Please forgive me! I have not written to you for ages - literally - and I would like to share with you why.
My thanks to Jim who prompted me to spur myself into action after he sent an email wondering if he was still on our mailing list! Yes, Jim you are - and here is the newsletter, thank you!!
So, in December my husband and I decided to separate. We loved and respected each other but we were not 'in love' any more. And we had both tried very hard for a long time. It wasn’t easy and took courage and involved a lot of heartache. It was a huge change obviously for both of us and we are still in the process of adapting.
It has been an interesting time and I am proud of both of us for the way we have managed it. It is probably one of the most amicable divorces in history and we are both committed to continue supporting each other and being in each others lives. For many this is not the case. There are many reasons for separation and there are always lessons to learn - hard as that is to hear at times. For me, our thinking is a huge part of the consequences of a split. Read on!!
As I reflected on this newsletter and not only what to write but how to write it, I realised that the lessons I have learned may be helpful for some of you! Or I hoped they would! And if not, then at least you will know why there have been no newsletters for a while! LOL.
Keep in mind, this is all new and I am making slow progess and I am sure there is much you will think I could be doing better! And also that for some, who have not been able to navigate an amicable split for whatever reason, there is still something of value in it. Being angry and bitter only harms the person who is angry and bitter! But you all know that! And it’s a choice we make.
I am committed to being the best version of myself and with a lot of help from my BFF who has been so kind and such a rock, and my former husband who is also incredibly kind and generous, I am imagining I will get there! And I am choosing not to allow ‘victim’ or blame thinking to enter my mind - it does no one any good! But is an interesting pattern to notice if it’s present and work out why it’s there.
Lesson 1: Allow vs Avoid
I spent a good 6 months avoiding feelings! But I wasn’t conscious that I was avoiding feelings! I just stayed busy and did things to occupy my mind so I didn’t have to deal with what emotions were arising! It seems a pretty common theme with humans - to avoid feeling pain and I can understand why, but it’s part of life and actually has to happen. If you don’t allow it to happen, it’s my belief the Universe steps in to help you feel and face what is going on! And, in it’s wisdom it did with me.
We lived under the same roof for 6 months after the decision and about 2 weeks after he moved out, I had avoided feeling brilliantly by cleaning! It was therapeutic and there was a lot to do. One day, after a LOT of cleaning, I looked at the pool and realised the acid levels were low. Ken was away so I thought ‘I can do this’! Well I did but to cut a long story short…I mixed chlorine with hydrochloric acid UNCONSCIOUSLY…by not being present and paying attention to what I was doing! Unbeknownst to me, that created chlorine gas which when you inhale ulcerates the tissues in your sinuses, nose and lungs! So the next week was spent in bed thinking I was going to die!
However, it did give me time to reflect on why this had happened. Things always happen for a reason - we just can’t see it at the time. It taught me that important lesson - I had been avoiding feeling and taking time to process those feelings and what had happened - the grieving, loss, pain and fear.
Have you had a similar experience where you have avoided or ignored processing some emotional event and something happened that forced you to deal with it?
So that is where I am now - allowing myself to process the feelings and learning to sit still and with being uncomfortable. I have - up till now - not been good at either!
Lesson 2: Accept - and surrender to the flow
One of the lessons that is emerging is to accept what has happened and not plague myself with ‘what if…’; ‘if only…'; if I had done blah’; thoughts. We both really did work and do our best to create a great relationship. We are both great people - well I think he is great and I am working on thinking I am great!…ish! Which brings me to another part of lesson 2 - to consciously observe my thoughts and not allow the negative ones to take over!
Even as I was typing - we are both great people I had to say ‘well I am working on thinking I am great’ - and I decided to leave that in the newsletter. Because it’s a reminder to me that I still have some distance to go!
It’s so easy to be unconscious of our thoughts and then notice - ‘suddenly - we feel sad or anxious or depressed…and not connect the two. If you examine what you are saying to yourself when you feel sad or anxious, I guarantee you will find thoughts like "I’ll never find anyone else’; ‘no one else will love me’; ‘I’m too difficult’; ‘all men/women are #@$%*’; there are no good people out there’; ‘at my age…’; and so on!
Check your fears as well - cos I know they are well and truly trying to ‘get me’ at the moment and unless i am diligent, they will win! And I will feel miserable!
Becoming a master of observing our thoughts is critical for dealing with everything - literally - in life! Our thoughts literally create our reality - because they control our perceptions. We see what we expect to see (determined by our thinking which also determines our beliefs and our mindsets) - not reality.
The trick I am finding is to not only observe my thoughts but to consciously and diligently focus on gratitude. Actually finding things for which to be grateful no matter what the situation looks like has helped me enormously.
Really, at the end of the day, my life is all about the decisions I make; the choices I make - and I want them to be conscious choices. We are making choices all the time - unconsciously. And these unconscious thoughts and fears rule our lives - so if you want to break a habit or a pattern of behaviour - start observing your thinking and making conscious choices!
Once we are conscious of the thoughts we are having (remember you think with your head, heart and gut - literally!), then we can choose to surrender to the flow of the process.
Everything in life is a process! Something happens and then we deal with it - consciously or unconsciously. Some choose to drink or drug themselves out of feeling; others clean (!!); others get and stay depressed; others tell themselves how everything is wrong and become victims by not taking responsibility for their actions and thinking.
Surrendering does not mean giving up! It means not defending or fighting what appears to be. And acknowledging that our learning might be to wake up - to become conscious! It is about accepting what has happened and following intuition about what our role is - what is our part and our path from here. Sit and meditate and see what comes to you - allowing emotions and feelings to be there….which leads me to lesson 3. It’s about asking yourself ‘what am I learning’ vs focusing on ‘what I have lost’.
Lesson 3: Adjust
This is the phase I am in at the moment. Adjusting to the change. It is different and if I am honest, at times a bit scary! But I remind myself how blessed I am and how grateful I am that we are amicable and Ken is still in my life and we are friends and he will help me when I need it - as I will him.
When I focus on the gratitude, the ‘uncomfortableness’ becomes more tolerable. I can breathe better! And I know I have to do the uncomfortable-ness because if I don’t - I might have another ‘chlorine gas’ incident or equivalent cos I will never do that again! LOL.
Adjusting takes time. Periods of feeling uncomfortable, sad, scared etc and then finding moments of peace. Doing my work - on myself - not just cleaning and speaking!!! LOL. Allowing myself to feel...and time to just ‘be’ with it all. Knowing that I am adjusting and being kind to myself and giving myself grace to fumble through!
All in all…I am grateful for the many lessons and for Ken’s kindness and generosity and willingness to keep our ‘best friend/brother/sister’ status. I know it has not been easy for him either.
But...we are both moving forwards. Allowing, accepting and adjusting. And we are both trying to make the process as joyful as possible!!! And trust me there are times when it’s nothing like joyful but again, we can choose to have peace about it or not. And real joy is inner peace.
TA DA to us and everyone else who is dealing with some change in life or circumstances! Keep going!