for a few years, but when we can look back with a clearer eye and a new perspective we can see it all came out for the best. Nothing can teach you better then that which has cut you to the core or split you wide open. If this has happened to you then you are being readied for a major shift, a change that has the potential to bless you. There is a rhyme and reason to our lives....and it's all good.

Stay open to the possibility that maybe this upheaval you are in the midst of can lead you to your best self. Shun the bitterness that can easily swallow you up. Each day the question could be, "What can I learn from this today"? Then listen....and learn.

Until next time...blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Self worth

What are you worth today? Do you value the magnificent person that bears your name and a striking resemblance to someone you used to recogonize in the mirror? You are more then you know....we all are. Now I don't often quote the Bible, but there's that verse about "Seeing through a glass, darkly".......that's at least until we come to know ourselves as the Beloved knows us. What happens along the way that makes us forget about our greatness? As a child did your parents enforce in you the fact that you were magical? Did you believe in things you couldn't see? Imaginary friends? fairies? Was your imagination allowed to run free? Many of us didn't have this kind of conscientious parenting because our parents were not raised that way, and bless them, they did the best they could with who they were and what they knew at the time. For many of us growing up was about making do, not expecting too much, keeping our place , and not allowing us the right to lay claim to what is rightfully ours. Worth. Value. Radiance. It's not what we accomplish, or what we earn, or who we know. We are human beings, not human doings. But our culture dictates that we always need to be on the move, someone is always watching, judging, critiquing....snickering. I don't need that kind of pressure, and neither do you.

Sweethearts, there may be years worth of stuff to unload before you can come to accept your glory....I know, believe me. So what can you let go of today? What if it's just the nagging thought that you are not enough? That you're somehow inferior? Let's begin right now to just entertain the possibility that you can live your life with complete acceptance of your native worth, and claim it. The storms of life will seem less of a challenge if we can face them with the assurance, the self knowing, that we are not alone, that we are loved, that we are capable. I'm all about riding out a storm, laughing in it's face, saying, "Is this all you got"? Maybe it's my rebel spirit....maybe I don't even know what I'm talking about here....but I'd rather look fabulous and feel confident in the face adversity then to just lay down in the fetal position and suck my thumb.

Sharpen your knife, prep yourself for some cosmic surgery....cut away that which doesn't serve. It won't hurt, I promise.

Until next time...blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

To be joy-full

You will be happy again. Joy does not abandon us, we abandon joy. We have neglected to learn that joy is a birthright. Joy is a gift from God that never leaves. It's indestructible, immune to all that humans can do to shut it out. And when you feel you have successfully banished all thoughts of happiness from your life, Joy, like a persistent suitor, will stand at your door, hand out, waiting, waiting for your attention. Let us return to Joy. Let us set aside, if only for today, the thoughts that tell us we need this or that to be happy. Set aside thoughts that say you need a man, or a woman in your life to make you complete.

You know, as much as I love the movie Jerry McGuire, that line at the end...."You complete me" always, always, makes me cringe. Do you want to be a half person? Do want to be that Siamese twin that can easily be jerked around by what the other half does, or doesn't do? Do you walk around looking for half of a person? Sounds silly, doesn't it? Kahlil Gibran wrote beautifully about marriage, and it would easily translate to any relationship, that we need to be independent and strong on our own. He likens it to a great stone structure that has pillars holding it up. The pillars are separate, standing on a solid foundation, apart, but holding up the same structure. Does that give you a visual about how two people can stand apart but for the common purpose of having a strong foundation/relationship? And standing apart is symbolic here, no head games allowed (please...have we not had enough of those before), but rather having that space to be, and do, and thrive in your own skin. There is nothing sexier my friends, then two strong people, happy on their own, and engaged in their own interests, that choose to come together! The sharing that goes on at the end of the day is beautiful... shared goals, yes, shared times together, yes....and shared interests are wonderful, but you need your own investment in the things that fulfill in you your deepest desires. What you don't want is two emotional invalids joined at the hip. No! See, I neglected my deepest desires for fourteen years and I became someone else, I became the servant of another person's life. I paid a heavy price, but I learned a great lesson and for that I will always be grateful. If you have a solid foundation with yourself, first and foremost, Joy will not need to be told to take a hike because we can't stand the thought of it. Joy is not controlled by someone else, and Joy will see you through.

