happiness

Stuck

I’ve been stuck with this blog for a little while now. There are a few reasons, some more petty and some the result of deeper growth and understanding. It frustrates me that Mr. X and his family use my blog to spy on my life. I check myself and say – well the blog is public and lots of people who I don’t know read it, so why does it bother me that they do? And the answer to that is because they’ve been the cause of a lot of pain and destruction for my family. However, if I want to keep blogging and telling my story that is something I will just have to learn to deal with.

The other part is that I’m realizing that my understanding of happiness has changed, deepened, progressed over these last few years. When I started, the only way I could connect to the feeling of happiness was in the smallest of moments – seeing Henry the Heron, a moment of laughter with my kids, a good book. Life was small and scary then.

Ironically life has continued to be scary – just no longer in the immediate will tonight be the night he offs me kind of way. But I had no idea when I started how much would change in my world in 4 years. How much loss, how much grief, how much love, how much deeper my faith would become. I often complain that I wish God would shine a flashlight on my path so I could see where I was going – but if He had 4 years ago I would have run for the hills. I never would have believed all the things that were coming up on my path, and I honestly don’t see how any of them could have been avoided.

And here I am, sitting quietly in Grandma’s kitchen, the sun going down over the mountains, and I think thank God I’m here, this is exactly where I’m meant to be. And that’s just it isn’t it? No matter what happens we are exactly where we are meant to be to keep growing and learning.

I’m now at the place where I understand that the next step is to let go, to make peace, to stop chasing moments of happiness and instead make peace with the shadows.

I’ve been reading a book called The Secret of the Shadow by Debbie Ford that described exactly what I’ve been searching for in my soul. Not just the brief moments of joy (although they’re important too) but the soul comfort of inner peace.

To begin the process of making peace with our stories, we must make a commitment to letting go of all of the behaviours we use to anesthetize our pain. If we look closely at those behaviours and are willing to tell the truth, we will probably see that most of the ways we numb ourselves don’t work very well anyway. In order for us to heal,  we must stop chasing what I call the “feel good moments’…. The process of making peace with our stories requires us to identify, accept, and embrace everything in our past that has caused us pain… As we make the inner journey of embracing our story and all its ingredients, we begin to see that life lies ahead of us, a life that will give us the gift of our eternal selves. Our traumas and failures, once they are understood and processed, will take us deep inside and return us to our Divine essence. 

I feel sometimes like I fight now to try and make up for the pain of the past, to try and make it right for me and the kids. But the pain of the past lies there no matter what I do in the present. Maybe if I can make peace with that pain I will find more peace now. It doesn’t mean remaining a victim – in fact it’s the complete opposite of that – it’s letting go of the victimhood. Instead of trying to cover up the searing wound with candydrop bandaids, it’s time to acknowledge they are there and see how they’ve shaped me into the person I am now.

I’ve struggled with how impossible it is to forgive someone who continues to hurt me, and not just me, but my kids as well. But I have faith that there is a way – because that is my path to peace and freedom.

And maybe this is part of why I’ve been putting off blogging – I knew I needed to say this, and yet I hate to let them see my weaknesses – even though being vulnerable like this is exactly what makes me strong.

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happiness

Expect less, accept more

One of my favorite sayings is when someone shows you who they really are, believe them. As someone who generally tries to see the best in someone it can be really be tempting to overlook the obvious and only see what I want.

But this week, I’ve had to expand on that idea. Sometimes someone can be exactly who you want them to be and it’s still not enough. I think this is where the issue of expectations come in. Either I’ll have unrealistic expectations or they will – sometimes it even falls somewhere in between in a weird area of poor communication and lack of understanding of what each other wants. All good friendships need lots of trust and good communication.

It’s confusing when people get upset with me for not behaving or feeling the way they want or expect me to. Especially when it’s a good friend and you feel there’s a certain level of trust where you should be free to be your true self. This happened to me this week, and as I was reflecting on this feeling, I realized I’ve done this to close friends myself. I too have wanted someone to be one way and when they ended up not being able to be that person I’ve been upset. Being on the receiving end of that didn’t feel very good, and I’ve actually apologized to someone that I’ve behaved that way to since. Fortunately my friend was very gracious and forgiving – another lesson to learn.

