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You are SO VERY worthy of love

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Recently someone told me, “how could anyone love you now?” He was referencing the fact that I have two kids and have divorced twice. 

Those words sat with me for a few weeks. Maybe he’s right. Who could possibly love someone like me? 

For weeks I deeply and genuinely considered accepting that fact. For weeks I was ready to accept that I was not put on this earth to be truly loved by a man. I figured maybe my life purpose was to do great things alone, and that was completely fine. After all, I love myself! I really love who I am, where I am in life, and what I’ve accomplished. So what if no man could ever love me. Yeah, the thought made me feel a little lonely, but nevertheless I’d be fine. After all I’ve gone through, maybe I was being selfish or stupid to think life would be a little bit better, and definitely a lot more fun with a life partner…  Maybe that’s the price I have to pay for all of my mistakes. I can accept that. Life is still pretty awesome.

And then it finally hit me: What he told me is not true. Maybe what he told me was actually something he was feeling about himself.

The Truth

The truth is there is a little (and sometimes BIG) part of EVERYONE that feels unlovable or unworthy. 

You giving your body and heart to someone who is incapable of love doesn’t make you unlovable. You mistakenly trusting people who have bad (or ZERO) good intentions toward you does NOT make you unlovable. 

Does it make you naive? Perhaps.

Does it mean you suck at picking potential partners? Possibly, but that can be fixed.

Does it mean you made a few mistakes? Yeah, it does.

But it does NOT make you unlovable, and it definitely does NOT make you unworthy. And THAT’S where the difference lies. 

Truly loving another person is hard, and the reason is because love takes tremendous courage. Love requires an open heart and mind, faith, patience, and a commitment to go back again and again to acting in a loving way, BEING LOVING, even when we don’t want to or feel like it. Even when shit gets a little scare and we aren’t sure. It means forgiving when we feel we’ve been wronged. It means fully owning and being accountable for our part of the problem. REAL LOVE is so, so very hard to actually do. 

And the truth is that sometimes it takes quite a bit of having your heart broken, crushed into tiny pieces even, to fully grasp the awesomeness of this REAL LOVE, to genuinely appreciate what it means to LOVE and BE LOVED. The truth is that not a lot of people are ready or willing to experience REAL LOVE, at least not yet. 

But you do. You get it. 

And that’s why you continue to love. 

So if you are reading this and have ever felt the way I did, please don’t believe it any longer. Don’t let those thoughts seep any further under your skin. Don’t let them anywhere near your heart, because it isn’t true. You are lovable. You are worthy. You are SO VERY worthy of love, because THAT IS WHO YOU ARE

What is Love?

The decision to love.

What is love? I get asked that a lot. Even now I don’t have an answer. But what I do know is that the decision to actually choose love over that which is not love, is not an easy one.

Day in and day out we are faced with endless opportunities to choose Love.

We see it in the moment our children come running for a hug but we are rushing out the door, late for a meeting. We see it in the moment our partner passive aggressively complains about something we’ve said or done, again, about that petty thing we are so sick and tired of hearing about. We see it in the moment we check out at the grocery line and could have spoken to the cashier, but just wanted to pay and go home. We see it on our long commutes home when someone else is trying to merge and we’d rather speed up so as not to “lose our place in line”. We see it in the meals we cook for our loved ones and the potential conversations at the dinner table. We even see it in the moments we look at ourselves in the mirror and judge what we see as not good enough. What are we choosing in those moments? Are we choosing Love?

There are other unexpected places we find opportunities to love. Sometimes we see it when our loved ones decide to leave us. Sometimes we even see it when we find ourselves in a situation in which we must decide to stay or go. We can find love in the most painful moments, when we know we must let them go.

Yes… love can feel amazing at times… but sometimes love hurts as well…

Opportunities to chose Real Love are around us, every second, and every moment of our lives.

