Monthly Archives: May 2016

Forgiveness is a Process

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Forgiveness isn’t something you do. It’s a process you actually have to go through. Sometimes the process is short and can end with a simple “I’m sorry”, and sometimes it takes a long time.

Give yourself a break. If you are struggling with forgiveness, you don’t have to feel bad. Even paper cuts take time to heal. If you’ve been stabbed in the back, of course it’s going to take a lot longer to heal that one.

Daily Reminder: Forgiveness is a process.

Lost In The Moment With Coffee And a Spider

Like a little girl who was promised a pony on Christmas morning, I was seriously looking forward to an event at work in which Byron Katie was coming to talk (if you haven’t hear of her, you have to Google her. She’s AMAAAAHZING!!). Byron Katie is a world-renown speaker and author who teaches “The Work”, a method of self-inquiry that can end emotional suffering. I can’t speak highly enough about the tremendous power her technique has and how much it has contributed to my own healing.

I’m getting sidetracked…

Anyway, I was really looking forward to her coming to Stanford. Her tickets are normally $1,000 but I got to go for free, so there was no way I was going to miss this event! I went an hour early, grabbed a coffee and got the second to front row. Not bad! I was super excited, heart racing with so much anticipation to finally meet and see her!

The host introduced her, and in all her glory she walks on the stage, sits down, and I feel this complete sense of wonder and peace come over me.

Suddenly, I noticed a small spider crawling in a poofy-haired older women sitting in front of me. The spider was carefully crafting its web. I felt a moral obligation to inform her of the spider! After all, I would want someone to tell me if I had a spider in my hair. Then doubt came over me; I didn’t want to interrupt Byron Katie, and I certainly didn’t want to draw attention to myself or to this poofy-haired woman. I wondered how I could relay the message to this poofy-haired woman. A letter? A whisper? No… if I did that she might freak out, jump up and scream. What if I took my pencil and tried to take the spider from her hair? No… that would definitely cause a distraction. Bryon Katie might even think I’m raising my hand trying to speak…

The web took form. The spider was weaving in and out of this poofy-haired woman’s hair. I was torn. Oh, if only she knew… Oh, how can I tell her of this creature!? I decided that I would wait until after the presentation to tell her. I supposed that if the spider wasn’t even noticed by her, maybe it’s not that big of a deal after all.

My bladder was filling with the coffee I had chugged earlier. My pants began to feel tight. I started feeling uncomfortable. I was not about to miss this event I had long been awaiting! I refused to excuse myself. Slowly, I noticed that between the spider and the coffee I was having a hard time understanding the discussion.

The presentation ended. In fear of making a mess, I ran out of the building as if it was on fire, to the ladies room. As I walked out of the restroom it had occurred to me that I forgot to tell the lady about the spider.

It also occurred to me that I was so obsessed about the spider and my filling bladder that I completely missed out on really hearing that presentation…

 

Byron Katie’s website is here:

http://thework.com/en

All The Work is free and easily accessible. It’s wonderful! Try it!

 

Am I a Failure…?

Often, I feel like a total failure. I look in the mirror and see “FAILURE” in my reflection. I loathe around wondering how I got myself into this mess? Why did I make certain choices? Why can’t I make better ones? My life is a mess…

And then I remember… that’s the most selfish thing I could ever think. I look at my children and see the greatest, most magical miracles of the world. I did that… These little miracles came from me! These truly powerful, loving, good human beings… they call me “Mom”.

Yes, I have made more mistakes than I care to admit to. I continue to make mistakes I’m not proud of. But I’ve shown them that making mistakes should never keep you down, but push you to strive for better. Each and every day.

I took another look in the mirror and I saw…courage.

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It Will Get Easier (or not…)

I once confused “things will get easier” with “things will eventually change to your liking”.

Now I understand that as we go through the inevitable disappointments in life, as long as you are growing through it, your ability to overcome them gets stronger. That’s why things get easier. If your heart was a muscle, it could only be strengthened by working it out. Trying to find compassion or a loving response to something we want to violently strike down takes some serious heart strength!

When we run from, deny, avoid the inevitable disappointments (or stay resentful) we don’t learn anything. I.e., the heart never gets a work out. It’s equivalent to sitting on the couch eating junk wishing you were fit.

Things get easier, for sure, if you are learning and growing from your experiences. Problems don’t disappear (and unfortunately they never will- that’s life) but their affect on you might!

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Courage to Let Go

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It takes courage to let things go- the moments or people that hurt you, disappointed you, the moments when you suffered loss and betrayal.

It takes courage to let it all go. But you have to have enough faith to believe that what is in front of you is so much greater than what is behind you.

Learn how to forgive, or you will not be able to live, thrive, or move forward. You will always suffer. Do you want that?

If something, some person, some moment, instance or whatever it is, is still living in your head, it is going to stay alive, active, and very vivid in your life.

You have to determine if you want to embrace your life or wallow on the ground in your history. Only you can make that decision.

I hope you want more in the second half of your life than what you had in the first half of your life, but for that to happen you have to let the first half go.

Be brave. Let it go.

Today is Your Day 1

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I was talking with a good friend about “stuff”. About how I’ve grown and started seeing things more clearly. I talked about the challenges of my codependent behaviors and struggle to make decisions that are good for me; prioritizing my mental and physical health before others. After seeing how much damage I have caused myself for the past 35 years, I told him I was excited and ready to make changes.

His response was so simple: “That’s awesome. Today is your Day 1.”

I don’t know what it was about that simplistic response. It felt so good to know that any day can be my Day 1. Even at this age, today can be my Day 1. And if today doesn’t go according to plan, I felt relief that tomorrow can be my Day 1 also.