May the fullness of Joy be your constant companion. May you be full and satisfied with who you are, may you reach out and take the hand of that tender lover waiting for you....and that would be you, my dear. It's a choice, a decision to be whole, right now, as you are. Joy full.....

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Monday, November 29, 2010

Divorce as a spiritual path

I had decided I would rename my divorce. I didn't go through a "divorce", I went on a spiritual path,and in the State of Kentucky it lasted about nine months. It takes nine months to grow a baby too, and that symbolism is not lost on me here. I birthed a new me in nine months, and it's all relevant. It's about perception here folks. The negativity associated with a divorce doesn't have to apply to everyone. Somehow "divorce" means you're a loser. It somehow means you have lost something crucial to your life...and while losing someone you've loved is a big deal, (that's if you still loved the one who filed on you), I'm just suggesting here that it doesn't have to define who you are.

There is nothing like having a wrecking ball take out your life! It gets your attention, it wakes you up, it smacks you up side the head and out of your daze. If you ignored all the warning signs of trouble in your marriage, if you closed your eyes to infidelity, emotional abuse, or worse, didn't tell anyone you were being physically hurt, when the bottom finally fell out of your life, just know, it was meant to be. By that I mean, the forces at work in our life often know better than we do what we need to climb out of the mire of our lives. One way or another we are forced to grow in a direction that generally we would rather not deal with. That direction, that Divine Guidance, will lead you to a foreign land.....and right into the heart of yourself. Are you ready for the ride? No? Good, follow me.....

This is an opportunity to rewire your circuits, sort of a cosmic brain surgery, if you will. Once your mind had splintered off in every direction, it will slowly start to come back together and form a new you. Each of you will come back out of the stratosphere at your own pace and in your own way. But to start fresh in this life, especially if you are over 35, is a blessing not to be ignored! The hardest part for me, and many others, was giving up the notion we had about how our lives "should" go. We invested so much time and energy, and when it all went south, so did we right along with it. We went down with ship, and on dry land that is not a virtue. Can you begin to look up today? Can you reclaim a lost joy? Can you begin to amass together the things that mean the most to you? Does Christmas hurt this year? Well, I wish I could reach out and hold you for a while if it does. But let's do this instead....

Make your home a nurturing place today. Start small, it's okay to balk at this idea, but do something that comforts you. Draw around you little by little all the small comforts of this life: good coffee, hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, a soft blanket, old movies, a roaring fire, s'mores, a few magazines.....you get what I mean. Learn to revel in these things without anyone having to be with you. Life is better shared, and I think all these things are wonderful when shared, but the trick is to be comfortable in your own skin, with you. You are an amazing human being. You are a creation of the highest order. You are your own beloved. You are who you've waited for.

Just entertain for a moment the notion that your beloved, the one who makes your heart sing, is residing right inside you, right now, as you are. If you can come to love yourself in this manner, to think of yourself with this much tenderness, you will have learned the secret to everlasting love....it's always been you, the beautiful man or woman that you are, and simply forgot about. Your divorce can lead you to a full and complete acceptance of yourself and show you a love that will never leave you. Never. And that, dear friends, is what we all want.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy


Thursday, November 25, 2010

So thankful

Today is Thanksgiving Day 2010 and I am profoundly grateful for this last year. I would not be who I am today if I had not been through a divorce. And as brutal as it was, it was necessary for my growth. Every aching heart that sits alone today, or that sits at a Thanksgiving table surrounded by people, yet feeling desperate and sad while ladling gravy onto every single thing heaped on their plate, I tell you this. You are thought of today. I am sending you love. I know you well....

If I could wrap you up in tender loving arms, I would. If I could ease the pain of separation from your children, because they are with your ex today, I would. If I could convince you that a year from now you could be celebrating a heart so full, so healed, so complete, that joy will just flow out of you, I would. But you will need to come to that realization yourself. Until then.....

Thoughts of light and love are sent your way. The struggling hearts of this world are thought of today, and I hold you in a place of honor. I bear witness to the pain, and I wish for you a full recovery.

Until next time.....blessings upon your heart.

Cindy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Fear not...