While I can’t for sure say what Real Love is, I can say for sure when I’m choosing to love and when I’m choosing “something else”.

So… if I’m not choosing love, what am I choosing?

Maybe that will bring us closer to understanding what LOVE is.

My answer to the question “what is love?”, is simply: “the decision to choose that which is loving, over, and over, and over again. Never give up on choosing Love. Never give up on Love.

The more we choose Love, the more we know it; the more we really start to feel it; the more it becomes who we are; and yes, finally, we look around and realize we are surrounded in Love.

Cleaning Up 2018

In Japan we have a tradition at the end of the year where we do a major cleaning! 🧽 🧼 🧹 It’s called ōsōji (大掃除), it’s my favorite holiday and it feels sooooo good!! And this weekend is that weekend!!

But to modernize my effort, I’ve decided to clean not just my house, but my phone 📱 and all social networking apps/sites, removing people who I didn’t know, people I haven’t talked to for 10+ years, and people who I see out but never speak to (and they never speak to me).

Then I deleted every single text, call history, and voicemail. I went through all my email and deleted all the mail that had no significance to me. Went through google docs and google drive and deleted insignificant stuff. Deleted pics on my phone. LOTS of pics (mostly of food…)

But hear me out… I didn’t do it because I’m mad or depressed. I did it because, like cleaning the house, sometimes we gotta take some time to clean our soul as well. What and who was I holding onto in my life and why? Was I living intentionally or just living passively? Was I accumulating junk or precious jewels?

I saw that I was holding on to hopes, I was holding onto dead and painful memories, and I was holding onto “what if’s” and “maybe’s”. I was holding onto pretentious friendships with people who say we’re friends but they don’t give a f* about me. Which is totally fine, but why am I holding space for any of that in my life?

It’s time to start over. Completely. For 2019, I’m going in with a big open heart and open mind, but I’m not living passively anymore.

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I am Joy

I like who I am. I like where I am in life. I like who I have become, and where I came from.

I’m proud of myself and all my accomplishments. I am my own best friend and number one fan. I did it. Instead of running away or numbing myself with distractions and pointless relationships, I leaned into the pain and found my strength. I overcame so much. It was a constant battle between body, mind, and soul, but when we finally started working together, as a result I finally met myself. I know who I am, at my core. And I love me!!

I have sat with myself for long periods of time, and I have gotten to know myself. I have spent much time alone. I have befriended myself and I can finally say I love myself. I enjoy being in my own company. I enjoy spending time alone, and yet I never feel alone.

I feel loved, supported, and truly cared for. I am my own source of motivation and strength. I feel seen, heard, and understood. I feel safe. I feel like my own hero.

And yet my arms, mind, and heart remain open. I welcome those that come into my life and I wish only peace and joy for those that choose to leave.

Every day is a miracle, and one in which I have absolute and complete control over how I choose to live and behave in. I can choose love or I can chose behaviors that are not reflective of love. I choose love over, and over, and over again.

I am love.

I am the love that is indestructible. I am the love that changes the world. I am the love that brings peace to the heart and soul. I am content.

I am brave. I am resilient. I am strong. And my love never dims. Never quits. Never gives up. My light never fades. I am a peaceful warrior of light and love. I bring hope to this world.

My purpose is fulfilled every day as I live one day at a time, one moment at a time, striving to show up as the best version of myself.

I listen to my intuition and am guided by source. This is love and I chose it in every moment of every day.

When my soul is weary I rest. When I am tired I ask for help. I am loved, and I love.

I am JOY.

Human Being

Human being, not human doing. We are here to be, to experience. Others are here to experience BEING and they are also a part of our experience. Every human experiences “being” differently. It’s truly an art form and every one is their own artist. We are quick to judge art that doesn’t look “good” according to our standards, and quick to applaud that which soothes, intrigues, and inspires us. 