I think for me it’s a protective thing – I didn’t want to get hurt so I want to lash out first. I have no idea the intention of the person who got upset with me, and it doesn’t really matter. It did make me realize I need to expect less and accept more. I need to be more loving and accepting of the people in my lives and drop my expectations of who I think they should be. I don’t like it when people try and make me someone who I’m not – so why should I do it to them?

Personal growth – it’s no where near the rainbows and unicorns I was hoping for, it’s got a lot of tears and heartbreak mixed in that’s for sure. But it’s growth. Always moving forward, feet on the ground and face to the sun.

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Trust in me

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading the last few days about trust. It’s been a big one for me over the last few years – probably over most of my adult life. I don’t think that I went into my marriage having massive trust issues, but I certainly came out of it with more than my fair share.

What I realized as I was beginning to heal was that I no longer trusted myself. That crushed me – I felt like I had proven to myself over and over I was untrustworthy. After all, I had convinced myself to stay for years in a situation that wasn’t safe by telling my soul lie after lie about how things would change, or trying to convince myself that what he said was true and the reason he was so angry, deceitful, and absent was because of me. I have been working on changing that relationship with myself. Interestingly, it’s been at least as difficult a process as it would be to learn to trust and forgive someone else who had betrayed me. The good thing is I’ve been reading the perfect book Trust by Iyanla Vanzant – it’s giving me exactly what I need right now.

My exercise this morning in A Course In Miracles was to find the light inside of a person who had betrayed me. The only part of the exercise that was easy was deciding which person to pick. But you know what? He has a light inside too  – he may have covered it up with clouds of hate, anger, fear, rage, and whatever else – but there is a light in there, I’ve seen it before.

Here’s the thing. While I would like to think that he wouldn’t purposely leave his children without a way to have their needs met, that’s not true. No amount of wishing he is a different man than the one he shows me will change that – I know, I’ve spent years hoping he will change. And while I no longer go to bed at night scared he will make good on his threats to harm us, I still seem to hold out hope that he will turn into a decent person for the sake of my kids.

You know what that does? It messes with my ability to trust myself. I know he is trying to destroy me, I know he doesn’t care about the damage he does to the kids in the process. And yet I have spent sooooooo much energy trying to convince myself otherwise.

Here’s what I know for sure:

I have been depending on a man who has proven for years he’s not dependable

I have been trusting a man who has proven for years he’s not trustworthy

I have been wishing for him to change even though he’s proven he has no interest in being kind.

I know who he is and what he’s capable of and still I expect him to behave differntly

I expect him to do what I know he will not do and be who I know he is not

It is impossible for him to become trustworthy just because I want him to be

He has shown me who he really is and I have to believe him.

You know what telling myself all those lies has done? It has messed with my ability to trust myself. It’s affected the most important human relationship I have – the one with my own soul. It makes me betray my heart and my intuition to convince myself that I can trust him.

And he has very, very clearly shown that he has no limits to the pain he is willing to inflict not only on me but on the kids. My poor kids are devastated right now and it hurts me to the core of my soul.

So, I keep working on forgiveness, now for myself. I need to forgive myself for not trusting my inner voice, for not valuing the power of my intuition. Part of me knew as soon as mom died he was going to come after me again – and I was right, but I forced myself to ignore it. And now here we are.

With that, I feel like he’s had enough airtime in my life and on my blog. I am working on forgiveness, but I’m also standing up and saying that what he’s doing isn’t right. I’m doing it here, but I’m also working with the authorities to get them moving on forcing him to deal with the consequences of his actions. Part of me trusting myself means knowing that I’m not afraid to stand up for myself and for my kids. I’m not the same woman he used to beat down.

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Beginner’s mind

Today I read a passage in the book A Return To Love that allowed me to better understand some of the issues I’ve been having both with meditation and with surrender.

In Zen Buddhism, there’s a concept called “zen mind”, or “beginner’s mind”. They say that the mind should be like an empty rice bowl. If it’s already full, then the universe can’t fill it. If it’s empty, it has room to receive. This means that when we think we have things already figured out, we’re not teachable. Genuine insight can’t dawn on a mind that’s not open to receive it. Surrender is a process of emptying the mind. 