...for I am with you". That's a familiar line whether you're religious or not. I think we've all heard it, read it, been comforted by it....or like me....ran like hell from it. What was with me? It didn't feel benevolent, it didn't feel comforting. Fear was with me, and for my entire life I could see I lived in fear of something. The unseen fear, the insidious one that haunts your every step.....that's the gal I ran from...until I decided to hang out with her for a while. Have you ever known someone that just pissed you off for no apparent reason? Someone who made you feel uncomfortable? Did you ever suspect that if you just sat down and got to know this person you might actually find something you like about them, maybe even become friends? So this is a suggestion: befriend that which scares and confuses you. Stop running. Turn on the fear, ask it's name, then ask it out to lunch and get to know it once and for all. There is such relief in just surrendering.

Reclaiming your life after a major upheaval is not for the faint of heart. Reinventing yourself into who were meant to be is monumental, and worth it. The dark side of our psyches is a place no one wants to go, but I tell you this, if you can muster the strength and actually go there, what you will find is pure light. It's a gift waiting to be unwrapped. I wanted to learn the source of my fear. I wanted to learn why I sold out for the last fourteen years of my life. I wanted the relentless pursuit I felt from an unseen entity to simply stop. The day I realized that the only way to undo the terrors of the night was to shine a very bright light on them, was the day I started to reclaim my life. For one thing I was terrified of being alone, so I decided to sit with the "aloneness" of my life. I spent time alone for a while, days, nights, and weekends when I didn't have the care of my child, I just sat with the fear. I asked it, "What is so wrong with me that I can't stand to be with me"? I began to learn that if I loved every part of myself, if I accepted every part of myself then I would feel "at home" in my skin, my mind, my heart...and I would actually cherish the times I was alone, because I was with someone I loved. This realization came gently, it wasn't frightening to come to this understanding, it was gentle. The dark thoughts began yielding up their place in my head....finally. Quite simply they told me I was believing that if I was alone, it would mean I was unlovable. I had come to believe that I would only be lovable if I filled my life with someone else's life. I couldn't possibly be interesting on my own! It wasn't until after I got to the bottom of this uncomfortable feeling that I was able to reach out to others and create my own community. The work had to be done first so I wouldn't infect any new relationships with my old stuff.

Does any of this sound familiar? Is the fear that whispers in your ear, "You're not enough", the reason you have stayed so long in a hurtful marriage or relationship...or job? And when someone walks away from you and the pain is unbearable, is it because that last vestige of who you thought you were is now shattered all about you? There you stand alone with you, and if you are anything like me, that was a true moment of panic. But that's a good place to start....

Sit with what scares you. Befriend it. The fear is there to lead you out of your pain. It sounds weird, I know, but it's true. Fear means: False Evidence Appearing Real. So spring that trap.....and the light will come. Works like a charm.

Until next time....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reclaiming what has been forgotten....

Was there a time during your marriage when you suddenly realized you sold out? Did you have an epiphany one day, an "Aha! moment, or was it a slow burn? However the realization came, it probably left you unsettled, scared and in denial. My day came five years ago when I was making the bed, our bed, the bed that hadn't held a loving couple for years. Just like that, as I smoothed the bedspread out, I felt it....."I don't know who the hell I am anymore". What was I doing? Why did I care if this empty bed looked inviting or not? Why did I care if the pillows looked fluffed and ready? Ready for what? How did this happen to me? I remember the dogs barking at the mailman and I was instantly snapped out of my "selfish indulgence" of daring to feel. The authentic woman that resided deep inside me was screaming. She was screaming. And. I. Shut. Her. Up. But she would not be forever silenced. No way.

Thus began my years of profound Divine Discontent. My inner woman, the One who knew better then I, was not going to be ignored any longer. This was actually proof that I was loved, worthy, cherished...but I didn't see it. I was unable, at the time, to know that these inner urgings, these relentless feelings that I was meant for so much more, were the better part of myself pushing me to bust out. So what did I do? I hunkered down. I let fear in the form of low self-esteem and a lack of marketable skills to support myself rule the day. I sold out for a life of material comfort then to experience one of true, authentic adventure. Fear is a bitch. I ran from her daily. She pursued me all the more. The Bitch was a gift from God though, sent to me as a way to finally face what was holding me down. Something greater then I knew I would eventually turn on my pursuer and demand to know what She wanted from me.....but I still couldn't face her....so I copped out a while longer.