There are those we let in and those we keep out of our experience of “being” human. While everyone is unique to our experience “Special people” are those we are drawn to (like family, friends, lovers, etc.) who are equally here to experience “being” human with us. The problem is that we get attached to the roles we think they should be playing, and become ruffled when the image we had of them in our mind isn’t what we thought. So we become frantic trying to find a way to shape them back into the form we wanted them to take in our life, and at that moment the experience is lost.
It is lost because we aren’t there to experience them anymore. We are there to control or to get a specific outcome that pleases us, or to mold people into something that makes our life more comforting or less threatening. Our experiences become expectations and desires.

Desire… wanting a specific outcome from an experience… it’s what makes the pursuit of the experience so exhilarating. It’s the fuel to the fire of our motivation. But the journey is where the treasure lies. This is what human BEING is all about. 

I’m Going to Die…Eventually

I’ve been thinking about death a lot these days. I had recurring dreams about my own death for several days in a row that I began to wonder…am I going to die?

 

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Death is serious and I hesitate to talk about it because it hits home to so many, and it hurts. Losing a loved one hurts. A lot. But this week, I took some time out to think about my own death, and what it could actually mean for myself, my family, and my friends. It was dark, and depressing because what I came to conclude was that my children would be left without Mommy, and left to live with very careless, dangerous, and emotionally unavailable men. The feeling of powerlessness over that consumed me and brought me to my knees. What if… this day was my last day? What if this week was my last week? What if this year was my last year? What kind of memories have I left for my children? What kind of hopes and dreams have I inspired in them? How much sense of value, worthiness, and self-love have I instilled in their hearts? How would they remember me? What parts would bring them grief? What parts would bring them joy?

 

It was a sad week for me, but it left me with the conclusion that, I don’t know how much longer I have. I could have another fifty or sixty years. Or, today might be my last day. Because I never know, because tomorrow’s breath is not guaranteed, why would I waste another second not trying to make this day the best?

 

In doing this reflection, I realized that in order for me to take my life seriously, part of me actually DID have to die. Not a physical death, but the death of old, useless beliefs that do not move me forward in my conscious evolution and purposeful intentions of leaving this world just a little better than when I fell into it.

 

When I began my “spiritual journey”, I came across a word that at the time felt threatening to me. The word was “detachment”. In the midst of betrayal and infidelity, the idea of keeping the focus on my own recovery, healing, and overcoming the trauma sounded and felt more like “turn a blind eye to the offender”. It was hard to see that it was actually advising that, if we keep our focus on the offender, we will always be in fight or flight mode, stuck in a state of hypervigilance, stress, anxiety, and fully enmeshed in the other person’s life. This prevents us from attending to inner healing that is put on the back burner and not being tended to.

 

It might be different for everyone, but my understanding of detachment came in phases. The first phase was thinking that I was not allowed to think about the offender (in this case, my husband’s sexual affairs (past or present)). I thought I was not allowed to think or feel about how horrible it felt being betrayed and lied to. It felt like I was being advised to deny my feelings and sadness. What I came to learn through therapy and spiritual practice, was that you gotta grieve, and grief is an absolute MUST in healing. However, grief is only the beginning, not the end, of the healing process. After that, there’s a time to let it go. But to let it go meant that I had to be really honest with myself and identify if I was ruminating over the events/offender, or truly grieving. For me, grieving was about two and a half months. After that it became pretty clear that I was simply ruminating. I was able to recognize the difference as one of the tell-tell signs was me starting to feel bitter, negative, resentful, and angry as I replayed the past grievances that, for the most part, were not even relevant to the real problems, and sometimes the thoughts were putting me into a negative spiral of sadness, despair, and extra pain. It was not helping me heal, but more like “picking at scabs”.

 

When I realized that I was causing myself unnecessary pain by ruminating, I used the 3-second method, which was this: If I found my mind wandering with thoughts about the offense, I would allow myself to think about the issue for 3 seconds and then automatically change my focus onto something positive. Eventually, through this exercise, the next phase of my understanding about detachment came.

