Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gratitude and Reflection

I’ve always viewed the holiday season as a time for gratitude, contemplation and planning ahead a little bit. It has nothing to do with the religious aspects of Christmas, although I’m sure that lends some good energy to my thoughts. I think I view the end of the year as a turning point, sort of a “what did I accomplish in the last twelve months” kind of thing. This time last year I went on vacation with my then husband. It started out as a good plan but the marriage had been turning sour for months. It was an opportunity to try to turn things around, talk it through. That wasn’t meant to be because the heat was turned up ten fold with unfounded accusations and from my perspective seeming insanity that served no purpose other than to make me feel as bad as he did inside, a pain he refused to acknowledge and take responsibility for, something he blamed me for and I had nothing to do with it.

I decided then that the end was near. My friends were in favor of trying to save it but I had already tried and it just wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t strong enough to face a divorce with someone I knew would turn very vindictive and mean on me so had to wait a few months. The sick and hurtful drama perpetuated by my own mother had me so torn apart. ( Another individual who needed help but refused to get it and then made me to blame for not rescuing her). I’ve written about it before, I really did try but my best wasn’t good enough. I learned last December that you can’t rescue people and they will be who they are. You sometimes have to make difficult choices then, and if there is any mental instability in those people, brace yourselves for something difficult. I didn’t linger through the pain long, I looked ahead. I withstood battle after battle, attack after relentless attack and I kept going understanding it wasn’t about me at all. In April I found the courage to begin another ending. I cut ties with both my Mother and my Ex-husband and I didn’t look back except to try to understand the lesson, to make sure I had really learned it. Both situations were thematically similar. Guess it was a big lesson. Two pillars in my life had shattered and only months before the first was obliterated, my job.

I felt so weak and fragile then, emotionally speaking. It was hard to breathe, hard to move, I couldn’t eat nor could I sleep. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I took accountability for my actions and grabbed hold of understanding for the hurtful things I could not control. I had to believe the situations I faced were designed to bring me growth even though I could not really see the lessons through the tears of anger and betrayal. The one thing I was proud of wass that I refused to become a victim and I eventually stopped seeing the people involved as villains. Instead I stepped back and realized that from a much higher perspective, there were just things I had to learn, I needed the strength and growth that would come from having solid structures completely shattered and taking baby steps to build them again. I changed phone numbers, moved, got a new job and filed for divorce and began slowly to rebuild my life.

What a difference a year makes. Despite all of the challenges I learned that all the healing focus I’ve engaged in has had a wonderful result. I learned I could love, I learned how to date, I’ve had so much fun and so many new experiences, I have the best friends in the whole-wide world. Were it not for Ginger, Robert and Laura – 3 angels on Earth, Richard – another special soul I met on my journey that brought about some major healing, I don’t know how I would have made it through. They lifted me up, they helped me to focus, they gave me back myself and reminded me how amazing I was even though I couldn’t see it. My friend Scott, although we’ve never met was there too…a wonderful man and excellent listener…we helped pull each other through some of the trips and traps of emotions in divorce…my friend Chris, another I’ve never met also helped by sharing his insights and listening to mine. All angels on earth is the way I think about it. Today on the day of Christmas Eve, I think of them all and how grateful I am to the powers that be for sending them to me and allowing me also to be of service with kindness and love. Oh this group has had some pretty big and very similar challenges this year and I can see why all of our paths converged…we had something we needed from and something to give to each other.

Today, I’ve returned to myself, learned to find solace in my soul, I’m smiling at strangers just because I can, I have hope where I once held nothing but despair and darkness and I’ve healed probably 98% as a result of my efforts and the efforts of my friends. Although the world can seem to represent a challenging place for life, it is amazing and beautiful too. I don’t think I ever purposefully worked towards happiness as that always seemed a bit fickle and illusive to me. This last year I’ve worked only to find peace, find what my center felt like, and truly learned to understand what serenity meant. I learned to move into my soul and view life as if I were an observer of a play, detach emotionally long enough to understand and then step back into the emotions, whatever they may be and work to heal them. I’ve had many opportunities to share the things that I’ve learned this last year and the greatest gift I’ve ever been given is folks who took the time to say thank you, you changed my mind and helped me heal. Really, that has been the most amazing gift and one I plan to continue to give where ever I am called to give it.

The secret of life is truly love and love takes on so many forms. When my friend Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer she knew what I was going through and said she felt bad for leaning on me and I told her I had enough strength for both of us and would be there for whatever she needed. She wrote me yesterday, the kindest words I have ever seen and I cried…not for her gratitude but really just for the opportunity to mean something to someone in that way. She’s doing so well now and she’s almost back to her old self…but even better. I’m so proud of her!

I am absolutely elated as I sit here this morning and think about where I’ve been, where I landed and how I feel in this moment. Every experience I’ve had this last year has hit me with the deepest meaning possible. I can’t say that’s bad or good, it just is what it is and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn. My thoughts for today surround gratitude, understanding lessons learned, allowing yourself to give and receive love in all of its forms and seeking out serenity and peace no matter what chaotic situation you find yourself in. Sometimes instead of battling, its time to just stand there and experience what is going on (emotionally speaking), step back into your soul a little bit, away from the ego, and try to imagine the themes of the lessons you were meant to be learning. It isn’t easy but I promise you its worth it. When you refuse to learn something a theme will repeat for you until you get it right…oh yeah, then there is that part about the more you learn, the harder and faster the lessons come…but have no fear. If you keep your awareness focused outward and your understanding tuned acutely inward, you can do anything you set your mind to. My thoughts and prayers are with you all that you enjoy a measure of peace as this year comes to a close, that you encounter prosperity in the year to come and above all else this next year fills your heart with love in many forms. Season’s Greetings.

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