I can't tell you the nights I sat up in bed pouring over Internet articles on how to survive divorce! Desperately seeking some comfort, or an idea, a quote, or phrase that would magically make me feel better. But instead of consulting with the fear on Her own ground, I just felt worse. I read the gamut of strategies for coping....take up a hobby, join a book club, join a gym, get drunk, go to church, get laid, scream, smash a dozen cheap glasses against the garage door (I kinda wanted to do that one, but resisted), go lie down naked in your back yard at night and ask the Moon Goddess to take your pain away. (Okay...I tried that last one, but nothing worked). All the things I loved in life no longer held any interest for me, the reason being it all included my family....every activity, every home cooked meal, every Sunday drive, grocery shopping, eating out, holidays, gardening, everything....my husband, my beautiful daughters, my dogs....we were all together, doing everything together. Now my husband was gone for good, my oldest daughter was beginning college, and my little one was just trying to feel safe and whole again. I couldn't even stand my own skin or the home I had so lovingly kept. It was just raw, throbbing pain, and I thought it was going to kill me. But finally one day the time came for some truth telling....I had run long enough. I started to have the sneaking suspicion that the source of my discontent was something I could change myself. So began the reclamation of Cindy Stewart and the meeting of my fears face-to-face. I decided to ask the Bitch to tea to find out if we could be friends....and guess what?

Until next time...peace upon your heart

Cindy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Official...and final

I haven't written in a couple of weeks because I needed to "process". That's another over used word, isn't it?...."I need to process things"...."It's a process"...."Trust the process". Yeah, yeah, I know. You do need to though. And I did. So here I am again writing this blog that no one reads. It's probably more of how I "process" (Oopps...sorry) what went down in my marriage, my life, and how I came out the other end whole and sane. So be it, here we go...

The finality of anything is like hitting a doorstep you didn't see in your path...it trips you up. You think you've got it covered, you think you can handle what's coming. You play out scenarios, you practice reactions, you tell yourself you're "okay" with it. Then the day comes and you pick up the phone and it's the voice of your not-so-friendly lawyer telling you....."It's done, have a nice life". Wow. Just like that and your life takes on a new label. "Divorced". It's over....history. Or is it?

An emotional divorce must take place, and ideally it should have happened somewhere along the "process" (sorry) of the divorce proceedings. Your initial gut feeling upon hearing your divorce is final will be a good barometer as to how emotionally divorced you are. Did you double over in pain, cry out, throw up, smash something, get drunk? No? Good, neither did I. If you did however I would gently, (ever so gently, because you are still fragile), suggest you explore the feelings within you that are jerking you around. Now, I'll be the first to tell you that when I pass by the men's department at my favorite mall store I feel a twinge of pain. I loved buying clothes for my husband, especially sweaters at Christmas time, and dear people, Christmas is coming and with it all the extra pain this time of year can bring if you're still emotionally attached to your ex. The moments when you get a twinge, when there is a definite trigger that happens, (for me it's the men's department and a certain restaurant I pass by almost daily) are to be expected. Time will indeed be a gentleman in lessening the hold these things have on you. Twinges are okay.....deep emotional reactions, physical ailments...and rage, are sure signs more work needs to be done on yourself. And you're so worth it. I promise you are.

"Letting go" is the other over used language of our time. But, the day you can let it all go, cut the tie that binds (or strangles), will truly be a joyous day of recognition for you. You will see yourself in the clear light of day....a human being who went through some shit, and came out better for it. Forgiveness is huge here, and I'm not about to tell you to forgive someone who has ripped your heart out and stomped on it, no, not yet I won't say that. You need to grieve this first, and fully, or it will rear it's ugly head and impede your progress to a happy life. But when the time comes, and it will be a different timetable for everyone, forgiveness will set you free. Forgiveness blesses and heals the forgiver. It's doesn't let the perpetrator off the hook, it doesn't devalue your experiences or condone one single horrible thing they did to you. It let's YOU off the hook big time. Forgive them for your own well being, because you are worth more then holding onto that hot potato that is burning your hand to smithereens. This is one of the definitions of insanity in my book.....hurting yourself over someone else.