 

This required me to change my story around the issues. I decided to stop seeing him as a perpetrator and more of an “angel” of sorts. Through his horrific acts, I was pushed to dig deep within myself, and uncover some pretty embarrassing character defects of my own. I was also pushed far enough to realize my worth, my value, and what I really wanted in life. This “angel” had brought so much darkness into my life, that I had no other choice but to decide if I wanted to stay in darkness or shine as bright as I possibly could so that I could at least find my way out. This “angel of darkness” was a further catalyst to my spiritual growth. Without him, I would have stayed stuck in a stale place in my conscious evolution. I was codependent, and afraid. I put on a façade of strength and confidence when in fact I was a nervous wreck always holding back and making excuses of why I couldn’t move forward or pursue my passions. My goals, my dreams, my passions were all on the back burner. But in all honesty, I am not even sure I recognized or knew what my passions were at that time. Perhaps, it was through the suffering, dark coldness that I discovered them?

 

The monstor image I had of him in my mind, became softer. Anger turned to gratitude. The next phase of my detachment felt like depression though. I was sad. It went to a pretty negative place. I wondered, “if all of this suffering is for some greater purpose, why should I care about anything? Why should I want anything? Why get mad, sad, or even happy, if none of it is supposed to matter? If I can’t do anything about anything, and everything is out of my control, why care? Why bother?” At one point, I was convinced that this life seriously sucked and I had absolutely no hope that it could ever be a life of joy. It felt a little like “punishment”. This was a hard phase to get out of.

 

The key to that part, for me, was realizing how extremely self-centered and self-absorbed I was. I was only looking at it through what I was getting out of it. What we too often fail to remember is that joy comes not out of getting, but giving. When we do good, or see others do good, we feel “good”. When we do bad, see others do bad, or even dwell on our own miseries and failures, we feel “bad”. What’s worse, is especially when we see other’s successes as a threat to our own, or somehow playing a part in our failure, or competition to our personal success, we feel bad (and in most cases, threatened, and angry). So when we see our loved one walk away from us, no matter how many years we swore that we loved them unconditionally, we do not see them as our loved one anymore, but as an enemy or a threat to our goals. We carelessly misuse the phrase “Oh, I’m just detaching…” We confused completely disconnecting that part of us that loved them very much with detaching.

Hell bent on making it clear to the world that this person had strayed from our tightly held expectations that they should be or do differently than what we wanted, and thus they are in the wrong. Instead of caring about their wellbeing and respect their choices, we shut down and say we’re just “detaching” because detaching keeps us focused on ourselves.  This is they way I processed detachment for several years.

 

Unfortunately, this wasn’t helping me heal. Determined to heal, and determined to stop feeling so bad, I saught the advice of a spiritually-awakened friend. I had to commit to praying for my husband morning and night, that he would get everything he wanted in life, and that he was embraced with unconditional love, inner peace, and genuine happiness. The first week was white-knuckling it and took every bit of strength and energy for me to even mumble those words in my mind, much less outloud. Getting through those prayers for the first week was torture. But after 2 or 3 weeks of praying morning and night, it was when I was able to genuinely feel it and mean it.

 

The next phase of my coming to understand and grasp what detachment really was, was learning how to understand and accept that everything was out of my control. I couldn’t control what he thought, felt, said, or did. No matter how much I changed, he continued to be mean, verbally abusive, hostile, and deeper into his sexual addiction, alcoholism, and gambling. But this time, since I no longer saw him as an enemy, but an “angel”, and because now I genuinely wished for total joy and love for him, my attachment to what I wanted to be different was no longer there. I was at peace with the fact that he was who he was, and he does what he does. I no longer felt a need to respond emotionally or verbally to his prompts. Through gratitude and changing the way I saw him, my faith and hope grew. I came to realize that perhaps all of this was an opportunity for me to grow, evolve, and learn something very important. I had a nudging sense that if I could process this “opportunity” I was sure to find…joy. This was something I felt very confident about, and looking at how I had processed everything in the past, and how futile it was, I knew there was no turning back to old thought patterns and behaviors. For sure, something about me had to “die”.