Every day is a choice. Just because we fail one day, or make a bad choice one day, doesn’t mean tomorrow has to follow suit.

One day at a time

Here’s to Day 1!

Who am I?

It’s going on 2 months since our separation. There were times he would come visit the baby hungover. Sometimes he would come home in the middle of the night drunk, and then he would disappear again. Who was he with? What was he doing? How could he live like this? Doesn’t he know it’s a horrible example for the kids and most certainly hurtful to me…?

I can’t sleep at night because I keep thinking of how my husband isn’t the kind of husband, person, boss, worker, family member, father, and friend I think he should be. The thought bothers me so much I spend night after night ruminating on all the times he doesn’t do what he is supposed to do and all the times he makes bad choices or hurts me.

My original obsessive thoughts were, “What kind of father does he want to be? What kind of husband does he want to be? Is he happy living this way?” And then it hit me… Maybe he hasn’t given any thought to that. Maybe he IS happy living that way. Maybe it was me who was confused…

After several weeks of no sleep and reaching the point of physical and emotional burnout, it was only then that I finally realized something very painful… I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t even being the woman I thought I should be, the wife I should be, the mother I should be… Of course I could justify myself by saying, “well, his actions are horrible compared to mine…” But so what? Even if that were the case, that doesn’t change anything. It can’t change him and it hasn’t gotten me any closer to feeling better, happier, more confident, or more loved.

So I asked myself: What kind of mother do I want to be? What kind of friend do I want to be? What kind of wife do I want to be? What kind of employee do I want to be?  I realized I don’t have the energy to be the person I want to be when I spend all my energy thinking about how he isn’t being who he should be and do what he should do, and when I ruminate on all the things he did that he shouldn’t have done, all my energy gets sucked away from me so forcefully and quickly that I can’t even begin to consider where to start on my own stuff.

Every single moment of every single day, I have the opportunity to be the exact person I want to be in that moment. When I am driving, I am Driver. When I am cooking dinner, I am Cooker. When I am walking my dogs, I am Dog Walker. When I am with my children, I am Mommy. When I am at work, I am Worker. If I can focus on being the best version of me in that moment I am whatever role I am, I will have fulfilled my purpose in that moment. I will have been the best and perfect person I can be. When my energy is spent on that moment, I have no energy for anything else, and my energy and time will have been spent well. It will have been a very successful day.

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Sometimes we are in situations in which we cannot easily identify “who we are” in that moment. For example, last night  my husband (although we are still separate) took us to a friend’s barbecue. At first it was hard to enjoy myself as I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t understand anything (everyone spoke Spanish). My mind started going to a negative place, and I almost found myself criticizing my husband for bringing us there and leaving us to fend for ourselves… To make matters worse, the host of the party was one of my husband’s “friends” that has on several occasions lied to me about my husband and her “dealings.” I was starting to feel a strong sensation of anger coming on and began contemplating all the things I wanted to tell her to realize how wrong she was to lie to me. The night could have been a complete disaster! Trying to stay focused on “who I am”, I didn’t know if I should be “Mommy” and focus on the children (at the risk of isolating myself from the group), or “Wife” and pretend that my marriage was wonderful when it obviously was not… All I knew was that I didn’t want to be “resentful, angry, and revenge-seeking.” And then I realized who I was: I was Guest! It was easy then to be a great guest! I made sure I enjoyed myself in whatever way I felt I needed to. I was the guest, and I did a great job of being a guest. And then, as a guest, I left when I was done being a guest. As I was playing the role of Guest, I was also able to successfully pull off being Mommy and Wife flawlessly and without effort.  It was simple. In the end, I was able to be exactly who I wanted to be, how I wanted to be, and the night ended well. No regrets.

In each moment, in the role I am playing I can be fully present and engaged, and it is by playing my role fully that I am able to be in that moment and give all of myself in that moment. It is then, and only then, that I am able to be the best I can be.

Not perfect, but perfectly me.

I’d like to think I know what people should be doing and how they should be behaving, but when it doesn’t happen the result is complete sadness and disappointment. Interestingly, the only one walking away butt-hurt is myself. But when I think of who I want to be and what I should be doing, every moment is an empowering choice to be exactly who I want to be and live according to how I believe I should live. The ironic thing is that when I am living the way I think I should be, and doing what I think I should, nothing else seems to matter.

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This Day is Yours, To Make of it What You Will

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What a glorious day this will be, if I can remain focused on doing what is best for me!

Sometimes I get sidetracked and allow outside events and people to affect my mood. There are times I go an entire day feeling sad or miserable before I realize that I’ve just allowed someone else’s behavior or words to sabotage my whole day!

Sometimes I forget that peace doesn’t come from getting someone to do or say something to me to make me feel better about myself. That’s me willfully becoming a prisoner to another person (often with the other person not even knowing I am their prisoner!) Freedom comes when I set myself free from the emotions and behaviors of others.

“But look at what they are doing to me!” I could argue.

“No… look at what you are doing to yourself.” I have to remind myself (ugh…grunts, shuffles feet, looks down and kicks the dirt).

I don’t know why things are the way they are or why I have to go through the things I am going through, but I know with all my heart that my life is in good hands. Regardless of how it looks right now, it has always worked out for me in the end. Every time I found myself panicking about how things are going to turn out, I am always surprised at how things turned out far more better than I originally anticipated (and oftentimes much more awesome than I could have done if I tried to control the outcome).

Today I will remember: If I want chaos, all I have to do is focus on someone else’s behavior. If I want peace, all I have to do is focus on my own.