So...."process", grieve, seek counsel.....and then let go. I am at peace with my ex-husband/my child's father. I wish him well, he wishes me well. I love him on the level of loving all human beings.....and in spite of his shortcomings, he is my child's father, and I loved that more than anything else I disliked about him. For me, forgiveness has been the final hurdle that let me be truly at peace over everything that went down these last nine months.

I wish for you this day a new commitment to yourself, a commitment to let yourself off the hook. Get on now with the emotional divorce....and then get on with living your incredible life. What a gift that will be....

Until next time...blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Regrouping

The direction I'd like to go now is this: Regrouping your sanity, rediscovering joy and rebuilding your life. Please know, I am in no way suggesting you shouldn't still be hurting, or seeking answers, or doing whatever it is you need to do for yourself. What I am suggesting is that you begin to focus on your precious heart, that soft place that has undergone a major and life changing event. Focus on where you want to see yourself in a year. Is it back with your spouse? If it's meant to be and it works out that way, then my hope for you is it will be a return to a new and better life. But more times then not, it means a new life on your own...and if there are children, then rejoice! You will not be alone. Your role may be altered to accommodate a new schedule, and there may be grief as you adjust to being without your children when they are with your ex, but your children are your children, and they will be a blessing to you....and you to them. Remember, they are watching you. Show them a mother/or father who is strong, centered and whole, and you will strike a blow against broken homes everywhere. Nothing is broken that can't be mended, and just as a bone breaks and mends itself together, so too, will you become a much stronger and supportive member of your family. And if you are feeling shattered right now, you can begin to gather the shards of your life little by little and decide to make a new creation...if and when you're ready. I've seen shattered heirloom dishes lovingly gathered and made into beautiful new mosaics. A new creation, honoring the old, yet becoming an entirely new thing of beauty. Divorce can do this for you, if you let it. From it's ruins a new life is born.

What do you love? What was it that once made your heart sing? Do you remember? Are there any simple joys you can find today? In this season that is rapidly changing into Winter, let us seek the comfort of simple joy, in our hearts, our homes...wherever they may be...and within our family. If you are a family of one, you are especially thought of this day. I know how that feels. Special thoughts are sent your way.

Gentleness is the way to wholeness....and joy is waiting to be your companion. Take Her hand.

Until tomorrow....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Ruins....

There is a Melissa Etheridge song that goes..."If I am to heal, then I must first learn to feel the ruins....I will crawl through my past over stones, blood and glass, in the ruins"....really? Do I need to do that? Well, yes...and no. I don't believe in wallowing, not in pain, anger, cynicism, or mud. Wallowing keeps you stuck, taking responsibility moves you forward. A good cry or two, or several if that's what it takes, is definitely therapeutic...hell, I even had to scream my lungs out in my car until I was hoarse for a week....and I did that twice over the last eight months. But wallowing, no. Understanding the breakdown of your marriage is ideal of course, if you don't want to repeat those things in the next relationship you will have, but some things I discovered I will never understand. Does that mean I am to stay stuck? Am I to forever analyze and process all that went down? For me, the answer was and still is a resounding "NO". In the end, does it really matter who was right, who was wrong, or who was so f.u.b.a.r. that you couldn't possibly make sense out of it? Some things are just not meant to be understood. And if I wanted to keep harping on everything he did, then I was just putting my energy on him and not on myself. I might as well have just built an alter to him and bowed to it everyday. Ha! Yeah, like I wanted to do that. So...move on. Such a trite thing to say though, isn't it? Just move on. Everyone says it. Everyone talks about "closure" (so overused), "getting over it", "processing"....blah, blah. But by moving on I mean, and let me say, this is what worked for me, was actual movement.The first time a therapist said to me to get out everyday in the sunshine and walk, I thought, "why"? "Be in the moment" he said, again I thought, "why"? Then one day after forcing myself to get out and walk at the Arboretum, it all started to click. Physical exercise was moving me physically forward. My heart started beating to where I could actually feel it in my chest again, where before it was frozen, unmovable. As fresh blood began coursing through my body the endorphins were released, and I felt better. And since I have always looked for metaphors in life, I likened it to bringing fresh new blood into my outward life as well. I started to notice the birds singing, and being early spring, I watched day-by-day the blossoming of the trees and flowers. The blossoming thing was not lost on me. Could I be on a path? A spiritual path? A path that would lead me out of my former life and into a new one? Was this a good thing I was going through? Well, read on tomorrow when I begin to discuss how elated I was to realize that divorce can be a spiritual path back to yourself....to the One who was always waiting there for you.