 

Detachment finally meant accepting reality, being honest about my reality, and embracing it. In doing this, we don’t feel sad. We don’t feel depressed, and we don’t feel hopeless, as I had originally thought.

 

The only sad part about it was that loss is a part of life, that just like everything else, must be embraced. We don’t want to do that because we tend to think that if we “embrace loss” it means that we don’t feel anything- that we’re cold-hearted and don’t care. But what I’ve found in doing this spiritual practice, is that only by embracing loss, we are then able to truly value life. The reality of loss, when embraced, shakes you just enough so that you can finally appreciate it ALL, in its entirety. We step out of our selfish expectations of perfect partners and friendly like-minded people, and see that darkness makes light precious. Death makes life precious. Mean people make kindness precious. We begin to truly cherish everything good in our life. We realize all that nonsense, that bullshit- it’s all a distraction from what really matters.

We stop looking at what we’re getting out of it all, and realize that the real power of change is in what we’re willing to give, and how much we’re willing to love.
The death that I was sensing was this belief that I had time to be angry and insecure, and that I was justified and deserved the opportunity to take that bitterness out on another person. What needed to die was the belief that my passions would simply unfold once I got what I wanted, the way I wanted it, and then had the motivation to pursue them. Life is short, and we’ve got a lot of evolving to do on a conscious level. There is tremendous fear in detaching from that which is holding us back from our true potential and conscious evolution. We attach to relationships, jobs, material things, and the false sense of security they bring, and when those relationships, jobs, and material things are torn away from us, we realize and regret that our foundation was mistakenly placed.

 

I am starting to see how easily distracted I become when I see things as “not going my way”. Instead of keeping true to my personal values, morals, and holding strong in my integrity and what I believe my purpose is in life, I get side-tracked and react to things I don’t like in ways that don’t reflect the person I wish to be. This distraction has gotten the best of me. For the majority of my life, however, my reactions to unpleasant events were a protective mechanism. And while it seemed to work in my childhood, as I grew up, my habitual patterns and reactions to those distractions put me further from my goals, and way out of line with my values.  The person I wished to be remembered for, when my time does come, to leave this world.

All You Need…Is Within

The past few months went from hope and faith that some “higher power” would heal my marriage to acceptance that it wasn’t supposed to be saved. It wasn’t real. The moment I recognized that my marriage was a sham I had two very clear paths in front of me: Path 1 was to be a victim, get angry, and blame my husband for horrendous atrocities and live bitterly in resentment about how he ruined my life. And then there was Path 2. Path 2 was to change my story from being a victim to being responsible.

Anyone who has been hurt, betrayed to, and abused may think, “why should I have to be responsible for any of this? I didn’t cause it!” While I can agree that we may not have caused it, and while it may be entirely true that none of it was even fair, the fact is we ARE completely responsible for what we choose to do with it. We can choose to take revenge, add fire to the flame, increase hostility and negativity… or we can move on.

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I will be the first to admit that it is so much easier said than done. But the second you acknowledge that you actually HAVE that power AND responsibility to change your perspective of being a victim to something else (honestly, it probably doesn’t matter what you change it to, so long as it is empowering and positive. Be a unicorn, be a queen, be whatever…), that is when the sobering reality comes in and corners you, asking, “what are you going to do about that now?”

What I’ve learned through this was that my suffering was primarily about the story I was telling. The story I kept telling myself and others. This story was on repeat in my head ALL day, 24/7. What I hadn’t realized was that I CHOSE that story. The story didn’t choose me.

