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


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


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.


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


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


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