Until tomorrow.....blessings on your heart

Cindy

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Identity Crisis

No two ways about it....my very identity was crushed. My carefully guarded, perfectly manicured identity completely fell apart with the slam of a door. Gone in sixty seconds flat, never to return. The facade was finally blown and there I stood, couldn't have been more naked or vulnerable had I tried. I look back now and see the source of the pain and devastation came from the fact that I just didn't know who the hell I was anymore. To become so stagnant in a marriage that you forget you are a living, breathing, passionate woman (or man) is a crime against oneself. When you ignore your inner pleadings....you know, the little whispers that begin politely enough, but when neglected turn into full force gale winds, ....something will occur to get your attention. There really is something within us that knows what we need. Call it what you will based on your own belief system, but quite simply, for me, it was The She. The One who knows. She waited patiently for me through the years, but She also required much....and that I was not willing to do. I knew what She wanted, and it was too much for me to handle. She wanted me to be myself. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Just be yourself, we hear it all the time. Not so simple. It means loving yourself more then anyone else, and loving yourself first. If you don't, you will not hear your own personal Truth calling to you....and your life will pass you by. I am fifty years old and have just recently accepted the fact that I am totally responsible for the years that went by me without so much as a "How do you do" from me. Every instance where I closed my eyes, my ears, my mind.....every time I pasted on a fake but beautifully lipsticked smile, I shut Her out. Well, that catches up with you sooner or later, and I'm convinced that for the length of time and the severity with which I shut myself out of my own life, I now see it was just that much more necessary for the "breakdown" to be as spectacular as it was. "Oh", I cried...."it's so sudden"! No it wasn't....it had been coming like a freight train for years.

The realization that I was responsible for my life, that I had a hand in it's demise, was something I just recently accepted. While not outwardly doing anything "wrong", I had committed emotional violence on myself more times then I cared to admit, and that will eat you alive, make no mistake. With a new acceptance for my part, and a desire to recreate myself....with my own personal identity in the forefront....I was able to gather up the shards of my shattered ego and start clean. And at fifty, no less!

When it hurts, take a look at what you believe about yourself. Is it really what "they" did to you that hurts, or is it because you had let your former life define you...and now there's nothing left. Refuse the crumbs from someone else's table! Set your own banquet. And if you mistakenly believe that your life is over because he/she decided to walk out....think again, my dears.

What do you believe about yourself? I suggest writing it down, and don't be afraid. Or, be afraid and know I am with you on this....and we'll push past the fear to your glorious Truth.

Until tomorrow....blessings upon your heart.

Cindy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where do I go from here?

That was my question for months. My equilibrium was severely whacked and I was in a free fall that seemed to rip away any sense of control over my life. Where was I headed? Everything outside of me hurt, everything. Places, people, my home, my own image staring back at me in the bathroom mirror, especially that.....it said "Loser"! With so much outward pain I had no where else to run but inside my own life. I had always closed up when things hurt me before, it was my natural defense mechanism learned long ago from parents who were completely emotionally bankrupt. And I learned well indeed, and I held onto it as part of my identity. But this time when I went inside myself it was to seek asylum, and then once in my own head I wanted back out again. So, I was stuck with me, no way around it. I didn't like myself very much. I had become the woman I had scoffed at for years. The stay-at-home mom, the one who gives up her life, her vision. her ideas, all for the greater good of the family. (Now I am not knocking motherhood, NO! It's the toughest and most rewarding job I know of.....and I do it everyday. But now it's with simple joy....but more on that later).