Write-your-own-story-Simple-SojournsThat’s a nasty pill to swallow, but it was true. If ever an “oh shit” moment, that was mine.If it is true that I was creating a story in which I was a victim, the story had been repeated so often that my entirety believed it true. I’m not saying that what my husband did wasn’t wrong. It was! It was horrendous! A real prick! My bitterness wants to say these kinds of people shouldn’t be allowed to breathe on this Earth… but that’s bitterness talking…

The fact of the matter was that I was NOT getting joy from choosing Path 1. Yet, I continued to choose Path 1 over and over, and when I realized that I could potentially choose another path and could potentially feel a WHOLE LOT better, the idea of choosing Path 2 became a little more attractive to me.

Path 2 wasn’t an easy path though, because Path 2 required me to feel my pain (and honestly, who wants to feel pain!?). It required me to sit with and grieve the loss, forcing me to deal EFFECTIVELY with the normal woundedness of being a human being. And with that grieving, came a promise of healing. To me, that sounded pretty attractive, even though the cost (feeling pain) didn’t seem alluring at all.

Path 1, my chosen path for several years was be a victim, complain about it, argue about it, fight it, lament it, and then hope and pray that through some godly miracle, the other person will finally see the light and change and make me happy (not happening). Path 2 was: deal with the shit effectively.

Path 2 allowed me to complain about it, argue about it, fight it, lament it, and kick the floor, but it required me to get it out of my system by EFFECTIVELY processing it, and then MOVE ON. People that choose Path 1 don’t like the “move one” part.

But when we do move on, one day we realize you simply don’t need it because we’ve grown through it. We’ve felt the pain, let it shake us to our core, and then we reach the first moment of real choice: Do I stay a victim? Do I stay powerless? Do I stay irresponsible? Or do I choose a different story now?

Everyone makes that choice to stay a victim or to move on. Most people like being the victim and subconsciously rationalize that it’s just too hard to grow up and take responsibility for themselves, so instead of doing anything effective, they continue to complain like a helpless victim and continue to make life “wrong”. I did that for the majority of my life. What I didn’t realize is that the prison I thought I was in was a prison of my own doing. No one forced me into it.

The past few months, I’ve had some time to do some inner reflection and really question what it is that I was trying to get out of all of this and the answer was simply, “JOY”. I want an inner peace and joy that cannot be shaken by external circumstances. And allowing external circumstances to shake my joy was me working against my goals. The hard part about all of this is, again, all about CHOICE. If my unshakeable inner peace and joy is my goal, what am I willing to do to achieve it? Do I continue down a path that clearly wasn’t working? Or do I choose another completely different path? A NEW way of thinking?

A new way of thinking is hard, because our brains are hardwired to take the blame path. It’s all based on fight/flight, and while it is natural, it’s also primitive, and we need to evolve or we will suffer. The solution is not to “delete” these patterns (we can’t) but to create new ones. This is the challenge, but this is where your control is.

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Now, when I find myself ruminating on the past, the pain, or even the uncertain future, I bring myself back to the present. And since I’ve realized that hating my husband just brought me more pain, I choose an alternative path again, which was to say a silent prayer for him: “Dear God, I pray that he receives everything he wants in life, including the experience of unconditional love, peace, and happiness.”

I don’t know how it works…but somehow, when I offer unconditional love to even those that have hurt me, creates an inner peace and joy I’ve not felt in decades… and guess what!? THAT was my goal.

All I needed…was always within.

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.