I think of how many nights (and days) I have listened to endless mind chatter. Worrying about one thing or another, being angry about things I can’t change, thinking about the past or the future. My rice bowl has been full. When I meditate the bowl empties out a bit, when I have CST treatments it’s like someone turns that bowl upside down and shakes all the old stuff out.

I keep telling God I want to surrender, I want to hand my worries over to him. Yet I have control issues, I think I can handle things myself (FYI, I can’t), I keep my rice bowl full of things that aren’t nourishing me.

I understand better why the meditation time is so important, why I feel so filled after a CST treatment. I have made space in my head for the voice of God. That is happiness.

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The River

Likely because I’ve been working so hard on forgiveness and surrender, I have been given the opportunity to really put them both to the test these last few days. I’m tired –  really, really tired –  and I know the only way to release the burden is to turn it to God and ask Him to carry it for me.

Sunday when we were at church we sang this hymn:

and I felt it in my soul. I downloaded it on Spotify and I’ve been listening to it non stop ever since.

Today as I felt completely wiped out by the stresses I’m dealing with in my life, I listened to this song over and over – playing it in the background as I went about my daily routine. It brings me peace – when I listen to it I can feel Jesus sitting with me, holding my hand, letting me know it will all be alright. It will be – and this time instead of reacting with rage and anger (which I really, really want to do) I’m going to just keep working on forgiveness, surrender, and strengthening my faith.

Lately I’ve witnessed a really moving example of people responding to malicious cruelty with kindness and compassion, and I have decided that I want to be more that kind of person than the one who responds to it with outrage and a victim mentality. The only thing I can really control is how I respond in this situation, and even that I can only do with God’s help. I realized listening to the hymn that I need to meet Him at the river. Not that I want to, or would like to, but that I honestly need to meet Him, I need help, support, and love that only He can give me.

If happiness comes from within (and I believe it does) then I can choose to stand in my own happiness and love no matter what is thrown at me.

 

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Back to reality 

We crawled back into reality this morning after a very late night arrival from our vacation. Tired, but happy and more relaxed we are able to start catching up with life. 

I extended my soul happy relaxation time and met with one of my healers today. He’s so wise and so good at guiding the healing system – I am so grateful he’s part of my process. I talked with him about my realization that it is time to properly forgive, and that it is time to open to new hope and joy. I’d gladly just do the latter, but it seems the former is part of the process. 

I hugged my Drishti and thanked God that he’s in my life. It was great to get away, but we have a pretty blessed and happy life here too. It is good to remember that. That is happiness. 

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Divine Intervention

I was in kind of a pissy mood this morning (shocking because usually I’m such a treat first thing). I had a couple of things happen that had left a bitter taste in my mouth and I was feeling pretty annoyed. I kind of sat with those feelings for part of the morning, trying to figure out what to do. I played out conversations I could have or actions I could take to express my hurt and discontent. Nothing seemed to really feel right and I wasn’t sure what to do about it.

The image of my beloved Pastor from our church in VA kept popping into my mind and I decided it was time to touch base with her. When things were at their worst, when I was totally broken and alone, it was her hand that reached out to help me up. She not only helped me through my situation, but she walked me onto the path that brought me to this awesome relationship with God. She was absolutely divine intervention.

I sent her an email discussing the events in our family over the past few months. Some things I’ve shared here, a lot I have not – I shared it all with her. She is one of those amazing people who will listen to it all and then walk alongside you without judgement. I miss her support and advice more than I had realized, but I feel so grateful that she was there for me in a time when it literally saved my life.

She wrote me back and caught me up on her life and her family. It was wonderful to get that little update and to know that this person who for me radiates the love of God is still fulfilling her dharma.

It was amazing how emailing with her put me into a different place emotionally. All of those discontented feelings that had been running around in my brain seemed to have quieted themselves after that. My heart felt clearer and more at peace. It was a very clear and satisfying happiness moment. She reminds me how important it is to hold out that helping hand whenever it is possible – you never know the difference it could make in someone’s life.

Image result for i believe in prayer. it is the best way to draw strength from heaven

 

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