I knew the time had come for me to ask the proverbial question....."Who am I"? What I discovered was a half girl/half woman lurking inside, trembling. I took her hand, I told her I had neglected her long enough, I told her I loved her, and in a way that no human being ever had before, or ever would again. She stopped shaking. After three months of total denial and terror, I solidly set my foot on the path towards wholeness. A very good therapist told me that I was what I was waiting for all these years. Ha! It was me all along? Who knew? Surely not I, because I entertained the thought that happiness was "out there" somewhere. Yet, and I must admit, that notion never felt quite right either. There was a nagging feeling that I held my own key to my own life, that it wasn't what other people in my orbit did or didn't do that guaranteed my peace of mind, or my fullfillment, or my sense of self. No, it was me all along. This was both empowering and terrifying at the same time. It meant I had to stop blaming, I had to look at myself in the blazing light of day, warts and all, and gently begin all over again....on dry, fragile ground. Ground that bore no beauty, ground that was infertile for too long, ground that was shaky. Thus I began to write down everything I had ever hoped for in my life. It took three days but I got it all out, some of it had long been forgotten, but it flooded back to me when I started writing. And this, my friends, is where I learned to rediscover my passions....on paper, in the stillness of my bedroom, and many times in the middle of the night when sleep wouldn't come. My dreams flowed from my pen, not some imitation of someone else's life, but my true callings. This is not a selfish act, this reacquainting oneself with your heart's desire, this is a self-nurturing love that is too easily forgotten....and one that will water your dry ground with new life.

What calls to you? What stirs your very being in the middle of the day for no apparent reason, what stops you dead in your tracks and whispers..."hey, remember"? Write it down....

Until tomorrow....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

This I know....

You will not hurt forever. The pain will stop. Time is a gentleman, and what you need is tender loving time. Even though you may not feel like it, now is the time to nurture, nurture, nurture. Take every care, be gentle, eat something delicious....especially when you don't want to....especially when you think you can't possibly eat....please eat. Your world has been turned upside down, inside out, and you've had the ever lovin' crap stomped out of you. Your body hurts in ways you can't even explain. Every fiber of your being is screaming. I know...

My salvation came when I reached out to others. This was not easy for me. Not easy at all. Whatever your personal faith, now is the time to grab onto it like a lifesaver out in the middle of the ocean. Ask for the Grace to make it through the day. Hour by hour, moment by moment, if necessary. It definitely was necessary for me to ask for help on a daily and hourly basis....and I continue to ask.

What I would like to do here on this blog is to hold my lantern high for you. You are not lost. There are ways to restore your balance, your poise, your dignity....and I will share with you what I did to find these things again, to find my way back to wholeness. I will not preach, I will not advise, I will not assume that I know anything at all....except maybe, just maybe, I can offer an insight amidst my musings. My writing here is a way to continue on my own path to wholeness. I will share my Aha! moments, and if you take away a different perspective, a different way of looking at yourself, or the one that hurt you, then so be it. I will write what is on my heart day-to-day, and if something good jumps out at you, well then...do with it what you will. Just know this...you are beloved. You are known. And in the middle of the night when the pain is unbearable, you are known all the more, even if it's for every man, woman and child who has had to walk the path of divorce, you are known....and you are not alone. This pain will crack you wide open, but if and when you allow it, this will mean you can begin again, you can rewire the very inner mechanism that makes you tick. Be brave and look for the lessons. Stay open. Your soft underbelly is exposed, this very beautiful and tender part of you is now having a very bright light shine upon it. This path you're on, this painful time, it will serve you well if you use it as a way to grow into your true self.

I am holding my hand out to you....

Until tomorrow....blessings upon your heart

Cindy

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And so it begins...

Greetings to the struggling heart....

I've been there, I am still there is some ways (do we ever stop feeling, hurting or wondering why?), but I know there is a bright light at the end of this tunnel called divorce. I've seen it, I've been bathed in it and have followed it through to the other side. It is possible, dear reader, to come out better then you've ever been....more whole, more YOU! And I'm talking about the real you, not the one who has been buried in an unhappy marriage. Not the one who has forgotten his or her passion for life. Enough of that. Throw off the shackles....begin again. The future is wide open to you.....

This is my first post on my new blog. May you visit often, may you come away with something to lighten your day. Let this be a community of readers who can gather support...as well as hope and joy. I am with you all in spirit. We can walk this path together if you like.

Until tomorrow....blessings upon your heart.

Cindy