The Only Way Out is Through

When we are faced with the truth and the truth hurts, the courage to sit and feel those emotions fully is required in order to process it and let it go.
I have learned that it hurts less in the long run to sit in that pain, than to avoid it. The more we deny it, resent someone else for it, ignore it, numb it out with drugs, sex, parties, distractions, and sometimes  blaming someone else for it, the longer it hurts, the more intense the pain becomes, and the more often it comes back into our lives repeating itself.
But even knowing this, doesn’t take the pain away. Knowing I’m brave and courageous doesn’t take the pain away. Knowing that it won’t last forever and that it will be over soon doesn’t make the pain less. Knowing that I’ll be okay and come out stronger doesn’t take the pain away. Knowing I will find peace, and maybe even a rainbow after the storm doesn’t ease the pain…
It hurts a lot. In this dark, lonely, and cold place, all I want to do is to reach out and grab for anything that can ease this pain- anything or anyone to release me from this suffering.
But the only way out is through
and that is where the answers are.
only way out is through
I must weather this storm. I must open my heart and mind to this: feel it, learn from it, and grow from it.

It is painful… but I will live. I will live through this. “Nothing lasts forever, including this…, and the sooner I allow it to flow through me, the sooner it will go away…” I remind myself. “The more I avoid the pain, or try to control the outcome, the longer, stronger, and harder the pain will remain.

Let it go… Let it flow…
So I offer this to you as well. You aren’t alone. You are strong.You are brave. You can handle this. If anyone can handle this, it is YOU! YOU are a winner. YOU are a survivor. YOU will overcome this. You don’t have to envision the future, or try harder, or even pretend everything is okay. All you have to do is let this experience flow through your life like clouds on a rainy day. Breathe it in and breathe it out.
Mourn your loss and move forward. 
There is no other direction but forward.

The Struggle to Understand the Incomprehensible

When we first learned of our loved one’s addiction, some people chose to leave the relationship, and some people chose to stay. Some, like myself, had no clue wtf to do… Those, like me, that stayed became hypervigilant and found themselves spending endless hours online looking for answers by either snooping, searching the internet, books, YouTube, or anything that could give us more insight as to why our partners continued to lie and act out. Was it something in their childhood? Was it something I did? Is it a psychological disorder? Can it be cured? Can I do anything to help?

Don’t get me wrong. Striving to learn new things and increase our understanding of life and all the complexities around it is a very good thing. We should always question our world. But sometimes we have to take an honest internal inventory of our motivations and ask ourselves, “Why am I putting so much attention and time into this?” I mean, c’mon. Isn’t there something you would sooooo much rather be doing?

It took me over a year to finally realize that my curiosity to “understand” my partner’s disease was not just fueled by my need to know, it was fueled by my need to control, my need to feel safe, and by my need to justify me staying in the marriage. By finding something online that justified me staying, I didn’t have to look inside myself.

What I eventually learned from all of it, though, is not what I set out to know. My first year in recovery as a partner of an addict was me taking classes, going to therapy, reading every book on the market (EVERY BOOK), talking to people similar to myself, and spending hours online trying to understand who my partner was and if I should leave him.

In the end, even though I sincerely believed trying to understand him was about me trying to justify why I would want to stay, the truth is… the UGLY truth is… that what I was really doing was avoiding trying to understand myself.

It’s funny to me now because I realize I always knew the answer. I knew who I married. I knew he had a problem. I knew that it would be a very rocky road if I stayed. I knew that staying meant being hurt over and over and over again. I knew that none of it was personal. I knew I didn’t cause it and that there was nothing I could do to stop it or even make it worse. What I was really looking for wasn’t in any of those books I spent countless hours reading.  It was all inside me. The question was not, “who is my partner?” or “should I stay?” but “who am I?” and “Do I want this or not?”

The truth is, we can’t make sense of addiction. And while science and research has helped us gain a better understanding of who our partners are and how their addictions work, no amount of searching online will help us make sense of what really matters. YOU.

As I justified my newfound passion for learning about this addiction, the reality was that I was externalizing my pain, putting a huge spotlight on him, and running from my own personal healing.

People are going to make bad choices. We can love them and stay. We can love them and go. We can love them and be unsure of which action to take. But until we are able to put the focus back on “who am I and what do I want” we are just as stuck in ourselves as our partners are stuck in themselves.

So I take this week to reflect on me.